Bad Dreams
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Agent Adams walked down the hall of the Lanthanide Hills Task Force dorms, swiped her card on the lock, readied her parka around her face, and stepped into the cold, Siberian night, manila envelope in hand.

Tonight was not a snowy night, but the cold wind still whipped up around the mess hall to her left and blew snow in gusts across the pavilion; she saw lights bobbing in the distance, and dogs barking, the night patrol wandering in snowshoes and parkas down the road to the main facility a mile down the road with a Humvee rattling along behind them. The watch lights circled lazily in a long, cold circle, waiting for sun that wouldn’t come for another two months.

She started off, hand on the rope guiding them through the dark, carefully watching her step. Snowshoes were tricky; her worst fear was having to fight in them one day. High heels she could do. Not snowshoes.

The rope led past the mess to the training facility, the armory, the other dorms for the poor saps that were stuck on winter Lanthanide training assignment against their will. Finally, she came to the old log cabin she was looking for, and trudged up the three steps to the door with “FUCK OFF” written in permanent marker on the window, both in English and shaky Russian.

In the few years that Adams had spent at Lanthanide, she had never visited Clef’s small house on the edge of the training facility’s grounds. Part of her hesitated a moment on the doorstep, like she was doing something profoundly wrong; her mentor was not necessarily a private man, but also wasn’t one to invite others into his life at all. There was no backstory to it; no reasoning or sad reason why. It just didn’t happen.

Because Alto Clef was a fucking repulsive little man.

She looked at the envelope, wondered if it could wait until morning. Maybe it could; she could just leave it here-

Suddenly, Clef started screaming.

Clef screamed a lot. One could argue that Adams had heard, actually, nearly every possible sound that Alto Clef could make. But this one started at a low-pitched whine, and grew into a slow, unearthly howl, like a car starting, and increased in pitch and volume until she found herself frozen in place on the doorstep, clutching the envelope tighter.

What the fuck?

She caught herself about thirty seconds into the unholy roar of the damned, and pounded on the door.

“Clef! Are you okay?”

The house dropped silent. She waited. A few minutes passed. Adams considered knocking again, or doing away with chivalry altogether and just busting in the door, in case he had hurt himself or something-


The sound of a lock unlocking.




The sound started at the top of the door, and worked its way down, the sound of about ten heavy-duty locks being pulled away






The door opened an inch, and Adams found herself with the tip of a shotgun in her face.

“Leave. Don’t tell anyone what you heard.” His voice was cold, and broke near the end.

“Hey, are you oka-“

“I’m fine. Go away.”

“Look, I brought these files-“

“It. Can wait. Don’t tell anyone what you heard.”

“Clef, what was that? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. It happens.”

“What happens?”

“Dreaming. I've seen a lot, Adams. Please give me privacy on this."

There was a pause. The barrel stayed where it was.

“Okay. I won't tell anyone. Um…I’ll…I’ll see you tomorrow.”

In a moment, the gun was gone, the door was slammed closed, the locks relocked, and Agent Adams was left on the porch, alone.

Clef watched her go from the window in the other room. Waited until she was down the road, back to the main facility and the dorms.

He grinned, pretty damn proud of himself. That was quite a show! God damn. Good cover. Alto Clef, a fucking repulsive little man who had been, in fact, enjoying himself immensely for the past few hours, took his underwear back off, took a Viagra, and put another waffle in the toaster for round number 14.

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