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Message in a Rock

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The crunch of gravel and the crash of the front door.

"Go and show your Mum," he says.

"Mum, mummy, look what we found at the beach!"

I rest my book on the arm of the sofa and resign my peace to the scrap-heap.

Tom bursts in, still wrapped in his blue overcoat and smelling of fresh air. In his hand is a rock, smoothed like a skimming stone but too big. I'm surprised he can hold it in one hand.

"What is it, darling? Come on, take your coat off and tell me."


The Boy Who Called The Naga

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When Vanchay was born, the old village shaman declared him unusual, one to look out for. A boy who could call naga. The boy's mother looked at him, puzzled and a little frightened, but proud as well. She lay on the small birthing bed whilst below them the mighty Mekong rushed by, and for a minute she thought she could hear the water serpent move below.

"He will be the boy who called the naga?" she asked, her heart filing with a fierce, early pride.

"No," said the old shaman, shaking his head and walking away, "that's not what I said. He is a boy who can call naga."

What's the difference?, Vanchay's mother asked herself, and went back to nursing the newborn. She was sure something else continued rustling underfoot.


Tammy Lynn's Burden

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She walked on the dirt road slowly, the dust clouds she created caked dirt all over her black sneakers and the bottom of her polyester black pants. Tammy Lynn hated the shoes and hated the pants even more. Her uniform from  ”Clucky’s “ the fried chicken grease pit where she worked at . She wished she didn't live way out in the outskirts of town. In the middle of a half dead corn field with the nearest neighbor two miles away.


Two Blanks

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I notice her pearl nose ring and neatly cropped, short dark hair and small liver


spots on the backs of her hands. I remark, “I was a counselor at a city jail and


photocopied hundreds of forms for inmates who sought early release on their own


recognizance. The warden disapproved…”  She interrupts and says:


“You have to toe the line with prison wardens.”


Super Soul Sister

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Who can see in the dark?

Night belongs to the ears.

The phone rang.

“Don’t flatter yourself.”

“Chief Larsson.”

“And why not?”

“You’re plan B.”

“Pretend I’m Z.”

“Nix: get over to Odin’s Acre.

“The biker bar?”



The Stalker

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I awoke with a strangled cry, startled to find him standing over me.

The Stalker, dressed all in black like always.

Sure, I’ve seen him before, but never up close. Watching me from a darkened doorway, peering through the slats of the dingy blinds in an abandoned house, sitting in the next car over on the subway, standing on the opposite curb as I waited for the Walk signal.


What's that noise?

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Bright sunlight dancing off the water, chattering birds and golden warm air make the walk this morning near perfect.  Sonja has taken the long route; a lazy day stretches before her and there is no need to rush.  This is her absolute favorite place for a Sunday walk.  Summer homes along the river bank give it a cozy feel; abundant flowers, fancy bird feeders, cheerful garden knickknacks and the charm of the small houses keep her happily occupied as she walks the mile or two that connects this hidden back road to the main highway.


Ebb Tide

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Since my boss assigned the human interest story to me two days ago, I’d been wracking my brain trying to figure out what to write. Deadline looming, the answer hit me this morning when I opened my front door. Actually, thanks to the paperboy’s less-than-perfect pitch, it was the newspaper that bounced off my head at an opportune time.



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Arlia knelt down on a silk cushion in the middle of the room. She took a deep breath and centred herself. Gramps always told her to do this, sometimes he jabbed her in the sides with his walking stick if he thought she rushed meditation.

In front of her the Fire Tome lay open on “Level Eight Incantation”. Her Level Seven attempt had been impressive. The fireball in her hand nearly reached two inches in diameter.



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Scrape, thump.

Part of my half-asleep mind tried to identify the sound.  The other part resolutely kept my eyes closed and tried to shut out the sound.  That part of me knew it was way too early.

Scrape, thump.

I turned over and buried myself in the covers, still denying the part of my mind that wanted to know what the sound was.


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