Please vote for the piece you feel is most deserving:

Poll closed Sep 29, 2008.
  1. Scattercat - Plus ca Chang

    1 vote(s)
  2. Thagryn-Sylrand - Novus Terra

    7 vote(s)
  3. Myers - Avoiding the Apple

    8 vote(s)
  4. aphonos - H5N1

    3 vote(s)
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  1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England

    Voting Short Story Contest (28) Theme: Alternate History

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Sep 19, 2008.

    Short Story Contest (28) Voting Theme: Alternate History

    Thank you for all your entries. The winner will be stickied until the next contest's winner is crowned.

    Voting will end 29th September 2008 to give you all a chance to read the entries.

    It is possible to vote for yourself, but I would hope in the name of good sportsmanship that you would only do so if you have read all the other stories and given them your honest evaluation. You gain nothing if you base your vote solely on how you feel about the author or whether you have personally invested time and effort in the story. In the end, your conscience is your only judge.

    Any entries under the suggested word limit will be flagged as such - they are still entered in to the contest. It is for you to decide whether they are still worthy of your vote.

    Any entry not strictly in accordance with the theme will be dealt with on a case by case basis to determine eligibility. Consider how the author has responded to the theme in making your decision.

    Good luck to everyone.
  2. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Scattercat - Plus ca Chang

    Everything's Green but my Wallet

    - Robert Cross, staff writer

    As November approaches, many voters in the so-called "swing states" will be considering the candidates and thinking about the future. Well, I say the past could use some close examination, too.

    Do you know who the biggest purchaser of American-made automobiles is? China! China, along with all the developing world, is snorking up our cars faster than we are. Why? Because of President Gore's ridiculous mileage controls, and all the other intrusive government claptrap! The last eight years have been a disaster for industry; between the carbon caps and the gas taxes, it's a wonder we even have an automobile industry any longer. Oh, sure, there's the electric cars, if you like scooting around like a two-year-old on a Power Wheels. Ever since Gore ratified the Kyoto Protocol and pushed Congress to make the US's restrictions even tougher, industry has been smothering under a planet's weight of extreme environmentalist red-tape. You want to know why we're in a recession right now? The government dipping its hands into the pockets of honest businessmen, that's why!

    The ground around the issue of the wind farms and solar collectors has been well trod by now, but I think I can speak for everyone in my town when I say: "Not in my backyard." Wind collectors are noisy, and dangerous when they malfunction. And who wants to foot the bill for coating every surface with those ugly panels? It's expensive and frankly wasteful; I'm simply unable to understand how people can put up with this kind of do-as-you're-told holier-than-thou government-mandated pork barrel spending. Federal funds should be used for the people, not to funnel money into pet projects.

    Whatever happened to all that doom and gloom anyway? The US is dropping down the emissions charts like a rock, and for what? A few penguins and polar bears that were never in any real danger? Scientists tell us that worldwide emissions have dropped for two years running now, and the Arctic ice cap is larger than it's been in a decade. So much for that boogeyman. Global warming! Hah! Scare-mongering propaganda designed to part the hard-working American from his honest living, more likely. You'd never see the Republican Party stooping to such low tactics, that's for certain.

    Let's not even talk about the mess in Afghanistan. Sure, we went in and caught Osama bin Laden, but what about all his lieutenants? There are dangerous men out there with the knowledge and capability to launch another attack on the US at any time, and we're twiddling our thumbs and spending all our time and money on humanitarian aid for the very people who attacked us! We needed to flex a little military muscle; a full-scale invasion would show those lunatics who the boss is. We wouldn't be hearing so much lip from impotent little Saddan Hussein if we'd showed the world what we're capable of.

    That's why I'm glad to be casting my vote for Huckabee and Palin in November. This country needs a return to our old-fashioned family values. Let's show Hillary that, while her gender may be welcome in the Presidential race, her big-government tax-and-spend policies are not!
  3. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Thagryn-Sylrand - Novus Terra

    It was the year 2761 in the month of Martius when Agrippa was first called to duty as a Legate of the roman empire. His legion was situated on the new continent called Novus Terra. Here was where the Germanic peoples had fled after a failed siege on rome many years ago. He and his tribunes were going to make history and hopefully make a new home for the citizens of the empire.

