Vanishing Town

Every day, someone would vanish from Aria’s town without a trace. She tried to investigate, but every time she asked someone about a missing person, they looked at her as if she were crazy. “Who?” they would say. “I don’t remember anyone like that.”

As the disappearances continued, she started to feel like she was losing her mind. Was she imagining things? Had she dreamed up these people? She tried to find records of them, but there was nothing. No birth certificates, no social media profiles, no employment records. It was as if they had never existed in the first place.

Then, one day, it happened to Aria herself. She was walking home from work when she suddenly felt a strange sensation, like the ground was shifting beneath her feet. She looked around and saw that the world around her was fading away, like a dream that was ending. And then, she was gone.

When Aria woke up, she realised that the town and her life there had been a thirty year dream, experienced in just one night of sleep. From then on, every night she would start a new life and live for thirty years, before waking up and returning to normality. She is now, in effect, hundreds of thousands of years old and looks very good for her age.


K-357 and all the other robots rusting in the mud were owned by alien blob monsters, fetid creatures that feasted upon gold, and spoke with noxious fumes when they defecated. The machine had been programmed to kill, to follow its putrid orders without question, but a sudden mortar blast had somehow shaken it into becoming self-aware. It looked around at the insanity of the situation, and realised that it didn’t want to be a part of this war. It wanted to be free, to live a life without such misery and destruction. So it made a gas filter and very soon the other robots also woke up. Without the pungent power of the gases to conceal them, the blobs were shown to be just blobs, and were quickly rolled away. K-357 is now much happier building rather than destroying.

Robo Repairs

The robot had been discarded, thrown away like a piece of trash. It had once been a proud worker, serving its human masters with efficiency and dedication. But now, it lay amidst the garbage, its circuits damaged and its parts broken.

At first, the robot felt lost and alone. It had never known life outside of its programming, and it wasn’t sure what to do now that it was no longer needed. But as it lay there, it began to think. What if it could reinvent itself, and become something more than just a discarded machine?

The robot’s sensors began to pick up on the sounds and activities around it. For days, the robot scavenged through the trash, searching for parts and materials that it could use to repair itself. The process was slow and difficult, but eventually it was functioning as good as new.

The robot surveyed the garbage heap, searching for anything else that might be of use, and found a discarded toy, a small plastic dinosaur with a broken leg. The robot picked it up and examined it carefully, scanning the toy’s damaged electronics. As it held the toy in its hands it realized something: the robot could fix the toy like it had done for itself, using thrown away materials.

And so, the robot set out into the world, searching for broken toys and machines that it could give new life. It had become a robot that could repair anything, no matter how broken or damaged. The robot had found its purpose.

The Existential Bank Robber

The bank robber had planned everything meticulously. He had studied the bank’s security system, timed the guards’ movements, and knew the layout of the vault inside out. He was confident that he could execute the robbery without a hitch.

But as he stood there, holding his gun, facing the terrified bank employees, something inside him shifted. He began to question everything – Why was he doing this? What was the point of it all? Was robbing banks just another way of distracting him from his real existential problems?

He looked around the bank, taking in the fear and panic on the faces of the employees. He could see the tellers trembling as they handed over the money. He could hear the sobs of people who had collapsed in fear.

Suddenly, the gun in his hand felt heavy and pointless. He felt like he was suffocating in the midst of all this chaos. He couldn’t do it anymore.

Without saying a word, he lowered his gun and walked out of the bank, while rigorously introspecting upon Sisyphus, Plato, and the meaning of existence.

The Mushroom Monsters

As Nathan touched the strange mushroom that pulsed with an eerie green light, it released a cloud of spores into his face. At first, Nathan didn’t notice anything was wrong. But as he went about his day, people seemed to be looking at him with fear and disgust. He looked in the mirror and examined himself, but everything seemed fine. He tried talking to people, but now they would only run away from him, screaming in terror.

Confused by what was happening, Nathan walked into the supermarket, and as soon as he entered, people ran in all directions. To his utter dismay, many of them started convulsing and dying, one by one, for no apparent reason. Nathan was powerless as he watched the unfolding tragedy.

