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Drusepth Chown
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Would you trade 9 months of your life to save a stranger's life?
The world slowly came into view; first too dark to see, then too blurred to see, and then too confusing to understand. Widening his eyes in surprise, confusion, and worry, Tom tried to sit up from the surprisingly stiff bed he seemed to be laying in. He'd only raised up a few inches when an ...
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Enjoy -- perhaps someone else will get a use out of this!

Customers who installed apps from the Amazon Appstore for Android might also be interested in trying the Amazon MP3 store with Cloud Player. To get started, here's a $3 code good for anything from Amazon MP3.

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Heh, I used it to feed my +Ellie Goulding addiction! :3
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Sometimes, not everything is exactly how it reads.

If you're one of the lucky ones who can read between the lines, you start to notice discrepancies in the world that could mean the difference between life and death.

If you crack the code, please don't spoil it in the comments! However, if you like these kind of stories, let me know. I've put unnoticed codes in past stories, and I plan on putting even harder codes in future stories. :)
Thing a Week 10: Missing in Action. March 7th 2012 in General Fiction. There was a ding as the glass front door swung open. Another customer, Hope thought. Standing behind the counter, she added, out ...
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Thing a Week 7: Answering Machine

Message received at 9:23 AM, Wednesday, February 15
Hey Tom, it’s Rod. I was just wondering where you were. You know you’re supposed to work today, right? Let me know if something is up. Thanks.

Message received at 9:54 AM, Wednesday, February 15
Mr. Baker, this is UPS. You have a package ready for pickup at the office on 32nd. Feel free to come down and pick it up whenever is convenient.

Message received at 11:04 AM, Wednesday, February 15

Message received at 1:13 PM, Wednesday, February 15
It’s your dad. How are you? I thought we were going to have dinner today. Did I get the day wrong? If you didn’t want to see me, you should have just said something. No reason to make me sit alone like that. Thanks, son.

Message received at 4:53 PM, Wednesday, February 15
Hey Tom, it’s Clark. Taking a sick day, huh? Be happy, I covered your shift. Your work’s still here, but I got Rod to calm down about the whole thing. Can you cover my shift next Friday night? You owe me one, man.

Message received at 5:06 PM, Wednesday, February 15
Mr. Baker, this is Ms. Johnson with the Lively Day Care. Sarah’s here waiting for you to pick her up. We’ll be here waiting for you, but remember we close at five.

Message received at 5:38 PM, Wednesday, February 15
How could you forget about our daughter? She was crying when I got there, and she was the only kid left. Where are you? If you can’t be more responsible, I’m going to ask the judge for complete custody. Call me when you get this, we need to talk.

Message received at 6:41 PM, Wednesday, February 15
For Christ’s sake, Tom, quit ignoring me! Sarah says you let her stay the night with a friend last night. I didn’t approve that. Call me, now.

Message received at 11:54 PM, Wednesday, February 15
This is an automated message from Movie Night. Our records show you currently have two movies overdue and are currently accruing charges. Please return these movies at the earliest possible to avoid further fees. Thank you.

Read the original story (with images) at the link below.
Thing a Week 7: Answering Machine. February 15th 2012 in Dark Fiction. Message received at 9:23 AM, Wednesday, February 15. Hey Tom, it's Rod. I was just wondering where you were. You know you&#39...
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Thing a Week 5: Jaywalking

“Sir! Excuse me sir, hold on.”

Sir? What is this?

“You know there’s a crosswalk at the end of the block, right?”

Of course. Oh right, I have to nod.

“It’s against the law to jaywalk, it makes the streets a lot less safe to be on. Are you listening to me? Sir?”

He was wearing the standard police uniform that I had only seen in moving pictures. His eyes tried to penetrate mine, but he was no more powerful than a child. He kept talking, but the words made no sense to me. I hadn’t heard them before, and my translator was off.

“Do you speak english?”

I knew those words. I nodded. Maybe I shouldn’t have.

