Frankfurt, Germany (AP) — In a recent terror attack in Frankfurt’s popular, upscale shopping promenade known as the Zeil, ten terrorists opened fire with assault rifles, killing tourists and shoppers alike. No terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but a source within Germany’s Federal Foreign Office suggests that it is the work of right-wing nationalists angry at the influx of immigrants from Islamic countries. At least 30 of the victims were children.
As the bus lurched to a squealing stop, Chloe automatically leaned in the other direction to keep from falling into the lap of the person sitting next to her, an overweight man eating an Egg McMuffin from a greasy McDonald’s bag. The salty, artificial smell of his breakfast made her stomach do a slow roll. How could anyone eat that disgusting junk? Processed ham from pigs raised in pens so small they couldn’t even turn around, antibiotic-laced eggs from abused chickens, GMO-laden wheat byproducts. It’s like people didn’t care what they put into their bodies anymore. And the way his piggy little eyes kept swiveling in her direction, as if he was imagining eating her, too. Revolting.
Oglethorpe, Georgia — James Figueroa, 47, was formally charged in last week’s multiple homicide that claimed 12 lives, including 2 teenagers. Figueroa, a native of Marshallville, was reportedly angry at the restraining order his former spouse Leticia Figueroa had filed with the court, and went to talk to her during a family party at the Figueroa household. After being turned away, he allegedly returned an hour later with a handgun and shot everyone in the house, including his own children.
Swallowing, she turned off her phone and stuffed it into her purse. The world was just broken. Why did everything have to be so awful? Looking at the news always made her feel bad, but lately she couldn’t seem to help herself. There was always another story, another horror to experience through Facebook walls and Twitter feeds.
By the time the bus reached her stop, the disgusting cismale next to her had finished his second Egg McMuffin and was starting on a hash brown patty. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Eugh. Stepping off the bus into a cloud of petrochemical exhaust, she told herself the next time she saw him, she’d take pictures of him stuffing his fat face with genetically modified corporate slop and post it on her Tumblr.
The half-block walk to the office wouldn’t be so bad except for the construction workers digging up the sidewalk across the street. They always ogled her as she went by. Dirty, sweaty men ripping up trees instead of planting them. Sexual assault in their eyes. And her, the unwilling star in their filthy mental pornography.
McCormick, North Carolina (Reuters) — Head held high, Tyesha O’Grady, 27, walked into court yesterday accused of four counts of felony murder and four counts of cruelty to children after a fatal trailer fire Tuesday night. Police said that the children were left alone in the trailer while O’Grady left to purchase narcotics. The fire was caused by a faulty plug from a set of Christmas lights. O’Grady’s bail was set at $2 million.
At the trill of the office phone, Chloe minimized the Yahoo News window, cleared her throat, and answered, "It’s a great…morning at Jackson Financial Technology Group, how can I direct your call?"
"Is it? You don’t sound too sure." An older man’s voice. Old men always wanted to flirt with her on the phone, as if essentializing her to breasts and a vulva was funny or cute.
Putting a smile into her voice that she did not feel, she said, "Oh, I’m sure. Do you know your party’s extension?"
"Why, no. That’s why I called the front desk."
They always had to have a witty conversation before getting to business. Four children burned to death in McCormick, and he thought he was a comedian. It was time to switch from lightly amused to coldly professional.
"If you can tell me who you’d like to speak to, or which department, I’d be happy to direct your call."
"I’d like to speak to the department of getting my money back because my broker blew it all on Inflatable Companion Futures," the caller said, and laughed at his own joke.
Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. What went wrong in this pig’s life that he thought it was okay to talk to a woman like this? If he had stopped in for a meeting, he’d right now be staring at her cleavage with his wrinkle-pouched eyes, laughing and spraying old man spittle. They always did that.
"Sir," she said firmly, "how can I direct your call?"
Still laughing, he replied, "Let me speak to Bill Penman, honey."
"Just. One. Moment," she gritted, and stabbed the HOLD button.
