• 2019 Short Stories

    One-Shot: An Innocent Question

    ‘So I’m immortal, right?’ Curt lifted his head, glad of the break from the paperwork, but his mood immediately dropped again as the words fully sank in. Nothing normal ever followed Stef asking a question like that. ‘Every time,’ he said slowly, ‘you ask something like that, I wish the Demolition Man expanding foam stuff was real.’ He looked around the office – nothing was out of place – so there was nothing that he needed to immediately yank her away from. But Newbie with weird ideas in her head was equally as dangerous as a Newbie who wanted to pick up a live wire because “electricity can’t hurt me,…

  • 03 - Mirrorshades

    35 – A Place of Truth

    The fae boy on the screen was cute – animal fae of some variety, maybe a cat, given the shape of the pupils, but Curt shook his head. ‘You can do better.’ Carmichael pulled the phone back, looked critically at the probably-a-cat-fae and nodded before swiping the profile away. ‘How about him?’ ‘Plin, that’s just abs.’ ‘Good abs,’ Carmichael said, then flagged down their waitress to order another brunch cocktail. ‘Which mode are you on? Peony or Rose?’ The Rose Room app had several profiles you could select from, depending if you were looking for immediate hookups with no questions asked. Rose, some casual chat and maybe an activity, but…

  • 03 - Mirrorshades

    34 – In Every Way

    Magnolia leaned her head back, and shampoo-laden warm water rolled down her back. If there was no other reason in the world to be employed by the Agency, it was for…everything to do with taking a bath or shower. Water that was always the perfect temperature and would stay there, even if you ran it on full for hours on end. A showerhead that could spit out water of any combination – fat, soft droplets when you wanted something calming, or thin sharp spikes that drove themselves into your skin like shards of glass. It didn’t matter if you got shampoo in your eye; some bit of blue programming available,…

  • 03 - Mirrorshades

    33 – The Border of the Real

    A dozen different delays had led to the meeting getting pushed back and back and back. Part of her hadn’t minded, it had meant she could keep the image of how she expected things to go in a perfect little snowglobe of expectations. The rest of her had been poking at the little bits of research Ryan had suggested, somehow simultaneously wanting to learn everything and nothing about a significant patch of magic in her life that she had no real memory of. Stef adjusted her back a little, careful to keep her shoulder angled so that it didn’t hit the slats of her bed. Agent or not, small contained…

  • 03 - Mirrorshades

    32 – Nothing Nefarious

    Curt pressed the tips of his fingers together over the bridge of his nose, his fingernails digging – just a little – into the growing crease between his eyebrows and wondered if it was possible to stroke out as a recruit or if blue stopped that kind of biological malfunction from occurring. ‘Newbie. I know what you’re trying to do.’ Stef, hands clasped in front of her, cheek resting on her left shoulder, contrived to look as innocent as a kitten. At a stretch, it might have fooled the idling Agent Bob, that sat next to Milla on the bleachers. ‘I’m not doing anything,’ she said, voice as sweet as…

  • 03 - Mirrorshades

    31 – Not a Bribe

    With things squared away and Taylor still sleeping, she started to go about her morning duties. As normal as she could do, anyway, given that her entire status quo had shifted since the previous morning. Magnolia smiled as she shifted all of the unread emails from Ryan into their own little folder to deal with in a moment. Aside from those, very little had come in overnight that she had to deal with immediately. Most incoming requests had sorted themselves according to her filters and workflows. Leave forms, education requests and schedule changes all sat in their own sections, ready for when she had some time to deal with them.…

  • 03 - Mirrorshades

    30 – A Fairy Tale Moment

    ‘I love you.’ Words that she had expected to remain unsaid. Something kept close to her chest, unspoken unto the ending of the world. An emotional reality that would interfere with how everything operated. A change that couldn’t be taken back. And he had accepted it. And let her kiss him. Had accepted touch and intimacy and a thousand small sensations that had barely been part of her imaginings whenever he’d been in her mind as she masturbated. Magnolia tried not to move, tried to keep her breathing even, her movements as subtle as when she’d been sleeping. Still, with how large his back muscles were in her field of…

  • 03 - Mirrorshades

    29 – The Point of Delineation

    Taylor shifted slightly, the dried blood on his knee making his pants stick as he adjusted his position against the wall. It was quiet. Always quiet. He hated the quiet. Hated how still the dead man was. Hated that no matter how many times he came here, history never changed. He settled, back straight, knees up, the head of the dead man near his left foot. He couldn’t stop looking at the dead man, at the strip of white cloth he’d used to cover the man’s eyes, and the blood was wicking up from the cold floor, staining the shroud. It was silent. The same stillness that hung in the…

  • 03 - Mirrorshades

    28 – Playtime

    Whoever had said you couldn’t play with toys as an adult had been an arsehole. ‘Okay,’ Milla said, placing the Solstice figure on the city-map-playmat. ‘What about here?’ Stef tossed the little agent doll back and forth between her hands, then placed it halfway between where they’d designated the blackout zone and the little round cracker that represented the closest set of fairy stairs in this scenario. There was a ping in her HUD – Ryan, requesting video. ‘Gimme a minute,’ she said. She clicked the video accept button, smiled, and tried not to look at her own little picture-in-picture webcam face. [Hey.]   [They’re estimating that this will take…

  • 03 - Mirrorshades

    27 – Private Thoughts

    Magnolia stared into the bathroom mirror and wrinkled her nose. She’d gotten about an hour more of sleep than average but felt worse for it. More rest was good, but it had been some less-than-optimal arrangement of REM cycles. Nothing she couldn’t handle. She tapped her phone, swiped into the apps and opened the little custom app Screen had built, where her bestie-with-benefits built her a new playlist each week. Some kind of alt-rock with a female vocalist started, moody and uplifting in that perfect early-2000s kind of way. She discarded her shorts and cami and then began a body check. There’d been a few wounds not worth going to…