Little Strokes

Another scene from Keenan’s story, this time inspired by a word prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (epigram).  I used an epigram from Benjamin Franklin as a stepping off point for the story.

**

“There’s just no way,” Hollis said, his voice strained.  He shook his head firmly as he and Keenan moved through the tunnel.  “Even if you can make it out of here, you will have to find a way to pass through his forest unnoticed.”

Keenan chewed at his lip thoughtful.  “One thing at a time, my friend,” he said, his voice soft.  He glanced over at his companion.  “Focus on getting from here to there unnoticed,” he added, pointing to the door that led out of the specific tunnel they were walking through.  “Looking at the whole problem is daunting, but if you break it down piece by piece, it’s a lot less worrisome.”

As they reached the door, he smiled.  “See,” he said, “one piece of the puzzle is done.  Now, on to the next.”  He eased the door opened and peered into the corridor beyond.  Seeing no one, he beckoned to Hollis and slipped out into the open.

Hollis eased the door closed in their wake and followed closely beside Keenan.  “Where do you get this… confidence from?” he breathed.

“Little strokes, fell great oaks, a wise man once said,” Keenan murmured back.  He shook his head.  “You can’t expect to chop down a giant tree with one swing of an axe, but, if you take it a bit at a time…” he trailed off.

Nodding, Hollis paused while Keenan listened at the entrance to the next passage.  As they passed that obstacle, Hollis realized that Keenan was right.  It was all in how you looked at the problem.  He couldn’t look at it as escaping the forest.  He had to see it as getting from one point to the next.  That made it far less disheartening.

In a faint voice, he said, “You may just manage it.”

Keenan gave him a playful wink.  “That’s the spirit, Hollis,” he said, nodding in approval.

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Waiting In Darkness, Part 5

When they arrived on the scene, they could see that a group of monsters that numbered somewhere near a couple dozen had Chris and Jewel surrounded. Chris was holding them at bay with a shield, but Connor knew there was only so long he could keep that up.

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Waiting In Darkness, Part 4

“Each team has a mage of some sort,” Gregory said, his voice soft. He glanced back at Connor and frowned. “Our team has two. Would that just be chance?”

“Not likely,” Connor said, shaking his head. He sighed and leaned back against the wall of the alley they were hiding in at the moment. Giving Gregory a smirk, he said, “Chris is rather protective of me. He worked with my brother a couple years ago and, being twins, expects that we’re rather alike.”

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Waiting In Darkness, Part 3

Connor breathed a sigh of relief when he pulled into the garage underneath the Agency tower. He parked his car in its usual space and got out. He locked the vehicle up, all while chewing on his lip nervously. What was going on? Some sort of spell, Chris had said, and he’d mentioned attacks.

Suppressing a shiver, Connor head towards the elevator that would bring him up to the floor where he worked. Hopefully, Chris could explain it to him when he got there. He walked briskly, with his head down, focusing on the task of getting to the elevator.

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Shoes to Fill

Chris felt a moment of nervousness as he stepped into the Team Alpha offices. These people had been working together for… years now. Each of them had been handpicked by Keenan. How would they feel about a new team leader?

Llewellyn was the first to notice his arrival. He poked Hollis on the shoulder. “Look ye,” he said. “Survey that countenence. Does it not speak of trepidation?” He looked at Chris then and shook his head. “Why should ye fear us, good sir?”

Blinking, Chris shook his head. “I’m sorry… what?” he managed.

Hollis chuckled and then smiled at him. “That’s Llew’s way of asking why you’re so nervous,” he said. The smile turned impish and he added, “Only one of us ever bit and he’s been promoted.”

“Aye, under Peter’s Principle, perchance?” Llewellyn teased. He rose and brushed himself off, then. “But come, and I will show ye to your office.”

Chris bit his lip and nodded. He followed the elf into a side office. It was sparse – just the standard furnishings. Keenan had taken all his personal belongings with him to his new office. As Llewellyn left him alone, Chris spotted a sheet of paper on the desk.

He stepped across the room and lifted the paper off the smooth wooden surface. It was a note – to him, from Keenan. “Chris,” it read, “Don’t worry about trying to fill my shoes. I’ve got small feet. Llew and Holl are my friends from way back, so they know how much I actually am looking forward to this. You won’t get any grief from them.

“Michael and Jewel are a couple. They both work surveillance, so that works out fine. Just poke them every once in a while and make sure they aren’t distracting each other. Harmony’s a bit squirrelly, but you’ll get used to her. That comes of working forensic magic – something in it makes you eccentric.

If you need any advice on how to handle a situation, feel free to shoot me a line. I think you’ll do just fine, though.”

Chris sighed and then chuckled softly as he saw the way Keenan had signed it, “Keenan, who is now the boss of all of you!”

As he was setting the note aside, the telephone rang. He bit his lip and lifted the handset to his ear. “Chris Starbright, Team Ga-Alpha,” he said, remembering the change at the last second.

“Your team has a mission,” the director said, his tone brisk. “Your tech person has the details.”

“Yes, sir,” Chris said. As he set the handset back down, he called, “We got work.” It was something he’d always done as Team Gamma’s tech. It made no sense to stop doing it now, when he was a team leader.

a powerful force

Keenan frowned slightly at his watch and then sighed. He shook his head. “I have to get going,” he told Bertram. “I can’t leave Phillip waiting.”

“All right,” Bertram said, nodding. He started to say, “Don’t run.” However, he hardly had the first word out of his mouth before Keenan was sprinting from the room.

There was a crash and a shouted apology from the corridor. Bertram sighed and adjusted his glasses. Peering into the corridor, he saw Hollis sitting on the ground. Papers were strewn all around him. “He’s late for a meeting.”

“He could kill someone,” Hollis breathed.