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10/01 Direct Link
Here at the end of all things: they stand in rank with the fires at their backs and their goal in sight. Days beyond the wandering fools who had led them here, years beyond that fateful instant when morality had died behind their eyes, their spears rest burning in their hands.

Another portrait before the carnage, another breeze before smoke fills the air, one last moment to disregard all caution. Their march signals the end of another world as everything suddenly cuts to black. They will add them to their number. They will number them amongst the dead.
10/02 Direct Link
No moon. Our campfire provides the only light for miles. We sit contemplating, cold, desperately alone. There are things out there in the forest that wish us harm, but we don't think they'll find our camp. There's not much more they can do to us anyway.

Occasionally, I wonder how we got ourselves into this. After so long, I think I'm finally starting to feel regret or something like it. I cry sometimes, but I still don't know why. Finding some greater reason for things is pointless even at the best of times. But I think we deserve to die.
10/03 Direct Link
To those who can't abide the sane:
Come dance with us! This foolish game
By which we all must learn to find
A way to measure,
A way to hide.

Beneath the shadows,
Slightly stalking
Around the corners
Voices talking, talking
Talking!
They're in your ear, by the way.
You can't get them out.

By the by, the night must end.
It's quite a shame going 'round that bend
To learn that it doesn't end,
Actually.
It never ends.

Days and
Years and
Weeks and
Months.
Measure twice
And cut it once.

So if this game plays by your rules,
Join with us, dear friends!
Electric chairs have lumbar support.
10/04 Direct Link
I've done my best, and it's more than enough. He approaches with that look in his eyes, venom on his breath. There is a weapon in his hands, but I can't see it.

From the darkest of nights, he lashes out: a grin slowly crawling up his face. The attack pierces my chest, rends my heart. I can hear laughing. I've never heard him so happy.

I fall to the ground, clutching my wounds. He walks away; his work is done. Long into the night, I can hear him singing rather joyously: "It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere..."
10/05 Direct Link
He's asked to see me, but I don't see the reason in it. I nonetheless get put on my boots and walk the three blocks to the place and find him standing there. Just standing. He has that absent look about him: the same one I've been seein' for close to a month now.

"Hello," he says to me.

"What do you want?"

"Do you believe in God?"

I gots to pause for just a moment, to figure out what he's getting at. "Sometimes," I say.

"Okay, Sheriff," he sits. "Thank you."

One more day. He'll be hanging by sunset.
10/06 Direct Link
The miles disappeared behind them without form, and they kept their eyes on the ground in front of them. Someone once told them (though they were hard-pressed to remember who) that if you keep your eyes on your feet as you walk, the journey doesn't seem so long.

It didn't help so much. It was a very long journey, there was no hiding that. They passed through snow, then a forest where it always rains. They saw a vast lake with tiny fishing boats floating about near the shore. And spent the night in a corn field. Without words.
10/07 Direct Link
There are times when I can just barely make out the dusty smell of the very plain, very abandoned apartment. When I can hear the speeders hissing by, shaking the windows. I can hear her tell me that I didn't save her life - and hear him defend me.

When I can hear the hum of the freighter's hyperdrive and feel the excitement of setting a new course to a world far, far away.

Sometimes I notice the skip in my heart as I remember a time when it all almost seemed every bit as real as the waking world.

almost
10/08 Direct Link
I am the light that guides your way,
And the darkness of your days.
The leaf that guides the wind,
And the rain that drowns your sins.
I am the lesser of all treasures.
The object of all desire.

You can find me in a song that has never been sung,
Or in the back of the mind where it holds its tongue.
In the words of a book that has never been read,
And in all of the things that have been left unsaid.

I am Heaven,
And I am Hell.
You know who I am.
I'll never tell.
10/09 Direct Link
You don't roll a spot check to search a body.

What?

I was commenting on your apparent inability to look around the room.

Shut up.

You shut up; you're the one who sucks.

Yeah, well I wasn't the one who filled the room with mist during the last fight. That affects our attacks, too, you invalid!

I know. I was there, you dolt.

Really? Were you? I wouldn't know, because I couldn't see anything but the nose on my face in all that fog.

Would have died otherwise.

We did die!

Would have died faster otherwise.

Whatever, just roll.
10/10 Direct Link
The soldiers lined up, at attention, awaiting inspection. The sergeant burst into the room at 1010 hours, eyes cracked with anger.

"All right, you buncha miserable fuckbags. I'm going to ask a question, and you'd better have the right answer or I'll shitkick each and every one of you in the goddamn throat!"

He looked around, bewildered. "There's only ten of you here."

"Sir, yes, sir!" they responded together.

"So it was one of you who set my alarm ten minutes fast this morning."

"Sir, yes, sir."

He remembered the date: October 10, 2010. "Fellas, that is fucking hi-larious."
10/11 Direct Link
This is a strange case.

Indeed.

It appears this man is dead.

It certainly seems that way.

By Jove, I wonder how this happened.

I do believe he fell from that window.

Which would that be?

The only one that has been curiously smashed open.

So it is.

Indeed.

Do you believe he smashed the window after he fell from it?

