Flash Fiction: “La Femme Virtuelle”

Cyberpunk is one of my favorite genres by far.  If you’d like to read more of my cyberpunk tales, check out the “Digital Eyes” stories in my book Digital Eyes, Family Ties (now for sale on CreateSpace).

La Femme Virtuelle, by Alexander Paul Willging

Word Count: 732

Absolute darkness.  Seated on a synthetic leather couch.  The neuro-clips on his scalp were starting to itch, but he had to ride it out.  He’d come so far.

The booth wall in front of him finally lit up, presenting a vista of colors.  A shower of unorganized pixels.

And there she was.  Moving languidly at sixty frames a second like she’s really inside the booth with him.  He could see every detail of her sweater, every line in her face.  Her bittersweet smile.

“Hello, Gavin.”  Hardly any trace of a British accent left; she’d lived in the States too long.  “If you’re seeing this, then something happened to me.  Something with Ryan.”

Gavin Aubrey stared.  He bloody knew it.  That sick bastard had finally lost it.

“If you love me, Gavin,” said Jenny, “then there’s something you can do for me.”

“Anything,” Gavin whispered.  “Anything you want, love…”

Nine o’clock, Thursday evening.  Gavin waited outside the Ocean View Theatre.  He slid back the sleeve of his coat and looked down at the bracelet on his wrist.  A set of twelve darts, tipped with enough potassium chloride to stop a man’s heart.

Specifically, Ryan’s heart.

The neuro-clips on his scalp were itching again.  Gavin sighed and quickly scratched his head for relief.  He hoped this would be over quick.  He wanted to find the asshole doc who’d installed the clips and give him a taste of potassium as well.  Maybe then he’d finally get some peace.

Won’t be any peace for me, he thought bitterly.  His late sister, on the other hand, deserved it.

The theatre front doors slid open and the mid-evening crowd came pouring out.  Gavin slid his sleeve down and palmed two of the darts.  The neuro-clips registered their removal and put a heads-up display over the crowd.  A virtual green reticle appeared, giving him real-time tracking data on every face that passed his way.

No sign of the bastard yet.

In the corner of his right eye, a chrono display popped up.  He had three more minutes before Theatre Security showed up to secure the front lobby.

Gavin half-closed his eyes.  He focused on Jenny.  Her smile, her easy laugh.  Seeing her at home with Mum and Dad.  They were heartbroken.  Gavin had been the black sheep, but Jenny was their golden girl, their precious rose.  And that asshole Ryan was the reason she was dead.

The reticle flashed twice.  It had found a lock.  Gavin smiled and lifted his arm to throw.

Blinding pain.  White strobe lights.  Screams, raised voices.  Ambulance sirens.  All this flashed through Gavin’s senses at once.  His chest was on fire.  Almost as bad as Jenny’s death.

When he woke up in a hospital bed, there she was again.  But the neuro-clips weren’t itching anymore.

Gavin blinked.  They were gone.

This wasn’t a sim.  It was really her.

“You bloody little shit,” Jenny whispered into his ear.  “I asked you to do one thing and you still fucked it up.  I should have left you back in Croydon.”

“Ngh.  J-Jenny—”

“Shut up, Gavin.”  His sister turned away, muttering to herself.  “Have to find someone else to finish off that prick husband.  My whole fortune’s riding on it.”

When she turned back, Jenny held up a small bottle of some murky blue fluid.  She grabbed a syringe from a cabinet by the door and filled it up with the bottle’s contents.  Gavin moaned as she approached.

“Can’t have you blabbing,” said Jenny.  A sharp stab as the needle went into his arm.  Gavin shook his head weakly.  He looked hopelessly at his sister.

“Don’t give me that look.  I’m not Mum.”  Jenny stuck the bottle and the syringe into her purse.  “The memocaine should take effect in a minute or two.  And then you won’t remember a thing.  You can go back to being a useless little twat and I can go back to being dead.”

Gavin felt his mind slipping.  God, it was cold.  Everything hurt in a slow, deliberate way.  He felt Jenny’s hand against his cheek, and then she was gone.

Gavin woke up in a bed with tubes coming out of his arm and a heart monitor beeping away in the corner.

His scalp wasn’t itching anymore.  They must have removed the neuro-clips.

He wondered why he was in this hospital.  He wondered what had gone wrong.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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