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Everyday Drabbles #773: The Tree in the Ruins

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The massive tree grew amid an ancient ruin. Its twisting roots plunged through the crumbling stone to find good soil and fresh water.
The people who lived nearby considered the tree a metaphor for self-reliance and survival against all odds. Perhaps they were the descendants of the ruin’s inhabitants, or they might have come from their conquerors. The history was long since lost.
But the tree, if they had been able to ask it, would have fondly remembered a time when it grew straight and narrow in a clay pot, cultivated by a skilled and loving hand, now centuries gone.

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Everyday Drabbles #772: The Orb

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The Orb hung over the rains-shrouded city like a giant mechanical eyeball. But it was blind. I thought as I raced through the city, balancing an industrial power cable in one hand and an umbrella in the other.
Finally, I reached the power station and plugged it in. I heard a distant whoosh as the Orb came back online from emergency power-saving mode.
“Is that better? I asked via my communicator.
“Yes, thank you,” the Orb’s A.I. replied.
Outside, rings of orange light limned the Orb’s single entry hatch. It was such an eyeball.
“What are friends for?” I said.

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Everyday Drabbles #771: The Last Spell

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The apprentice brought the wizard out to the woods. The wizard had been growing senile. He was forgetting things and losing track of himself. An out-of-control mind in command of that much power was a danger to everyone.
“It is time, Master,” he said gently. The ancient wizard nodded.
Legends say that wizards do not die but transcend reality. But the truth is carefully protected. When a magician grows senile, they transform into animals. They forget they were ever human, taking their secrets with them.
The apprentice watched the eagle soar into the heavens and returned to the village alone.

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Everyday Drabbles #770: The Swamp Monster

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The swamp monster rose from the muddy water and shrieked at the humans. The two men ran away, knocking over the sign they had been hammering into the ground. The swamp monster picked it up.
He did not understand the human letters, but the drawing was clear enough. It was a picture of him with his gaping mouth full of sharp fangs and his vine-like arms raised menacingly.
It was a swamp monster’s job to protect the swamp, and nothing wrecked an ecosystem faster than humans. They should be scared of him.
But he couldn’t help feeling a little hurt.

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Everyday Drabbles #769: The Bargain

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The secret to the ritual is that it works if you need it to. Death does not appear before poseurs, but if your desire is pure enough, if your need is great enough, you will catch His attention. It matters little if you don’t arrange the candles correctly, or mispronounce every other rune.
When the door to the other side opens, He will step through in all His pomp and majesty, and you will be allowed to bargain.
And as He flies off into the night, you will wait beside your lost love and decide the price was worth it.

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Everyday Drabbles #768: The Ocean Between Worlds

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He sailed an ocean that flowed between worlds, looking for home. Every time he set out in his little boat and rowed out into the water, he would return to a different realm.
Sometimes the differences were as subtle as the title of a beloved book. Others had strange physics or dramatically altered histories. Some worlds teemed with life while others were barren.
After spending time in each world and learning the wrongness of it, he would set out to sea and try again.
He never realized that home wasn’t a place you found. It was a place you made.

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Everyday Drabbles #767: The Temple

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They built the temple so high that the tops of its towers rested among the clouds. The massive complex was in a constant state of construction, with each new generation of builders adding to the project.
As the centuries went on, styles came and went, and the ideas of new generations clashed with those that came before them; sometimes successfully, sometimes not. The temple became a living map of history as each architect was driven to go higher and farther than their predecessors, reaching up to Heaven itself.
But the higher they built, the larger the cracks grew in the foundations.

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Everyday Drabbles #766: The Dot

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The cat had done it. After years of chasing and stalking, Nimbus had caught the red dot.
He had the point of light stuck fast between his claws, and no matter how hard the human pulled or waived the little hand-held device the dot came from, it was going nowhere. Nimbus meowed in triumph and bit the red dot experimentally. It tasted like the memory of lying in a sunbeam on a perfect summer afternoon.
His human gave up and set down the laser pointer. With the dot still trapped between his claws, Nimbus curled up and went to sleep.

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Everyday Drabbles #765: Survey Flight

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The ultralight aircraft buzzed through the sky above the gargantuan alien creatures.
“Can we get closer?” The biologist asked, leaning out of the craft’s door with her camera.
“Do you want to be lunch, doctor?” The pilot asked. To him, they resembled giant stingrays. He’d been stung by a ray once as a child. Back then, there were still fish in the sea; and humans on Earth.
“Don’t be so paranoid,” she said.
But it was his job to make sure she got back to base safe, and with so few humans left, he would make damn sure she did.

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Everyday Drabbles #764: The Musketeer

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The duke’s men had entered the palace. We fought them hand-to-hand with flashing blades and single-shot pistols, our organized lines dissolving into a chaotic melee through the corridors and ballrooms.
I had no love for the king, but the duke was no more palatable. I’d sworn oaths, and I would uphold them.
But as the day wore on, I watched good men die. I killed good men. For what? The vanity of a throne? A title? Their bodies lay among the smashed marbles and torn tapestries, and I swore a new oath.
Whoever won would have to deal with me.

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