Chapter Excerpt from Alias: A Book About Spies

book cover

“Steady does it,” Isabel whispered to herself as she carefully coaxed the metal piece into place by using a machine with controls that reminded her a lot of claw prize machines at the arcade. “Steady does it.”

The piece clicked into place and she let out a sigh of relief. This had been her tenth try to make this work correctly, and it refused until now. The only thing she feared at this point was it breaking again. Whoever made the patent for this…

“So who wants to try it out?” her coworker, Seph, asked jokingly, his dark blue eyes sparking with their own smile. Seph was definitely a likeable guy. He had such a fun-loving, sweet personality and his messy brown hair only added to it.

Isabel laughed, her voice filling the entire room. But she couldn’t help it. “Umm, not me? Jack almost got his finger cut off by the laser last time. It’s a miracle that he still has it.”

“Well, Jack is dumb and tests lasers with his bare hands. I’ll have gloves on. Here, let me try.”

Seph put on a pair of heavy duty gloves, pulled his lab goggles over his eyes, and then picked up the small laser with his hands that looked just like an ordinary laser pen. “Does this thing have a safety on it?”

She laughed again, her smile lighting up her whole face.

“You know you laugh a lot, right?” Seph asked, a grin spreading across his own face. “I could tell you that I mopped the floor yesterday and you’d bust a gut.”

“Not true,” Isabel shot back. “I wouldn’t laugh at something stupid like that.”

He just gave her a pointed look before returning his attention back to the laser. “Alright, stand back just in case it blows up in my hands.” Aiming the laser at the target in front of him that already had scorch marks etched into it, he pressed the button on the laser and a dangerous red light shot out, this time staying steady on the target instead of having a mind of its own.

“It works!” Isabel cried as she jumped up and down excitedly while clapping her hands. “That’s the last bug I had to fix, so we might get it to pass inspection before we produce this wide scale.”

“Good job, Izzy,” Seph grinned as he put the laser back in its safe little box, away from those who might misuse it. “I think we might be able to cook up a few prototypes, and in a few weeks from now, we’ll demo it for our buyer. In the meantime, we have a convention to go to for Agent X.”

Isabel’s eyes widened and she dared herself not to hope. “We?”

“Yes, we. Me, you, and Jack. We’re all going to Paris. It’ll be a nice little side trip, don’t you think?”

“Yes,” Isabel breathed as she took her goggles off and placed them on top of her head. “Yes! I’m so excited! This is way better than when we went to Ontario.” In fact, Ontario would have been a lot more interesting if she hadn’t been native to Canada in the first place. She lived in Montreal and had already seen her fair share of Canada.

“Perfect,” Seph said as he squeezed her arm before making his way toward the exit. “Now get started on the bracelet flamethrower before your shift ends today. I want to see a hustle with that one.”

When he left, Isabel stood thoughtfully for several moments. They already had a prototype for that gadget and it had almost been good enough to be sent to production, but then they discovered that people with big hands, mainly men, got burnt fromt it. Somehow she needed to find a way to adjust the trajectory so the wearer wouldn’t get burnt when using it.

For the next couple of hours, Isabel huddled over the project, micromanaging each piece until she felt like she would go crazy if she lost one more little screw. They were impossible to see!

Her grin widened as she hung up her long white lab coat and set her goggles aside before clocking out and walking outside. It was such a beautiful day! So beautiful, in fact, that she couldn’t stop herself from closing her eyes, lifting her arms out on either side of her, and spinning in a couple of circles. Her smile widened even further as she made her way to the fountain just outside of her work and quickly hopped up on the rim of the fountain, keeping her balance as she walked along it, and then hopping back down.

She let her long blonde hair out of its ponytail and shook it loose, enjoying the feeling of the wind through her hair. Isabel tried to contain her smile as she thought of where she’d be in just a week. Paris! She had never gone before and she felt so excited!

Her feet carried her forward through the city and her excitement came over her even more. Sometimes she loved her job.

Isabel’s feet carried her by memory now, weaving between streets, past the park, and toward the magnificent symbol of peace that loomed overhead. She walked inside with her head bowed and her heart full of humility. It had taken so long to feel the peace that she felt now—there had never been a death of a loved one in her life that had affected her quite so badly than Brian’s did.

The spacious church looked absolutely beautiful as Isabel sat down in the pews and glanced up toward the front. Several priests sang quietly in a language that she couldn’t understand, but it just added to the beautiful atmosphere of blue and purple stained glass, ornate designs, and an incredibly peaceful atmosphere.

After about a half hour of this, she continued on her way into the next room where several candles had already been lit by those who came before her. She knelt beside the candles in the dim room and said a quick, heartfelt prayer before she struck a match and lit a candle for Brian.

Brian had been her whole world, and she had never felt happier with anyone. She remembered the way it felt to be held in his arms. She remembered the way it felt to be kissed by him. And she remembered the way her heart had ripped in half when he had gotten killed in that car accident two years ago. Isabel never even got to say goodbye, he had been taken from the world so quick in the blink of an eye. The car accident had even been so bad that it had been a closed casket funeral. She never even got to see his face again…

Isabel bowed her head again and smiled, remembering all of the good times the two of them shared. She had never had a more perfect and happy relationship, that was for sure.

“Rest in peace, Brian Kelley,” Isabel whispered as she made the cross symbol with her hand and stood back up. If anyone deserved to be happy in the afterlife, it was definitely him.

As she walked away, she couldn’t help but feel just a little lighter than she had yesterday. Her smile widened as the sunshine hit her face as she stepped into the sunlight outside. This was just the start of a fantastic week, she could feel it.

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