A scowl stretched across his face and he shouted more words I didn’t understand. I tried to make a smile, but the muscles didn’t respond to my command. He reached out and spun me around, wrapping my arms around my back.

Do I need those? No, I guess not.

“Come on,” is all he said before yanking his hold on my body to pull me back into the street.

This is not the direction I was going. Does he know?

His eyes attacked harder. But only slightly. Not sure if he meant to or I’m just on edge.

“If you’re not going to tell me your name, you can just sit at the station. Comprende?”

Yes or no question. Not sure what ‘Comprende’ means, but it sounds nice. I nodded again.

He placed a hand on my back and shoved me into his vehicle. The door slammed afterwards, obnoxiously loud and clearly uncalled for. Unless he was aiding in my travels by offering a speed increase through a vehicular manner, I don’t think he had my time in mind.

“What’s wrong with you? Why won’t you say anything? You might have seen on TV that you have the right to remain silent, but in honest truth you don’t. You’re required by law to tell me your name so I can verify you’re a legal citizen and check for warrants. All you’re doing by staying silent now is prolonging the process. You’ll sit at the station until you start talking or someone else does, when they report you missing.”

I watched as cars, trucks, and vans whizzed by, much faster than the trees and buildings that flew by in the same direction. Curious where they were all headed, I tried to project a question through the air, but it seemed everything was moving too fast to catch it.

That is worrisome. At this speed, I’ll never talk to anything again. When will we stop? I’ve lost my direction, even; I don’t know where I’m going, or how I’ll get back to where I began. I can’t even ask for help until I slow down.

The door handle didn’t work. Broken, or something. I would have thought the law enforcement would be under pressure to make sure all their equipment works, but apparently not.

“Stop that,” the officer ordered from the front. “Right now! I already told you how you’re going to get out. If you’ve got nothing to hide, why don’t you just talk? Clearly you understand me, you responded earlier.”

I quit messing with the broken handle.

“The way I see it,” he continued, “is you’re either an illegal alien and won’t talk because you don’t know how, or you’ve got some nasty warrants on you and you think you’ll slip away from the law by being silent. Either way, you’re not fit for the streets, so you’ll be staying at the station.”

Our speed decreased and I began to feel my thoughts settling down. I asked a sign where I was, and it responded with the police station’s name and address.

The door opened beside me and I was yanked out roughly. With both hands behind my back, I was led through the front door, which strangely opened outwards. I ended up in a small, wooden chair in a dark room only lit by fake light.

A new officer entered and sat next to the first. They faced me in two opposing chairs across from a thin, square table. One wore glasses to hide his eyes from the sun, though it wasn’t even visible.

“Officer Martin says he picked you up jaywalking outside Union, but he says you’ve got a bit of a speaking problem. He wasn’t being literal when he said you had the right to remain silent.”

“I told him he doesn’t,” the other cop retorted. “I’ve only asked his name. He won’t say.”

I felt both eyes attacking at once.

Child’s play. I’m done here.

Both officers flinched together when they felt my retaliation. It served them right for starting it, and I tried to smile at my mental victory, but remembered those muscles had malfunctioned. When they had recovered, they looked to each other, and then back at me.

Those eyes again. Why would they even try? Didn’t they just catch my power? Need I show them again? I was warned that humans were tough to learn, but the fact was still surprising.

“Who are you?”

Getting angry: “Tell us your name, now!”

My shirt was grabbed, yanked, torn. Pieces of synthetic material exploded from my chest, exposing the natural color underneath.

“What’s wrong with you,” they asked, backing away carefully. “Why’s your chest green?”

“Are you okay? Are you sick?”

I’ve done it now. They know far more than they should. But what can I do? It’s not like I could just run away now. It’s not like I can do much. I’ve had nothing but failures since arriving, and the inhabitants weren’t doing a lot to help.

“Why are you green?”

He had a hand on the doorknob, and was slowly turning it, unsure of whether to fight or take flight.

I can see your fear. Why are you afraid?

