Poppy stood motionless by the Cabernet collection. Empty bottles and cigarettes stubs littered the flat that was once a lively studio. Her next victim, a former gambler who had stowed himself away in witness protection, dozed off this fine rainy Sunday. He’ll take his last swig tonight, just like all the rest who drew too deeply from her vines and entangled. She was now his best friend… his only friend for that matter when the days ceased to start, life’s currents spiraled nowhere. One last swig she bubbled and extended her hands from the eddies. They were met in kind.
Lucifer meets with Adam in a dream. Outside the gates of Eden, the devil transforms into a rabbit and tempts the boy to follow. Adam complies and enters paradise. However, there was nothing idyllic about the garden. Nature had been reduced to a ribbon farm with every species of plant and animal perfectly arrayed, cataloged. Adam asks the rabbit why he’d been shown this. Lucifer transforms back into an angel and offers a lighter in one hand, a shovel in the other. Unable to choose, Adam wakes up in his capsule. Terra-forming mars was turning out to be a drudgery.
Every winter solstice, Eve awaited a message from Apollo. Her husband had embarked on a dangerous mission to chart the fringes of the universe. Catastrophe struck the vessel and the last letter was strewn across the wide cosmos. Erecting a beacon that could transmit signals faster than light, she hoped to warp the past from the present. Every attempt however merely distorted the circumstances; the ship collided into an asteroid, lost compression from a puncture, ran out of oxygen… She mourned each failure knowing that each misstep resealed her beloved’s fate. Such was the cost paid for her undying love.
A young boy frolicked by a spring-time lake. In his exuberance, he accidentally trips over Death’s scythe and falls into the water unconscious. Death pulls the boy out from under as it was before his time. He then etches the true hour of fate in the back of the child’s mind.
Decades later, an old man returns to the site. He finds Death waiting in a gazebo overlooking a winter-time lake before announcing that he’s ready. Death inquires whether he’d live a different life if ignorant of his fate. The man replies no. The reaper grins and wakes him up.
Jamie, I found the field of containers but they are all empty. Why did the city lock them in the first place?
Probably to stop people from living there. To keep the homeless homeless I suppose.
That sounds horrible. I’ll unlock them at once.
6-months later on the news: City’s emerging slums hit with typhoid fever and cholera epidemic. Leading cause was lack of proper sanitation and strained medical services.
Jamie, why are the doctors storing these crates of antibiotics? The children are dying!
Probably to hoard them for themselves and their wealthy friends.
That sounds horrible …
Jeremiah had many guises. In past lives, he had been a sorcerer, assassin, mystic, warlord, and baron. His pact with the Krovikian Order gave him eternal life but at a steep cost. Beneath the temple lie a vast catacomb of phylacteries that housed the faithful’s souls. Such bonds tied Jeremiah to the syndicate for millennia until his latest reincarnation. Fortunately, the purification process had failed to eradicate his fledgling vessel’s soul which remarkably started re-coalescing through sheer force-of-will. Katarina was its self-name and he would use her to break both his imprisonment and the Order’s grip on the world.
A stretch case Fiona thought. The evidence was circumstantial and won’t pass the divorce courts despite having a damning and material impact on the will.
“So how much you want for this?” muttered the leery-eyed informant.
Fiona directed a sharp gaze at the stubby man before pushing the brief back. “These paternity results are under doctor-patient confidentiality. Unearth some legitimate dirt next time.”
“The husband won’t be pleased when I show him this” grunted the annoyed rat turned treacherous.
“Go ahead, they already know” lied Fiona with open disdain that concealed regret. In truth, only the kid didn’t yet know.
The old witch had enough of the kids who pranked her house last Halloween. This time, she’d offer them some special sweets inspired from her apprenticeship in Haiti decades ago. A simple voodoo spell she cast on the confections, normally used to link sensations between patients and healers once consumed. Only fools would bite at the same apple twice and more so if tempted she smirked. Laying out the fancy bowl of delectables by the door, she inscribed in fine print on a placard “Please take only one”. Those kids should be feeling a bit wobbly by night’s end!
The city council sought to clean up the red-light district by renovating the streets and cleaning up the shops. Its latest initiative went too far as to puritanize the public; the proposition set a nine-o-clock curfew, banned all other mind-altering substances, and even fined all public displays of affection. They named it heaven-on-earth and sectioned off the district to run an experiment. Those invited would have their basic needs provided for but could not leave for a full decade. Those who attempted to depart through alternative means were marked with a halo. Many halos hung by decade’s end.
At the start of winter, the four gathered around the ring. Born into servitude, beasts-of-burden they were. If they did their work, a haystack would magically appear in the ring the following day.
Life was good until one Monday, the four woke-up to an empty feed. Bewildered, they redoubled their efforts in vain as the ring would stayed empty all week. By next Monday, three were in denial, believing things will improve if they stuck to their old ways. The forth left to find green pastures in the white landscape. By winter’s end, only one survived, no longer a beast-of-burden.