Trafficked across the veil: Curtains for Betsy ~ 1

This story was originally posted for Wicked Wednesday on June 28th, 2017 as Inexhaustible Smorgasbord, a one-off story. There are two versions below. The first is the unchanged flash fiction repost, followed by an edited version that expands upon the original writing into a draft for longer fiction. I’m still not sure about the concept. Even with the rewrite, it’s not what my vision is. I may or may not continue this, or do something else.

The sharp cracks had faded to muted rumbles; the late summer storm trundled to the east, trailing an ebony cloak glazed with jagged streaks of abstract white. At my feet, the dull granite setts slowly slaked a thirst; the detritus of tourists swirling into the gaping sewers leaving behind deceptively safe and clean shiny streets. Historic Old Town, painstakingly resurrected—twice—from the ashes of pitiless warfare, brooded in the sweet morning air. The western skies pulsed with urgency, delayed flights flung themselves recklessly at the obscured stars, hastening to meet global schedules grounded by adverse conditions.

I cupped my left hand. Had any been able to observe, the brief orange flare would have revealed a deep weary cynicism. I puffed the harsh tobacco, blew out a stream of fragrant smoke that lingered close as if terrified by the surroundings. I ignored the warning, watching instead the CCTV camera as it whirred atop the light pole. The police drones had departed with the onset of rain. This was pass through area for visitors by day; small shops catering in information and deceit. By night, contraband slipped past the law with practiced ease.

A vibration shook the front right pocket of my black linen trousers. If a phone could sound impatient the summons snarled at my unruffled savoir faire. The cigarette tumbled like an acrobat without a net: I stubbed it out with a faint hiss as it splattered on the damp pavement. Finally moving forward, the crepe soles of my shoes were silent as a grave.

The night wavered. Lean shadows peeled from brick façades and dropped from pockets of mist hovering above. To those without the Sight, nothing had changed. My escort surrounded me. Lethal, immortal, they were not here to help—they weren’t allowed where I was expected—but to ensure I fulfilled my oath. If thoughts could kill…

Jutting phallicly with a hostile and arrogant contempt at the ragged edge of tradition [reclaimed] and gentrification, the Cashmere Tower was the tallest building in the city. Money fountained like arterial blood from the professional tenants, none of it staying for long; sophisticated programs laundered the stains through shell companies and numbered accounts. Standard procedures for corrupt businesses protected by slick lawyers and bought politicians. My target was higher up the ladder—literally—the top ten floors pandered to a different type of cash flow.

Vice was timeless. Nubile flesh an inflation proof currency. Educated agents were shopping for fresh victims that wouldn’t be missed.

By mistake or deliberate malice—the first understandable, the latter an apocalyptic possibility—the procurers had lured the wrong one. Whatever the alchemy of designer drugs and DJ mixed trance that had created the circumstances of the snatch, it had not removed the clear traces of her passage.

I was their emissary.

The elevator was smooth and quiet.

Rows and rows of glittering females arranged as if waxed produce in bins filled the luxurious rooms. The buyers with their tablets snapped pictures, and fired off messages that raced around the world. The auction started later, but I was not shopping. My steel attaché was not filled with clean dollars or euros or yen, but a single jewel that pulsed with all the suppressed fury at the unrelenting humanistic devouring of magic.

I carried a portal strong enough to suck the entire building into the Outerlands were it not tuned to ‘rescue’ my target. If the dead-eyed brokers knew what their exotic captive actually was, they’d run screaming into the night; not that fleeing was a viable option should she choose to destroy rather than drink in the essence of fear and despair coating the dungeon walls.

Why I was chosen to interrupt the pain slut as she writhed in her bondage, driving her price higher with every blow of the whip: that is a story best told later. For when the Queen commands retrieval of her wayward daughter: who better to mount an escape, than the Princess’ estranged human husband.

That would be me.







Trafficked across the veil: Curtains for Betsy

They came from someplace else; that much the physicists and theologians agreed upon. From there, matters took a turn for the worse: much worse.

 

 

The part in where the hero attempts to reclaim his past.

 

The sharp piercing cracks had finally faded to muted rumbles. The late summer storm trundled to the east, insolently trailing an ebony cloak glazed with jagged streaks of abstract white. At my feet, the dull granite setts slowly slaked an endless thirst: the detritus of tourists swirling into the gaping sewers. Left behind were the deceptively safe and clean shiny streets.

