Raindrops careened from the sky, smashed into the awning outside Black Annex, and those that didn’t then slide off it on their own were instead shook off by the loud bass roaring out of the club.
Rax stood, inspecting his own hair in the custom-built mirrors that stood on the wall outside the club. He tilted his head this way and that, admiring the way the new Spritz hair wax made his hair shimmer different colours in the rain.
A woman wearing bespoke leather clothes exactly a half-size too small for her approached, exaggerating the swing of her hips.
“Oh, hey, man,” he said to her, huffing on his e-Cigarette.
“How’s it going?” Tyff replied, pulling out her regular tobacco-filled kind.
“Oh, you know. Same old. My boss tried to fuck me yesterday.”
“Did you let him?”
“I’m not into buff guys, really?” Rax said, like he wasn’t sure whether it was a question or a statement. “Buff women are fine though.”
“Too bad, he’s tres fuckable for a guy,” Tyff said, lighting up her cigarette with a gold lighter stylised like it’s a little antique blow torch.
The flame was a special job, designed to burn down instead of up and auto-matching its flame to the hue of whatever she was wearing.
This time, it chose a nice deep purple, bordering on mauve.
“You know, you should really, like, try these new eCigs, Tyff. These ones? They change flavor as you smoke them.”
“Yeah, but they’re not the real thing, and umm… I’m, like, a fan of being authentic,” she said, straightening part of her top where it was bunching up and failing to correctly show off the work the auto-surgeon had done last week to make her stomach wash-board flat.
“Your loss, dudette,” Rax shrugged, just before his jaw disconnected from the rest of his head in a spray of blood.
A look of surprise appeared on his eyes as he the eCig, tip glowing a stylish orange, fell from its position a few inches from where his lips had once been and into a puddle on the ground.
It was about then that Tyff noticed the figure in the slate-coloured trench coat running by the wall of the club, probably in a hurry to avoid whatever had just damaged Rax’s designer face, and ended his life.
“WARNING,” a police drone droned. “A violent citizen is nearby.”
A second shot, of the same variety as the kind which had taken down Rax, wizzed by Tyff’s head, forcing her to drop her authentic cigarette and duck closer to the ground.
The drone slid along the street, a dozen other club patrons out there to be seen smoking near Black Annex’s stylish logo scattering as it passed by, continuing to shoot its blaster at the figure.
One shot knocked out the first ‘a’ in the club’s famous logo. One blew open a bystander’s ribcage. Yet another ripped an arm off an underage clubber, the limb and its associated viscera skidding to a halt in front of Tyff.
Finally, two more cop drones and three dead or dismembered club denizens later, and Tyff opened her eyes.
The ground was red from all the human detritus, and her cigarette lighter had been wedged in the ‘on’ position, helpfully selecting a matching tone of deep scarlet to fit in.
Tyff stood up, stepping over Rax, removing some jaw fragments from her cleavage and flicking them aside.
“I fucking hate Saturdays,” she sighed, walking off home.
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and discussing my complete inability to write short stories. This is, when I began to think about it, quite untrue. I’ve written quite a few, even recently, I just tend to rarely come up with ideas for them. The format I came up with for my sci-fi history stories felt almost like a cheat. They’re technically short stories, but not conventional ones as they’re in an article form – a format I’m more comfortable with thanks to a few years of working as a media critic.
But as I was denying I’d written short stories, I remembered this piece. It was written for the (rarely read) PDF manual for my second video game, Metrocide, a cyberpunk action shooter. It wasn’t given much of a title at the time, so going back to it, I’m just calling it Metrocide.
When I mentioned it to the friend I said I wasn’t sure what I thought of the story but… for a short piece that’s basically black comedy with a morbid punchline, I kinda like it? Makes me want to delve back a bit more into cyberpunk. Not so much the dead serious variety, but something a bit more morbid and comedic, like this.