Anyway, here we go.
Part 1A, by dragonblink
“It’s times like this,” he intoned morosely, “that I wish I could get drunk.”
I looked up from my work and squinted across the table at him. “It’s not as great as you think. Well ... not the next day at least.”
“Pfft.” He tilted his chair back to an improbable angle, closed his eyes, and dropped his heels on the table.
“Pfft yourself,” I said, trying to extricate my pen from underneath his boots. “God only knows what you’d do halfway down the bottle. Look, we’ve got to get this done --”
“It’s like that story. You know, with the people in the room and they can’t get away from each other.”
“Sartre,” I muttered. How could his feet be so heavy?
“Yeah. You don’t know what something’s really like unless you can’t get away. Unless you can’t even blink.”
“You can blink. I’ve seen you.” I fumbled for a better grip on my pen.
“But. That’s not the point. At the end, when the one guy, he said -- hmm, what was it ...”
I chose that moment to free my pen with a solid yank. If I’d done that to anyone else, they’d’ve fallen over backwards.
Part 1B, by heathwitch
Instead, his eyes popped open.
"Look, we’ve got to get this done," I repeated, waving my pen in front of his face. "Remember?"
Blaine continued to sulk. "Is boring."
"I know this, you know this, we all know this. But it still needs to get done." Now I was wishing for a drink.
"Pfft." He sat up, dropped his boots from the table, and scratched behind one ear. "Can’t we just -– y’know -– go find something better t’do? Like a game or something? Or that coffee you wanted earlier -– we could go get a huge --"
"-— or we could just go out, y’know, on the town like –-"
"-— just the two o’us. Come on, it be fun."
"Blaine!" I snapped, bringing my fist down hard on the table and glaring at him. "It needs doing. Now. As in, right this minute. Immediately. Pronto. Understand me?"
Blaine’s face fell further -– if it were at all possible -– and his huge frame shuddered with a sigh. "All right, all right." Scowling, he looked over at the parchment. "But this is only a favour, geddit?"
"A favour for you," I snapped irritably. How had he dragged me into this, again?
Part 1C, by aylara
The glass door swung inward as the black-clad man strode forward, confident, cloak swirling around a pair of dusty brown boots. He drew twin pistols from low-slung weatherbeaten holsters...pistols with ancient, ivory handles, worn from the hands of generations of gunslingers. The guns had been passed down, father to son, again and again, each one trained in the care and handling of such exquisite weaponry.
Their value could not be measured. Nor could the gunslinger's skill.
His weathered, lined face turned toward them, guns held with perfect ease, one trained at each of their heads. Both were filled with the cold certainty that he could kill them both, instantly, simultaneously. He dropped the guns.
"Go," he said.
They looked at each other for just an instant, then slowly stood. Every other person had frozen, staring, wide-eyed. The pair walked out the front door, out into the cold sunshine.
The explosion behind them took them completely by surprise.
Part 1D, by jeffrey
"See, that's what I don't get." Her voice rang out like a siren, piercing him straight to the bone. "These two people are having a nice conversation, and suddenly this guy walks in with guns."
"What's the problem?" Mickey asked, his face scrunched up in confusion.
"Well, it doesn't make much sense."
"It's like three different people wrote this or something. It feels disjointed; like each new part doesn't go quite where you intended it to." She stared at him, trying to force the comprehension into his brain.
"Are you saying I plagiarized?!" Mickey's voice rose as it always did when he got too worked up over something.
"No, not at all. I just don't get it." She pointed down to the page to accentuate her point. "Look. Here's an explosion."
"Yeah, with lots of fire and hurting!"
She rolled her eyes. "But why was there an explosion?”
Mickey thought for a moment, and then shrugged. "I have no idea."
"You can't write like that! It's insane."
"I can write however I want to," Mickey defended, thumbing his chest for emphasis. "I suppose you think you could do better?"
She smiled at him. "I thought you'd never ask."
Part 1E, by dragonblink
"Hey ... hey, come on, wake up ..."
