Free Fiction Thursday – Ties That Bind

Happy Thursday, everyone!

This week I’m catching my breath between big projects at work.  I don’t know about you, but those breathers help me keep my cool (or at least attempt to) when the big rush jobs hit.  In this week’s story, a corporate CEO of a whole different kind of business — a magical enhancements company — faces not only a rush job gone wrong, but the possibility that a corporate spy has infiltrated her business.  I hope you enjoy “Ties That Bind.”

Ties That Bind

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed

 

The first hint of trouble came from Gris in Research and Development.

“We’re having a bit of a problem getting the enchantments to stick to the new cuffs,” he said to me in an early morning phone call.

I’ve never done mornings well, but when you’re the wizard in charge of the largest magical enhancements company in Moretown Bay, and a woman in a man’s profession to boot, whether you do mornings well or not doesn’t matter one damn bit.

I leaned back in my leather chair and gazed out my tenth floor office window at the overcast sky.  The streets below were still wet from last night’s rain. I could almost smell the wet asphalt.  It would probably rain again today.  I pinched the bridge of my nose against an impending headache that wasn’t all sinuses.

“Is it the alloy or the spell?” I asked Gris.

“Can’t tell yet,” he said.  “We’re still testing.  Just thought you should know, Nell.  Considering.”

Yeah.  Considering.

My company had a contract with the city to supply enhanced weapons and restraints to the police department.  Research and Development had been testing redesigned handcuffs.  Lighter-weight with an easy snap-close lock, the new handcuffs were supposed to address problems the cops had with the old handcuff design.  Personally, I thought any set of handcuffs that could keep a changeling in its true shape or prevent a wizard from casting a spell to escape custody were good enough, but my father built this company by supplying our customers with whatever they wanted.  And what the customer I had a meeting with later today wanted was new and better handcuffs.

“Keep me informed,” I said, and I hung up the phone.

I unlocked the bottom drawer in my desk and took out the thick, three-ring binder I kept there under lock and key.  To the uninitiated, the binder looked like nothing more than what a high school student might carry around in a backpack.  But instead of notes on Shakespeare, calculus, and the culture of ancient Rome, this notebook was chock full of page after page of spells and instructions written in a tiny, crabbed hand, all neatly separated into categories by brightly-colored index tabs.  My father had been anal in the extreme.  This was his spellbook.  What he’d built this company with.

And what he’d handed over to his only daughter when he died.

(read the rest of the story here)

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