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Amos Cassidy

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Tales from the Ether
by Amos Cassidy   

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· Crimson Midnight
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Amos Cassidy

A collection of short stories - thirteen in total.

The door to The Ether is open, thirteen tales await. Step into a world where dreams become reality; death is just the beginning; a gem becomes a transportation device; hunter becomes the hunted and even Faerie Queens have identity issues...

A man in a grey suit and hat blocked her exit from the alley as she went to leave.
“Dana,” he said.
“Who are you?”
“Dana is your name?”
“Can I pass?”
“Dana Frost, that’s your name isn’t it?”
“Dana Frost the killer.”
She laughed. “You crazy bastard. Please move before I scream for help.”
The man in the grey suit smiled warmly. “Help? From what I gather, you are no helpless damsel. You could kill me right now with your finger tips if you wished.”
“Then I suggest you move.”
“So you are Dana Frost.”
“Fuck off.” She tried to push past him but he shoved her hard. She stumbled backwards.
The man in grey wasn’t smiling anymore. He wore shades that hid most of his pale face along with a grey hat.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Dana was calm as she spoke, her mind whirring with the possibilities of this encounter. She was trained to hold back her anger. There was no room for emotion in her job and anger could get you killed.
The man in grey spoke. “Dana Frost, assassin. Twenty-seven, red-head, works for Douglas McClayer. Really, really good at what she does. Thomas LaNoir is her ninety-ninth hit. Only one more to go, eh, Dana?”
Okay, chit-chat time was over. The guy knew way too much which meant that her identity had been compromised. She could kill him but that would do no good, her instincts told her he was not the top of the chain. She needed to get back to base. She rushed him, cracking him in the ribs with her elbow. He grabbed her arm and twisted it back, spinning her around so her back was to him. The man in the grey suit kneed her in the lower back, holding tightly to her twisted arm. She didn’t cry out in pain despite wanting to, despite her nerves sparking with agony.
Dana swung her legs behind her, catching his ankles. She didn’t drop him but managed to loosen his grip. Taking the opportunity, she extracted herself from his grasp, barged past him and burst into the street.
And she ran.
Never before had she had to run from anything since her career began. All ninety-nine hits had gone incredibly smoothly, thanks to her supportive network and her skills in the fine art of slaying. This was new. This running from a threat was alien. She was the threat, was what they ran from. The only running she did was for hunting - should the prey catch on for the final moments of their lives before her hands removed them from this world.
Now, Dana Frost was running in fear. The man in the grey suit frightened her. She never got scared. But there was something about him that unnerved her. He knew her name, her age, her hit count. Only one man new those things.
A bus went past her and pulled into the bus stop on the other side of the road, heading in the direction she wanted. She darted across the street, cars not too close to make an easy crossing, and hurried aboard, using her Oyster Card; Karen Green, her civilian identity. She climbed to the top deck, empty, and sat at the back, scanning the street for the man in the grey suit. He was nowhere to be seen. The bus pulled away, heading for Hackney Wick.

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