That was the last straw. His eyes widened and he flung the door open, sprinting through it. His companion wasn’t quite as fast, and stopped to lock the door on the way out. Moments later, there was unintelligible shouting in the hall.

Sigh. I guess I’m done with this body then.

It makes a disgusting wet sound to debody yourself, not to mention a little pain. As I felt my body slipping off, the air and I melted together. I watched from above as the green tint slowly evaporated off the lifeless body on the ground, leaving nothing behind to give me away.

I forgot how good this felt. Still air is like unmoving wind, but feels as good if you’re moving in it. Swish, swish.

I smiled a little as I floated around the room. An open window waited for me to make my exit.

It’s good to be back to normal. I’m tired of everyone seeing me.
“Sir! Excuse me sir, hold on.” Sir? What is this? “You know there's a crosswalk at the end of the block, right?” Of course. Oh right, I have to nod. “It's against the law to jaywalk, it makes ...
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Thanks! I'm really glad you enjoyed it! :)
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Thing a Week 3: Censorship

The car ride lasted an eternity, or at least that’s how it felt to me. Thoughts rushed through my head--and for good reason: they wouldn’t be for much longer. I felt like a cow being blindly led to the slaughterhouse, except not so blindly; I knew what was coming. Well, I knew what was leaving.

I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal. Well, big deal is the wrong word. It is a big deal. I don’t understand why everyone seems to look forward to it, like it’s the step it takes to become a man, or a ceremony of some kind. It’s just a little surgery, and I’m still not entirely convinced it’s very helpful.

“Roy,” mom said, reaching over with a hand to place on my knee. “Are you nervous?”

She could clearly see the anxiety in my eyes, and I wondered if my mental state was so obvious. Was I always this obvious, or was this something special? After all, the operation would completely change my life; there’s no reason not to be nervous about it.

“Not really,” I said, watching her as she watched the road. “Well, maybe a little. I just don’t know how I feel about the whole thing. I hope I’m still the same afterwards.”

“Oh honey, you’ll be the same. You’ll always be you. I promise.”

But what if she’s wrong? She wouldn’t know; she had the operation long before she had me, and there’s no reason to think that a bit of cloudy thought one place wouldn’t hinder thought anywhere else--like in judging whether it has changed a person.

“Are you sure?”

“Definitely. You know I had it done. I was your age. It was good. I liked it.”

One thing was for sure: I would miss the linguistic prowess I’d built up at school. I know it’s not cool to be “good” at words, but while the other kids were sporting, I preferred to exercise my mind with literature, and poetry, and writing. A lot of the books I had to go to the public library for, because we don’t have a big selection at school like the history books suggest we did in the past. And really, all we have at school anyway is nonfiction and history books, and who likes those?

“It will be quick,” mom soothed. I forgot she was talking to me. It wasn’t hard to do.

“Mom,” I asked, suddenly worried it might affect the friendships I’d built with younger kids who weren’t old enough for the operation, “what about my friends? You know, the ones who haven’t had their birthday yet this year, or are a grade beneath me? Can I still talk to them?”

Mom turned off on the hospital’s exit before answering with a confused look on her face: “Why? Yes. You can. It isn’t hard. It will feel natural. And there are enjoyment places you can go together.”

“What are they like?” I’d heard about the enjoyment facilities from older kids in my class, but they couldn’t really tell me a lot. From what I could deduce, they seemed like parks, but without the fun stuff like slides and playground equipment. But I guess that’s what adults use to have fun.

“You’ll see,” mom said. The car stopped, and I realized we were at the hospital already. We opened the doors and walked in as I took in the gigantic architectural masterpiece that had become the Luetkemeyer Hospital.

The nurse at the front desk was nice. She used big words like I did, and emanated a friendly aura I was certain I could feel. She jotted down my information and read through my contract with me, pointing out the nooks and crannies in the lawyer jargon, so I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.

As if I had a choice.

