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Life and Death and the Girl with the Scarf
by Robert the Swordsman

     Rainy night gave way to moist morning, overpowered by the sun's
sympathy for humanity, though the benevolent celestial body couldn't do much
for the cold. A green-skinned man with vines for hair and azure sunglasses
wandered out of an alley and in to the street, just in time to meet the last
lingering light leaking lazily from a lamp-post, one which would soon bid
the world good morning by submitting to an honorable extinguishment. Water
dripped from his leafy hands and hair, his white shirt and black tie
thoroughly saturated, thin lips epitomizing frownless features, and a look
of finality hanging on the peculiar creature's face, though it wasn't quite
a smile. He had found her.

     The girl had been running. Machine-gun breaths seemed to get tangled
about her tongue and lips as they frantically made their way in and out of
her, blue eyes like narrow columns of light beaming beneath wet strands of
hair colored like wrought-iron. Her whole body pulsated rhythmically, frosty
clouds accumulating and dissipating in front of her in the morning air. Her
red and white-striped scarf appeared to be floating; a perpetual icy breeze
was trying to steal it from her, but one of her cold hands only pulled it
closer, while the other gripped a very silver knife, the quivering blade
held low, but in the green man's direction nonetheless.

     He raised a verdant hand, which in turn raised a pistol.

     "I'm sorry," he whispered, seeming genuine. "It is your time."

     The girl made no particularly drastic motion, though subtle glances
were sent sprawling across the horizon and everywhere else, looking for
something, anything. Her eyes widened gently and settled on a crack in the
sidewalk. With a fluid grace that she had not expected of herself, she
reached down and plucked a soft scarlet flower that had bravely been growing
amongst the concrete, memories of the morning rain sent in all directions as
she hastily pulled the viridian stem to her. This gave the thieving wind the
opportunity to relieve her of her helpless scarf, and neither of them
watched as it was carried away.

     The green man lowered his eyebrows as the girl held her shivering blade
to the flower's stem, right below the petals. Her breaths became longer, her
gaze never leaving his.

     "I'll do it," she growled, drawing the knife nearer to the innocent
blossom, threatening to drag the edge across its long emerald neck.

     For at least a moment, the world stood still. The green man gently
lowered his leafy hand, taking with it the argent armament, and there were
another few seconds of hesitation before the girl took a deep, sharp breath
and then dashed off down the alley. She was already just a shadow in the his

     "I suppose... it wasn't time just yet."

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