FICTION: A Train Ride In Tinhead Land (Part 2)

Cyberpunk People In Subway

Photo: Augusto Navarro

Check out Part 1 here if you haven’t already, so that you can understand the story in its entirety. Hope you enjoy this piece as much as I did writing it!

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Calen exited the underground and was greeted by air he’d learned to tolerate. A strong undertone of steel wafted wherever he went in the Sprawl, and that was when the occasional miasma—garbage, oils, human refuse—wasn’t among the blend.

The odour still assaulted his senses, even after having lived with it for so long. The more privileged would at least be able to seek refuge in their homes, because these homes often had filtered air-conditioners installed. For Calen, fresh air was never an option.

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FICTION: A Train Ride In Tinhead Land (Cyberpunk)

cyberpunk-story-alex-knight

Photo: Alex Knight

Calen often rode the mag-lev from the first station to the last. Today, he sat beside a patchwork of steel that resembled a humanoid. It stood motionless in its designated docking bay. A Justicar, it was called. Calen—as well as everyone else—knew them better as tinheads.

The thing finally jolted to life, something Calen was waiting for for hours now. That was his cue to earn some chits. He followed the robot as it thumped down the train. Mag-lev, he corrected himself. Trains were only a fragment of his dad’s old stories. Stories of when policing was still done by humans, with much more compassion.

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FICTION: Changing Our Stars

Changing Our Stars - Person looking up at stars

This is an assignment for a writing course, and I figured I’d use it as an excuse to post. Enjoy.

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Clara strode through her neighbourhood, street lamps so far apart she spent a bulk of her walk in darkness. Purple clouds blotted the stars, threatening to swallow her whole too.

It wasn’t the best idea, being out at night, but she had to get out of her cramped room; a cramped room that her boyfriend was currently sharing with some skank from God-knows-where. It took all her willpower not to clock him in the head—and that bitch too.

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FICTION: Reading Between The Lines

Man alone in office building

Photo: Brandon Holmes

Life was easy as a subtitler. The job wasn’t demanding. You sat in a comfortable office, and the only person who ever bother you was your supervisor, and that’s only to make sure you’re making deadlines.

The labour’s a piece of cake too. You ran a video through a subtitling software and correct the transcriptions made by the computer. That’s it.

Of course, things would’ve been much worse without the software. While the computer’s ability to decipher words might be horrendous, at least I didn’t have to manually insert the timestamps, which would’ve made my work three times harder.

Everything was fine, until ‘the awakening’ happened. If I had to pinpoint an exact time, it’d have to be when the software produced a particularly hilarious sentence.

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FICTION: Adventures In An Introvert’s Mind

fighting

It was a cloudy day, and Caleb kept to the shadows as he crossed the street. He didn’t want to be seen, though he knew that avoiding contact was inevitable. It had been getting harder since—What was thatWas that shadow there earl—

A searing pain tore through Caleb’s back. He let his damn guard down again. Instinctively, he tightened his grip around his duffel bag as he started to move.

Caleb leapt aside, the hints of a second strike whooshing past his ear. He didn’t turn to face his attacker. He just sprinted as fast as his legs would take him.

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FLASH FICTION: Undead’s Dilemma

“Just do it already.” Julia bared her neck, hair to one side.

“S-so do I just b-bite the jugular? Or?”

Jesus Christ. Even now he’s second guessing himself .

“I don’t know,” she snapped. “What is it you guys usually do?”

“I’ve never done it before all right?”

“Well there aren’t any blood banks here, so I suggest you get to learning. And keep your voice down. Bad enough you roused a pack of carvers. Now you’re gonna get us killed because you can’t handle a little blood.”

It was so dark that Julia might as well have been talking to herself, but she knew that Elu could see the scorn in her eyes. Go on pussyfooting like this and you’ll lose your that night vision in a jiffy.

“B-but what if you turn?”

“Look, Elu.” Julia didn’t know if it was the anger or fear having her speak through gritted teeth. “You don’t do this, you die. You die, I die. Turning stopped being an issue the moment you decided to wander into uncharted rooms. Now are you gonna do it or what?”

“O-okay. Right then. Yes. This might hurt.”

“For fuck’s sake.”

But it did hurt, the exact same way it would if someone stuck a blunt snail-fork in your neck. Julia might’ve whimpered as Elu drew blood… she couldn’t remember. Why is it that when you black out in the dark, the world starts getting brighter?

Despite losing grip on reality, Julia heard the unmistakable wails of the carvers. It was them all right, hungry for blood in a way that Elu will never be. Get strong, she thought. Get us out of here. As she toed the borders of consciousness, Julia summoned the energy for one last whisper: “Whatever you do… don’t look them in the eye.”