I cared what she thought, so when she dared me, I knew I was in trouble. I turned to her with my objection poised and ready, but there she sat, stiff, silent, disapproving. Her ever more toothy sneer taunted. Her eyes threatened retribution. I never could ignore a dare.
“All right, then.” I snapped, resigned to the fate she had conjured for me.
I knew it to be precisely 230 metres, including three fences, from the house to the general store — as the crow once might have flown. …
A THOUSAND MILLING BODIES choked the path ahead to that steel door at the far end of the concourse. That unmarked and unremarkable door. The flashing orange teardrop — soon to turn red — bobbed above that door, taunting.
“Not my fault,” she muttered to herself as though anyone around her might hear the deceit, or might care.
In response, an adsync on the building beside her wiped away the image of a smooth-shaved, chiselled hero hopping through a window to deliver chocolates. …
She had been warned, but now it was too late. The limb already displayed signs of infestation and her stump threatened infection.
She re-sealed her satchel then the barkeep removed it. She watched him bury it in the ice-tub, noted his absent smile. Her stump tingled of resuming pain.
Could he love a one-armed girl?
The phone message had read: ‘Reattachment available before 3:00p.m.’ The bar clock read 3:32.
Another half hour, to be sure they could not insist putting it back on.
A miniature glass of green liquor was placed before her. The barkeep tipped some powder from a sachet into it: blue powder. Some fizzing then the drink was still. It had no odour. When she grabbed for the glass, it remained where it was. …