1. Sandy beaches are edged with swamps, greenery explodes as soon as the salt waters dilute.
2. “I have a friend who can tell you what year a commercial aired just by watching the actors– body language is important, this is important– why can’t you understand that?”
3. No one knows when or where the stories started, the oldest known postings are shrouded in anonymity, but they are simple and powerful and resonate outwards across the net.
4. Massive freighters trail behind each team of tugboats, chugging forward in parallel like draft horses on a hitch.
5. Staying calm isn’t always about detachment. Sure it helps to be able to step back until he’s behind the screen again, watching someone else play out his life– but when he’s the one in control he just has to take a deep breath and remember the truth in their shared hearts: he’s too important to die.
1. Death smells like cut grass, crisp and green under layers of motor oil and engine fumes.
2. They chase the dragon’s shadow across the fields, arms outstretched and roaring as only six-year-olds know how.
3. That’s their big secret: they’ve domesticated polar bears. He’s not sure he really wants to know why, but they’re obviously waiting for him to ask.
4. “’No’ should be your default answer,” he said between bites of ice cream. “Anytime anyone asks you to do something for them, say no. Save your yes for when it’s with them, not for.”
5. I’ve amassed a small fortune in pennies, quite literally. What started out as a penny jar turned into a penny five gallon bucket and sort of snowballed from there. At this point I think the bank would charge me more to deposit them they they’re worth, even if I could bring myself to try.
1. I thought I loved her once, before I realized they built me without emotions.
2. The world they come from has never had a true night and it takes them a while to learn why we fear the dark.
3. Most stories don’t start with a happy ending, but my brother has always done everything the hard way.
4. She stares at the planet silhouetted by the dying sun until it’s burned into her retinas, she’ll carry the image of everyone she can’t save with her into the night.
5. Riding snakes is nauseating. They sweep across the grasslands at insane speeds, pausing only when they hit something too large to divert around. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like being three stories off the ground as they sway their heads looking for a way up.
1. The world is ending in a month and we’ve run out of things to do.
2. Dragons are sharp, brittle personalities, objecting with chirps and warning belches at any change in routine.
3. Virtual reality has always been better than reality, it’s a life designed to be won– once the chance to choose one over the other is real, the results are terrifying.
4. Teaching Songs are passed down verbally from generation to generation. Too sacred to be transcribed, the words and lyrics fall victim to time until each town has it’s variations.
5. It wasn’t the sort of test you could fail, you got unlimited attempts and nothing counted against you. They wanted to know how you approached problem solving, not if you could solve this particular problem on the first try. But everyone knew that going in, so some of us got creative…
1. Tiny wisps of clouds float by on the horizon, like lost sheep scattered out across the sea.
2. She’s reduced her life to the very minimalist edge, everything she used to cherish now lives in photographs on the web.
3. Everything turns colorless as soon as the glasses turn on, the Technicolor jungle reduced to a grayscale version that immediately soothes his headache.
4. “I didn’t bother to patent the machine because it doesn’t work,” he grinned at her between mouthfuls of steak. “My competitors can try and backwards engineer it till the stars burns out and they still won’t find the secret.”
“Which is what?”
5. Breaking a leg is a thousand times worse than she’d imagined, but it was still totally worth it to see the look on his face.
1. The soundproofing is excellent and they watch the world burn in silence.
2. “Ever flower color has a meaning,” he said, fingers tracing the various cut blooms, “although sometimes they lie, if you put them together right.”
“You can make sarcastic flower arrangements?” She looked up from her phone, “Seriously?”
3. Old spacer stories were full of predictions of worlds where coffee wouldn’t grow– but history had apparently underestimated botanists.
4. “We’ll always procrastinate,” she said dismissively waving the wrench. “Even without cellphones and laptops– the trick is to procrastinate actively, not passively. So stop watching YouTube and help me come build my freeze ray!”
5. Ambush hunters thrive in the jungles and the colonists learn quickly that their lives depend more on luck than skill.
1. Dragons make horrible spies, but great distractions.
2. “If you listen hard enough you can find the silence,” he leaned back against tree trunk, eyes still closed. “Just pick one sound, focus on that until it’s all you can hear– then put it aside.”
“One sound.” She looked around at the crowded park, “Right.”
“Magic takes practice baby sister,” he cracked an eye open and grinned. “You want me to tell Mom you’ve given up already?”
3. You can tell the weather by the clouds, if you pay attention– but she settles for taking an umbrella everywhere she goes instead.
4. Shipboard food is bland, processed, and repetitive. Planetside cuisine is a hodgepodge of flavors, each colony has its own mix of native and imported flavors and his stomach is always in gleeful turmoil for at least a week after landing.
5. The songs are simple now, the subtle complexities lost to time until only the melody remains.