"Wstfglmuthafug." I peeled my face painfully off the ground.
"Oh, thank God. Look, we should get out of here." Blaine grabbed my arm with those eerily cold fingers of his and hauled me to my feet.
"Had a ... a dream, like," I muttered, wiping dirt and small pebbles off my forehead. My nose felt like it was bleeding, and my elbows burned where I'd scraped them when the explosion knocked me down.
"Riiight, right," he said, steering me away from the smoldering ruins. "Look, there'll be no end of trouble if I'm found around here, come on."
"People ... arguing ... did you ever feel like someone else was directing your life?"
He pulled my face toward him with his free hand and peered at me. "What is it you people get when you're concussed?" he asked. "Different colored pupils or something?"
"Different sized." I batted his hand away. "I'm not hallucinating, Blaine, it was just a dream."
"Right." He glanced behind us as if he heard something, then leapt for the shelter of a narrow alleyway, jerking me behind him.
Part 1F, by heathwitch
The creature that emerged from the ruins of the explosion was pissed off. Very pissed off. Here She was, enjoying a few thousand years' hiberation beneath whatever civilsation had come along after her catnap began, and then something loud and hot and bothersome had woken Her up.
The dragon -- for that was certainly what She was -- lifted Herself out of the rubble and onto the street. She was certainly not amused -- definitely not from Her rude awakening, and certainly not from the sight before Her. The world before her. What in all the seven flames had happened to Her world?
Typical. A Divine Being decides to take a short nap and now look -- the world goes to pot in their absence. Damnit all to hells.
Movement distracted her from her worries. There, in the narrow gap between buildings, hid two shadowy figures. From the sounds of things they were trying very hard to have an argument and be quiet at the same time.
For a moment the dragon indulged in the whimsy that they were humans -- what else would explain their odd, stupid behaviour? But, rather than judge the creature by the smell, as it were, She decided to take a closer look.
The dragon stuck Her thin, tapered muzzle into the alley and took a deep breath.
Part 1G, by aylara
Blaine rolls his eyes. "OK, now, let's focus. We can write the paper later."
"But the dragon..." I said. "Come on, you have to admit, it's a great idea. Who writes about dragons?"
Blaine darted down the alley, looking for a way out. Anything, anywhere. One door, no handle, just a lock visible. He pulled a small black case from his pocket and chose a few thin metal probes. "Hmm...well, there are quite a few people who have written books about dragons," he started. "I believe Anne McCaffrey has touched upon the subject. C.S. Lewis wrote a bit about them in 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader'. And Carl Sagan wrote 'Dragons of Eden...'"
"I don't think that's about dragons," I said.
He inserted both probes into the lock just as I caught up with him, eyes wide. The lock clicked, and Blaine carefully pried the door open. He grabbed my arm and drew me inside. The door closed and we were in darkness.
Awestruck, I was silent, but only for a moment. "All those tools...are you...a dentist?" I whispered.
Part 1H, by jeffrey
"This isn't right."
The gunslinger stood in the alley, tapping his foot expectantly.
A second later the door sans handle opened and the two people tumbled back out, horrified looks on their faces.
"I told you to go." His words rang out, cold and unfeeling.
"We... tried to, y'see," Blaine began, but the gunslinger cut him off.
"You are different."
Blaine's eyes widened. "Who are you?"
The alley suddenly grew unbearably warm. Blaine's eyes rolled into the back of his head as he collapsed straight to the pavement.
Jessica looked down at him. "You wimp."
The gunslinger turned around, and not ten paces away stood the steaming maw of a large, crimson dragon.
"You should not be," the gunslinger said.
"We were talking about it for a story, see,” Jessica said, “And now it's all real and we're gonna die."
"A story?" The question hung in the air, unanswered. In a flash the gunslinger's left arm flew up, pistol in hand.
The ground shook as the dragon fell, dead. Blood poured from a single bullet wound, placed perfectly between its eyes.
The gunslinger turned back to Jessica. This time, when he spoke, there would be no disobeying him. "Go."
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