It seemed the main goal of the operation was to cut back on warrish activity, but even a ten year old like myself knew better than that by just watching the lines on the news at night. They reported good news on all war fronts, but there was still a war. Nobody else seemed to realize it. Except my classmates, but they didn’t care.

My mom waited in the lobby as the nurse brought me back to the operating room and prepared my table. It was cold and lacked the cushioning I was used to in my annual checkups: just a cold, plastic table. I guess it’s more sterile that way; no tissue paper to keep replacing or extra cleanup.

The doctor was nice as well. He reassured me again that I’d still be me afterwards, and the fact that he seemed so intellectual was indeed reassuring to my own intellect’s worries. He explained the operation to me, but without a neurological background it flew over my head. From what I could tell, though, the gist was that he was removing bits and pieces from around my brain with lasers, to limit negative energies: curse words and other bad linguistics, anger and other hurtful emotion, and portions of critical thinking skills.

I laid back and let him place the mask over my face.

“Can you count back from one hundred for me?”

I started, but don’t think I got past ninety-seven.


I opened my eyes. It was bright.

“Roy,” my mom said. “You did it!”

I did it.

I looked at myself. I looked the same. My hands were the same.

“I did it,” I said. I sounded the same.

I was proud of myself. I don’t know why I was so worried. The surgery was good. Someday I would have kids. They would be worried. I would reassure them. I would tell them I got the surgery. The surgery was good. They might be ██████ of it. But I would reassure them.

“Can we go home, mom?” I said. I craved ██████. “I’m ready.” I looked at the doctor. He nodded. I stood. It ████ a little, but the ████ was worth it. I am still me. I still walked the same. I still had the same hopes. The same dreams.

Nobody can ████ me now.


Censorship is the third of 52 stories to be published by +Andrew Brown in his Thing a Week 2012 project, located at
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Drusepth Chown

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My new series, The Upgrade, is a futuristic experiment in nontraditional storytelling, taking the form of a series of notes and letters between characters set in a future, dystopian society.


Read the first part below, and then follow the story at
I don't have a lot of time. They'll find me soon. My name is Aiden. That's it, just Aiden. No last name. You might have heard of me on the news lately, if you still get the news in your area. Those of you reading this—those of you who still care, who still can—are why I've momentarily stepped ...
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Thing a Week 12: Shadows

This story was my attempt to fit every cliche I could think of into one short story.

Thing a Week 12: Shadows. March 21st 2012 in Dark Fiction. I opened my eyes abruptly to see shadows running away. A second sooner and I would have seen them, surely, but I was too late! Feigning tranq...
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Aliana was taken in by a blacksmith when she was found outside the village. Over the years, she's worked as his apprentice to repay him.

However, in order to forge the best sword, you must know how to use one. And when Aliana is training, she realizes she's a lot better than anyone thought.
Thing a Week 8: You're Dead. February 23rd 2012 in Fantasy. “Hey, you–Girl! What are you doing out here? Aliana hastily spun around in time to see a large man jumping back from the reach of her sw...
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Thing a Week 6: Lords & Liveliness

The afternoon light intruded in Lord Chamberlain’s parlour through the clear windows, sparing no nook nor cranny in the room of the warmth the bright, February sun provided. A breeze gently touched the window, whispering a plea to be let in; while it had dropped below freezing outside, a toasty flame flickered and danced inside the Lord’s Hearth.

Enjoying the heated company, two younger gentlemen sat side-by-side at a mahogany table normally used to feast with large companies. The taller of the two, Lord Chamberlain himself, was focusing his entire attention at the box sitting in front of him. Similarly, Lord Rupert Callaghan was preoccupied with an identical box just within his reach.

“It’s quite the wonder,” Chamberlain boasted with a smile, “my feat. I do say you’ll have quite a difficulty besting me.”

Rupert quickly glanced over and scoffed: friendly, but competitive. “You say that like I’ve not bested you many a time before, old pal. It’s not uncommon for a younger man such as myself to exceed the skills of his elder.”

“Elder!” Chamberlain roared. “You’re not but three years younger than me, you old fool!”

