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    Instincts by Gregory Knight Miskin

    The yellow life raft snagged a branch, gashing the side. Air erupted from the tubular compartment, gurgling the water. Within seconds it foundered, tossing the fifteen-year-old boy into the lake. Raleigh surfaced and sprayed a jet of water into the air. He grabbed one paddle as it tried to drift away but the other was nowhere to be seen. Half the raft had deflated. “Shit!” he yelled but nobody could hear him. In July, 1974, Lake Sammamish teemed with speed boats. Metal flake paint jobs, beer, bikinis. V8’s with straight pipes bludgeoned the stillness. He had saved up for months to buy the two-man raft and this was his first…

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    Afterlife by Rita Andreeva

    If you’re curious why I’m haunting this library, I’ll gladly tell you… When I died I went through a long, dark corridor, with a light at the end of it, which turned out to be a brightly lit corridor perpendicular to the first, extending forever in both directions. What looked like ATM machines lined up on the wall facing me.  I approached one; the writing on the bright blue screen greeted me, “You are dead. To begin press any key.” I did.  An instruction followed, “Type your full name and hit enter.” Then, “Type your date of birth.” After I did it the screen announced, “This is how your Karma…

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    Akiko’s Last Fight by Alec Clayton

    Akiko Durant held the women’s welterweight champions for ten years with a record of 86-2-0 until she was finally defeated by Dana Mitchell in a split-decision bout. Mitchell was tall, blonde, and called Dominatrix. At twenty-five, she was twelve years Akiko’s junior. Akiko at thirty-seven, the oldest woman still active in professional boxing, the same age as her hero, Sugar Ray Robinson, when he retired. A gorgeous woman with luscious lips and high cheekbones, and copper toned skin as unblemished as a baby’s cheek despite taking thousands of punches, Akiko was the most celebrated female boxer ever. She and her longtime manager and lover, Jimmy Joe Cranston, were worldwide celebrities…

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    Division by Zero by Christian Carvajal

    “Um…Mrs. Luntz?” Janet dragged her eyes up from People magazine and a serving of indigestible Healthy Choice turkey and dressing. It was 40 past noon in Room 217 of General Lafayette High School, where Janet allowed her students to work on their homework during lunch. The only person in the room besides herself today was Kim Cheever, a college-prep junior who had fallen behind due to basketball practice. “Yes, Kim?” Janet mumbled. She realized she was speaking with her mouth full of stuffing and gulped down a flavorless lump. “How goes it?” “I’ve been trying to figure out these quadratic equations? The ones from section 15.8?” Kim explained, her soprano…

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    Pepita’s Daughter by Daniel J. F. Wolfert

    I.   When Moschata Russet stepped into the Halls of Full Harvest Elementary School, whispers followed like a wind in her wake. “My mommy said that she ate too many carrots.” “That’s stupid, that would give you big eyes and hers are normal.  My daddy says that her papa must have been a squash or something like that.” “My mama says she doesn’t have a Papa.  Her mama grew her from a seed she found in her pocket one day, and that girl just came from the sprout.  Cross my heart, hope to die.” No student seemed willing to speak to her over the matter directly.  Once, however, a small…