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February 26, 2007


Your word of the day is vacant.

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Jim: Journey's End

The little town’s single motel, an off-center U of small rooms, promised Color TV, Air Conditioning, and flashing neon ‘Vac cy’.

The attendant, a large woman of indeterminate middle age, stared vacantly at Judge Judy on the television mounted high in the corner of lobby. “That woman sure has brains,” she mumbled while handing me the key. She then informed me that the only eatery was across the street.

Both sidewalks were empty save for a trio of shambling men with the same vacant expression as the hotel lady. All zombies, I decided.

Finally! A place I could call home.

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David: Hollow

Her eyes were empty; that’s what I remember most. I don’t mean to say she was stupid. Far from it. What I’m talking about was the way you looked into those eyes expecting to see a person, and instead got a glimpse of a person-shaped hole in the world. She was a great, yawning chasm from which no mere human emotion could ever hope to escape, and into which you could pour your heart forever without any chance of filling it.

Not that I didn’t try. God, how I tried. You can see it, when you look into my eyes.

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Jeff R.:I.S.S.S.V.

After a decade of quiet, the Long War reignited in September of 2021 when four men detonated suitcase nukes, incinerating the Vatican and most of Rome in twenty microseconds. While investigators tried to unravel the intertwined isotope signatures of multiple uranium sources, the Catholic faith, deprived of Benedict III's leadership, and most of the Cardinals, struggled to regroup.

Finding a site for the New Vatican was difficult, as potential host countries weighed tourist income against terror fears. A mafia scandal took Italy out of the running entirely. Eventually, Pope John Paul III was elected by a conclave in Baja California.

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