There was a peculiar girl in the village, who talked about horses that never tired and little boxes that could answer any question, but looked confused at their moons and bread trees.
They found her last year in the forest, asleep and half buried under the snow that almost took her fingers.
“I shouldn’t be here,” she said when she woke up.
So they tried to help her return home, but they recognized none of the places she mentioned. The only familiar word they heard was “London”, but that was an animal, not a place.
Eventually, they turned their focus to making a home for her in the village. She accepted their kindness, but there was always something about her that was a little… different.
One day, she fell ill. They took turns watching over her as she slept the days away. Then, between one blink and another, she vanished.
They had a finite number of chances to solve the riddle. The question was how many chances did they have? And was it enough?
“Let’s try this,” the others said as they messed around with the patterns they were supposed to arrange on the wall. The guardian statues’ eyes flashed with every wrong attempt.
“Stop that. You’re wasting our tries,” he said.
The puzzle pieces locked into place. The guardians’ eyes blazed red.
Somewhere, something rumbled.
Genre: adventure, puzzle
Genre: general, action
Their strategist predicted an infiltration point underground on the West side, so men were dispatched to guard that area.
Days passed, but the enemy appeared everywhere but the predicted point. Little by little, the team leaders made the call to move their team to other more heavily attacked areas to provide support, until only two teams were left.
“We trust the strategist,” one said.
“We like the vacation,” the other teased.
The infiltration attempt they anticipated came without warning a little after midnight, two months after the strategist’s prediction. By then, the two teams were itching for a fight, and they walloped every enemy they saw.
The next day, the war ended.
They call it “education” and “promoting awareness” instead of what it really is.
Brainwashing and bullying.
“Everyone accepts it,” the activist says.
“I don’t. And I know a lot of people who feel the same way,” she says.
In minutes, she is surrounded by a mob of angry people screaming obscenities at her. She stands her ground.
If they have a right to have an opinion, so did she.
Genre: slice of life, spiritual
For one night, the church was transformed into a glorious food market. Stalls of homemade cuisines from all over the world filled the space, gathered for the sake of raising funds to support those making a difference in other countries and the local community.
All the stalls had prominent banners and price tags, except one. Simple, slightly burnt cookies sat price-less on the table as a group of four stood behind.
“How much are these?” people asked.
“As much as you want to contribute to saving lives,” they answered.
Some gave little, some gave much. They carefully collected the money in a little box.
Once, they were broken people trapped in a lonely life going nowhere. Then a group of strangers stepped into their lives and saved them from themselves. The cookies weren’t much, but it was their way of returning the favour.
As a kid, he had always been enamored of the idea of being a hero. Heroes got the cool powers and beat all the bad guys. Sometimes they lost, but they always won in the end.
As a teen, he still loved the thought of being a hero, but it was tempered by the knowledge that bad things happened to good people, the world was filled with thankless people, and heroes didn’t always win.
As an adult, he thought he had given up on that childish dream, until he saw someone getting robbed. With only a slight hesitation (what if I fail?), he jumped in and beat up the robber while the victim called the police.
As a local hero, life continued pretty much unchanged. Occasionally, people would stare and whisper, but that stopped as the weeks passed. In the end, all he had was the satisfaction of having done the right thing.
And he understood why the heroes kept going.
Genre: slice of life
“It’s Rhyme Day today. Come join me and play.”
“No way. Go away.”
“That’s… actually okay.”
But his friend was already far away.
“Your execution will happen tomorrow. Any last requests?”
“I request a dignified death,” the prisoner said, “Not in chains, but in my Sunday bests, as if I died on my way to a friend’s for tea.”
The prison guards granted his request. The next day, the prisoner stood at the door looking fresh and gentlemanly, while a sniper waited on a nearby rooftop.
Just before he stepped out, the prisoner took a deep breath, savoring the moment.
Then he ran.
The sniper missed. The guards’ hands caught thin air. The prisoner escaped.
The serial killer was back.
Genre: science fiction
The robot moved its arm as she did. Same speed, same angle, same direction. She moved on to simple strikes and kicks. The robot imitated her perfectly.
Little by little, she upped the intensity. She fought imaginary opponents, scaled impossible terrains, twisted her body in ways that would break most people.
Still, the robot kept up, until it didn’t. Eventually, it slowed enough that they were completely out of sync. They stopped the experiment.
“Getting better, but needs more work,” the lead researcher muttered to himself as he dove straight into the controls.
She stood at the side and waited for them to call her again. Given a choice, she would rather be out there, fighting their enemies, but if staying here would help them build an army that could keep her comrades alive, then here she would stay.
Genre: slice of life
Inspired by the prompt visceral.
His mind wanted it, but his body rebelled.
“Sir?” the waitress prompted.
“No, thank you.”
The waitress nodded and walked away to serve her tray of canapé to another guest. He watched the soft shell crabs go and tried to ignore the tingling on his lips from his last allergic reaction.
A few moments of bliss was not worth an eternity of death.