45 – Pain

October 15th

 

The bubbles of the Good Witch Glinda had always fascinated her – even despite the special effects technology of 1939. They had just looked…magical and perfect. Strong enough to carry a person, but ready to pop at a moment’s notice.

Stef rested her back against the wall of the oubliette, and stared across at the princess – who definitely wasn’t in another castle.

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58 – Time and Again

Day One

Stef lifted the end of her T-shirt and wrapped it up over her head, like the beginnings of a ninja hood, and stared down at her chest.

The scar from the mirror’s entry still sat pink against her chest, refusing to go white like the rest of her old scars. It would, it just took time.

And time, unlike freedom or choice, was something she had.

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13 – Barriers

September 24th

Ryan sat at his desk, the heels of his hands pressed into his eyes.

Whatever relief the tank had brought in the morning, it had well and truly worn off.

The oubliette key sat on his desk, as much an object of temptation as drugs to a recovering addict.

He had to go back – he had to check on Stef. He had to figure out a way to monitor her condition, he had to encourage her to come back from…wherever she was. Continue reading “13 – Barriers”

22 – Old Endings, New Beginnings

Ryan knocked on the door. He focused on the small new experience, he’d been to the apartment dozens of times, nearly lived there the month Stef had been in suspension, and back and forth as much as he could in the small amount of time Carol had been back. So much time spent in the flat, but never once entering or leaving by the front door.

Carol opened the door. If he’d held out any hope for the situation, he would have taken it as a good sign. Hope was gone, and it was more cathartic than he could have imagined. There’d been no time to grieve for all the time lost, to take in what he’d done with Vink, how it had flown in the face of remaining faithful for two decades. No time to process just how much he’d enjoyed it. Any other circumstances, and he knew it would have taken weeks, even months to adjust. Continue reading “22 – Old Endings, New Beginnings”

12 – Unequal Exchange

Ryan had expected the aftermath of a paperwork hurricane. He had expected his office asunder, piles of paper, good intentions and ink in all four corners, attempting to be tamed by an undertrained Aide and his little girl. The office was clean, in the same condition as he’d left it – or better, judging by the faint lemony smell of freshly-run cleaning sub-routines and the shine of a polished desk.

Stef and Curt sat on the couch, Stef fidgeting with the game in her hand, Curt proud but full of trepidation – standard for the first few days after he took on new Aide duties – the knowledge that he’d done well, but the fear that he hadn’t done well enough. Continue reading “12 – Unequal Exchange”