Echoes of Anchor Lost

Prompt: I carry the sadness of a woman / A sadness only women understand / You, you'll hear my footsteps / Louder when I'm gone / Just like every other man ~ "Sadness of a Woman," Russell Crowe by pygmymuse. An Assortment of Writing and Other Worries...

Very angsty stuff. Sorry, y’all.


Liana Mir

Series Listing

16 — 02. Summer

When the Clock Strikes Midnight

16 — 02. Summer through 03. Autumn

Wake and Thrive

16 — 03. Autumn through 17 — 01. Spring

Its Own Absolution

16 — 03. Late Autumn

After the Grief

16 — 03. Late Autumn

Battery Acid

17 — 02. Summer

Accounting for Redemption

17 — 02. Summer

Counting Heartbeats

18 — 01. Spring

Song Between the Waking and the Dreaming

20 — 04. Winter

Echoes of Anchor Lost

21 — 01. Spring

Don’t Remind Me That It’s Over

21 — 02. Summer

Welcome

21— 02 Summer through 22 — 01 Spring

Name Me Another (or Glass Angel, Redux)

22 — 01. Spring

Glass Angel

22 — 01. Spring

Pause the Sonata

22 — 02. Summer

Without a Reason

22 — 03. Autumn

Learning Legato

23 — 02. Summer

Acceptable Cost

23 — 02. Summer

History Lesson on the Night Train

23 — 03. Autumn

Abyss Looking Back

23 — 03. Autumn

Collateral Damage

23 — 03. Autumn

Five Reasons I Love You

23 — 03. Autumn

Little Things

23 — 03. Autumn

Owning Beauty

23 — 04. Winter

Dream the Dance

23 — 04. Winter

Snow Day

24 — 02. Summer

As the River Breathes

AU 21 — 04. Winter

Normal written in coffee grounds

Echoes of Anchor Lost

Moving forward or moving on are the only options.

Tactic and Thought should have been allowed to marry. They were voluntary operatives who did their work and did it well, but it isn’t the Department that’s destroying them.

20 — 04. Winter
Kingdoms and Thorn Science Fiction
Flash Fiction Short Story

Only voluntary team members were allowed to marry. It was one of those simple, unavoidable facts of life as a Department operative for the Thorn Republic. The only problem was that Thought was voluntary because Leader was and she had agreed to follow him.

Thought was the strongest telepath in the Department. She did her work and did it well. She mastered her ability with brutal effectiveness, enough that she was called in to contain others with mind-based abilities. She was the best ranked operative in the Projects—the branch of the Department devoted to genetically-altered special-type humans—at manipulating targets to where the Department wanted them, and she was largely comfortable with her work because she belonged to a team tasked with cleanup. Her team cleaned up after rogue and escapee team members who were willing to hurt civilians in their anger, and her team enforced the laws against genetic experimentation on humans that Thorn had enacted after an internal investigation unearthed the atrocities committed by the Department.

But none of that mattered when application after application resulted in a blunt denial. And Tactic’s eyes darkened and his jaw clenched more often after each time. Thought couldn’t stand to lose him altogether.

“It’s not my fault they said no,” she reminded him again after the last rejection. She was angry, putting on makeup in her room because she was on assignment and needed to sweet-talk a Russian scientist into coughing up how far his genetic research had gone. She sneered a little into the mirror. They always called in the blondes.

Tactic was quiet, brooding, as he sat on the end of her bed, watching her, hands clasped between his knees. He even kept his thoughts quiet enough that she’d have to invade his privacy to read him—which she’d never do. Finally, he leaned forward and said, “This is why they say no.”

Silence halted the air between them for one breathless, faltering moment, then Thought slammed shut the lids on her compacts and tubes and bottles. She slapped her file closed, the one she pulled out and read from time to time to remind herself there was a human heart under what they’d made her into. Her birth name was Catherine, nickname Cate. She had a twin brother who had joined a different team, parents the Department had killed to steal them from.

She turned around at last, utterly composed. She could wear any expression she needed to, apply any body language. Tears wanted to smart behind her eyes but she just looked at him, tearless, tilted her head as she took him in.

“Because I have morals?” Thought asked icily.

Tactic’s eyes darkened further. “Because you wouldn’t take this assignment if you were married.”

She studied him for a long time, not in disagreement or agreement, just cool acceptance of the unraveling of the one anchor she had clung to for the last two years. He was right, but to refuse these assignments without that certificate binding them would reclassify her as involuntary and kill any hopes of happiness in her future.

She brushed past the bed and pulled down her wrap out of the closet. “Don’t wait up for me,” she said, pulling in her thoughts, removing all the last tendrils of herself she had left in him.

Don’t wait up for me. I won’t be back. Not in my spirit, not in my heart. Don’t wait up for me. I’ll cling to my leader but not to you.

Tactic was a natural genius. She doubted he entirely missed her meaning, not with that quiet intake of breath behind her. But it wouldn’t be real until the echoes hit. She knew the progression of loss. This wouldn’t be real until she came back to this room and she would never have him inside of it again.

Tears wanted to sting the backs of her eyes. Thought did not look back.

#


Kingdoms and Thorn Science Fiction

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