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Unconscious Valor -- FWG Flash Fiction for 8/12/2023

I was traveling out west finishing my MA in Publishing at Western Colorado University, which is why I missed the past couple of weeks. Here is a spy thriller this week, "Unconscious Valor."


The prompt is:





UNCONSCIOUS VALOR




Steph looked left, then right. The meet had been set up through at least three cut-outs, and she hoped nothing critical had been lost in translation. The faux gaslight on the corner of the brick-paved switchback was just as her contact had described it, though.


“Good evening, Agent Booker.” A deep, basso voice came from inside the dark restaurant’s doorway.


Nervously, Steph stepped through the door. When the man who had spoken closed it behind her, the interior suddenly blazed with light. Among the bistro’s Toulouse-Lautrec posters and tiny tables with their uncomfortable chairs, an old man sat, legs crossed. The owner of the basso voice moved to stand at the old man’s side.


“I can’t sell you what I have up here.” She tapped the side of her head. “I can’t even access it. It’s locked with a key I don’t have.”


“Oh, I have the key,” the old man said.


He pointed to someone who slumped, bound and gagged, on the floor in the corner. Her contact, the man Steph knew only as John, stared at her through eyes swollen almost shut. His little shrug told Steph all she needed to know. Her contract called for her to submit to whomever had the correct passphrase. She didn’t care who it was.


“Okay. I’m all yours.”


The old man cleared his throat, then said, “Unconscious Valor.”


Two things happened inside Steph’s head at the same time. The duress code John had given them was a switch that compelled Steph to shout a torrent of the foulest curses in at least twelve languages.


Along with the curses, the false passphrase also triggered the release of poison gas from Steph’s lungs, which quickly filled the room. As her world went black, she heard the other bodies hit the floor.


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