Sharp as Sword Blades, ch. 4: April Guthrie [null]

Monitoring: April Guthrie [null]
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

1:25 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
Monday, August 4th, 2014
17:25 Coordinated Universal Time
Monday, August 4th, 2014

Rewind—

Face turned to the lionfish on her table, April watches out of the corner of her eye as Hannah converses with Simon’s mystery people. Even when they reveal their knowledge that they are being watched and Señora Viejo, as she is apparently named, blatantly looks around the restaurant, April keeps her face impassive. They know about two PALATINATE agents and one of those is almost certainly Mary, so there’s a fifty-fifty chance that her cover is intact. Continue reading

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Awful Shadow, ch. 10: Simon Martin

Monitoring: Simon Martin
Vienna, Virginia, USA

4:50 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
Monday, June 16th, 2014
20:50 Coordinated Universal Time
Monday, June 16th, 2014

Fast forward—

Simon is in a clean, brightly-lit room. There is a white-and-blue checkerboard pattern in the floor tiling, and kitschy animal figures on the shelves. Most of them are elephants, and all of them are engaged in various activities usually reserved for humans, playing golf or putting on bowling shoes or reading the newspaper on a park bench. A few are wearing bowler hats; the rest are bareheaded.

(He’s so cold, but it isn’t the room. It’s him. It’s his body, frantically flipping switches to try to stay alive. If it is alright to personify his organs and bodily systems, then all hands are on deck and every one of them is running terrified.) Continue reading

Awful Shadow, ch. 6: Simon Martin

Monitoring: Simon Martin
Vienna, Virginia, USA

4:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
Thursday, May 29th, 2014
20:15 Coordinated Universal Time
Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Fast forward—

Dr. Denham has this thing where he draws a curtain in front of the door after Simon enters his office, as if there needs to be an extra layer between them and the outside world. The window blinds, too, are always closed until Simon has been asked whether he’d like them to be open. Simon isn’t sure if the quirk is Denham’s, specifically, or if it’s some trick that he’s picked up over the years for a certain kind of patient. Asking would feel too weird, so Simon has never brought it up. Continue reading

Awful Shadow, ch. 4: Simon Martin

Monitoring: Simon Martin
Vienna, Virginia, USA

4:10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
Thursday, May 15th, 2014
20:10 Coordinated Universal Time
Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Fast forward—

The dreams aren’t getting any better, but Simon is coping. It helps that PALATINATE is only running tests on him once a week, that Dr. Denham sees him every Monday and Thursday and is on-call if Simon ever needs him at another time, and that, well, he doesn’t have to go this alone. It’s obviously very terrifying for a lot of reasons to know that he’s been attached to a secret arm of an international superpower, but in at least one way it’s also a comfort: the odds of accomplishing something with his power have never been better. Continue reading

Awful Shadow, ch. 1: Simon Martin

“The awful shadow of some unseen Power
Floats, tho’ unseen, amongst us.”
Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Monitoring: Simon Martin
Vienna, Virginia, USA

5:10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time
Sunday, May 4th, 2014
8:10 Coordinated Universal Time
Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Fast forward—

It takes a couple of tries to actually hit the remote beside his bed and turn the lights on. At least he doesn’t have to deal with a lamp anymore—he knocked it over on his second night, in his attempt to work the twist-knob while his hands were shaking. Continue reading

Not Too Small, ch. 10: Austin Smith

Monitoring: Austin Smith
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time
Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
23:00 Coordinated Universal Time
Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Rewind—

When Austin returns to the kitchen, the first order of business is to find out, since Simon is staying for more than a few minutes, if there are any dinner requests.

“Your parents aren’t going to be home for a while, are they?” Simon asks.

“Dad’ll be around in…” Austin checks the clock. “In an hour or so maybe. Mom could be home from the office then or later, if there’s still work to be done. I mean, I’d wait for Dad and my sister to get home, at least, but you probably haven’t eaten in an actual house for a few days.” Continue reading

Not Too Small, ch. 5: Austin Smith

Monitoring: Austin Smith
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States

4:40 p.m. Central Standard Time
Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
22:40 Coordinated Universal Time
Wednesday, February 12th, 2013

Agent Rucker looks…patient; Blank, respectful. They make eye contact for just a couple of seconds, then return their collective gaze to Hannah. Not for the first time, Austin feels like there’s something that he’s missing–between the agents, between them and Hannah–but he doesn’t have enough information to be sure.

Blank leans forward and steeples his fingers together. “What are you looking for?” he asks. Continue reading