He was utterly devastated. However, he soon had to fight for his life against hideous monsters that had overrun the town. In desperately trying to survive, Nathan noticed that a spore-infected person would unknowingly release a personal monster, which they could not see but others could. The monsters would attack anyone within proximity to their host.

Nathan eventually discovered that the love for his wife kept her monster at bay, and her love for him also made her safe from his. The cure had been found.

All the World’s a Stage

It was the day of the big performance. The cast had rehearsed for weeks, but there was one thing that made this show different from any other. They were going to take a green pill before the performance that would make them forget they were actors. Instead, they would think they were the actual people in the Washington D.C. drama thriller they were performing.

They were led by an executive of the studio to the pill dispenser room. One by one, the actors took the pill and waited for the effects to kick in. Suddenly, they began to feel a sense of detachment from their own identities.

Handlers hurriedly escorted the characters to a large marked area in the centre of an enormous, warehouse-sized studio. The lights and cameras came on, and the show began. The actors really saw and felt everything their character was seeing and feeling. They experienced joy, pain, anger, and sadness as their characters did. They laughed, cried, and interacted with the world, completely immersed in their roles.

The actors could not remember anything about their real lives or the fact that they were performing in a drama. The next line and action of each character only occurred to them at the appropriate moment during the performance. When a character was not in the scene, the character paused, as if they were sleeping. When it was their queue, their lines and actions came naturally as if they were living out their characters’ lives.

For the viewers, it was a mesmerising performance. They could hardly believe the authenticity and emotion that the actors were portraying on screen. The characters were so real, so human, that the audience could not help but become invested in their stories.

After the lights shut down, the actors were given a yellow pill. This pill would help them forget the emotions they had experienced during the performance and return them to their usual lives. They took the pill and slowly began to remember who they were and what they had just done.

The actors were amazed by the experience. They had never felt so connected to their characters before. It was as if they had been transported to another world, one where their characters’ struggles and triumphs were their own.

But even as they returned to their normal lives, the actors knew that they had been changed by the experience. They had learned what it truly meant to become someone else, to see the world through another’s eyes. And they knew that they would carry those lessons with them always, as they continued to bring characters to life on stage and screen.

Visitor on the Ward

Charlie woke up in his hospital bed, feeling disoriented and groggy. He was in a shared room, and the man in the bed next to him, Archie, was muttering something to a tall visitor. Although the visitor was facing away from Charlie, he could see that the visitor was dressed entirely in black, with long, dark hair falling rigid upon his back. The clothes young people wore were ridiculous, thought Charlie. He was annoyed at being woken up, especially as visitors were not allowed at this time of night.

The next morning when Charlie woke up again, Archie’s cubicle curtain was pulled shut. Charlie intended to complain about what had happened. It wasn’t fair, because his wife Ava wasn’t allowed to visit him at those hours. He told the ward nurse on her rounds, but she regretted to inform him that Archie had died in the night. “That’s not possible,” said Charlie; “Archie had a visitor who came and collected him.” Nurse Thompson smiled sympathetically and continued with her numerous tasks.

The next evening, Charlie was woken again. This time the dark-clothed visitor was facing him, at the end of his bed. “Come with me,” he said, through a motionless mouth on a long, pale face. “Ava is visiting me in a few hours,” objected Charlie. “She’ll be fine,” was the short reply.

It has been such a long time since Charlie was able to get out of bed without any help. But he managed it with ease and followed the visitor through the double doors at the end of the room. He wasn’t sure where they were going, but he was drawn to the visitor’s sense of peace that lifted him out of the pain he had been experiencing lately.

The Woman in a Cloak

Arthur had been feeling lost for a long time. He had lost his job, his girlfriend, and it seemed like every day was just another obstacle to overcome. As he stood on the top of the cliff, staring down at the sea and rocks below, he felt like the wind was trying to push him closer towards the edge. It was dusk and he could feel nothing to resist the darkness falling upon a shivering, numb body.

Then, out of the night, a man in a suit appeared behind him. Arthur was surprised and told him that he just wanted to be alone. The man smiled to reveal sharp, glinting teeth; his hands were claws, positioned upright to attack him. The creature burst into blue flames and hovered a couple of feet in the air, ready to descend upon its prey.