    One of Agrippa's tribunes was with him and supposedly had important news.

    "What is it?" Agrippa asked in perfect Latin.

    "Sir, a Germanic outpost has been found just north of here."

    "How many of them are there?"

    "Twenty, maybe thirty, it could be easily taken."

    "We need not to kill them all, they could possibly lead us to their city." Agrippa commanded.

    "Aye." Agrippa's body language communicated to the tribune that they were done talking.

    Agrippa went to his jeep as he did not want to miss anything. On the seat beside him was an Everto 17, the most commonly used automatic rifle in the legions. He started the jeep and followed the tribune's vehicle through the rugged terrain. Soon they were with the rest of the tribunes portion of the legion. They both got out of their vehicles and the Legate went to his tribune and said "I want to speak with your scout, where is he?"

    After a call into the crowd of soldiers a weak looking man emerged, nervous in the company of Agrippa.

    "What weapons did they use?" Agrippa inquired.

    "P-p-primitive firearms, p-possibly comparable t-to early efflixi r-rifles sir."

    The information Agrippa wanted was acquired and he ignored the scout and the tribune dismissed his soldier.

    "We'll take a group of sixteen men, that should do the job." The tribune nodded. "I will come as well."

    Looking surprised the tribune said, "But sir, your safet..."

    "I will look after my own safety, I only wish to see history made." With that they gathered sixteen men - the best they could find - and made for the outpost. Roman soldiers were trained to fight in all circumstances and in this one they had to attack stealthily. Initiative was the key to win a battle where your soldiers were the minority.

    Soon the outpost came into view. There were a few small buildings and in the middle of them was a tower, where a sniper was sleeping on the job. Orders were delivered and they waited to execute. But then one of their men fired too early sending a bullet straight through the snipers head. An alarm was sounded and shouting could be heard. "Idiot," Agrippa said under his breath then louder he said "Fire at will!"

    Shots were being fired and the trees splintered as bullets ripped through them. Agrippa took aim with his Everto. It was set to burst shot and whenever a Germanic soldier came into view one burst took them down. Just then a bullet flew straight into a roman soldier's heart. He tried to stop the bleeding with his hands but blood was gushing through the poor man's fingers. Usually protocol would tell the soldiers to get him to safety, but his life was gone, just not yet over. One by one the enemy had been picked of until they were yelling their surrender. Following the orders of their better's the roman soldiers did not shoot. Slowly they emerged from the wood and took the hostages that had offered themselves.

    "Do you speak Latin?" Inquired the tribune. They responded in gibberish but the word Latin could be recognized through the thick accent.

    "I guess not," said Agrippo. "We will be able to communicate nonetheless." Agrippo kicked the Germanic soldier forward so that he wasn't facing him, then grabbed his shoulder and pulled him to his feet with the barrel of the gun poking into the small of his back. Out of reaction the hostage put his hands on his head. "Shoot the other one." A shot rang out and the living hostage mumbled in fear. Agrippo led him out of the cluster of buildings and into the open. He then rotated 360 degrees and then, ignoring the language barrier, he said harshly "Which way."

    The hostage seemed to understand as he hesitantly start walking west. "Call the rest of the Legion, get them to our coordinates, I don't want to be caught off guard." They were traveling steadily downhill but then they leveled off, that's when groups from the Legion started arriving. Soon they were all gathered, heading west. Then it came into view, right on the horizon could be seen the silhouette of a city. Agrippo immediately fired a burst into the back of the hostages head, which seemed to burst in a myriad of brains and blood.

    The Legate then retreated to the middle of the Legion. He had observed that the grass was tall enough to hide in until they reached the city. The Legion then acting as a single unit acted on the orders that it had received long before they had even reached Novus Terra. Most of the soldiers had little or no battle experience but they had been trained vigorously on Brittania before embarking on this mission. The city became clearly visible through the stalks of grass and the excitement and fear wrestled it's way into the hearts of the soldiers.

