William was a jack of all trades, living in the darkness of a neon city. Everything was changing rapidly around him, but he didn’t mind too much. His ability to acquire work hadn’t changed. In fact, it was even better, since killing androids supplied him with enough money to pay his rent.
Hi there! The full story is on Amazon for $0.99, kindle or kindle app only. Most smart phones can download the kindle app. This is my first time publishing, hooray. Below is a sample, for those who like to try before they buy.
The Smoke is a beautiful city, if you have an eye for the lurid and fragmentary world of progress built upon decay. William took the same sardonic pride in his birthplace that his peers all shared. It was a defense mechanism, built around a sense of belonging to the tattered underground of the metropolis. The bright lights and beautiful glass architecture of affluence evoked scorn inside of Will. He avoided central London like it still had the plague. He’d never been to the museums, which shipped new art and rotated out the old on a obscenely regular basis. Neither had he seen the glamorous holographic shows in the brand new Luxe Theater, that had brought in gawkers from around the globe. To him, it was all just a glitzy display, built to distract from the reality of this city. More than that, Will saw it as a threat to his lifestyle.
He’d shaved and showered the day before, so he felt that was good enough. His ten-year-old button-up shirt and charcoal-colored dress slacks were appropriate business attire. He would be suitable to meet his contact, who’d requested his presence at The Lady’s Slip at noontime. It made him chuckle a little inside. He loved himself for that. He never lost his sense of humor, which was mottled gray just like the rainy skies of London. That was just how he liked himself to be.
He puffed his electronically vaporized stimulants as he walked to his destination. The familiar terrain moved past him, assuring him that he was home. Old infrastructure that hadn’t been updated, with windows glowing neon from expensive electronics inside. People playing with their toys that they’d saved for months to afford. Little pieces of heaven, fallen into the laps of the poor and downtrodden. The bars and shops didn’t announce themselves around these parts. Their signs didn’t light up, like they did in other parts of London. They were made of sheet metal, or ancient hard wood that refused to break. He knew where to go. He knew where to stop and buy a hot, steamed bun from a Korean shop, e-currency only. He knew how to give the seller a dignified nod of gratitude.
The Lady’s Slip had a dull, red glow inside. It didn’t seem welcoming to Will in the least, but he wasn’t their type of customer. A younger version of himself would be frightened to go inside. He pushed open the door, and gave the place an appraising gaze. Holographic strippers were performing, more like gyrating advertisements for day-drinking than anything else. One of them looked like a popular Japanese pop star, but altered slightly, to avoid the holy wrath of legal retribution. She was cute, but nothing Will hadn’t seen before.
“There you are,” a strong, warm voice said. Will turned, and faced a young woman. He suspected she wasn’t as young as she appeared, from her manner, and possibly from the strange perfection of her pores. She’d made herself appealing, that much was certain. Unlike the holograms, her blonde hair curled randomly on her shoulders, each strand a slave to gravity. He felt a fleeting guilt from being near this real woman, after the many nights he’d spent staring into his screen at the artificial. He pushed that aside, laughing to himself. She was his contact. She wasn’t as innocent as she appeared. Her soft, brown eyes held information, not virtue.
“Are you prepared?” she asked Will. He knew what she meant. He felt in his pocked for his vial of Deterimier, which was an artificial source of temporary guilt relief. It allowed the average human to become more like the monsters they hunted. More like any type of monster, in fact, until his human body excreted it. It would give his mind permission to kill, regardless of the appearance of the target. She’d asked him to acquire this common bounty hunter’s boon for the mission. He already understood the reason. She’d communicated with him via the encrypted website that he shared with the other bounty hunters. It was guarded by a team of virtual protection professionals, who were constantly staying a step ahead of the progress of the government investigation teams. Their job was crucial to Will’s line of work. Hell, they were crucial to the whole of the Smoke’s underground, Will thought. He had no doubt that they would continue their work, however. Just like he would continue his own.