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Best Stories on the Web

In a Heartbeat

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Damp wisps of dark, pony-tailed hair cling to the collar of Sara’s pink sweatshirt. Soft music filters through earphones as she jogs in place on the corner of Fourth and East Main, waiting for the light to change. She glances left and sees the fall-colored trees lining the sidewalk in front of County General Hospital. Sara loves these times most – fall for its beauty, and early morning because it’s her time: time to quietly leave the house for a quick run while Tim and Emily are still asleep.

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Blood Raven

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The sky mocked her, daring her. Though it knew she would lose. The dare was simple, take to the sky.

Just once would be enough.

Henri craned her neck, trying to follow the path of a bird, envy rolled of her in waves, practically visible to the naked eye.

Then, in a flash, her father sored across the sky, his obsidian wings drew in the light around him, like Apollo with a black sun. How she wished she could join him.

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A Song of the River

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"She was a Maid," the Storyteller said, "a Maid such as a man would not see again his whole life."

The people sat close, despite the heat of the fire, to hear.

"Where did she come from, this Maid?" asked one of the young men, a boy too young to have heard all the story, but old enough to wish to know of maids.

The Storyteller nodded at the boy. "They say she was of the Behroozi, a people of the River."

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Breath of Lisetta

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Lisetta breathed against her fingers as they clutched the bone handle of her knife.  Her breath enfolded her purplish digits where the threadbare gloves no longer covered them.  Snow clung to the strands of mousy hair that had fallen over her face.  Buildings arose from alongside the street like blackened giants, thick doors barred against the world.

It’d been too surreal when she’d lived in one of the elegant houses of the upper streets.  The servants had been too kind, the food too rich.  Her parents had been too happy.

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Colors

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I feel odd, not like my usual self. Something is different; I cannot put my finger on it. I think for a few minutes. I look inside myself. I do not like what I see. I am an empty shell, I just sit here. I occupy space for others. I close my eyes and just breathe. I breathe for one minute, two minutes and three minutes. Just maybe, just maybe I am mistaken. Maybe I am not an empty, rotten cavern. I peek again. I whisper “Hello?” My own timid voice echoes lightly back. Is that really my own voice? This is scary.

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Hollowed Out

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F.B.I. agents don’t die every day.  But two had died in the last week.  Roberson wanted to know why.

“Tough to say, Rob.  So many terrorists around and other whackos.  This country breeds more sickos every year.  Just have a drink and forget it.”

Roberson gulped on a Black and Tan.  He didn’t even taste it.  Whatever would numb this feeling away.  The booming voice in his ear was Agent Butters.  Old guy from thirty years back.  Roberson had never liked him, but figured to show him respect when he had to.

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Hex

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In geometry class you were taught the importance of shapes. The different dynamics they can display when in a relationship with their colleague, math. I remember listening to the lesson and then dismissing it quickly, unfortunately. I think I might have been asleep when taught the intricate part where, by not treating the shapes with the care and respect they deserved, it would result in an imbalance in the equation. No less, a loss of equilibrium in one’s own existence.

The Hexagon just prostrates its monogamous ugly head and jumps on the upper part of my back.

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The Quarry

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Two hobos walked by the side of the road, both were thirty-five, unshaven, and wearing denim. One of them was wearing a red bandana. They were on the shoulder of the road and a truck flew by them; they made no attempt for a ride. They walked single file, the sun was beating down, and the men sweated. One of the hobos stopped and wiped his face with his shirt tail. He’d been in Vietnam and his life hadn’t gone that well since.

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Zippity

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It used to be Smooth Boy’s Zippo, but Smooth Boy is dead. I run my thumb over the striker wheel, addicted to the friction of metal sparking flint, and pass my index finger back and forth through the flame. I like the weight and the slick cold touch of it. I imagine myself going back in time to a pre-literate civilization and having them worshiping me as the living god of fire. The flame wavers like a tired stripper going through the motions. I hold my fingertip in the heart of it until the first throb of pain makes me jerk it back. Smooth Boy was my name for him, his real name doesn’t matter.

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Fred

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There are two-hundred sixteen stitches on a baseball. Its inner core is either rubber or cork. The baseball is wrapped in yarn that, if stretched, can reach up to a mile in length. The outside core that covers the tightly wrapped yarn is usually leather, sometimes plastic in the case of younger children.

Former US presidents John Quincy Adams and Herbert Hoover had pet alligators, Calvin Coolidge two lions, and Theodore Roosevelt a badger named Josiah who had the unfortunate habit of biting people.

Interesting, albeit useless, information.

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