“Yes, but they’ve made quite the difference in appearance, have they not?”

Both men smiled. It’d been many years since they’d met; far too many for either of them to remember. In fact, it was in this very room, when the Lord Callaghan was first introduced to His Company. They’d bonded over witty discourse over the years, and it never grew tiresome. Even in their old age, they participated in the younger generation’s back-and-forths from time to time.

“I’ve never understood your obsession with looks, Rupert, but I’ll surrender my retort on that remark.” With a smile, he added: “It’s a splendid feeling to win every once in a while, isn’t it?”

Callaghan didn’t respond. He was focused on the box again, and his friend took notice. After a bout of heckling, Chamberlain fell silent.

“Look,” Callaghan cheered, “I’ve done it! The spot is mine; good luck taking it back!”

Intent on keeping his high score, Chamberlain quickly returned to his own box and plotted the perfect trajectory for his first bird.

“Oh no,” Callaghan whispered, “that won’t do at all. That angle is all wrong!”

Chamberlain released pressure on the box, launching the digital bird into a stack of wood, toppling it and destroying everything underneath.

“One pig down, friend. That angle was perfect.”

He lined up for another shot, and Callaghan retorted: “Beginner’s luck!”

Another perfect shot. The word LOADING… flashed across the box before it was quickly replaced by a steadily increasing number.

“Impossible,” Rupert exclaimed. “On your first try? I’ve never seen a score so high!”

Smiling, Chamberlain pushed his box away and looked at his friend.

“I win again,” he said, “but we get a new bird in the next level, so maybe you’ll beat me.”

Lord Callaghan pushed his friend’s box back towards him and responded, “You’re on.”
The afternoon light intruded in Lord Chamberlain's parlour through the clear windows, sparing no nook nor cranny in the room of the warmth the bright, February sun provided. A breeze gently touche...
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Even if you don't grab the top place (and the prize), you may find your characters making a cameo in future stories. So feel free to name them after yourself, resemble your friends, or make fun of your enemies!
Andrew Brown (drusepth) originally shared:
Win $20 for submitting a character to one of my Thing a Week stories!
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Thing a Week 2: Artist's Remorse

“Gem,” Lars pleaded, “look at me.”

The girl had grown thin and frail over the past two years without ever seeing a real sun. The synthetic paradise she had created the night after meeting the Giver had remained exactly how she’d designed it, and not a bird or fawn had aged. The sun that filtered through high above was nothing but a piece of art, and yet it provided the warmth and light Lars and Gem had needed to survive so long.

Lars set the bowl he had brought in front of the girl, who was hunched over on top of a large, flat stone, and then inched it closer. “I brought you some chowder. Your favorite, I promise. You need to eat.”

Gem looked up and her hair fell in front of her face. Behind it, dark-rimmed eyes stared blankly forward, as if all life had been drained away. She made no effort to clear her face, and recoiled abruptly when Lars did. He hung his head, and looked at the chowder.

“Gem,” he begged. “For me?”

Slowly, she stretched a skeletal hand forward and lifted a spoonful of chowder from the bowl. He examined it, as if deciding whether or not the effort of eating would be worth it, but finally decided to try it.

“It’s good, isn’t it?”

Gem knew it was supposed to be good, and so she agreed. She took another spoonful, and then another, continuing to gaze forward.

“Water,” she croaked in between spoonfuls. “I’m thirsty.”

Lars nodded and jumped up, twirling around to fetch the water he’d boiled earlier. As he ran off, the girl lifted the bowl and poured its remnants out onto the ground behind her.

“It’s bland,” she mumbled to herself. “Did I make it?” She couldn’t remember. Although she had tried to create everything she thought they might need before inviting Lars to the paradise, some things were forgotten and had to be made later. It was her idea originally to start making things from nature, instead of from the chalk, but she knew it all came from the same place anyway.

