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Drusepth Chown
Writing by Andrew Brown
Writing by Andrew Brown


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Would you trade 9 months of your life to save a stranger's life?

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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

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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Thing a Week 12: Shadows

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


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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. :)

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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!
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