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Everyday Drabbles #432: The Long Walk

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It was the last week of December, a soft place in time between one year and the next. She walked through empty streets, the air slightly foggy from the melting snow, the pavement slushy.
As she walked alone, she meditated on her past and her future.
It was an artificial construct, of course. Just the arbitrary fall of holidays on a calendar creating a lull. But she felt that the world was suddenly full of possibilities. It was as though she could disappear in that fog and emerge somewhere else, to start again.
So that is exactly what she did.

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Everyday Drabbles #431: The Instrument

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She is the youngest of the group, practically still alive. The others rarely give her the use of the shell, but some business cannot be done remotely, and she still has flesh on her skull.
Thus, she will be leaving the collective. The other heads, still connected to the frame with cables and struts, hover and fuss over her like aunties around a debutante, giving instructions.
Then, she is back out in the world, her mechanical suit swathed in layers enough to disguise what she is.
She will complete her mission, and then she will return home to her family.

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Everyday Drabbles #430: The Survivors

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A light in the corner of the goggles, the holographic equivalent of a tug on his sleeve. He looked down and found himself standing next to a little girl pulled from some historical simulation. She looked up at him with wide, tear filled eyes. “What will become of me?”
Inside the compound, the Walkers were destroying everything they could. But he’d gotten out with the core processor, and there were backups all over the system. He sighed.
“You’ll be fine, as long as I don’t get caught. Now let’s move.” He shouldered the backpack and turned away, dismissing the hologram.

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Everyday Drabbles #429: The Tyrant

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The elves suffered under Santa’s harsh rule. They tried everything to make their long, laborious lives bearable, but he thwarted them with his magic at every turn.
They tried to form a union, but he sowed fear and dissent among their ranks whenever they tried to improve conditions, and installed his puppets in leadership positions. Things only became worse.
Some tried to run away, or to make the humans aware of their plight, but the isolation of the workshop in the arctic wastes doomed every attempt to disaster.
In the end, the elves built their own Santa, and replaced him.

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Everyday Drabbles #428: The Delivery

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“Who’s next on the list?” He ask his assistant. They told him.
“Really?” He asked. “She’s been good all year?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Well, let’s get to it then.” Santa wheeled his sleigh around and headed for the Antarctic lair of the ancient dragon Meagestrix the Inferno.
Santa slid quickly and quietly down a crack in the mountain, carrying a wrapped parcel on his back. He shot back up a moment later, running for the sleigh as fast as he could. The dragon was right behind him, belching smoke and flames, but her new set of humane adventurer traps was delivered.

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Everyday Drabbles #427: The Toymaker

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The old man sits at his workbench, painting a wooden soldier. It is fine work, flawlessly carved, like the legions before it. Just like the one he will make next. He enjoyes his work. It’s more of a retirement, honestly. But he still remembers the old days.
He remembers thrones, and drinking halls, and hide boots crunching on snow. He remembers the smell of fear and the taste of hot blood.
He paints a bright red smile on the soldier’s face and set it aside to dry. Santa is happy in his new role, but still, you’d better watch out…

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Everyday Drabbles #426: The Christmas Card

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Every year at Christmas, she received a card with no signature and no return address. She would briefly puzzle over the card and wonder who it was from before being distracted again by the holiday rush.
Until one year the cards stopped coming.
She spent all winter trying to figure out where the cards came from, and why they had stopped. None of her friends or relations knew anything about it, and as the next holiday season approached, she had no answer.
But that year, she picked a random address out of the phone book and sent them a card.

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Everyday Drabbles #425: The Family Gathering

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They returned to The Old House every Yule. It was the one stipulation in their mother’s will, and while nobody wanted to actually live in the old pile, they still relied on the inheritance.
So every year they trekked out to pile and greeted the caretaker and their mother’s lawyers and get locked in together for the next day.
Every year it was the same. They would eat a silent supper then retire to their rooms. Their mother could force them together, but not fix years of bad blood.
But they were still haunted by her ghost of Christmas presence.

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Everyday Drabbles #424: Resolution

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We were watching the Ball Drop in Times Square when it happened. As the countdown reached zero, the image started to get fuzzy and blocky.
“I think there’s something wrong with the cable, love.” I looked up at my husband, and to my horror, I realized, that it wasn’t the TV. The room seemed less sharp, and flatter somehow. “Or maybe I need to see the optometrist.”
“It’s not just you,” he said. Onscreen, the cheers were giving way to panic. The hosts were blinking furiously and rubbing their eyes. “I think everyone getting used to the New Year’s resolution.”

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Everyday Drabbles #423: Early Winter

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The snow came early and thick that year. The almanac had promised a mild season, but the weather was particularly harsh, almost in defiance of prediction.
When the storm broke, he went out hunting with the dogs. They would need extra supplies and get them through what promised to be a long and bitter winter.
He wondered at the strangeness of the weather as he climbed the ridge and saw the Frost Giants. They were gathered in the clearing, working a ritual beyond his ken. He supposed some things had a rational explanation after all as he leveled his rifle.

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