Tallahassee, Florida (WMOR) — A man accused of repeatedly raping an elderly woman in her home was indicted on Monday on several charges relating to the crime. Horace Butterworth, 29, a Tallahassee resident, faces charges of rape, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated sodomy, and robbery. On November 31, Butterworth allegedly followed the victim to her suburban home, struck her in her doorway, and dragged her inside. No children were present during the incident.
Now at home, it was hard to hear her phone’s text alerts over her overheating laptop’s fan, so after a while she just decided to ignore it and focus on reading the news. Texting with Rich was going nowhere, anyway. All he wanted was to come by, screw, eat her food, and leave, and that wasn’t enough for her anymore. Especially with what was happening in Florida. How could someone do that to a nice old lady?
Washington (AP) — Congressional Republicans, flush with victory from recent election returns, are seeking to end the school lunch program for tens of millions of needy children across the United States. The House Speaker said, "The people have spoken. They want us to cut bloated government programs, so we have decided that the easiest thing to do would be to eliminate healthy, delicious lunches for hungry schoolchildren. We will start with schools in primarily minority districts. God bless America." It is expected, even hoped, that the president will veto any such bill that comes to his desk.
Her phone buzzed again: more texts.
Rich, probably. Or Katie. Or Laney.
Better to turn it off than be constantly distracted by its clamoring.
As she reached for it, her laptop exploded.
If she hadn’t leaned way off to the side to pick up her phone, the flaming shards of superheated plastic would have shredded the flesh from her face and blackened the bones beneath. As it was, she screamed and pitched out of her chair onto the kitchen floor, curling into a fetal position the moment her hip hit the tile.
Why is this happening to m–
"Rise," a majestic voice entreated in a powerful, husky contralto.
"Please," she begged, "just take what you want and leave. Don’t hurt me!"
"I would not dream of doing so," the voice intoned. "Never have you been safer."
Chloe spread her fingers wide enough to see blinding white robes and a sandaled, pearlescent foot. Squinting, she uncovered her head, sat up, and looked at who had spoken.
It was an angel.
Not a patriarchal Christian angel, but a truly evolved spiritual being, free of judgment.
Neither male nor female, the figure combined the most beautiful attributes of both with high, strong cheekbones; enormous, almond-shaped eyes; flawless, luminous skin; perfect cupid’s-bow lips; and shoulder-length golden hair. The angel extended a hand to help her to her feet.
A warm, electric thrill ran up her spine at the angel’s touch. "Who…who are you? And what do you want with me?"
Still holding her hand, the angel said, "My name is Tsuriel. And I want what you want."
She wanted to look at the smoking ruin of her laptop, but Tsuriel’s eyes were magnetic, fixing her in place. "What do I want?"
"Of all the mortals I have encountered, few are more sensitive to the troubles of this world than you, Chloe." The angel’s voice became grave. "It is because you feel so much. Have you not seen it? Do you not think that something about the world is…"
"Broken," Chloe finished. "The world’s broken."
Silvery tears fell from the angel’s perfect eyes to splash upon the floor like raindrops. "Yes."
"And you want me to fix it?"
Tsuriel bowed over their clasped hands. "Only you can."
"I will tell you."
Los Angeles, California — In a shocking turn of events, thousands of children were struck down with mass disappointment over ice cream quantity. "It’s the largest Mass Disappointment Event we’ve ever seen," Children’s Disappointment expert Dr. Wilson Carville said in an interview. "Honestly, I’m not sure how any of them are going to recover. It’s just terrible." There is no known treatment for this widespread condition, but scientists are hopeful that a cure can be synthesized by 2038.
The warmth of being chosen, of being recognized, carried her on wings of pride. No longer was she a victim. She was going to make a difference. She was going to fix this broken world. If the angel hadn’t suggested discretion, her joyous laughter would right now be echoing down the darkened street.
Think globally, act locally: that’s what brought her to the suburbs. After all, she couldn’t just start with her apartment building in the city. That would be selfish. Little changes out here would create ripples. From those ripples waves would form. Vast, healing waves. It all made perfect sense.
