Then, there was nothing. No light, no sound, no feeling. As I stepped out of the Tube, the heavy feeling returned to my arms and through to my feet. But sound and sight did not return. I touched my face, searching for my eyes and ears. They seemed normal, at least externally. Had the Flashtube finally bungled a re-entry? I started shuffling around, hoping to bump into something when a hand gripped my arm roughly as another hand clamped over my eyes. I felt the person’s heartbeat, slow and steady, behind my own.
The room was stale and musty. An expansive silence held the thin layer of green-gray dust in place. My head felt so heavy, as though it was stuck to the chair.
I moved quickly out of the Tube to avoid the explosions and get out of Quinn’s way. My heart was pounding through my chest, neck and arms. Quinn did not materialize. I pressed my hand to my breastbone and backed into the corner next to the Tube. Sinking to my knees and hugging them tight to my chest, I tapped at my Wristmate, sending a Nudge to Quinn. My finger hovered, ready to send another Nudge. Instead, I counted to 30, and then again to 30, but slower. Just as I sent another Nudge, Quinn Nudged me back with a quick audmes saying that he was home with Minnie and they were sealing up their apartment. There was a green ashy dust swirling everywhere. I exhaled and inhaled rapidly. My head floated off my shoulders and around the room. They were okay. I looked around Bo’s apartment but the air was pristine. There were no foreign contaminants here. I sent Quinn an audmes that they could seek shelter here if they needed. He Nudged back twice followed by a twiddle-tweet.
The diner was charmingly outdated. It was the chicest place in town, ten decades ago. The once shiny white decor was now the yellowed-white of old electronics. But, its loyal patrons never left the diner empty for long and it was still thriving. Like all retail establishments, Valinay’s was always open. The dawdling Servos moved slowly along their designated paths. There were almost no AIs anywhere in the city that still only moved along pre-programmed paths like Valinay’s Servos. That kind of technology was so ancient, it was already outdated by the time the Flushing happened.
I brushed my bangs back a few times then dropped my hand to fidget with the image drive on my Wristmate. I glanced at each full table in the room. Was I the first to arrive or the last? I spotted Mrs. Bordelon lounging at a table in the far left corner with a tall, gorgeous man. She was wearing a striking, fitted jumpsuit with Sunshine threads stitched throughout. She was oblivious to everything except her companion, laughing at his jokes and leaning into his shoulder. Her hand toyed with his long black curls as he gazed warmly into her eyes. It seemed like the most intimate moment in the world. I froze by the entrance.
Bo hummed happily to acknowledge my entrance as I stepped further into the room. His eyes were glazed and darting across the screens circling his head. From the minute he got home, he had that helmet plastered to his skull, indulging in all the latest streamers. It was both wonderful and infuriating. Jameson acknowledged me more than Bo. As odious as he was, at least he contained himself to his chair. For the most part. Continue reading
I plopped into the plush chair positioned diagonally in front of her desk. An invisible gust of stench rose from the chair. It reeked of the behemoth’s sweat. Despite that, her office felt better than home. More fabric than office, the space was swathed in navy blue and hunter green velvets. It was both cozy and bright, glowing from some unseen source.
What rare inch wasn’t covered in fabric was made of a rich, chocolatey red wood. The space infused my every pore, pushing and relaxing and calming. It felt like a world had passed before I noticed Mrs. Bordelon watching me, waiting for me to rise from the depths of solitude imposed by her office. Continue reading
“My business deals on a referral only basis. I don’t accept walk-ins. If you dislike that, you are free to take your business elsewhere. No, you will take your business elsewhere.” Her voice was soft but firm, like a gun hidden in a muff.
Her order was met with screams and rants and threats that got louder as shadows filled the door window. The door schwoomed open to reveal a slightly taller than average woman in a figure hiding black bodysuit with a striped, knee-length dressing robe hanging open with the belt loosely tied around her waist and knotted out of the way. She strolled across the almost empty receiving area, her bare feet silent on the spotted Phenomal floor. A Faustenaled behemoth stumbled behind, trying to engulf her presence through sheer fury. His face shone with the telltale purple sweat, giving him a Lisa Frankenstein look with his Orange Sun skin. Continue reading