About The Demons of the Square Mile:
Occult Private Investigator, Nora Simeon, and her uncannily handsome partner Eyre – an elemental given human form – follow a trail of magic, murder, and conspiracy from the luxurious apartment towers of Manhattan’s upper east side to the ancient depths of London’s Inner Temple. Along the way they encounter powerful sorcerers, magisterial barristers, evil templars, and, of course, more demons gone rogue.
With their newly acquired ward, Martha – a rat-demon – in tow, they uncover a secret so profound it could both undermine the world’s financial system and topple the British government.
Paperback: 114 pages
The elevator let me out on the 60th floor, and I hesitated for a moment at the frosted-glass door before opening it, but it was too late to back out now. One of the most powerful people in the western hemisphere was waiting for me.
When I opened the door, though, I was confronted by someone I didn’t expect to see at all. The Commission operative Savarin, a bald man with harsh anger lines grooved in his face, sat at the reception desk in the foyer. I was a little surprised to see him still employed, but on mature reflection I supposed it made sense. He’d turned coat at just the right moment six months ago to join the winning side, and the Commission has never been big on sentiment.
Savarin looked me over carefully for a moment, as if he’d never seen me before, though at one time I’d reported all my case results to him. Maybe he was waiting for a hidden millimeter-wave weapon scan to complete. I wasn’t carrying; it didn’t seem like it would result in a positive outcome.
After that brief pause, he pointed down a carpeted corridor extending away from the entry foyer, which was decorated in a neutral style, tasteful but bland. “The director is ready for you. End of the hall.”
End of the hall wasn’t the sumptuous private office I was expecting, but a standard corporate conference room. Quality furnishings, but not ostentatious. Rosewood table, comfortable padded leather seating for eight, and an enormous video screen for teleconferences. The room was dim, lit only by the mid-morning daylight filtering through translucent beige curtains over picture windows that presented a ghostly view of Central Park stretching off to the north. The elegantly dressed man waiting on the far side of the conference table rose as I entered, waited for me to approach, and extended his hand.
“Mx. Nora Simeon? A pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Nguyen.”
I muttered something polite and took his hand, cold and dry as a vampire’s, if there were such things. He looked like the model of an ultra-wealthy executive – but no, that wasn’t quite right. Nguyen had the demeanor and presence of someone who had so much money they didn’t need to take a salary at the pleasure of a corporate board. An owner, that’s what he was. He might have been thirty-five or forty years old. There was something about him that creeped me out, and I felt a surge of irrational fear at the touch of his hand. It was a relief when he let go a moment later and gestured for me to sit down.
“Now then, Mx. Simeon, I’m at your service. I must confess to some curiosity regarding the purpose of this meeting.”
Nguyen didn’t tell me his time was valuable; he didn’t have to. Maybe this half-hour he’d given me was worth more than my annual contract. His outfit might well have been. The senior Commission auditing director was dressed in a bespoke Brioni charcoal-black suit, with an exquisite gray silk tie over a white shirt and jade cufflinks on the sleeves. Mirror shades shielded his eyes even in the dimness of the conference room, a bit of a gauche touch, but still very effective. His jet-black hair and sparkling white teeth were as perfect as I’d ever seen in a human. I would have found his slight French accent charming if he wasn’t so creepy.
After a moment recovering my poise, I brought out my prepared spiel.
“The Commission keeps me on permanent retainer for a hundred grand a year.”
“So I understand,” he said.
“I realize it’s not a lot of money to you,” I said. “But it is to me, and I want to feel like I’m returning some kind of value for pay.”
I swallowed. I didn’t want to do myself out of my main source of income. But-
“It’s been six months. Six months since you replaced Oriens on the board, and six months since my last assignment.”
Purchase Your Copy:
Meet the Author:
Laurence Raphael Brothers is a writer and a
technologist. He has published over 25 short stories in such magazines as
Nature, the New Haven Review, PodCastle, and Galaxy’s Edge. His WWI-era
historical fantasy novel Twilight Patrol was just released by Alban
Lake. For more of his stories, visit https://laurencebrothers.com/bibliography,
or follow him on twitter: @lbrothers.