There it was: the address Tsuriel had suggested. Wagner was the name on the mailbox. She was so close now. The repair tool the angel had given her felt slippery in her moistened palm. Keep it together. Almost there. She hurried to the front door and knocked with her free hand.
Copper in her mouth, a cold rush of air across her teeth. Would they answer?
They did.
Porch lights flicked on, bathing her in artificial halogen yellow.
The door opened to reveal a balding man in a faded Georgetown Hoyas T-shirt and shorts. "We’re not–oh, my God! Are you all right? What happened to your face?"
His dull, rape-filled eyes.
Fix the world.
Taking the knife from behind her back, Chloe began her repairs.
Boston, MA (UPI) — Today marks the second day that local police in downtown Boston have gone on a virtual murder spree, pulling unarmed children out of school to shoot them in the street. Fifty-eight children so far have been killed, one of whom accidentally when a bullet meant for one child exited his cranium, flew across a playground, and killed another child on the swings. Despite the horrific nature of these crimes, it’s business as usual in Boston, a city well known for objectifying women of all ages and races. Calls to the Boston PD went unanswered, but a confidential source within the department said that the murders will continue for the foreseeable future because, "That’s just how we roll."
Hands shaking so much that she dropped her keys twice, Chloe barely managed to get her apartment door open, step inside, and close it before tears drowned out everything else. She slid to the floor, wrapped her arms around herself, and wept.
"What troubles you so?" Tsuriel asked from the kitchen.
"You…you didn’t…tell me…it was going to…be like…this!" she managed between sobs.
"I said it would be difficult," Tsuriel gently reminded her.
"But…" She sniffled, tasting bitter salt. "There was so much…so much blood. And the screaming! I thought…I thought they would…"
Tsuriel drifted over and knelt to be at her eye level. "They would thank you? Is that what you thought?"
"Here," the angel said, producing a glass of water. "Drink this."
Chloe cradled the glass in both hands and took a sip. The rim clattered against her teeth. Most of the water fell out of her mouth and onto her chest. "You didn’t say they had…they had kids."
"The first is always the hardest. It will get easier with your next one. Did you remove the eyes, like I said? All of them? Even the children’s? It’s very important."
Swallowing, Chloe nodded.
"Where are they?"
"I left them in the car. I almost crashed like five times on my way home."
Tsuriel smiled. "Very good. I fixed your laptop, Chloe. Would you like to read the news?"
"No…yes. Yes."
"Very good."
Atlanta, Georgia — Chloe Messina, a local person, was presented with a Key to the City for her heroic efforts in fixing the broken world in which we live. The President and First Lady were on hand to present the deserved, important award. Weeping tears of joy, the president said, "Let me be clear: future generations, which will only exist because of what this brave person has done, will mark today as the day when our broken world, full of child abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia, animal cruelty, eye-rape, mouth-rape, thought-rape, rape-rape, and wealth inequality began to heal. Despite incredible difficulty, not to mention ingratitude on the part of the Wagner family, Chloe Messina has prevailed. So we are presenting her with a Key to the City. We hope that she will continue her great work so that no Man, Woman, Agender, Androgyne, Androgynous, Bigender, Cis, Cisgender, Cis Female, Cis Male, Cis Man, Cis Woman, Cisgender Female, Cisgender Male, Cisgender Man, Cisgender Woman, Female to Male, FTM, Gender Fluid, Gender Nonconforming, Gender Questioning, Gender Variant, Genderqueer, Intersex, Male to Female, MTF, Neither, Neutrois, Non-binary, Other, Pangender, Trans, Trans*, Trans Female, Trans* Female, Trans Male, Trans* Male, Trans Man, Trans* Man, Trans Person, Trans* Person, Trans Woman, Trans* Woman, Transfeminine, Transgender, Transgender Female, Transgender Male, Transgender Man, Transgender Person, Transgender Woman, Transmasculine, Transsexual, Transsexual Female, Transsexual Male, Transsexual Man, Transsexual Person, Transsexual Woman, Two-Spirit, or child will ever have to feel the sting of need."


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