The Mating, by David Dean

The excited bull snorted, beneath a clock shattered at some long ago one seventeen. Its roar echoed through the ruined station and out along tracks rusting off into the distance. The animal tensed, nostrils steaming, stamping up dust from the derelict platform. A pungent musk announced the arriving heifer.

The cow approached, crunching glass, and rocking slightly as it thumped over a fallen door. Faded times and destinations provided a backdrop to their furious rutting, before the bull dismounted and strode away.

And that`s it, really … just an apocalyptic Cornforth Station and another beef encounter.

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Devil’s Descendants, by Sankar Chatterjee

Renowned historian Prof. Nakamura, enjoying a pint in a pub, was watching a baseball game on live telecast. Suddenly flashed a “Breaking News” of a riot from a quaint university town. Right-wing white extremists, waving confederate and swastika-emblazoned Nazi flags, were pounding on the peaceful counter-protesters. “Nazi flags on our soil in 21st century! Do they know how many past citizens sacrificed their lives to get rid of that evilness?” pondered Prof. Nakamura.

But, it was inevitable. To win the presidency, the strongman preached hatred laced with racism and xenophobia to his base. The base was now returning the favor.

Gamophobe, by Scott Ross Jr.

Strong feelings of nostalgia and regret welled up within him, causing his chest to constrict.

Looking at the picture of them on their first date was a mistake. The happiness that gleamed in their eyes at that time have long since faded, and it was all his fault. He pushed her away. He wasn’t ready for the commitment of a serious relationship, but that’s what she wanted.

They grew too close, too quickly … and it scared the hell out of him. So, he broke it off before it could even truly begin … only to realize that that’s what he wanted all along.

When You’re Ten, by Don Tassone

Awakened by the sun, he lay there a moment, worried he was late for school. Then he remembered it was the first day of summer vacation.

For a ten-year-old boy, what could be better? Waking up late, eating Frosted Flakes, playing baseball, stopping home for lunch, fishing, heading home for supper and watching TV until bedtime.

When you’re ten, you can venture out on your own. You don’t care what you wear or pay much attention to girls. You don’t have a job.

All summer vacations are a blast. But none can match the one when you’re ten.

The Final Battle, by Russell Conover

Edward had been pounding virtual warriors for hours. Now he’d reached the final level of the game, against the ultimate rebel leader. Intimidating as the leader was, Edward was confident.

“Wish I could show this dude what’s coming.” He smiled.

A blinding light flashed, and Edward gasped. His jaw dropped when he saw the leader before him. He’d been transported into the game!

“Bring it on, big boy,” the leader taunted, grinning evilly.
“A, A, B, left, B,” Edward replied.
“Huh?”

Edward sailed forward, the corresponding attack moves coming automatically. The leader toppled, stunned.

“Gotta love video games.” Edward grinned.

The Perfect Match, by Ann-Louise Truschel

“Delia, you’re getting married?!” said Sandy.

“Yes. Roy and I were computer matched.”

“Does that really work?”

“We’ll soon find out. The wedding is set for next week, and you’re invited.”

The ceremony goes off without a hitch, and the couple honeymoons in Hawaii. When the newlyweds return, Delia again meets her friend for lunch.

“How’s the bride?”

“Disillusioned.”

“Already? Give him a chance.”

“There aren’t enough chances in the world.”

“Did you complain to the computer matching service?”

“Yes.”

“What did they say?”

“They told me to put him into the recycle bin.”

“And … ?”

“Then they emptied it.”