Chapter 40

Clarke stood by the windows of the conference room, a thin trail of smoke leading up from his cigarette as he tapped on his phone.

‘Um,’ Stef said as she closed the door. ‘You wanted to see me?’

Clarke lifted his head, tilted it to the left, then turned halfway towards her. ‘You’re not even going to throw a “sir” on the end of that question? Interesting. Sit.’

Continue reading “Chapter 40”

47 – Reputations

[Come see me before the meeting?]

Stef put a hand out to stop Curt from opening the door to the conference room, turned her hand and grabbed his shirt, then shifted them both to Ryan’s office.

‘You rang?’ she said, giving a less-than-convincing impression of Lurch.

‘I just wanted to warn you,’ Ryan said as he rose from behind his desk, ‘and to ask your forgiveness.’ Continue reading “47 – Reputations”

28 – Breath

The door cracked open. Light invaded the dark room, hurt his eyes, made him focus. Curt looked up, unable to muster the strength to shield himself from the brightness. A man stood silhouetted in the doorway – Ryan. The agent stared down at him for a moment, then entered the room, and joined him on the floor.

He lifted his hands and wiped at his eyes, feeling the dried tears on his cheeks. He knew he looked like shit, but there was nothing he could do, even if he’d cared. Continue reading “28 – Breath”

15 – Ashes, Gold and Soot

Stef looked up to Death, and gave a nervous smile.

Ryan was on his feet in a second, and bowing to Death. ‘My lady.’

She quickly followed suit, disappearing the Coke with a thought. Death smiled at them both, then her expression went serious. ‘Sit, please,’ she said, ‘and listen.’

They sat, and Death moved to the centre of the room. ‘What you’ve been told is true, but incomplete. They have two phoenix chicks.’

‘The eggs hatched?’ Ryan asked. Continue reading “15 – Ashes, Gold and Soot”

39 – A Holiday

Taylor opened his eyes.

The walls were covered in blood. So much blood. His dead body hung on the wall across, pinned there like a butterfly, blood still dripping from his mouth. She hadn’t let him die quickly. She had not had the capacity to listen to him, the sense to stay down when he’d hit her or the luck to die first.

She had hurt him. She had kept hurting him. He had begged, and only then had she killed him. Continue reading “39 – A Holiday”

43 – Lie To Me

Ryan blinked, then scrawled his signature again, for the fifty-seventh time. After the first few dozen, all of the forms began to look the same, and he was barely registering what they were saying anymore. Reports, requisitions, information control, it was all everyday and it had all been done before. There was no logical cause to request an audit, it was simply Emma abusing her power.

At least he wasn’t alone, Taylor sat across from him, nearly stabbing each page, Jones beside him, nodding along to some internally-played music, and Clarke at the head of the table, one hand initialing all of his paperwork, the other hand madly sending text messages. Continue reading “43 – Lie To Me”