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Santa's Head Elf

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All was quiet and still in the dim half-light of the deserted walkways and avenues that swept through the Regent Shopping Centre. The late-night Christmas shoppers had left some time ago, returning to their warm cosy homes and so nothing should be stirring here now at this late hour. Yet the crisp December silence was broken by the tiny jingling sound of a little bell. It was coming from the magnificent Christmas tree that stood resplendent in the centre of the arcade.

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Crimson Snow

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16th Day of Regon, Year 455 of the First Dawn

I could feel the cold as we climbed higher, the chill reaching into my bones. The wind whispered across the grassland, flapping my black hair over my face. I wanted to lie down. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to dream. But I couldn’t. Not with the King’s Guard after me. I was going to have to push on…

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Waiting to Join the Grey Lady

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Sarafina wasn’t a name you hear up in Massachusetts, Horace thought. Last week was the second time he’d seen her, heard her addressed by Ralph at the desk. “Hey, Sara-fine, got a special on mysteries,” Ralph had said.

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No Luck

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A sharp crack of thunder stirred Jessie from his short restless nap. The incessant hum of tires on blacktop reminded him of a wasp nest he came across as a boy playing in his Uncle’s peach grove. He knew enough to leave the swarming hive alone. Still, the angry insects attacked, leaving him badly stung. Even at that young age, Jessie’s inherent bad luck was evident.

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Right Number Wrong Person

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I didn’t even want a cell phone. My wife Lea got it for me when she renewed her plan.

I would have left it on the kitchen table and never charged it if she didn’t insist I carry it with me. What’s the point of having a phone at home if you’re going to make calls from the car, I argued unsuccessfully.

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Seven Seconds

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4:38:03 PM

He placed the cold steel barrel to his temple, feeling it press against bone. The scarred right wrist was steady, the shoulder relaxed, as he’d been trained. Standing in front of the mirror, his dry brown eyes burned with concentration. The muscles of his right hand contracted. The trigger began to move. His cracked lips curled to one side. The same sly, crooked half smile so many girls and women found appealing.

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Forever

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“Segue the next couple of records with a jingle then go into a stop set. I’m gonna get some air.” Hy Lit flashed his agreeable smile, adjusted his trade mark tinted glasses and winked. “You’re a natural, kid.” Then he disappeared out the studio door.

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Bob, Interloper Retriever

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The alarm sounded. Someone had breached the perimeter. Bob sighed as he set down his coffee. An entire shift had almost passed without incident, its remaining moments to be spent enjoying undemanding holographic entertainment before Harry came in to take over. Now flashing lights and an automated female voice, which Bob referred to as Daphne, informed him his services were required.

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Redhead

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She stayed with me. Even before the case opened, even before she was found, she was already with me.

I was happy. Genuinely happy. The day we went to the boardwalk for the fair and carnival, I was extremely content with life. Madison and I were amazing. We had a relationship that people could only envy. We were approaching our three year anniversary with the hopeful plans of a wedding within the next nine months. We were optimistic.

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Revenge of the Juggler

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"Ta-da"

The surrounding crowd went wild with applause after the juggler's grand finale—juggling four blazing torches while circling and spinning "high in the stratosphere"  on his giraffe unicycle.

Everyone on the street had been totally entertained by the half-hour show at the annual fall foliage fair—everyone that is except little John Paul. John Paul was a street performer's worst nightmare, a ten-year-old heckler with a seemingly endless supply of nastiness. The juggler had tried everything in his arsenal of heckler lines to fend off the brat, but to everyone's consternation, John Paul was still there when the last torch went out.

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