Welcome Back

Batu shoved the door in to his apartment. The setting was familiar and the smell that had settled in his nostrils was also familiar; unpleasant, but familiar. Batu waded through the misaligned furniture that had been pushed around and not placed in their proper spots.

He muscled his way towards the kitchen and a new smell hit him. Was it mildew? He covered his mouth and nose at all the glasses and dishes with standing water inside all of them. Batu was horrified and reluctant to leave his bags unattended. He journeyed to living room and found a heap of blankets piled into the corner of the couch. Batu dropped his luggage on to the floor and the blanket mountain moved.

It had only taken a moment for a finger to peak out to tear at the fabric of the cocoon blanket, then a hand, then an arm. The arm retreated and the peeled back a layer and out popped a squinty eyed man in the opposite direction with the worst bed head that Batu had ever seen: Julian.

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Maturity Return Void

“Why are we here,” Tyler asked.

“It’s therapeutic, honey.”

Tyler looked around the abandoned school grounds. The wear had shown and time wasn’t kind to the decrepit building of learning. Tyler stood holding himself together, hoping not to scrape against something sharp, deadly and would cost him a very expensive trip to the emergency room.

“Would you relax,” Toni asked, breaking Tyler’s concentration.

“This is as relaxed as you’re gonna get.”

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Finish Line

Nolan ran. The road was dark. The pavement was broken. His tank top was drenched in sweat and he was behind in his pace. HIs heart beat in his chest. The led lamp on his waist was slowly starting to dim. Nolan could barely see his feet on the pavement as he powered through his race.

The sound of crickets echoed through the night sky like a stadium cheering and jeering for their lead player. Nolan had a second to waste. He was the only human in sight. HIs breath shot out between his lips. 

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Leaps of Freedom

“What are you doing,” Alicia said with her eyes half closed to her husband. Savian, sat with his knees to the floor, surrounded by crumpled pieces of paper and folders. Alicia was exhausted after a long day of student orientation. She was responsible for counseling students into the right path for their careers and the beginning was always difficult getting into the flow.

“Trying to find… something,” Savian said, mumbling to himself.

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P.I.N.

“What is free will,” the childlike, robot program asked the programmer. 

The programmer peered over his thin glasses at the glow of the computer screen. It was dark in the cave of Silas and he was occupied by the long string of buggy code. The program stood by patiently with a peripheral in its metallic hand. 

“Hmmm,” the programmer Silas hummed through his naval cavity.

“What is free will,” the program repeated. 

“Oh…” Silas perked up from his keyboard and turned to see the little robot. He smiled briefly and took the peripheral from the program’s hand. “Free will… It’s…” Silas paused and ruminated over the thought. “It’s choice. Rather, it’s the freedom of choice.” He nodded slowly after he contemplated whether he liked his answer. “Yes. Why do you ask?”

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Collectible

Harris pressed softly against the half opened door.

“Mitchell,” he called softly into the dark. Harris had streaked across the lawn of his friend and struggled to calm his breath. He received fourteen voicemails from Mitchell that night. He stopped listening after the third one. 

“Mitchell,” he called out again. “It’s me. You okay in there?”

Harris ducked when he heard a loud metallic bang fall to the floor. He crept to the back room, unsure if there was a home invader in Mitchell’s house. Between the crack of the door, he saw Mitchell. But he was bumping into the shelves and furniture in the room. He appeared distant. 

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Versus

“You don’t want this,” Donovan said with a smug grin, towering over Saul.

“Bring it on,” Saul with a confident smile, looking up at Donovan.

“Alright,” Donavan said with a shrug. “Your funeral. Two tickets!”

The lights and loud noises of the carnival filled the autumn air as the two 9 year olds stared each other down.

“Step right up to the line, boys,” the carnival attendant yelled jubilantly. “The objective is…”

“We know what the objective is,” Saul said without breaking eye contact.

“Well then, the winner gets…” the attendant continued.

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