21 – With a Flash

The secret stairs.

Stef stared at the closed door, the door that looked like every other one – except it didn’t have a “You aren’t a person; you’re a number” number on it. They weren’t secret stairs; they were just classily concealed, but they still felt secret. Had felt secret. Had felt special. In light of everything that had happened, the sheen of adventure and mystery had worn off.

She required the key but yanked her hand back before putting it into the lock.

Another jiggle of the handle confirmed that the door was locked.

Require: door unlock?

Continue reading “21 – With a Flash”

04 – Monster

Stef stared, bleary-eyed, trying to interpret the meaning of the symbols. They were numbers for sure – the position on the screen told her that they were the time. She wiped at her eyes, and a two slowly came into focus. Two in the morning, again; nothing achieved, again.

Across the room, three of her fellow code monkeys had given up on the task at hand, instead deciding to form their own little LAN party. A quiet LAN party wouldn’t have been a problem. There was nothing distracting about a bunch of gamers quietly questing towards a reward.

Loud rounds of Counterstruck Gears of Whatever, on the other hand, complete with shouted insults at their fellows and cries of anguish when their soldiers were completely pwned, was more of a distraction. She cranked up all of the computer’s sound settings, preferring the shake and reverb of headphones working over spec to the hurled insults of FPS gamers.

Continue reading “04 – Monster”

43 – Heroes

Magnolia leaped up onto the scaffolding and began to climb – she could hear Taylor fighting on the roof above, alone. That was, of course, her fault – if she hadn’t been slow and weak, he never would have been able to get so far ahead.

The screaming body of a Solstice fell past her and hit the ground with very final thump. There was no need to check on his status – she knew Taylor wouldn’t have thrown him, and ceased fighting him, without a good reason.

She reached the top of the scaffolding and jumped onto the rooftop. Taylor stood, covered in blood, surrounded by bodies, staring at the hole in the sky. She’d been very careful to avoid looking at the sky – what came through didn’t matter, only the fighting at street level mattered. Continue reading “43 – Heroes”

41 – Seconds and Triplets

Stef’s eyes went wide as the bullet hit Enid – the other recruit glared, took a couple of stumbling steps, then fell. Her hand started to shake, and her arm soon joined it. Enid was still twitching, so she didn’t dare loosen the white-knuckle grip on the gun. She took a few slow steps toward Enid, trying to keep her mind blank.

‘I’m still alive, you stupid bitch,’ Enid spluttered. ‘Why the fuck-?’

She looked down at her handiwork, it hadn’t been a very good shot – the blood was pumping out, but it appeared to be a shot to the lung, rather than to the heart.

You really do need more practice. Continue reading “41 – Seconds and Triplets”

23 – Stardust

Astrin looked up from his meal as the wind whistled through the cracks of a building. It wasn’t a pretty sound, it was strained, hurt, and distorted by metal. Everything in this world was so harsh, so angled, so confined.

It was an ugly world. Cities here were such ugly things. At night, the sky was filled with so much unnatural light that it blocked out the stars themselves. He’d seen pictures – he knew that the entire world wasn’t like this.

Part of him hoped that if she fell to this world, that she would enter it in a prettier place. A park. A beach. Somewhere that wasn’t angles, boxes and dirt. Continue reading “23 – Stardust”

18 – Best Laid Plans

The recruit looked up at the cloudy night sky as, the faint starlight failing to provide enough illumination to stop her from stumbling in the mud. A thought could have had a torch in her hand, but she decided against it – she didn’t want to attact attention.

She got to the small clearing among the mangroves, her shoes sinking into the sucking mud. All logic said she should have been afraid – she was alone, with a huge beast in the trees above her. Its breathing was unmistakable, and he was there on time, quite a feat for a beast without a watch. Continue reading “18 – Best Laid Plans”

04 – 2am

The bleary digits on Stef’s screen informed her that it was two in the morning again.

Across the room, three of her fellow code moneys had given up on the task at hand, instead deciding to form their own little LAN party. A quiet LAN party wouldn’t have been a problem. There was nothing distracting about a bunch of gamers quietly questing toward a reward. Loud rounds of Counterstrike, on the other hand, complete with shouted insults at their fellows and cries of anguish when their soldier was completed pwned, was more of a distraction. She cranked up all of the sound settings, preferring the shake and reverb of headphones working over-spec to the hurled insults of FPS gamers. Continue reading “04 – 2am”