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Joan

She woke up early that morning as ever. The sun was rising quickly, gently warming the Kentish countryside. She breakfasted quickly and set out to go to work, no time to waste.

She jumped on her bicycle. She thought of how her brothers had taught her to ride a few summers ago, tying her feet to the peddles, and smiled remembering the truck drivers face has he had braked to avoid hitting her when she had fallen down. The bluebells were blooming amongst the trees either side of her. Soon she emerged from the trees and then she came to the hop fields where she began the day’s work picking the hops.

She was with her own army of girls that had been left behind. All the men had gone away to war. She did not know it yet but her future husband was preparing to go to Normandy, only a few short miles away. Her and the other girls did not mind though, they were proud to do their part and to keep the country moving along.

It was thirsty work as the sun got higher in the sky. For a moment, the sunlight flickered causing her and the other girls to look up. That’s when they heard the planes. They crisscrossed the sky, their engines whirring and the sound of bullets rattling away. They stopped to watch the dog fight, unable to make out which side was which.

She would think of those pilot’s years later as she herself soared over the Kentish countryside in a glider, though her thoughts were distracted when the pilot’s wooden arm came unstuck, a problem she was sure those other pilots never encountered. How ridiculous that story would have seemed to the girl as she went back to picking the hops.

The Life and Times of Donald Trump’s Bowel Movement

I started out life as a burger. He ate me with a knife and fork. God damn it. I don’t deserve this.

I began to make my descent into the gloom, twisting and writhing my way through hateful, vapid passages. How many burgers do Americans eat every year? I could have lived a normal life but instead I’m doomed to passed through this torturous wreck. Sure, many will suffer a lot more, many of them because of this obscenity I am a part of. But still, this feels like a very unique hell.

Eventually I found myself at long last being digested. This horrible journey would shortly be at an end. I tried to remain as whole as I could, begrudging every morsel that would be used to fuel him. During my journey, I had heard much from him, and well, let’s just say it takes a piece of shit to know a piece of shit.

Let me tell you, my people are surprisingly proud. We understand what society thinks of us. But we know we are a necessary part of the world. That being said as I made my way towards leaving my host I felt every bit as disgusting as society thought me.

I am very close to the exit. I am beginning to see glimpses of light. Finally, this is going to be over. Hopefully I’ll find a way to move on. Hang on. I recognise this place. I’ve been here before. Oh, for god sake I’m coming out completely the wrong way!

Tracks

The old man had watched eagerly as the tracks came closer and closer to his village. Many of his friends were far more pessimistic about their imminent arrival. “They’ll just bring criminals and city people. They’ll destroy our land,” was a common reason they gave. But the old man did not believe that, and besides, he was far more concerned with where those tracks could take him.

Finally, the tracks came through the village and they kept going on further. Soon after the trains came. The old man met many strange and wonderful people. They told him tales of the city and even other countries. They brought with them contraptions that astounded him. One man showed him one that he claimed could capture images. The old man could not believe it until he was shown a picture of the great river that flowed through the city with hazy buildings along its banks.

The old man had to wait a while before he could afford to pay for a ticket but at long last he had saved enough money and he immediately was on his way. His mind still could not comprehend the machinery that could move such huge objects as the trains carriages with apparent ease so fast. But that did not matter as his body could experience it and find it exhilarating.

In what seemed like an incredibly short period of time the tracks brought him into the great city. It dwarfed him and made him feel very small, but it swelled his heart to see such great wonders. His favourite sight was at the station where he saw there were dozens of other tracks which headed in all different directions. The old man was excited that he would have to buy many more tickets still.

And The Rain Came Tumbling Down

The rain was still tumbling down. Having been cooped up for so long, and with so little else of note occurring naturally the conversation turned to other torrential rainstorms.

“I think the worse I ever saw was that storm two years ago. Nearly washed the shed at the end of the garden away,” one said.

“Never! What about the one six years ago. The whole street was flooded for days,” another replied.

“You’re both wrong. I remember as a child storms that lasted weeks,” piped up an old man.

They were all in agreement though as they watched the water rise up passed the window, hundreds of feet above the city: this was by far the worst storm any of them had ever seen.

The Rolling Waves

The pilot did not even have to land on the planet it transpired. Well, more accurately, he couldn’t. He circled the planet watching as waves rolled from pole to pole. There was no sign of the fifty thousand people who had recently settled there.

He could only imagine the terror of the settlers as waves crashed upon them from all sides. It must have happened incredibly fast. They had had spacecraft. The last contact with them had been three weeks ago and they had made no report to suggest anything would go so wrong. All the best planetary monitoring equipment had been at their disposal. Had the equipment failed, or did they miss something? Or had the event been so cataclysmic and sudden to evade detection? That was not for the pilot to say. All he had to now was report that there were no survivors on the colony.

That made three in a row. He looked grimly at the list of seven more colonies and tried not to remember that those names represented over a million human lives, and hoped to god that the pattern would break.

Space was turning out to be a very bad idea indeed.

A Beer and A Beach

I sat on the beach with an ice-cold beer, and waited for them to come. No more running. I just wanted to enjoy my last few minutes of freedom.

I suppose I’d never really expected it to all catch up with me. I’d lived it all like some kind of dream. The last six months had been a lesson in reality, and they had been god awful. Maybe I’d look back on them one day fondly. Maybe they’d make exciting tales. In the moment, I just felt exhausted though.

The beer was good, refreshing and sending a numbness through me that allowed me to ease into the situation like a hot bath. Knowing it was the last one I’d have for a while, I savoured every drop.

Going down in a blaze of glory? I’m not the type. Maybe I’m just an optimist and where I see life I see hope. Maybe it’s just a damn sight more pleasant to be put in a cell than a body bag.

It had been fun though hadn’t it! Before the last six months of course. No responsibility, no ties, an unlimited stream of money if I wanted it (and I did). Fun. That was it in a nutshell. Now to pay the price for all of that.

Just as I was taking my last sip I saw the helicopters, jet skis, and speedboats coming. I felt the sand, warm under my hands, took a last breath of free air. I stood up and accepted my fate.

The Scroll Unfurled

The being known as the Author had been furiously writing the future on a rapidly unfurling scroll since the beginning. Every corner of space, every move or decision made by every being, the passage of every star and planet, everything was dictated by what was written by his pen.

That was all his existence was, and indeed, existence was all because of him.

You can imagine then, the Author’s abject terror when he realised he was coming to the end of the scroll.