81 – Mirror, Mirror

Curt dumped the half-empty duffel bag onto the bed.

Packing was easy enough.

Over a year of living in fear, of not wanting to seem comfortable, of expecting to die. Over a year not decorating his room, not requiring things to keep for more than a few hours meant there was very little that he needed to take.

Almost everything of importance wasn’t kept at the Agency, anyway. Continue reading “81 – Mirror, Mirror”

79 – One Small Stef

‘This is totally the wrong roof,’ Stef said.

Ryan squeezed her hand. ‘I know,’ he said as he looked around the Agency roof. ‘But it’s safer to do it from here.’

She looked across the evening sky, towards the roof where they’d stood to watch Dajulveed’s phoenix, then shook her head. ‘Ok. Ok.’

The red phoenix stirred in her arms, feathers of flame beating against her uniform vest. Continue reading “79 – One Small Stef”

77 – Dead Girl Walking

The room was amazing, a round table of blue-stained wood under a sky of gold-purple clouds. The forest the bounded their private dining area was a wintry fir forest, branches heavy with snow, flakes drifting through the air, but never touching them. It was beautiful, it was nonsensical, and it was the perfect kind of fantasy after the fire of the phoenix and the dulled experience of Limbo. The Lost had left them a small feast, and assured them that there would be no interruptions. It was beautiful, but she could only process it in snatches, everything fading to grey when she lost focus for even a second.

I want to live. Continue reading “77 – Dead Girl Walking”

76 – Accomplished and Tasked

The memory glass in the windows showed a story on alien window, rain seeming to hit the glass while lightning arced over an unfamiliar city. The glass misted for a moment, then changed to a view of a pebbly beach, smooth purple stones leading out to a quiet sea. No image stayed for more than a few moments – the stimulation couldn’t hurt, and it kept the room from being static and dead and quiet. Curt checked the time on his phone again, and looked down at the hospital bed. Nine hours again, nine hours of being somewhere they couldn’t reach. She wasn’t dead, she wasn’t hurt, but she wouldn’t wake up. Continue reading “76 – Accomplished and Tasked”

75 – Strange Kindness

Curt opened his eyes and stared into the blue. It had never been his favourite colour, preferring reds and browns and cooler oranges. It had been another part of the Agency that had made it seem so alien, so distancing – the cold blues and greys and blacks. It had seemed so dead, so robotic – which fit into the Solstice philosophy perfectly, more propaganda nonsense to prove how “other” their enemy was. He didn’t mind the colours now, now that he knew that they were simple, functional, and not even the standard of the Agency – different areas had different feature colours. They were a part of his everyday life.

Blue had never been beautiful before. Never been so all-encompassing, so meaningful, so…wonderful. Continue reading “75 – Strange Kindness”

74 – Burning

There was a hand on his chest, and he screamed. He spat more blood onto the agent, and wished that-

‘Curt?’

The voice cut through the fear for a second before he tried to crawl away again. Petersen liked to trick him. To make him hear familiar voices, to-

Strong hands held him and for a moment, he hoped this time they’d just-

‘Curt, look at me, please.’ Continue reading “74 – Burning”

73 – Ashes to Ashes

Curt blinked as Ryan’s office came into view. His arm burned where Stef had touched it, and he quickly required some burn cream, dressing it as Ryan paced, staring into his office as alarms sounded.

This wasn’t normal, this wasn’t one of the dozen times the phoenix had needed to feed.

He sent a small prayer into the void, then turned to the wall, and required a television with a security feed. Everything was a shaking mess of static. He heard something explode, the the floor shook a little. Ryan looked to him. ‘I’m evacuating everyone.’ Continue reading “73 – Ashes to Ashes”