A snip from an upcoming short story titled SHIELD ME. Enjoy!
“If you attempt to climb down the outside of that skyscraper I will report you to the psychiatric ward. And then have you fired. I don’t have the clearance for it but I swear I’ll find a way,” Mary shouts down the telephone line, staring with laser focus at the blinking red dot on the map in front of her, like she can hold it in place through sheer force of will. “It’s unsafe, physically impossible, and you’ll lose the target.”
The laugh that reverberates down the line is wind-tossed; static buzzes in her ear and makes her wince.
“You act like I’ve never done this before,” Agent Darren’s low voices teases her. The wind interference is gone now, and Mary’s shoulders relax a fraction. She reminds herself to blink. “I think I'm a better authority on what I can and cannot do than you are, Data. Since when did you become an expert on physic mechanics?”
There’s nobody in her cubicle to see it, so Mary allows herself an eye roll.
“Since last June when you tried the same exact thing and landed yourself in the hospital for three weeks."
“Three days.” The little red dot is moving slowly but steadily, pausing along the blue lines of the map that cover her computer screen. Mary hopes one of the doors will open in time. She twines her fingers together and squeezes hard, trying to bleed off her excess energy. Keeping her cool might be what keeps Darren alive.
“That’s because you signed yourself out against medical advice after three days and dropped off the map. The entire agency was in an uproar. It was quite the feat.”
It's not a pleasant memory, set against the worry that’s clawing at her throat. She watches – from a safe distance, always from a safe distance, and sometimes that chafes – Darren search calmly for the door that will get him out of the building before this particular bad guy can set off a bomb.
Mary flicks a glance around her cubicle at the stacks of books on every topic from Peruvian folklore to, well, physics. She wonders how different it would be if she were assigned to a different agent.
She wonders how different she would be if she were assigned to a different agent.
“Got it.” There’s a faint click from the other end and the red dot slides right through one of the blue lines. Darren always does that; manages to force himself through locked doors and bend reality to his will. She watches him do this on mission after mission, and though she'd never do anything so unprofessional as to acknowledge it, Mary never gets tired of it.