    Just then, there could be heard a loud explosion, which revealed itself to be a mine. Roman limbs flew through the air as even more explosions sounded. "Damn it," yelled Agrippa cursing at the situation. Chaos now rocked the Legion and any excitement that once resided in the men turned to fear. After the explosions subsided shot's could be heard from both the Legion and the Germanic cities' army. Tribunes were yelling orders but they were all yelling different ones confusing the Legion even more. Agrippa saw some of his men retreating and cursed at their cowardice. He then pushed his way to the frontlines and joined in on the killing. The romans were thinning out until it was all but over. A soldier approached Agrippa and spoke in Germanic that Agrippa couldn't understand. The last thing Agrippa saw was the primitive Germanic rifle.
  4. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Myers - Avoiding the Apple

    Laura fired her gun in to the air. The loud bang echoed throughout the garden and caused the woman stood by the tree to stop all movement. Laura lowered her arm, pointed the gun at the naked woman and then said in a slow yet stern voice “Put the apple down.”

    The woman started to lower the apple to the ground, much to the displeasure of the serpent. “Don’t listen to her, eat it, eat the-”

    Another gunshot rocked the trees. The serpent quivered for a brief moment, then became still.

    “You killed it…” the woman stammered, wiping the serpent’s blood from her face, yet still holding the apple. “It only told me to eat the-”

    “If you eat that apple it will be the biggest mistake you ever make.” Laura warned her, gun once again aimed at the naked body of the woman.

    “It’s only an apple.”

    “No,” Laura said shaking her head, “that apple is what starts the inequality for all of us. You bite into that and you’re giving them an excuse to hold us back that they will use for years. You bite into that apple and you don’t simply ruin things for yourself but for every woman that follows you. You’re not simply accountable for yourself… your accountable for an entire gender.”

    The naked woman looked at the delicious looking piece of fruit in her hand, trying to understand the power of it that Laura had bestowed. And even now, with the gun pointed squarely at her, Laura could see that she was still tempted by the apple. Laura couldn’t let her eat it and if that meant killing Earth’s first woman then so be it. This was Laura’s last chance to set things right for women. Never again would she have a boyfriend scoff at her when she gave her view on politics. Never again would she let her boss call her “sweet cheeks”. Never again would she be made to feel inferior. Men and women are equals; this was what her mission was set up to prove.

    The first target had been Paris Hilton. Her lavish yet empty lifestyle was one that had set the feminist movement back decades, possibly centuries. Laura noticed the way young girls looked up to this woman who had gained fame by getting drunk, falling about in high heels and starring in a home video of “acquired taste”. If women wanted to be like Paris Hilton then no wonder men didn’t take them seriously. So Laura used the device to travel back to 1986, where Paris was four years old and just beginning to develop a taste for fashion. She ripped the Barbie doll from Paris’ hands and replaced it with a copy of Howard’s End. When Daddy Hilton later went in to her room and saw Paris halfway through the novel he didn’t question it, he just left her to it. From there her new interest in literature grew. By the age of fifteen her bedroom walls were no longer an array of fashion filled wardrobes but were instead completely hidden behind filled bookshelves. The “It Girl” never was and Paris went on to become one of literature’s most respected names.

    But it didn’t change anything. When Laura returned to the year 2008, despite Paris’s career change, women were still disrespected and young girls attitudes hadn’t changed. Young women didn’t bother with ‘Hilton: Short stories and Essays’. Britney and Lindsey were still there to lead them astray. Similar journeys through times to change Spear’s and Lohan’s images didn’t work; neither hid a secret literary genius like Paris Hilton. So Laura went back further.

    The year was 1966. Laura spotted him quickly but more importantly she spotted her. And she was heading for him! Quickly Laura jumped in front of the woman and held out a flower. Yoko seemed surprised but happy to be receiving this gift from a stranger. “Thank you,” she said as she took the flower. Laura suddently grabbed Yoko's arm and they both disappeared through time with a blue flash. That was all John would ever see of her.

    With Yoko Ono locked up in Laura’s spare room she searched the internet to see what had happened to The Beatles. They had still broken up, admittedly a few years later, but this time there was no Yoko to blame, no woman to blame, just their own artistic differences. But another day at work facing the same sexism proved to Laura that the removal of this female scapegoat wasn’t enough to free women of their second class status.

    Laura realised that to change the preconceptions of men would take more than altering the image of women in recent history. She had to go to the root of the problem and that problem was that man’s first sin just so happened to be woman’s.