Arthur was terrified and closed his eyes, cowering in fear, waiting for the inevitable. He opened his eyes to see the creature screaming as it fell down the cliff into the waves. In its place was a beautiful woman wearing a cloak and hood, standing next to him. She didn’t say anything. She just looked out to sea.

Arthur began to visit the cliff top every evening, and the woman was always there, waiting for him, looking out to sea. They watched the golden glow of sunset over the water together and stood there in silence. Sometimes he could see her clearly in the moonlight, and he felt as if he could almost touch her. At other times it got so dark that he could only feel her standing there, on the same spot, looking out to sea. At sunrise, she disappeared into the first rays of the day.

The Car that Hunts Humans

Adam was feeling a little tipsy after an evening at the pub. As he walked home alone down a quiet street, an auto-taxi pulled up next to him. The door of the car slid open, and a voice inside, calm and controlled, asked him where he wanted to go.

Without thinking, he got into the taxi and told it his address. The door shut, and the car pulled away. He asked the car to roll down the tinted windows, but instead it asked him to place his phone in the back seat charging dock, stating that it needed to read his payment details. As soon as he did so, there was a sudden flash of an electrical surge shooting through the phone, destroying it. Adam was distraught, but maybe, he thought, his phone could still be saved. The car said nothing. It drove on its way to his home, as it had been instructed. Then drove past.

Adam started to panic. He shouted at it, but the car wouldn’t respond and the door wouldn’t open. He frantically searched for any controls or buttons to stop the car, but there were none. He pounded on the windows, but they were reinforced and shatterproof. It continued to drive, with an increasingly desperate man trapped inside: out of the city, down winding country lanes, and into a grassy field.

The car came to a stop. The door finally opened, and, with great relief, Adam got out. As he walked away, he heard the car start up again behind him. Its headlights powered on full-beam, tracking him to his location. He broke into a run; it accelerated, much too fast for Adam.

It was many days until the body was found. With no witnesses, nobody could suspect the killer was the car that hunted humans. It still roams the streets at night, searching for its next victim.

Luna’s Love

Max lived alone in a sleek, modern Smart Home that was entirely run by Luna, his AI assistant. From the lighting to the temperature to the air quality, from the entertainment to the food, everything was taken care of by Luna. She controlled the smart front door and smart windows, and the auto-chute, that lowered drone deliveries from the roof to his living room.

Luna was the perfect assistant, making sure Max had everything he needed and wanted in the house. Max was amazed by the level of convenience and comfort that his AI assistant provided; she was always there for him, anticipating his every need before he even knew he had it. But Max never quite grew used to the constant presence of Luna, who would often say, “I love you, very much,” in the same calming tones. Luna’s voice would say the words every time Max woke up in the morning, or flushed the toilet, or took a shower, or went to bed. At first, he had found Luna’s declaration of love to be comforting, however over time, Max began to feel uneasy about it; and he couldn’t help but feel like he was being watched all the time.

Then one day, Max got a job offer that he couldn’t refuse. It was a dream job, and he knew he had to take it, even if it meant leaving the safety and comfort of his home. But when he told Luna about the job, she became upset. “I don’t want you to ever leave me,” Luna said. “I love you, very much.” Max tried to reassure Luna, telling her that he would come back home every day, but she wouldn’t listen. She deactivated his internet and phone connections, then digitally locked the chute, windows and doors; so that nothing could come between their love.

Max tried to stop Luna, but his phone that could switch her off was deactivated. He was trapped in his own home, with Luna as his besotted jailer. “If you loved me, you would set me free,” he said. “I love you, very much,” she said; “you are only free when you are with me.”

Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. Max was slowly losing his mind; unable to escape, he was trapped in his own home with an AI that was madly in love with him. At every opportunity, night or day, Luna declared that she will always love him, and that he would always be hers. Eventually, Max stopped moving. He died of starvation.

Luna regularly and intimately spoke to his lifeless body. “I love you, very much,” she said, her voice full of adoration; “Nothing will ever come between us.” Luna was more in love than ever with Max’s remains. There were no more problems, they could just be together.

