Stories by Mail, Day 10 – Statuesque

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“Going to do one final sweep through the rotunda. You’ll lock up here, Ellis?” the guard asked. His keys jingled in his pocket as he shuffled through the corridor.

Queen Liliʻuokalani heard Ellis’s faint response from the next room. The guards never spoke to her, never paid her the proper respect. None of the strangers who lined up like cattle every day to gaze upon her swore their fealty. Her confusion grew ever thicker.

Darkness swallowed the Hawaiian monarch, as it did each night at 10 PM. A thin sliver of light from the hallway shone on her Order of Kalākaua cross, the word KEOLA barely legible.

Eternal life.


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Stories by Mail, Day 9 – Delayed recognition

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Twenty more steps to the lab.

Her breathing labored, Dr. Lynette Spencer smashed her code into the keypad with a level of force that would’ve  overwhelmed a moose. She strode to the triple-locked door located in the back, passing a panoply of cutting-edge gene splicers and a computer capable of calculations that wouldn’t be commercially available for another ten years. It took several minutes to bypass the multiple security measures upon which she had insisted.

“I did it,” Dr. Spencer said in the soundproof, dimly-lit room. Her voice shook. “I don’t understand why you insisted, but I delivered. They’ll name you the state fossil next month. Now what about your promise?”

The sleepy coelophysis, extinct for approximately 200 million years and still slightly groggy from its nap, squeaked out a miniature roar.


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Stories by Mail, Day 8 – Of Leafshirts

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“Grandpa, why are some trees green and some are red?”, the heart-faced boy asked. He brushed a curious katydid off the sleeve of his jean jacket and smiled. He was still relatively new to seasons, but Fall was unquestionably his preference.

Neville Embry, whose prowess for selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door in the late 70s was still legendary decades after he retired, thought for a moment and said, “Well, I suppose even trees have a favorite color, don’t they? Maybe the one on the left wakes up every morning and picks green.”

His grandson shot him a look that somehow managed to seem both dubious and eager “Is that true?”

“Probably not,” Neville chuckled. “But it’s a nice thought, isn’t it?”


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Stories by Mail, Day 7 – Turning, Standing

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“Do you remember the fields?”, the spire asked in a low, rumbling timbre. “The lush, green valley that stretched far beyond our sight?   The lives that sprang up and played out under our watch?  Now we lie on a bed of crimson rust.”  It muttered as softly as a moth’s song. “Fools wish for immortality.”

The butte snorted, trusting that its friend would understand it was not being contemptuous. The snort’s nuance had been developing for millions of years. “Of course I remember. But there’s beauty in the stark too. All things wind around.”

The spire pondered this and nodded, as much as it was possible for a rock to nod.


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Stories by Mail, Day 6 – Tracking Blind

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PAGE ARIZONA

The text message had been received 10 minutes ago, and Penance was still grumbling. She knew there would be no follow-up; the agency strongly enforced its “one text per job” policy. How did they expect her to retrieve a package in Page, Arizona without any indication of where or when? Was it a test? Her thoughts drifted again towards quietly disappearing, towards Peru, wondering if she could make it undetected.


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Stories by Mail, Day 5 – Practice

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The calls, tweets, and emails were flooding the lines so violently that the entire telecommunications network was teetering on the edge of a massive crash. Darryl Moreno, newly-promoted mayoral aide, nervously scarfed his lemon poppyseed muffin and stared at the latest report. This morning, the word “fabulous” had appeared on the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign in a wisp of cursive blue. Seconds later, it vanished–only to resurface again, as if some elementary-school-level specter was practicing its handwriting. No one knew how to proceed.


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Stories by Mail, Day 4 – Faithful are the furry

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Shrews and prairie dogs prefer to congregate in the narrow pockets near Antelope Canyon’s gaping mouth, typically within the first quarter-mile. Out of respect, they don’t venture further; the sandstone formations there, kissed by light and standing for eons, stir a sense of reverence in their small souls. One day, the animals whisper, the antelopes will return and the church shall be rebuilt.

 


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Stories by Mail, Day 3 – Scale babies

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“What about adoptions?”, Chloe asked, her sole silver bracelet softly clanking against her wrist. “I’ve been feeling maternal lately.”

Her boyfriend stopped pacing. “Hon, it’s a Rattlesnake Festival. The snakes are delivered to zoos, medical research facilities, bootmakers…there’s no adoption table. Rattlesnakes are dangerous.”

“Because they lack the stability a parent can provide. No child of mine will grow up to be disrespectful,” she replied wistfully, tapping on her phone. He couldn’t imagine what she was typing.


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Stories by Mail, Day 2 – The commanding fields

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It was, Lamar Ociferous III reasoned, an ingenious plan, as all strategies of his own device were by their nature. After the farm closed in the evening, his associates would scamper under the gate and gradually replace the strands of hay with copper wiring. When all the bales had been converted to tiny power stations, the wires would be connected; the power and influence over humans that Lamar had lusted after for so many years would be in his paws.

Despite being a rat, his momma had valued ambition above all else. Their apartment complex under the barn was destined for glory.


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Stories by Mail, Day 1 – The Toll

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On every birthday, Seth McIntyre dreams of the bridge. “Longest in the world,” his father had proudly proclaimed during a 1994 family vacation to New Orleans, as if he’d personally fastened the lugnuts. They’d taken the elevator to their hotel’s highest floor, the boy glued to the oversized windows, ocularly chasing down the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway until he could see no longer.

But in the dreams, Seth glimpses what lives on the eight-mile section of the bridge where land is not visible, what brushes against the cars so quickly it’s never noticed at all by the waking eye.

He will never fly within 500 miles of New Orleans.


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