55 – Final Chapter

17 days later.

Ryan tapped his pen on his desk, the sound resounding through the empty office. The stack of paperwork in front of him wasn’t going to do itself, but the last thing on his mind was recruit progression reports. The paperwork had built up whilst he had been…distracted, but like a faithful animal, it was always waiting.

Jones’ defense had worked for him – a battlefield accident, conflicting priorities, the primary urge not to cause harm to the innocent…It hadn’t come without punishment, harsh punishment, but it was a price he willingly paid, it was better than the alternative. Continue reading “55 – Final Chapter”

53 – Twitch

Stef stared through half-open eyes at the pea-soup-fog reality around her, everything was hazy, nothing cared to focus, even when it came close enough. Aside from the occasional needle-prick, she felt that she may as well be living in a marshmallow.

‘Oh god I don’t want to die in hot chocolate!’ a voice, that sounded rather like her own, shouted .

There was another needle-prick and the relative marshmallow level increased. Continue reading “53 – Twitch”

52 – The Right Decision

Stef stared silently at the agent, trying to pick the moment when having a gun pointed at her had become…almost normal. She felt frozen – it was like the stag again, but this time, if she moved, the results weren’t going to be as non-consequential as the wish-granter disappearing. The door closed without him moving an inch. Stupid M-word. He took a step closer, the gun still aimed at her head.

He hadn’t fired yet though, this was a good thing. He kept the gun level, scanned his eyes across the room, then looked back at her. ‘What are you?’ he demanded. Continue reading “52 – The Right Decision”

51 – Soul and Source

Ryan caught the girl before she hit the ground – a scan revealed that she was simply asleep. He could understand her exhaustion, and he knew that coming back to life was very taxing on a body, he’d had it described to him before. That, combined with the emotional stress, was obviously too much for her frail body. He lifted her and looked to the Lost’s ambassador.

The man masquerading as a captain shook his head. ‘I know you aren’t happy with this either, let her know that she’s always welcome.’ Continue reading “51 – Soul and Source”

50 – East of Neverland, West of the Lamp Post

All Stef could do was stare at the wardrobe doors. It had seemed like such a big thing, just to close them, as if it were different to any other time she’d closed the doors. She concentrated on the reality of the doors, the familiar doors that had stared across from her every day of her grown-up life…the life in which she‘d desperately avoided being a grown-up or pretending to have any semblance to the people who commuted, had home loans, bills and screaming matches with their spouses over the tiniest of things.

She pressed against the doors, where they met – It was still cold, the forest and the snow were still behind there. The snow like- She shook her head and forced away the false thoughts – rather separating the false thoughts away from the fictional thoughts, which were perfectly viable as real thoughts. Fiction, afterall, was just someone else’s reality, and, she realised, as she heard the swish of a velvet coat enter her bedroom, it was sometimes a part of your own. Continue reading “50 – East of Neverland, West of the Lamp Post”

49 – Somethings…

Stef struggled against him – at first because she didn’t realise whose arms were wrapped tightly around her, then because of whose arms they were. She struggled and tried to pull away, but he held on, not giving her an inch.

For a panicked moment, she worried that she’d become the only thing she’d ever feared becoming – delusional. The concept of other psychological ailments didn’t bother her, but not being able to distinguish between what was real and what wasn’t frightened her. Continue reading “49 – Somethings…”

48 – Grains

‘If you care to recall,’ Stef said. ‘I came here to get away from-’

‘There’s no one else that could help you. You don’t know any fae, and three-quarters of them aren’t to be trusted in any case, who else do you have?’

‘I came here so I could think. I’ve only been al-’

‘I’m not trying to cause you more grief, Spyder, I’m just trying to prevent my own. Whether by your will or not, you’re dangerous.’ Continue reading “48 – Grains”

47 – Wardrobes

Retreating to the secret stair, Stef lifted the old book and read it through again – to clear her mind of every other thought, and at the same time trying to stave off the urge to go back to sleep – she’d been alive again for less than two days, and had slept through most of it. There was no reason to be as tired as she was.

She lifted the book to her face, breathing in the worn pages and the memories of those that had read it before, taking the same adventure that she so often took. It was a safe adventure, a secret fantasy, and one where the status quo was always restored. Always. No matter how many times she read it, the ending was always the same – unsurprising, but at the same time, always surprising. It was a book, and like the theory of the cat in the box, one could never be sure what would happen on the next page until you read it. Continue reading “47 – Wardrobes”

46 – Pact

Stef knew the voice without turning around. ‘Didn’t know you had dibs on it. Jon said I could have it, he said he didn’t expect you.’

‘I’m rarely expected, Spyder. I heard the news from his doctor, not from him, so he probably doesn’t know I’m here.’

She tapped her fingers on the disk. ‘So he really meant it when he said-’ Continue reading “46 – Pact”