I hardly think that's possible.

Do you?

If he were to fall from it, the window would first have to be smashed open.

If you don't mind, I believe this hypothesis of yours warrants further investigation.

Indeed.

Indeed.
10/12 Direct Link
I was three leagues out to sea, when I came to the disappointing conclusion that I know one nautical term: league. How am I ever supposed to write 100 words about sailing with such a poor vocabulary?

Sure, I can say that the waves crashed against my boat, but how descriptive is that? What kind of sea story am I trying to write here? Obviously, not a well-researched one.

I mean, honestly, I feel sorrier for you. Because you have to read this thing, knowing you won't get much more than waves and boats and variations of the two.
10/13 Direct Link
I once met a leprechaun named Ned whilst going for a walk out in the forest. I asked him how he was getting along, and he said, "Fine, just fine."

"Aren't you supposed to grant me a wish, or something?" I asked.

"Yeah, that's what I do. It's my thing. What do you want?"

I thought awhile, of my already-full life. My house was in order, my children were off to school, my affairs were—

"Wait," he cut in. "If you keep up this up, you won't have enough room for a wish."

"Okay,' I said. "I wish for
10/14 Direct Link
He saw the pain coming; just as plainly as he could, at one time, see waves in a grassy field as a storm approaches. The pain bloomed into faint tendrils and invaded his body. He could think again: about things that'd had no significance moments ago.

Moments? Do the dead know time?

The pain swam deeper, played through his muscles, burned into his heart. The burn intensified until it was in his blood, flowing everywhere. Veins aglow with fire.

The beat of his heart tore him from all he had known. The pain he felt was the pain of living.
10/15 Direct Link
They tell me I'm crazy, but I couldn't be more uncrazy. They just don't understand, they don't see. We're in trouble, man; plain and simple! Everyday, the snow falls until I can't even open my front door.

It's dark now. I know I saw the sun disappear out west somewhere. The sun is hotter than my stove, even hotter than my toaster that always burns my toast. The sun is at least twice as hot as that. It will melt the snow if I can bring it back.

So, I go west. To find the sun. Wish me luck.
10/16 Direct Link
They brought him in chains to the gallows, they said,
His last parting gift was a chest full of lead.

The crowd sang in earnest,
Averted their eyes.
For who wants to watch
When the guilty man dies?

He was offered some words:
A chance to redeem.
And he looked at them all
And said,
"How does this seem?"

"A man on the rope is dead twice in a day:
Once in the courtroom, and once when he sways.
I didn't kill nothing, and God knows it's true.
Now pull that there lever,
And watch what I do."

"Watch what I do."
10/17 Direct Link
"I can't abide failure," the High Queen said, looking down at the ranger with such disgust there surely must have been cockroaches coming out of his ears. "And if I can't abide failure, what makes you think I would even, for a second, abide noncompliance?"

The ranger continued to kneel, feeling the cobblestone flooring press uncomfortable grooves into his knee. "My Queen, there is a difference between noncompliance and a kindly rejection."

"I think there isn't," she said, "especially not when it is your Queen who is asking this of you."

The ranger thought intensely. His knee really hurt now.
10/18 Direct Link
Going to lightspeed is sorta like saying "goodbye" to everything you know and love that isn't made of marble. You strap yourself into your catch seat, say some last words, and blink; you're gone. Forever. There's no reverse button.

But the view is worth it. Depending. Imagine your view of the stars outside, and imagine those stars fading away, reappearing, reorganizing in some celestial lightshow. You catch the light of dead stars centuries after they've gone. Even dead stars don't know they're dead.

We're dead, too. Don't know it yet. Death is the kind of company stars like to keep.
10/19 Direct Link
Well, you can see it on the highway through Oakland, in the old houses that hardly have a scrap of their original paint clinging to them. In the crammed railcar as it moves dead-slow beneath the bay.

In the eyes of the homeless who crowd Market Street, in their voices when they tell you that they can't get out. In the tears of a man who was robbed in broad daylight, and in the withered hands of a mother on her way to her third job of the day.

Yeah, saw it myself once. The American Dream at work.
10/20 Direct Link
I have one goal in life, and you've hindered it. I've used your products faithfully over the last few decades, but I've just about had it. The physical and mental anguish that I've suffered cannot be explained in words.

I've not eaten in weeks. A shop is a luxury I do not have out here in the desert, and I depend on you to ensure I'm fed. If you do not change your standards of quality soon, your best customer will be taking his well-earned money elsewhere.

Damn you, Acme Corporation. Damn you to hell.

Sincerely,

Wile E. Coyote,
Supergenius
10/21 Direct Link
The weight of the world gives me some sort of crazy backache that just sticks with me, no matter what I do. I never asked for this, but then again, no one ever asks for anything they're dealt in life. Why should my case be any different?

It's a bit nerve-wracking, knowing that your decisions can make or break everything. How you react could get someone killed. How long you hesitate could burn down a city.

Do you act with heart or mind? Body or soul? Which way will get the least amount of people killed?

Too many questions...
10/22 Direct Link
Do you believe in God?

