This week’s Flash Fiction challenge over on TerribleMinds is a Game of Aspects. What does that mean? I’m glad you asked.
Chuck has provided a list of 10 Sub-Genres, 10 Settings, and 10 Elements. By rolling three D10s (ten sided dice, for the uninitiated) or using a random number generator, you determine the three elements you need to use in your 1000 word story. My random selection meant I had to write a Cyberpunk story, set in a brothel, including tattoos.
Read on! And remember — I love to hear what you think, so don’t be shy.
It was show time.
I swallowed the EMP-Cap and reminded myself this was the last job I would do before I retired. Then I arched my back and rested one hand on my inner thigh, hitching my dress up a little bit more. After six years of practice, I knew exactly how to highlight my assets.
The door was opened by a tall, muscular man in jeans, a black t-shirt and a leather jacket. The bulge under his arm told me he was armed. The bulge in his pants told me he hadn’t visited a Courtesan for a while.
He took a step inside and scanned the room. While he noted the imitation mahogany table, the real crystal goblets and the open bottle of wine, I noted a few things about him. For one thing, his right hand was metallic. He was a Chromer. And Chromers weren’t known for stopping at just one cyber-enhancement.
For another, he had a UV tattoo of a gauntleted fist on the side of his neck. My room may have been dimly lit, but there was plenty of black light. Almost every organization, criminal or otherwise, marked their people with UV tatts and in my line of work it always helped to know who you were dealing with. And that tatt marked him as someone’s bodyguard.
A meaty hand locked on to the guy’s shoulder from behind. “Move it, Drake. It’s a brothel. The only danger is that I’ll use the girl up and need a new one before I’m done.”
Drake took a reluctant step sideways. “Sir—“
“Shut up,” the second man interrupted. Then he pushed his way inside, not pausing to let his eyes adjust before barreling toward the bed. He was shorter than Drake, with a face like melted butter on a broken plate.
“You.” It took me a moment to realize he was talking to me. “Don’t just lie there. Stand up and let me look at you. Gotta make sure you’re not deformed or something.”
I rolled to the edge of the bed and stood up. “Roland?”
“Who else would I be?” He frowned and gestured impatiently. “Well? Take your gear off. I didn’t pay good money to see your clothes. Let’s see if you’re worth having.”
I unzipped my black leather mini-dress from neckline to hem, then let it fall to the ground. The black light illuminated my own UV tattoo – a PCB covering everything my dress had been hiding.
“I’m Switch,” I said.
“I didn’t pay to hear you talk either,” Roland said. “Turn around.”
I did so. “Would you like some wine before we get started?”
Something heavy hit me in the back of the head. I staggered forward and fell to my knees. I looked up at the man who had dared hit me.
Roland was massaging his right knuckles. “I told you to keep your mouth shut. Next time you open it, you’ll get worse. Now stand up.”
I fought down my pride and did so, almost wishing he’d taken the time to decipher the Printed Circuit Board on my body. It marked me as an assassin just as surely as Drake’s fist tattoo marked him as a bodyguard.
Roland pushed me toward the bed. “On your stomach.”
I climbed on to the satin sheets and slid my hand under a pillow. My fingers closed around the hilt of the nano-blade I kept hidden there for emergencies, but I didn’t draw it. Not yet. Stabbing was messy and came with a whole host of extra problems. For one thing, I’d have to kill Drake as well. And then I’d have two bodies to hide.
Not worth it unless there was no other option.
Roland struggled out of his clothes climbed on the bed behind me. My mind wandered as he grunted and thrust and sweated his way to climax. Men were all the same once you got them naked. Some just tried harder to please.
When he finally collapsed next to me, I slid off the bed. Then I froze. Drake was watching me. I’d forgotten he was there. We locked eyes for a count of three. Then I shrugged and looked away. I had a job to do and if he suspected what it was, he didn’t do anything about it.
I poured two glasses of nano-laced wine and returned to the bed. Roland heaved his bulk into a sitting position and took the goblet I offered. He drained it in a single gulp. Then he grabbed mine and did the same.
Apparently I’d taken the EMP-Cap for nothing.
Roland was as good as dead. Within an hour, the nanobots he’d swallowed with the wine would make their way through his bloodstream and into his heart. Then they’d happily do what they’d been programmed to do — build little walls to repair leaks. While that was helpful in a leaky sewage system, it was less so in the arteries around someone’s heart.
From Roland’s perspective, anyway. From my perspective, it was a silent, untraceable way to make sure he died while I was far, far away.
With that in mind, I left him on the bed and retrieved my clothes.
“What are you doing?” Roland said.
Roland’s brows lowered. “Get back here, whore. I haven’t finished with you.”
I ignored him and zipped up my dress. Then I slid on a pair of mirror shades and walked out the door. I could hear Roland yelling behind me and Drake trying to calm him down. I didn’t care. I just kept on walking.
I had a contract to collect on and a retirement to plan. But first, I needed to get somewhere safe. I had about half an hour before the EMP-Cap I’d swallowed detonated, killing any nanobots I’d inadvertantly consumed and everything electronic within a two foot radius.
I was in high spirits. There was something profoundly satisfying about a job well done.
Maybe I should do just one more.