    “What’s going on?” a naked man asked, emerging from the trees.

    “Adam, run!” the woman shouted.

    “Stay where you are.” Laura pointed the gun at him. The threat of the weapon didn’t seem to register with Adam; then he saw the serpent’s lifeless body and his eyes widened. “Hands in the air” Laura commanded. Adam obeyed.

    “What’s this about?” Adam asked, a quiver in his voice.

    “The future. Our future.” Laura said whilst looking at the woman.

    Adam noticed the apple in the woman’s hand. “What are you doing with that apple? The Lord told us not to eat from that tree. It’s forbidden. You can’t eat the fruit it bares.”

    “That’s true, Adam,” Laura said with a nod, “and she’s not going to… but you will.”

    Adam and the woman exchanged nervous glances.

    “What?” Adam asked.

    “Give him the apple.” Laura waved the gun between the two of them.

    “But… you said eating the apple would be a bad thing?” she stuttered.

    “I did. I don’t want femalekind to suffer. I don’t want them to go through the thousands of years oppression that we’ve had to endure and I sure as hell don’t want some pervy boss staring down my top. But as for them…” she frowned at Adam, “I want them to see what we’ve had to go through.”

    She didn’t seem sure. “But how can you be certain all of this will happen?”

    “Because I’ve seen it. What’s supposed to happen is that the serpent persuades you to eat the apple and then you offer it to Adam. Soon God appears, punishes the serpent by making him crawl on his belly, and then punishes you both by sending you out of this paradise. But even though you both were stupid enough to eat the apple, because you bit it first and offered it to him, us women are held accountable! Ridiculous! But that’s not going to happen this time. Give Adam the apple.”

    The woman simply stood there, pale and shaking.

    “Do it.” Laura’s voice seemed to deepen.

    She continued to hesitate.

    “Damn it, I said do it!” Laura fired her gun in to the air. She walked up to Adam and pressed the gun against his now sweating forehead.

    “Please, don’t hurt him.” The woman pleaded.

    “Well give him the apple!”

    “Do as she says!” Adam pleaded. And so the woman, with great fear in her eyes, passed the apple to Adam.

    “Take a bite.” Laura commanded the first man.

    Adam moved the apple to his mouth and then Laura heard the satisfying crunch that changed it all, a bite out of history. She lowered her gun, smiled, and vanished in a blue flash.

    Soon after, as Laura had predicted, God appeared. Adam and the woman hid in the trees.

    “Where are you?” God’s voice thundered through the garden.

    Timidly, they both came out to face The Lord.

    “I was naked,” Adam began nervously, “and when I heard you walking through the garden, I was frightened and hid!”

    “How did you know you were naked?” God asked. “Did you eat any fruit from that tree in the middle of the garden?”

    Adam spoke, his voice fluttering as he knew what God was about to say. “She made me do it!”

    The woman looked shocked.

    “She’s a psycho! Look what she did to the serpent!” Adam pointed towards its corpse.

    “What?” The woman’s surprise at Adam’s words hugely evident in her voice. “What? No, I didn’t do that. It was that other woman.”

    “You are the first woman.” The Lord said, looming over her. “The only woman.”

    “No, there was another. And it was her that killed the serpent because it was trying to tempt me.”

    “The serpent was more cunning than any of the other animals I have made, it is most likely he would try to tempt you. But I do not believe that some other woman killed it for you are the only one." The Lord shook his mighty head. "You have sinned and will be punished. For taking the serpents life you will also take its punishment.”

    And all of this Laura read from her Bible back in the year 2008.

    “No!” she spat. “She’sss innocent! It’sss not her fault! It wassss Adam who ate the apple. Sssshe even tried to ssssave him. Men… they’re all bastardssss!” Laura hissed and slithered off to work.
  5. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    aphonos - H5N1

    May 2008

    The rusty old minivan growled and rolled away, leaving Jenny on the side of the road next to the big sign that said “Magnolia Woods.” She didn’t know why it said that, because she didn’t live in a forest. Maybe the trees used to be there, and weren’t any more. Like a lot of things. Like her friends, Zoe and Tyler. They used to share the same bus stop, and walk home with her every day. Then their parents decided to move, and Zoe and Tyler left Jenny alone. She was sad, of course. Nobody stayed around, not even family. But it meant more time to explore.

