Silence. I never expected that. At first I thought nothing had happened, that it hadn’t worked, but as the sound of bullets and bombshells waned and died and echoes fell silent throughout the bunker, the effect became clear. The war just stopped. I turned to Judith, her face as surprised as mine. She opened her mouth to speak.

And nothing came out. “What’s wrong,” I tried to ask. The answer became immediately apparent. We had all been Jinxed. Like school-children. As if we’d all spoken the same words at the same time, and were forever bound to silence until we carried out some act for the one who jinxed us all.

Which was me. Or so I thought. But then, why couldn’t I speak?

I looked down at the pendant, inset with the now-dimmed JINX button. It had been a gift from some high-tech, top-secret research facility. We were given no instructions. Just a pendant, “as a last resort.”

A tiny slip of paper emerged from the pendant’s bottom. It read:

Learn to communicate.

Of course.

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