Define God.

You know what I mean.

I don't think I do, boyo.

Fine. Do you believe in a Creator?

In what sense?

The First Cause: a Creator of the universe.

This universe?

Everything, you dolt.

Everything in this universe?

No, that's...Fine, let's go with that.

Well, I don't know. I've known a few people who've taken credit for it. Some say the universe is God. Descartes claimed that the universe exists because we think it does. Some people think Orson Scott Card did it.

Forget it.

I can't.

Why?

The universe will disappear.
10/23 Direct Link
He called the most acrobatically-inspired moment of his life. The elf mounted the ladder and shimmied up to the roof in only a few seconds. Then, he was off: leaping from building to building, trying desperately to outrun the senses of the hunter behind him.

Just before he kicked off of the edge of another rooftop, he noticed an arrow whizzing through the air, set to hit home somewhere above his nose. At the last second, he threw himself forward, flipping end over end down into an alleyway.

He somehow landed on his feet, which was a nice surprise.
10/24 Direct Link
He had to laugh; even in the midst of the most unluckiest day of his very long life, he had done something pretty neat. He claimed that he'd made a mental note to specifically tell me about that moment later.

I'm sure it's been embellished since then.

When he was done with his brief chuckle, he was off again. The alley was still slick after the rainfall of that morning, which made it difficult to get the right pace going.

At the mouth of the alley, he saw the hunter, waiting, arrow nocked and ready.

Worst day ever.
10/25 Direct Link
"Hey, there...buddy?" the elf said, lazily raising his hands. "I never took you for the nimble sort. I'd heard you were stationed on the Hopskers Run, which hasn't seen action since...ever."

"There are some habits you never grow out of," the hunter growled.

"Correct you are. Habits are beyond us sometimes, which is a perfect reason to let me go. I can't help myself, you see?"

"Nice try."

"And I thank you for the complement; bounty or no, encouragement is the finest of gifts."

"Start walking."

"Walking? I was running a moment ago. That's overachieving in my book."
10/26 Direct Link
"You know, sometimes I wonder if you just have some really bad luck going on," the hunter said. "Maybe you didn't do anything; maybe people just love picking on you." He pulled out a rope. "Ten seconds talking to you, and I want to string you up myself."

"That's what the last judge who sentenced me said," the elf replied. "I just bring out the worst in people, despite my pleasant demeanor."

"'Pleasant' isn't the word I'd use."

"Charming?"

"I'd say annoying, but that's just me."

"I didn't do anything. Really."

"Don't care."

"The warden just likes having me around."
10/27 Direct Link
The elf found his wrists bound moments later, and a rather sharp sword being pressed up against his ribs. "You don't have to poke me with that thing; I won't try to escape."

The hunter snorted. "Again, you mean?"

"I wasn't escaping. That was an avoidance maneuver so that I wouldn't get caught, thus eliminating the need for an escape."

"Why don't you ever stop talking?"

"I stop sometimes."

"Like when?"

The elf just silently looked over his shoulder.

"Oh, stop."

"Stop what? I wasn't talking."

"You can talk, just keep it relevant."

"Jail cells are an orgy of disease?"
10/28 Direct Link
The warden stared at the elf, as if the act alone would cause him to burst into flame. "I wasn't expecting him to be caught again," she said.

"Great minds think alike," the elf replied.

The hunter nudged him on the shoulder. "I just want my money, then you can toss him back into his cell."

"Cell," the warden echoed absently. "This is the third time he's broken out, and the Minister will likely cut our budget if it happens again." She shook her head. "No, no, no, I'm sure he'll hang for this."

The hunter couldn't hide his surprise.
10/29 Direct Link
"What did he do to deserve such punishment?" the hunter asked.

The warden shrugged, looking over her nails as if she hadn't heard the question. "It's not such a matter of punishment, it's a matter of prevention."

"He's in prison for theft. Small-time theft. You can't do this."

The elf snickered. "Who're you calling small-time?" A joke, though he had since gone considerably pale.

"I can do this," the warden said. "I can, I will, I did." She motioned to a nearby guard.

"This is wrong," said the hunter.

"You brought him to me. Don't be a downer."
10/30 Direct Link
A decently-sized crowd arrived from the town below to watch the elf hang. They wore proper dresses and suits, and some of them even brought their children.

The elf didn't understand any of it, but he didn't want to waste his precious time musing about the oddities of the human race. He'd done that enough in his life.

A guard tightened the rope around his neck, enough that it was rather uncomfortable, and the warden ascended the stairs to ask him, "Do you have any last words?"

The elf shrugged absently and said, "Don't blink."

Someone pulled the lever.
10/31 Direct Link
As he began to fall, the elf's life flashed before his eyes; and given the density of his lifespan, that flash seemed like a very long time.

He saw the Kastarn Spire as it glowed bright with energy just beyond the Nightwisp Hills. Then came the Breaking of the Clan, where he received his weapon and the one direction he would follow for three years.

He saw the Edge of the World.

The last thing he saw, before everything got crazy, was a single arrow flying across his periphery. The rope around his neck went taut - then severed.