Historic Old Town, painstakingly resurrected — twice — from the ashes of pitiless warfare, brooded in the sweet morning air, waiting for the sun to warm brick and cement. To the west, beyond the huddled slabs of public housing and abandoned factories, the sky pulsed with urgency, delayed flights flinging themselves recklessly at the obscured stars, hastening to meet global schedules grounded by adverse conditions.

I cupped my left hand. Had any been able to observe, the brief orange flare would have revealed a deep weary cynicism. I puffed the harsh tobacco — no ecigs for me — blowing out a stream of fragrant smoke that lingered close as if terrified by the surroundings.

Ignoring the warning implied by the carcinogenic swirls, I watched instead the CCTV camera as it whirred atop the nearest light pole. The police drones had departed with the onset of rain, the flatfoots sheltered in the all-night café, gossiping about the newest policewoman’s tits. This was pass-through area for visitors by day, the small shops catering in information and deceit. By night, contraband slipped past the law with practiced ease abetted by greased palms and greasier ethics.

A vibration shook the front right pocket of my black linen trousers. If a smartphone could sound impatient, its summons snarled at my weary savoir-faire and ennui. The cigarette tumbled to its death like an acrobat without a net: I stubbed it out with a faint hiss as it splattered on the damp pavement. Stepping forward off the curb, the crepe soles of my shoes were silent as a grave. Not mine: not this night at least.

If you were attuned, the pre-dawn wavered. Lean shadows peeled from brick façades and dropped from pockets of mist hovering above. To those without the Sight, nothing had changed. My escort surrounded me. Lethal, immortal, they were not here to help — they weren’t allowed where I was expected — but to ensure I fulfilled my oath. If thoughts could kill…

They didn’t like me: the feeling was mutual. Ritual snarls and posturing. I was suddenly exhausted by the drama. If not for my desire for revenge, I’d have pulled the trigger and exited this plane with a bang.

I often lied to myself. Lust played an oversized role in this operation.

Any one of the warriors at my side would have gladly seized the prize. Too bad for them I got there first.

Jutting phallically with hostile and arrogant contempt at the ragged edge of tradition [nostalgically reclaimed] and gentrification, the Cashmere Tower was the tallest building in the city. Money fountained like arterial blood from the quasi-professional tenants, none of it staying for long; sophisticated programs laundered the stains through shell companies and offshore numbered accounts. Despite the repeated hacks and journalistic exposures, it was all standard procedures for corrupt businesses protected by slick lawyers and bought politicians.

My target was higher up the ladder — literally — the top ten floors pandered to a different type of cash flow. Vice was timeless. Nubile flesh an inflation proof currency. Educated agents were shopping for fresh victims that wouldn’t be missed.

By mistake or deliberate malice — the first understandable, the latter an apocalyptic possibility — the procurers had lured the wrong one. Whatever the alchemy of designer drugs and DJ mixed trance that had created the circumstances of the snatch, it had not removed the clear traces of her passage.

I was their emissary.

The elevator was smooth and quiet.

What lay beyond the locked and guarded entrance was not.

Tears flowed. The fear filled the cold air with an intoxicating mélange of the most titillating scent of all: Fresh money.

Rows and rows of glittering females arranged as if waxed produce in bins filled the luxurious rooms. The buyers with their tablets snapped countless pictures, and fired off encrypted messages that raced around the world in an instant. No throttling of speed for this crowd. They owned the conduits on behalf of the 1%. Meat was meat — human livestock for consumption by those who could afford the very best.

The auction started later, but I was not bidding. My steel attaché with electronic lock was not filled with clean dollars or euros or yen, but a single jewel that pulsed with all the suppressed fury at the unrelenting humanistic devouring of magic.

I carried a portal strong enough to suck the entire building into the Outerlands were it not tuned to ‘rescue’ my target. If the dead-eyed brokers knew what their exotic captive actually was, they’d run screaming into the night; not that fleeing was a viable option should she choose to destroy rather than drink in the essence of pain and despair coating the dungeon walls.

Why I was chosen to interrupt the pain slut as she writhed in her bondage, driving her price higher with every blow of the whip: that is a story best told later. For when the Queen commands retrieval of her wayward daughter: who better to mount an escape, than the Princess’ estranged human husband.

That would be me.

3 Comments

  1. I love this!

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