    Jenny looked around to make sure nobody was watching, then ran into the subdivision, dragging her sparkly purple backpack behind her. It bounced and scraped on the cracked and pitted asphalt, making noise, which was the point. It was too quiet here. The city had been loud and busy, full of cars and people. That’s where her friends lived, and where Mommy was. There were tall buildings, and lots of food, and fun things to look at. Here there were big empty houses, the size of three apartments each, and not much else. The country was supposed to be full of wildlife, but the only animals she ever saw were dogs and cats, lost and feral. She'd have traded anything to see a bird, or hear one chirp or coo like she remembered in Central Park. That never happened any more. There wasn't any birdsong; the only sound that ever broke the silence was what she made on her own. Even the sky was empty - the sun rode high in an empty sea of blue. There weren’t even clouds, no thin lines or puffy popcorn shapes.

    The one thing Jenny did like about the country was exploring. All the houses were empty, except for the one where she stayed with Daddy and another one three blocks away. That meant she could look at everything and see what people used to do. For the past two months, she had been going to one house each week, carefully investigating every nook and cranny. She even found some really neat stuff; toys, books, even a strawberry patch in someone’s backyard. There weren’t many berries, and the plants looked brown and bug-eaten when she found them, but it was the first taste of something fresh and sweet she’d had for ages. She'd carefully carried water there every day until something dug through the plants and killed most of them. She had cried, but Daddy told her it was for the best and helped her plant some peas instead. Poking the dried-up pea into the ground in the back yard was fun, but she lost interest soon after. She wanted berries, after all, not more vegetables. Daddy only cared about the "healthy" stuff anyway - canned vegetables, dry beans, pasta. Sometimes she found some hidden food, and brought it home. He always looked sad when she did, but he took it anyway.

    Today’s house was like all the others. Jenny kept track by scraping an “X” into a step on the front porch. There was always a front porch, because all the houses were the same. This one was easier to explore than some; the old owners left the door and some windows open. It meant there probably wasn’t any food around, and it looked like the TV had been stolen too - back when they were valuable. The carpet was stained where the rain had gotten in, and the floor was warped and creaky, but it was better that way than breaking windows and climbing through something that could cut.

    The front door squealed as Jenny pushed it open even further, sliding past the faded yellow tape on the door. She looked at the pictures first. Family photographs were clustered on a shelf in the living room, knocked over and left behind. Two adults, two kids; a boy and a girl, close to her age. Jenny smiled, and spoke to break the oppressive silence. "Yay! Toys, toys, toys..." Jenny knew there would be some because it was always the same. When everybody got sick and started coughing, they forgot about toys. All they did was run around scared, like Mommy and Daddy. Daddy still wouldn't go back to the city, even; he was too afraid. That was what Mommy had said, anyway, right before she left. But that was okay. Mommy had said she would come and visit, and maybe she would bring some of Jenny's things back with her. In the meantime, though, she had to make do with what she could find. Jenny crossed her fingers as she ran up the stairs, hoping that the little girl that had lived here was a fan of Barbie, not Bratz.

    Unfortunately, Jenny had no such luck. The girl’s room was the first one she entered - it was easy to see which one was hers, with the pink wallpaper - and it was filled with horses. Posters and dolls and stuffed toys, even books and videos. Jenny made a face and went to the closet, bypassing all the equine amusements the other girl loved. She wasn’t horse-crazy, after all. She was practical. Horses were hard to feed, and scary too.

    A cloud of moths fluttered out as Jenny slid open the closet door, and a carpet of dead ones crumbled underneath her feet as she poked through the tattered remains of the nameless girl's clothes. There wasn't anything left; moths had eaten all the shirts and pants and dresses, and the only interesting looking thing - a pair of tall boots - looked much too big. Dresser drawers revealed more of the same, along with some mouse nests. None currently occupied, but the droppings and gnawed pieces of sock and cardboard were strong enough tells.