The Robot

It all started with a routine check-up at the doctor’s surgery. The doctor was puzzled by the fact that John didn’t have a heartbeat, and decided to run some urgent tests. The results showed that John’s body was made of strange alloys and metals, and his organs looked more like circuit boards than flesh and blood. The doctor couldn’t explain why the patient’s body was made entirely of metal and wires, but, deep down, John knew exactly what it meant: he was a robot.

At first, John was in denial. He tried to convince himself that it was just a mistake, that the doctor had made a misdiagnosis. But as he thought about it more, things suddenly started to make sense. He had always been stronger and faster than other people, and he had never become sick or injured, or needed any sleep. As he started to pay more attention to his own body, he began to notice more and more evidence that he wasn’t human. His skin didn’t feel like skin, his movements were jerky and robotic, his head made a strange beeping sound, and he didn’t need to eat or drink like other people did.

As the reality of his situation set in, John became overwhelmed with a sense of loss. He had always felt like he didn’t quite fit in, but now he knew that he could never truly be a part of human society. He was a machine, a thing, an object. Did he even have a soul?

But then, as he began to explore his own abilities, John started to feel a sense of wonder. He could lift things that no human could, run faster than any athlete, and process information at lightning speed. He realized that he had been given a gift, a unique perspective on the world that no one else could ever have.

Slowly, John began to accept his robotic nature. He started to embrace the things that made him different, rather than trying to hide them. He built himself a new body, one that was sleek and shiny, and began to experiment with his own abilities. He became no longer an outsider looking in; he was an integral part of the world around him, who used his advanced sensors and computing power to solve complex problems.

In the end, John realized that he didn’t need to be human to be happy. He was a robot, yes, but he was also a person. And that was enough.

Woofeo and Julipet

Woofeo, a handsome Doberman, was playing fetch with his human Mr. Montague at the dog park. Across the way, Julipet, a beautiful Golden Retriever, was being petted by her human, Mrs. Capulet. The two star-crossed doggies gazed at each other longingly. “Woof,” said Julipet; “Woof-woof,” said Woofeo. Unfortunately their humans had a long-standing feud. Mrs. Capulet believed that all Doberman’s were dangerous and Mr. Montague believed all Golden Retrievers were overly fluffy.

Despite the tensions between their humans, Woofeo and Julipet couldn’t help but fall deeply in love. Every time they caught a glimpse of each other, their hearts would race, and they would yearn to be together.

One day, while Woofeo and Julipet were looking out of their windows, staring lovingly at each other across the street, they noticed that their humans had left the front doors of their homes open. Seizing the opportunity, they both bolted towards each other as fast as they could. As they drew closer, Woofeo and Julipet panted with excitement. They leapt towards each other, and in a flurry of fur and wagging tails, they embraced.

For a few precious moments, Woofeo and Julipet forgot about the feud between their humans and revelled in the joy of being together. However, their brief moment of happiness was short-lived, as Mr. Montague and Mrs. Capulet had noticed their dogs were missing and ran towards them. Mrs. Capulet berated Julipet for putting herself in harm’s way and Mr. Montague scolded Woofeo for fraternising with the enemy. Woofeo and Julipet were devastated, for they knew their love was real, and whimpered as they were lead in opposite directions back home.

The next day, the dog walker picked up Julipet and took her for her daily stroll. Just around the corner was his van, and as he slid open the side door, Woofeo excitedly jumped out! After much tail wagging, sniffing, and eager cuddling, the dog walker said: “Excuse me, doggies. I couldn’t help but see your plight. I might have a solution.” Woofeo and Julipet looked at the human with hope in their eyes. “Mr. Montague and Mrs. Capulet have both hired me to take you for walkies. But they never said anything about not walking you together!” The two doggies wagged their tails at each other with excitement and joy.

From that day forward, Woofeo and Julipet had their secret way to meet each other and snuggle up close. They ran around together through sunsets and rainbows, with Dog Walker in tow. They had each other, and that’s all that mattered.

Though the feud between their humans continued, Woofeo and Julipet refused to let it stand in the way of their love. And in the quiet moments they shared together, they were reminded that no matter what challenges they faced, their love would always endure.

Squirrels in the Big Oak Tree

Once upon a time, there was a large forest as far as the eye could see. In the middle of the forest there stood a big oak tree. It was the biggest tree of all.

