“I Dare You To Love Me”

“Thanks.” I took a few steps forward but then paused, my eyes scanning the washed out walls of our cafeteria. They had been the same puke green color since I was a freshman. Even when I was student body president, I’d never cared enough to change it. “Hey, Alisha.”

She swiveled around to look at me, her face lighting up with hope.

“The walls could use a spruce. Maybe a darker green?”

Alisha did a little turn, her dark ponytail bouncing as she surveyed the whole room. She was nodding when she faced me again. “Dark green would look perfect! Thanks!” Then she hurried off to her lunch table, calling, “Tony!”

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‘Wildfire’

Quinten leaned back against the headrest of his car as he drove in route to the airport. Roy, his bodyguard, sat at his side unsure of why his friend and employer would put himself through this. Most guys would turn the station if their soon-to-be ex-wife were on the radio singing about how bad he had made her feel. Quinten, though, wasn’t like that. He didn’t want to run away from what he had done and being a musician himself he understood that writing about the pain could sometimes soften the blow. He encouraged it. “I don’t believe that, man.” Roy spoke up, deciding that he would like to debate the lyrics of the song since he could tell that Quinten was hashing and rehashing them inside of his head anyway. “You don’t believe what?” “The part about her saying…..

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‘RecipeArium’

I glance around, see what looks like a chute descending from my ledge to the cave floor. Settling on its smooth surface, I slide down to the bottom. I rise and, staring fascinated at the traceries of light on the walls, I move closer to the pool. The threads of blue light on the walls mingle with the water trickling over them to become works of sculptural beauty beyond imagination.

The white spots I saw from above are, in fact, huge white flowers, their gracefully arched petals as big as a phril’s head. I lean out over the pool for a closer look. Surprised, I realize the petals are covered in fur, a thick down of gleaming white, soft as silk. The corolla of one is filled with a red liquid and I notice that a reddish net of veins runs across the petals.

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‘Another Time’

He offered a leering grin, and though she tried, she couldn’t suppress an answering smile. What was it about this man? “Come on, wife. I know you’re tired.” At those words weariness overtook her, and Dee allowed him to pull her to her feet to finish unbuttoning her blouse. Dusty started to strip, then stopped, wide-eyed. “I wasn’t exactly planning to jump you, but we don’t have any protection.” “Good Lord. I wonder what they use for condoms in this era. I’ve never investigated the history of . . . At least we don’t have to worry about pregnancy.”

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‘Train to the Edge of the Moon’

That girl with no name had Punk on the beach. When they were finished, Punk noticed a shadow of Puzzle standing paralyzed and watching her with the glitters of pain in her eyes. How long was she there? Was this mission accomplished? Puzzle came closer.

“You think I don’t know what you did?” Her attempt to stay indifferent crashed violently into the wall of her own affection.

“Frankly, you do. Since when you’re playing in a Peeping Tom?” Punk gave her a harsh laughter.

“I’m not going anywhere, but I won’t be your mattress whore either.”

“You thought I was a lost puppy that needed to be saved? Maybe I’m just evil,” a cruel smirk appeared on Punk’s face.

“I can see you…”

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‘Long Shot’

‘Yes, that’s me but…..I thought you had to…..my son does it on the internet now.’ She really did seem confused. He needed to gain her confidence.

‘We decided to give a better customer service by going back to the old days of reading the meters. It’s less messing around. It only takes a minute.’

‘That’s what I said to my Robert. We never had any bother back in my day. Hang on then.’ She shut the door then there was the sound of a security chain being slid to the side. The door opened and he was invited inside. He looked at her face contort as she tried to focus on the large white van parked outside but she was clearly at a loss without her glasses on.

‘Where is your meter?’ he asked as he walked into the lounge. He heard the door shut behind him and he knelt down ready to open his toolbox.

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‘The Silent Corner’

Sampson fixed her with his limpid, liquid gaze. Not for the first time, Jane felt that horses, like dogs, with their heightened five senses – or even with a sixth – could read people far better than people could read them. In the stallion’s dark and steady stare, there seemed to be an awareness of the fear she denied and of her double grief at the loss of a husband and the necessary separation from this child.

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‘Detours In Time’

Milt began humming. Soon, Pinky recognized the song as “She’s Always a Woman,” by Billy Joel. She started to hum along with him.

“I love that song!” Pinky shouted. Of course, Milt was not surprised. Sometimes it described her to a tee.

“Okay, so, since we’ve got at least twenty minutes, tell me, what are some of your theories on what I’m doing here?”

“About the boy? He’s a grandson or a great grandson. You’ve discovered that someone will carry on your line of DNA. He kind of looked like you. I still think you broke some rules. Here’s my other theory. He will one day be a future president that will heal this big rift in the country… though I don’t see how you would know anything of the future beyond 2047, unless you secretly traveled ahead while I was reading about the latest breakthroughs in insect-style body modification.” She said this sardonically. “But here’s something else that was interesting. It may be even better than Tomas’ method of creating art. You sit in front of a screen, turn on a sensor, it scans your face, and produces artwork to reflect your mood and state of mind. Not that I want anything to do with such a mockery of creativity, I just wonder, is it producing artwork that has already been created? Are they recycling classic art? Who really creates the art? Someone must! And it just reduces an artist’s work to computer science, just like that.” She snapped her fingers. “Although, maybe they have actual artists on hand who produce, or have produced these great works. I mean, I might like that job. If, I get to sign my name in the corner.”

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‘The Knot’

Once they arrive at her garth, which is a square of land that sits beyond the town on the flat beyond the Bishop’s palace, Mary and Jane run off to hide and reappear later with the stains of strawberries about their mouths, oozing fistfuls of redcurrants, through they swear they were not thieving.

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‘Goddess’

“Where is the lime?” He demanded out loud. I saw the man’s shoulders slump forward slightly with sudden realization on his face.

“I forgot it,” he said in almost a whisper. Still looking at the ground, he began to tremble slightly as Master Jason sighed in an exaggerated fashion.

“Kendra, Leila, this is, well I call him Bitch,” he smiled at this statement. I could see a devious twinkle in his eye as he reached into his pocket. “You are to refer to him as such,” he ordered us. I was not too sure how to respond as I was not used to being commanded by someone.

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