She was torn whether to be proud of the things she made: on one hand, she had made them from scratch, and felt naturally compelled to pride in her accomplishments. On the other hand, she knew the Giver had given her the gift to create anything she wanted from a stick of chalk, and felt terrible knowing she wasted so much time on something she could have just drawn. And on top of everything else, she knew she shouldn’t stay holed up in her fantasies forever; she was gifted for a reason, and she wasn’t helping anyone hidden away here with her boyfriend.

The guilt had torn at her thoughts for longer than she could remember; as soon as the initial honeymoon feeling wore off, she began to feel remorse. But she kept it quiet from Lars, who absolutely loved the place. Every time she drew a meal or something new to watch frolic, he would get all giddy and beg to be there when she did it. But as time went on, Gem could feel her strength draining away with every new thing she drew. She watched helplessly as the piece of chalk grew smaller, now only a fraction of the length it had originally been. It was the only piece she had been given, and didn’t know when or where she could find another.

Lars returned quickly with a glass of water in each hand. Seeing the empty bowl, he smiled and said, “Thank you. You really needed to eat. Gem? What's wrong?”

"I want to leave," she said simply. "To go outside again."

Gem looked around, confused. "But, Gem--"

"No, Lars. This isn't outside; we're still in my room, don't you remember? I want to go outside again and feel the wind in my hair, and the sun on my neck, and see squirrels run away in fear to their trees when I walk by, and sit on the porch and just, you know, be somebody in the world."

Lars was silent. He set the glasses down on the smooth rock and placed an arm around Gem, who had hung her head and gone completely silent. "But," he said, "can't you do all that here? I mean, we still have some chalk left."

Gem lifted her head to reveal a dim face of anger. "You don't understand, do you? Nothing in here is real, Lars! Yes, I could do it here, but it's just the same thing, over and over and over and over! Where's the fun in that? I want the real world, and I can’t make that in here!"

Parrots began to sing from the trees as Gem began to cry. She looked up at them--brilliantly colored green and yellow birds she had drawn when the trees had looked especially lonely one night--and screamed. When she had quieted, she looked back at Lars, who had also began to sulk.

He stood and looked down at his girlfriend, and asked, "Do you still know the way? To outside, I mean."

Gem nodded.

"Lets go then. Lets go outside."

A smile crept across Gem's face as she stood and faced the waterfall that had roared so beautifully the night she had finished the masterpiece. She pointed, explaining, "There's a door behind the waterfall that will lead back to my room. I was still experimenting with transparency when I drew it."

Lars lead the way, stopping just feet away from the falling water that obscured the rest of the cliffside beside them. The water splashed and misted through the air, covering him in a thin film of dew. "Are you sure this is what you want to do?"

"Very," Gem replied. She reached forward into the waterfall and pulled back, revealing a wooden door at the end of her soaking arm. "You don't have to come if you don't want to."

"I do," Lars said with a reassuring smile, stepping into the waterfall and through the door. Gem followed close behind.

Soaking wet and dripping on the wooden floor of her old bedroom, Gem began to cry again. Her bed was unmade and the clock on her bedside table reported it to be just after noon. Real sunlight filtered in through the blinds and left a light pattern across the dusty floor.

"We're back," Lars said, looking around. "How long were we gone, do you think? Oh, Gem! Look at you, you’re beautiful!”

Her eyes widened and she ran to her dressing mirror and peered in. Her hair had lengthened and now shined as the light hit it, and she had filled out to a healthy weight, no longer frail and skeletal. The skin on her face, which had broken out and never quite cleared up, was as smooth as a fresh sheet of paper, and the dark sinks around her eyes were completely gone. Even the way she moved, Lars noticed, seemed elegant and surefooted again.

She silently watched herself in the reflection as Lars crept up behind her and reached his arms around her stomach, embracing her in a hearty hug.

“We’re back,” she said with the first smile she’d shown in a long time.

“Let’s go outside,” Lars suggested. “Feel the sun and the wind, and maybe see a squirrel. Who knows? We can do anything we want.”
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Writing by Andrew Brown
I keep it pretty darn real.