Salvation

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Listen carefully for a moment, because both of our lives depend on this.
Ignore the paved service path. It’s a trap.
If you follow the trail through the deep woods for a mile, you will find a clearing where the mystical forcelines converge.
Several triptychs have been stacked to surround the precise convergence point, which is marked by a sigil-covered obsidian pillar.
That’s where you need to be to summon help. Unlike the rest of the godforsaken wood, you’ll get four bars of digital signal there.
Please hurry, because my leg’s bleeding through the bandage and I’m going into shock.

Execution

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In Texas, executions take place at sundown.
The lawyers weren’t done, but Rufus Washington was. He’d been through three Last Meals already in Huntsville thanks to the Supreme Court, but he didn’t think he’d have a fourth.
Back in Austin, the governor was fed up with the press asking him if he’d grant clemency.
“If God wants this murderer to stay alive, let Him stop the turning of the Earth,” said the governor to the cameras.
Unlike the governor, God was not available for comment. The sun sank from the sky, painted the horizon crimson, and Rufus went to Hell.

The Surprise Inside

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When I was little, I knew exactly what was in each Cracker Jack box before I opened it.
I could hold the box in my hands and just know what was in there.
Cool, huh?
Bullshit.
As time went by, the prizes got cheaper and less impressive. I used to sense tin whistles and compasses. Now I sense stickers and “collector cards” that aren’t worth collecting.
Cheap, flimsy crap. Everything is cheap, flimsy crap these days. And it just keeps getting crappier.
But you know what the worst part of this “gift” is?
I’m diabetic. Never could eat the shit.

Life Is Cruel

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“Alive,” mumbled the wizard, casually flicking his wand.
The chair, startled, walked around the table and settled back into its usual spot.
“Alive,” yawned the wizard, waving his wand yet again.
The clock’s hands spun. Then, the minute and second hands turned back and forth, seeking out the correct time.
The wizard smirked and wandered off to his workshop.
Later that evening, both the chair and the clock slowly died.
Nobody noticed, and nobody mourned their passing.
Just like every other object the wizard had brought to life, blithely ignored, and allowed to die.
Sometimes, life is cruel that way.

Weeding Out Directors

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I tug the rope, and the beam holds.
“Good,” I mumble, and I look back at Joel Schumacher. “You brought this on yourself, Hollywood.”
He’s tied up tight, lashed to the metal folding chair, rocking slightly on top of the table.
“Go ahead,” I say. “Crack your head open.”
The chair stops rocking. Joel’s eyes get wide.
They get wider when I tie the noose around his neck and kick the table away.
I wait for a few minutes, cut him down, and toss him in the basement with Oliver Stone’s corpse.
I told them Christopher Nolan or nothing, dammit.

Bob and Lena

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For their diamond anniversary, Bob and Lena wanted a divorce.
“He leaves the seat up,” said Lena, “and his snoring keeps me up all night.”
“She’s a nagging, vicious shrew,” said Bob. “Nothing I do is good enough.”
They hired lawyers and prepared for battle. The networks caught wind of the story and sent reporters to cover the proceedings.
At nine in the morning, neither Bob nor Lena showed up to court. They were found in each other’s arms in the bed they shared for three-quarters of a century.
Okay, so they strangled each other.
Keep that a secret, please?

The Wasting Curse

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Alfonse dragged the sack of bones out of the charnel house and down to the creek.
“Drown, you infernal hag,” grumbled the old monk. He emptied the bones into the water.
That’s how the Wasting Curse struck Creeksedge. Man and woman, child and beast broke out in massive, putrid boils. The sores would burst and run, making the victim mad with thirst.
More cursed water, more sores.
Then death.
Alfonse watched it all from his hut, drinking bottle after bottle of the abbey’s wine.
The witch’s ghost knocked over his candle, incinerating Alfonse as he slept.
Revenge, whispered the wind.

Names

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Adam ran out of names by the time he got to the last three animals.
“What will you call this one?” asked Eve, holding up a furry, lumpy creature.
“I’m not sure,” said Adam. “Goat?”
“No, you’ve already used that one,” said Eve.
“Urchin?” he said.
“That’s the prickly thing over in the lagoon,” said Eve. “How about… platypus? Wait. You’ve use that one, too.”
“Screw it,” said Adam. He built a fire, and then cooked and ate the three creatures.
“I dub thee Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner,” he announced. “Now where is Rabbit? I need to wipe my ass.”

COPS: Third Dimension

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It’s not easy cornering a timefugitive, so when you shout “We have you surrounded” you’d better block them in all directions as well as in the past and the future.
Also, pandimensional hyperbeings may not understand “Come out with your hands up.” Not only are you assuming they have hands, but in higher dimensions “up” is not always “un-down” and “out” may involve going further in and then wormholing back around.
Finally, “This is your last warning” is actually the first warning for retrotemporal outlaws. Those are the worst, since from their perspective they’ve only just gotten out of prison.

The Season of Death

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Up here, they call we repair guys a “Scotty.”
I have no idea why.
Sometimes, the motors and gyros on a solar array get jammed, and I have to suit up and go out to smack it with a hammer for a while.
We’re supposed to use remote-robots to do this, but a good Scotty wants to smack the machinery with his own hand, not through some joystick or virtual glove.
Until the seals break, that is.
From a dry spring day in your suit to colder than the coldest winter in less than a second.
I call it Death.