Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Intended

“Interrogating is not a simple business anymore.”

Charlie and Mr. Jonah were sitting in a large office that was professionally gray and square, and Charlie admired the room’s balance of furniture and emptiness.  He felt good that everything on the desktop and in the black bookshelf had a specific place and function.

Mr. Jonah moved closer to the great window that stretched from floor to ceiling.  Boston’s compact skyline huddled around them, and in the distance there was some smoke from Charlestown but beyond that were the low humps of green hills.  The glass was lightly tinted blue, and because the window faced north the direct glare of the sun never came into the office.

“Interrogating is not a simple business,” he said again.  “I don’t mean the act itself—I certainly don’t have the authority to tell you about that, since you can do it and I obviously can’t.  Otherwise I wouldn’t be in this kind of position.  I’d be sitting right where you are, if I could do what you can do.”  Charlie smiled politely, fidgeted with the knot of his tie, which he had retied three times an hour ago.

“I mean it’s not a simple business.  The numbers, the schedules, the economics of the thing—none of that is simple.  The most difficult part of working for a company like ContraData if you’ve been developing the skill on your own, out there in the world, is realizing that what you can do is no longer just a part of your own experience.  Realizing that it now affects thousands of agents, managers, accountants, executives all over the world.  Not to mention, of course, the clients involved in the specific cases that you have.  Time and again.”

Through his window, Mr. Jonah watched a world that was not moving.

“Sometimes I envy my agents—I really do.  Sometimes I wish I could feel what you feel when you first realize you’ve actually done it—that hazy moment when it really is 1979 again, or when you hear the first notes from a radio that reminds you that some singer from the nineties is still alive wherever you are.”

He looked Charlie in the eye, and the receding gray of his hair was icy against the blue of the window.

“But sometimes I wouldn’t want to be you for anything in the world, Charlie.”

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The Black Pilgrimage


Marble Dreams

Remyan…Why do ya fight me so? Fightin’ ya nature, like a bird fightin’ da wind or a fish fightin’ da water. I be no enemy to ya. Blood is a fine wine, bazra, it age with each kill, and that makes yours a rare vintage. Beware, my precious Remyan, great peril awaits ya…for de marble road you travel leads toward palaver with de Black One. His thralls will try to end your lore, but will add to it. It has been foreseen, sala. Endure these marble dreams. Soon de nightmare will be here.


No reward can be spent in the grave.

   He could tell that they wanted to kill him. Remmy had seen the look on their faces before. It was a visage dripping with angst, anticipation, and anxiety. He knew it well because he had worn it on more than a few occasions.

The three men sat at a table across the tavern from him, each one armed with blades from shoulder strap to belt. Remmy knew one of them by name, a particularly vile bastard known as Agmar the Blight, who had earned his name fighting the hill men of Ramone for coin and plunder, or at least that was his reputation.

And Remmy Southwind knew a thing or two about reputations, for he had one of his own. He knew that wherever the name followed, there would always be a steady stream of men looking to steal it’s glory for themselves, with or without the reward.

Markum’s wife, Dreama, walked in the side door of the tavern, carrying a wooden pale at her side. Her beauty hadn’t betrayed her at all in the eight years since her wedding night. He could tell immediately what attracted Markum saw to her.

A precocious young girl ran in behind her. One glance at her smirk and you could immediately see her father’s face.

“Dreama” he said in salutation.

Wordlessly, she kept walking, with little more than an icy glance.

Remmy didn’t take offense. He was a bygone memory in her husband’s past. A memory filled with blood and bile and war. Who wants to see those sitting at your table, drinking your ale, asking to see your husband?

Agmar still hadn’t taken his eyes off Remmy. One of his drinking buddies was a dwarf with black tattooed lines etching the contours of his face and shaved scalp. His short trimmed beard covered a pointy chin, and was half soaked in excess ale and gods knew what else. He sat there in a stupor, either scared or drunk or both, while the other, a stocky lad, hadn’t looked up from his ale since Remmy sat down.

And that made him smile. “Know my name, do you boy?” he whispered to himself.

He was right to be scared. They called him “Deathless.” It was a useful, all be it undeserved moniker, he had to admit, for Remmy was most definitely capable of dying. That being said, he didn’t think “Lucky Remmy” or “Remmy the Fortunate” sounded as good, so he never bothered to correct it.

A big hand clapped down on his right shoulder. Reflexively, he reached down for the dagger at his side, but when he looked up, a familiar voice greeted him for the first time in 8 years.

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