    Jenny sneezed - the search had kicked up a lot of dust - and went into the next room. This one belonged to the boy, and it looked like it too. He was older and had useful things in his drawers. Jenny squealed happily when she found packages of batteries, still clean and free of corrosion. They went into the backpack with her notebook and homework, and she wondered what Daddy would say when she brought them back. It was hard to tell sometimes if it was good or not to bring back things that were useful, or if letting him pick them up himself was better. Her musing didn't last long, and her attention wandered elsewhere. Thoroughly done with Boy Stuff, Jenny skipped out into the hall - and froze as she heard the sound of loud motors in the distance. She began to tremble, and as they drew closer, she bolted.

    Daddy had made sure to tell her to always, always hide from strangers. And Jenny knew this kind of motor well; back when they had first moved to the neighborhood, those motors would come around at night and Mommy would take her down to the basement and sit with her in the dark while Daddy stayed upstairs and waited for them to go away. There wasn't time to go to the basement in this house, though. If she went downstairs, the bad men would be able to see her through the big windows. Instead, she opened the nearest door and ran up the stairs, heedless of the dust she kicked up or where she was going.

    An uneven board sent her sprawling, and she cried out in pain. She'd barked her shin, blood starting to well up from under the scraped skin, and the initial shock was beginning to give way to pain. Tears stung her eyes, and she bit her lip to keep from crying. She was a big girl, and big girls didn't cry over silly things like that. All she needed was to wait for the bad men to go, and she would wash her leg in cold water and Daddy would put medicine on it, and it would all be better...

    Jenny's eyes caught on something that she hadn't noticed in her flight. The attic space she'd found was poorly lit, the only source of light coming from a window on one side of the house. It seemed empty, besides old boxes and a fake Christmas tree and a weird looking thing that was probably an exercise machine. There was a nest on the wall near the window that looked like a hornet's nest - and not, because hornets didn't make their hives out of grass. Debris littered the floor near it, bits of white stark against the unfinished wood of the floor. Even then, it wouldn't have been enough to distract her from her shin if not for something she thought she saw. Something fluttered.

    Walking slowly, she inched forward. The motor noise was fading, and the danger seemed to have passed; her curiosity was in control now, and she wanted to know what kind of bug would make something like that. Maybe it was a new kind of moth. Not the kind that ate clothes, or the pretty green ones bigger than her hands that looked like butterflies. A nesting moth. Jenny giggled at the thought. She drew close, closer, and finally peered into the big hole at the top. Something burst out, moving much faster than any moth Jenny had ever seen. A sharp chirp, a flutter of wings, and then all that was left was a feather. Jenny stared at it, bewildered, before her mouth formed a perfect "O" of surprise.

    Exploring was forgotten. The motorcycles were forgotten. She even forgot her backpack, leaving it at the foot of the attic stairs. Jenny ran as fast as she could, cutting across lawns and jumping old trash, making a beeline for home. "Daddy! Daddy Daddy Daddy!" She started shouting at the front lawn, and didn't stop until she'd found him, putting his shotgun away in the closet. "Daddy! Daddy! Guess what I saw? Guess!"

    Jenny's father knelt down, an amused smile peeking out from behind his bushy beard. "Was it the motorcycles, sweetie?"

    "Nuh-uh! But those were scary. I hid like you told me to. But! Daddy! I saw a bird!"

    The smile faltered. "Oh, Jenny..."

    She recognized that expression. It meant he didn't believe her. "I did! I saw one! It flew past me!"

    "Jenny?" Her father put his hands on her shoulders. "You know there aren't any birds. Not any more. It's not good to tell stories like that."

    "But.... but I saw one! Honest!"

    The smile returned, though it was sad now. "Maybe you saw an old nest from before the flu. I can't blame you for wanting to see a bird; I've been missing them lately. It's too quiet without them. And Lord knows we need them..."

    "Daddy, I really-"

    "Enough, Jenny. Enough." His words had taken on a harsh tone that he hardly ever used; tears began to well up in Jenny's eyes, and her father sighed. "Jenny. There aren't any birds. Now, where did you leave your backpack? And - oh! Honey! What did you do to your leg?"

    Jenny pouted as the subject was changed against her will. There WAS a bird there. She knew it. And maybe someday Daddy would believe her as well. Someday. For now, though, it would just be her own little secret. She smiled, and let Daddy bandage her up.
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