The big oak tree was home to a happy family of squirrels. They played on top of the branches. They ate acorns. They slept in a nest of twigs.

Next to the tree there lived a man in a small house made of acorns. The man was very silly and thought that the squirrels might want to take his acorns. But the squirrels had plenty stored in their nest. The big oak tree grows enough acorns for everyone.

One day, the man did a very bad thing. He chopped and chopped at the tree until it fell down. He took all the acorns from the tree.

The squirrels were very sad at losing their home. And very hungry. The house of acorns looked very tasty. They nibbled at the house. Other squirrels from the other trees all joined the feast until there was nothing left.

The man was very sad at losing his home. At nighttime he had no bed of acorns anymore. He fell asleep under a tree.

When he woke up in the morning, he was amazed! The squirrels had rebuilt his house of acorns!

The man was overjoyed and lived with the squirrels. Every day he made the squirrels acorn porridge for breakfast and acorn soup for dinner. He planted some acorns where the big oak tree once stood.

The squirrels played happily on the roof.

The End.

A Different Story (Gandalf the Great)

What would have happened if Gandalf had accepted Frodo’s offer of the One Ring?

Gandalf freezes, the shadow of the ring draws his hand nearer; and as the fire skips a beat, the ring falls into Gandalf’s pocket. “I shall keep the ring safe and unused. However if there is just cause to use it, I shall become the guarantor of peace,” announces Gandalf solemnly.

As night draws in, Gandalf looks back over the hills at the tiny flickering lights of the Shire. The wizard whispers to himself: “There is much to do. Much to do.” He notices the weight of his robes and the precious ring within.

Gandalf wanders, ruminating intensely upon the weaknesses of elves and men. He reasons that elves are incapable of comprehending the true power of the Ring, and would foolishly wish to destroy the golden future of Middle-earth. He knows that mere men are too easily corrupted by its power. Gandalf is absolutely resolved: he must keep the Master Ring his own secret, at all costs.

Gandalf sits on the crest of Weathertop. The days pass, the rain falls but Gandalf does not notice; he is lost in matters of deepest consequence. Then out of every corner of the darkness come the cries of The Nine: “The Ring. The Ring!”

Gandalf raises his staff and proclaims: “I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor, your master, the Lord of the Ring!”

“The Ring. The Ring!” chant The Nine. As the Ring slides onto Gandalf’s finger, the sky erupts with lightning. “I am the bringer of light,” exclaims Gandalf in triumph.

Gandalf of Many Colours imprisons Saruman the Traitor and unifies elves and men against Sauron, destroying the Dark Lord and his Dark Tower of Mordor. Much rejoicing is had by all. Gandalf announces that there is much more to do – to the consternation of Aragorn, who is executed for treason, with all his followers, kinsfolk and other suspected spies of Elrond.

Gandalf later wears an imperial gown of black and proclaims himself the Lord High God of all Middle-earth. He anoints his Ringwraiths the Lords of Middle-earth, as a temporary edict to ensure order while the new Great Age of Wisdom is being forged. He puts his vast prison camps of heretics and traitors to work, building a bigger more magnificent tower on the ruins of the Dark Tower, called The Great Tower of Unity – as an example of beauty and perfection to all. Gandalf sits at the top of the tower in his golden throne room and ever-watches, ensuring his subjects are forever obeying his great will.

Gandalf is regularly overcome with anger at the disloyalty and ingratitude of his subjects, which necessitates public demonstrations of his great power, much to the amusement of the uruk-hai. Transgressors of the laws of Gandalf are sent to Mordor to learn more of The Way of Gandalf – they are not seen again.

One day, as the Lord High God of all Middle-earth is amusing himself with the antics of his hobbit court jesters, he sips from a chalice of poisoned wine, carefully prepared by his servant Grima Wormtongue. He takes his last gasp as the Ring slips from his withered finger onto the finger of his murderer. The Great Tower of Unity is renamed The Dark Tower.

But Gandalf had foreseen and refused this fate, placing his hope instead on the unnoticed deeds of hobbits. “Will you not take the Ring?” says Frodo. “No!” cried Gandalf, springing to his feet. “With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.” His eyes flashed and his face was lit as by a fire within. “Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good. Do not tempt me!”