Curveball

Project Recall: Part Three

Submitted by C B Wright on
Somewhere Else

David Bernard sits cross-legged on the cracked stone floor in the not-dream of the old dojo.

The old dojo still sits in the endless grassy plain. The sky is still a canopy of clear, deep blue. The alien power that dwells within him still murmurs occasionally, slithering through his mind, but it hasn’t actually done anything since it tried to break him earlier. He doesn’t remember how long he’s been there, methodically sifting through Artigenian’s memories, suppressing his revulsion as he examines each in turn, a menagerie of remembered horrors. The lore that Artigenian remembered teaching a younger Artemis LaFleur was nightmarish in itself, but the lore that Artigenian had decided not to teach him—the lore he’d decided his pupil wasn’t ready to accept—that was far, far worse.

He closes his eyes, forcing himself to learn, forcing back the bile that rises in the back of his throat as the knowledge stains him. He sees exactly how Artigenian had been trying to reshape LaFleur’s perceptions, nudge him down a path of nihilism and self-destruction—where he had succeeded, where he had failed, and how, when the opportunity had presented itself, he had set the would-be monarch on a path that would end in the world’s annihilation…

…and how he had, ultimately, failed… which was fortunate for everyone in the world, except the doomed citizens of Esperanza.

Project Recall: Part Two

Submitted by C B Wright on
Robert Thorpe's Office

“Failed again. What the hell did great-grandfather do to this file?”

Jenny Forrest doesn't bother to hide the frustration in her voice.

“He didn't want the bad guys to crack it, I guess.” CB doesn't sound nearly as concerned—in fact, he sounds bored, which frustrates Jenny even more.

Project Recall: Part One

Submitted by C B Wright on
Thorpe Island, Secure Recovery Room

Vigilante’s eyes open.

He lies in the middle of a large, empty cube, naked and curled tightly into a ball. The floor, walls, and ceiling all gleam dull white under the harsh lights recessed in the high ceiling. He’s in his cell. Or his recovery room. At a certain point in the process it’s the same thing.

He isn’t alone. Immediately he sits upright, turning to face the three men watching him. He knows two of them very well, and he has some history with the third. Street Ronin carries a sports bag looped over one shoulder, and Red Shift’s left arm is in a sling. They’re both out of uniform, which is unusual, but he’s pretty sure the third man—a slim, tall man, reddish-brown hair with graying temples, leaning heavily on a cane—is the reason why.

“Gladiator?”

The man hesitates. “Not for a long time.”

Echoes and Consequences: Part Five

Submitted by C B Wright on
Elsewhere, Again

Only a tiny sliver of light remains in the sky—the last vestige of sun seeping in through a tiny crack at the very edge of the horizon—and the shadow cast across David’s dreamscape is so deep it almost has weight. Something is pressing down, all around him, and he’s sure it’s more than the wind.

David tries once again to change the nature of the dream. He stares up at the ever-darkening sky, then holds out his hand, palm up, trying to imagine a tiny ball of light.

Such a small thing. Such a simple, small thing. I should be able to do this.

Nothing.

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