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Everyday Drabbles #562: The Signal

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They sent their signals out into the stars as soon as they were sure that the little blue planet could receive them. Following a message of greeting and galactic peace, they sent instructions for a curious machine. Ardent debate ensued on Earth over what it did.
The interstellar gulf was too large to cross in a ship. Too many things could go wrong. A signal could get through, as long as there was a receiver on the other side.
The aliens had the ability to convert themselves into energy and rebuild their bodies from local materials.
The invasion had begun.

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Everyday Drabbles #561: The Jurist

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On the first of the month, she reports for jury duty. Most people try to avoid the service, but she is looking forward to it. It is a cornerstone of her nation’s justice system, and she’s been training.
She often passes the Hall of Justice and marvels at the ornate statues dedicated to their greatest heroes and judges.
As she climbs the steps in her best armor, with her favorite sword belted at her waist, she hopes she will do them honor.
Outsiders claim the tradition of trial by combat is barbaric, but she will defend it to the last.

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Everyday Drabbles #560: Brood X

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It was a perfect autumn evening. Summer’s humidity had broken, and only a hint of crispness on the wind hinted at the snow to come.
She sat on her porch, nursing a drink and watching the full moon rise over the valley, savoring the sense of tranquility.
It was broken by a distant scream, followed by another. Soon, the air was full of noise. It wasn’t a human sound, but not quite animalistic either. She’d never heard it before but recognized it from her almanac. She went inside to prepare.
After a thousand years, vampires were emerging from the earth.

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Everyday Drabbles #559: Rain God

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They finally caught up with him in the park. He thought he’d escaped a few days ago, but time had blurred into a gray haze.
He sat in the falling rain, resting on an abandoned swing when the agents began closing their circle. They ringed the park with unmarked vans and stepped out in white hazmat suits, their strange guns ready.
It always rained on him. It was one of his powers, one he couldn’t actively control. They jokingly called him the rain god when they were doing their experiments. But that wasn’t his only power. Above him, lightning crackled.

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Everyday Drabbles #558: Yggdrasil

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They found the same life-form on a dozen worlds, parsecs apart. It was a tall, woody plant that was virtually identical to an oak tree. Even more strange, the samples weren’t merely the same species but were cuttings of the same plant.
Anthropologists, astronomers, and botanists debated for decades about how they could’ve traveled so far with no other signs of alien settlement.
Finally, they found a distant planet dominated by a single massive tree. Its branches reached up into the sky and disappeared like magic.
One of the landing party climbed one and found himself standing on another world.

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Everyday Drabbles #557: The Prince’s Mask

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The prince took to wearing a mask forged of steel when making his public appearances. He wore it to cultivate an air of mystery but also to prevent attempts on his life.
He selected a team of bodyguards with his build and gave them masks as well. By blending into a crowd, assassins couldn’t be sure which one was the target. The unorthodox tactic was considered a success.
But the prince became lazy. Over time, he gave more and more duties to his shadows and left his palace less and less.
Nobody even noticed when they replaced him for good.

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Everyday Drabbles #556: Following the Tracks

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The carriage reined to a stop next to another track in the snow. The hunter got out and examined it in the early morning light
“She’s been this way,” he said to his companion. “Recently.”
The track wasn’t so different from any other bird. You could mistake it for a chicken or a turkey if you discounted the fact that it was large enough for a man to lay down comfortably inside.
“Come, Lawrence.” They had to hurry. The cyptozoological gardens opened in an hour, and if the terror bird wasn’t back in her enclosure, it would be their heads.

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Everyday Drabbles #555: Contract Negotiations

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The sorcerer paced outside the circle, chanting the last of the spell. The salt burned blue for a moment and a twisting column of black smoke appeared inside.
“Why have you summoned me, mortal?”
“I wish to rule over all the earth!”
“Of course,” the demon replied. “And where would you be beginning your reign?”
“Er, Ohio.”
“What are the schools like?”
“What?”
The demon sighed. “Taking over the Earth is a long-term project. If I head this for you, I need to think about relocating, and I don’t want my spawn getting a substandard education. Shall we talk salary?”

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Everyday Drabbles #554: Drawn To Life

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There was a legend in the art community that the secret to the ultimate talent lay hidden in the Redstone Hills. As a result, the region became flooded with aspiring artists whose vision exceeded their talent.
Local galleries found a willing market for the amateurish landscapes in the community of painters and treasure hunters. But the secret remained a mystery.
But one day, Maurits went out into the cliffs with a canvas and returned on the back of a gigantic stone-scaled dragon.
It seemed anyone could paint the hills, but it took a true artist to bring them to life.

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Everyday Drabbles #553: Malicious Compliance

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The engineer was hauled out of line by the commander and pushed to the ground.
“This isn’t what I requested,” he said, pointing at the monstrosity in front of them.
“It’s a robotic eye, isn’t it?” He managed.
“It’s twenty feet tall!” His captor roared at the terrified prisoner. He pulled out his laser pistol and pointed it at him. “Do you think me a fool?”
“It’s just a prototype, sir. We can miniaturize it, but it will take time…”
The commander holstered his gun. “See that you do.” The engineer had bought himself another day to plan his escape.

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