Shadow Work - The Old Spy

in fiction •  2 years ago


Photo Credit; Uli Kunz

The air tasted of pain and peace and time resignedly spent. Carvings and weavings, pictures of mountains and tides, local artwork from foreign places; all festooned one wall, medals and old guns another. Photographs wan and weighty with time stood atop a simple shelf. The retort to a lifelong necessity of leaving no spoor, Obiagu concluded. He exhaled, imagining his own particles and molecules commingling with these undisturbed aeons. Conspiring, to repurpose a word. Not inappropriate, when one considered that the elder to whom all this belonged in turn once belonged to the enclave. Not inappropriate at all, when one considered why Obiagu was here.

Scents of garlic, of sun-bleached fabric and gun oil peaked, approaching.

Perhaps it would be more truthful to say he had shared with the enclave, learning and teaching by turns. Each side had no doubt thought themselves the greater beneficiary; for the enclave, a paltry handful of the least of the mysteries in exchange for priceless knowledge of his world, the international barter of secrets and lies – espionage; for the old man, mere geopolitical ephemera, tricks of ciphering, the sordid arts of surveillance and logistics, traded for seemingly supernatural mastery over himself and others. Obiagu was certain they were all wiser now. Of course, he had not been an old man then and Obiagu had yet to be born.

There are no maps for this world, yet must we traverse it.

“Like what I’ve done with the place?”

The voice was deep and resonant, shot through with frailness like rot at the heart of a tree. The voice of his voice spoke of slow erosion boldly faced. Such effort for his benefit. Obiagu stirred, but would neither turn nor prostrate. This was an elder, but he was not otu; touched by the enclave, yes, but hardly of it. “I have never seen it otherwise.”

“Ah. You must be the current Akpuobi. Your predecessor showed me a few things.” The man chuckled and the house creaked as he leaned into the door frame. Shirtsleeves stretched, taut against the might beneath – hemp, finely woven, local – and denim rasped – also hemp. Bare feet, strong and callused, drew over the wood grain. He weighed almost as much as Obiagu himself and wore it easily. Scraps though he may have been fed, but he had eaten well nonetheless. “I mean, check out these pecs! These arms! You think there’s many 73-year-olds look anywhere near this good?”

Obiagu turned from the shelf, hands at his sides, to face his host: “I would bring greetings from my predecessor, were he still among the living,” but the old man's demeanor voiced nothing it did not already say, other than irrelevant surprise and the beginnings of undesired condolences. Surprisingly, the feeling seemed genuine. Irritating, Obiagu admitted, not to be sure.

The old spy had learned too well.


Yeah, so Steemit has me so all-fired excited, so goddamn hype -- that I found myself flexing muscles I haven't used in years, muscles I'd long-thought contractured.

In short? I wrote a thing.

I have more ideas for the character(s) seen here; nothing you'd call an actual story but the worldbuilding is overflowing. Sort of a espionage urban fantasy with ... noetic neuroscience, I guess, instead of magic? If you're interested, let me know one way or the other 😉

EDIT: turns out I wrote another snippet in the same universe after all already. Please check it out! :-)

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Nice style! A little like magical realism.
(I think you have the bit about hemp twice?)

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Thanks for being my first upvote and commenter. The hemp part was deliberate (there are ways to make denim from hemp)

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Ah ok, makes sense!