37 – End of the Before

Ryan signed a form, and placed it in the pile of “Done” paperwork, one that was growing far more slowly than he would have liked. Even with Curt assisting, doing the low-level work, the “dog” work of chasing down recruits for reports; of adjusting the tedious schedules; of looking for Academy speakers willing to come give lectures, the work was piling up.

He had learned with Alexander that a child was distracting – having a child that was sick was worse; having a child on the edge of death became the first thought on your mind, blocking and distracting you from operating at anywhere near peak efficiency.

He looked away from the paperwork, to the completely still form of Stef. It was easy enough to imagine that she was sleeping. That she was in a coma. That she wasn’t lost…somewhere.

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16 – What Once Was

September 28th

Ryan leaned back against the wall of the oubliette. The crystal was always cold, though still felt alive somehow – it pulsed with magic, just as a mirror did, which made sense – the mirrors were the remnants of Chaos, the oubliettes had to be of a similar order of magic.

It got easier to know where to look so that he didn’t have to look at Carol.

The one small grace he received was that she never woke while he was there. Perfect, sleeping, quiet.

Somehow, it made him feel worse. Continue reading “16 – What Once Was”

02 – Everything Old is New Again

September 23rd

Ryan made a wish.

He could feel the magic flowing in the mirror, static and overwhelming, so vibrant compared to the unmoving body of his recruit.

He let go of the mirror and waited for something to happen, looking around for signs of other people – of fae to avoid, Solstice to fight and other Agency staff to-

Ryan forced his thoughts away from the Agency. Continue reading “02 – Everything Old is New Again”

35 – Old Worries

Ryan coughed.

It hurt to cough. It hurt to breathe. It hurt.

He stared down at his recruit, trying to ignore the countdown timer in his HUD. The number was already too low, ticking away only seconds until his predicted death. He tried not to breathe, tried not to aggravate a wound that could tear open with the slightest provocation.

The emergency pack was the only reason he was still conscious.

The numbers continued to tick lower and lower.

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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”

01 – Broken Doll

A child screamed.

Ryan swore as he tripped over the threshold to the pastel-painted nursery. A silenced shot passed by his head, missing him by inches. Some part of him made a note of it, more evidence to clear away, more collateral damage to control – the rest of him was focussed on the crying child.

The little girl, with a gun held uncomfortably close to her head.

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