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Alienation by GrievousErrorAlienation is a profound sense or state of being separate from the people who, for all intents and purposes, should be considered your peers. Whether it's age, profession, shared living space, or something else, it's a given that in any set of people there will be certain members designated, whether in their own minds or the other members of their group, as outsiders. "Hey, Al!" Maggie shouted from across the park. I've become used to being called Al; three syllables in six letters tend to be a bit of a mouthful, so most people shorten "Alaric" to "Al." Maggie ran over from her group under the shedding elm to the bench I was sitting on, waving all the way.I was mildly surprised that she recognized me; it had been a good four years since either of us had seen the other. Then again, kids my age had always taken me surprise, for good or ill. Maggie was one of those people who knew exactly what she wanted to do with her li
Avalane of the Flying Cactus"Why, by the white of Merlin's beard, did you use a cactus?" Kalliope shouted as she bounded down the stairs, three by three."It seemed like a good idea at the time!" Avalane called from somewhere behind her.They were in hot pursuit of a flying cactus. The potted desert plant soared through the corridors, flapping its thick, spiny, branch arms as it screeched "CHEESE" at the top of whatever it used for lungs. Along the way, it dropped toasted bread crumbs and melted cheese off its spines.According to Avalane, she had been trying to transfigure a cactus into a grilled cheese sandwich, but something went horribly wrong."What spell did you use?! Neither grilled cheese sandwiches nor cacti have any kind of bird characteristics." Kalliope skidded into an abrupt about face as the reckless plant/bird turned a sharp corner and made a break for the courtyard."I can't remember... it seems to be fairing pretty well with those arms," Avalane panted."I think... by this point... they're wings.