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Urban legends of the fut.., p.1
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       Urban Legends of the Future, p.1

           Chris B. Bollweg
 
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Urban Legends of the Future


  Urban Legends of the Future

  a collection of tales from the edge of the night

  By: Chris B. Bollweg

  Published by: Digitally Imprint Yourself Media c.2015. This and related intellectual property © Christopher Bryan Bollweg. This is a work of fiction and all characters, locations and events are fictional. All resemblance to any real people, places or events are purely coincidental. For personal use only. Reprint/Recopy only with permission by publisher. All rights reserved. Edited by Skye Castillo. Cover image by Chris B. Bollweg. Read by you.

  Table of Contents

  one

  Things That Are Cold

  [MC2099CE]

  two

  Planet Scorched Earth

  [HW2096CE]

  three

  Mind Your Manners

  [OC2090-2099CE]

  four

  Sucking Out Loud

  [HW2097-2099CE]

  five

  Heroine with a Thousand Faces

  [OC2099CE]

  six

  Say Goodbye, Hollywood

  [TW2099CE]

  zero

  Afterwards

  [CA2015CE]

  By the Author:

  Urban Legends of the Future

  Pretty Words for Hateful Bastards (poetry)

  By Starlight - Before Dawn

  To Slice The Sky

  To Rachael, for giving me a reason to finish.

  And Sonny, for being a dog.

  one

  Things That Are Cold

  [MC2099CE]

  Maybe I jagged off too many people being a maverick renegade that follows their gut. Maybe it's because I refused to do the job the way the brass wanted it done. Whatever the reason, something I did got me working these cold cases.

  Skag like this has been happening since man dreamed up what goes bump in the night. Animal bites that don’t match with the local fauna. Drownings in sewers and lakes where the victim had odd shaped strangle marks. Ritualistic killings where the blood is drained through two holes in the neck. Sleeping sickness deaths where the husk looks like their dreams came horribly true. Skag that boils down to a bunch of hocus pocus Johnny Law can't cuff.

  Sometimes I wonder if this is my punishment for not being a modder, temper or splicer. For not fragging around with my genes or tossing whirring and buzzing slag into my body. For trying to find human solutions to human problems, I get stuck looking for the inhuman.

  Worst part about this gig: learning about what I'm looking for. These days, even The Church is screaming monsters are real, trying to explain what I clean up before I get there. It's bad enough dealing with their modded up jackholes trying to play Captain Badass. Can’t even slap cuffs on the church ordained vigilantes. Their bargain basement imitators, and other slagheads taking fearmongering too serious, are another thing.

  Monsters, heh. Put that in the mix with papal sanctioned night slummers. Having the brass to say they're, "Holy Knights against the Darkness". It's enough to make my temples ache at how the world's gone so mad these days. You'd think at the close of the 21st century, we'd have less things to fear.

  *

  Current stiff is at West 76th and Promenade. Hot spot for warehouse parties and a drawing pool for fetishists, weirdos and Outskirters looking to spice up their lives. All the credits you could want and Outies still need some blitz in their veins to feel alive. In the good ole days, I could meet my quotas slapping cuffs on slagheads and on duty whores a minute's walk from here. After all, Metro City needs to keep its streets clean, and they get made to do that with a little community service time. Government work never hurt anyone.

  Stiff is a thirty-something female, bluehead, slight mods, no metal, only cosmetic genework, sharp features, five-four, approximately one forty-five weight. Not your typical club going type, city casual wear. Pale skin, drained of blood, four puncture holes on the neck around the carotid for ease of bleed out. Outside of the neck holes, there are zero signs of trauma.

  Body is in a back alley dangling out of a trash compactor. It scopes like the perp wasn't trying to dispose of it. Compactor won’t click on for another three hours and no one's around to canvass. I light up the alley, scoping for signs of struggle. The refuse outside of the compactor looks undisturbed as far as garbage goes. I see no blood spots or disruption to the surroundings.

  I drop a rover over her to scan for the usual: DNA traces involving hair, saliva, semen. The rover’s report comes back. No traces of any type of sedative or hallucinogen in the stiff's remaining systems to suggest a drug and attack. The spit around and in the wound contained a hemovorous anticoagulant enzyme. DNA matches no known profile. Since people have so many trait mods these days, anything could explain its presence.

  I loose a heavy sigh and drag a palm across my face. Ten years on the force, ten years leading to cold bodies and no leads. If I didn't have another century of life ahead of me, I'd say I'm getting too old for this skag.

  *

  Quitting time means going home to an empty apartment in the triples on the outer target edge. Nothing inside but a maker, couchbed, fridge, and holovision. Light filters through a grimy window, casting shadows across the space. On the couch, my head stuck on a case that I'm not supposed to solve. Thinking about a nut or group of nuts, who think they're phantasmagoric entities, sucking juice out of people. Quitting the drink was a terrible mistake.

  It used to be me tagging deadbeats and weekend slicers with my old partner, Bronze, on the beat. Then he went for the desk job with the easy pay. I've still got Metro in my blood. I only feel alive with her under my feet. Not at home. Not at rest. I need her sounds. Her smells. The eager faces basking in LED adverts as I walk her streets. That is home.

  *

  A naked red bulb above a corner door was the establishment’s sole giveaway. Hidden around the corner a sign read, 'The Dump on 73rd', which is more of a skaghole street than where I found tonight’s stiff. Same MO as last night’s alley queen.

  It's 22:02 on a late autumn Thursday. Most Nightlifers just braved second rush hour. I hassle a couple with enough JumpUp in their lungs that their skin moves independent from the rest of their body. They of course scoped nothing but jump-trails and kept insisting nothing goes on in this part of town. You can't ask Jumpers nothing.

  Inside 'The Dump', a few early birds were worming their way to early oblivions. A lone tekhed over at the juice bar was zapping up joule hits, the faraway look of someone lost in visions. A couple of tempers sporting feathers suck up tequila worms and shots at the bar. And a lonely looking girl inhabited the corner, dulling the cold air with a warm buzz. A freakshow for sure. No one here’s gonna spill anything worthwhile.

  *

  Back on the street, looking through alleyways where everybody swears nothing happens. No sign of monsters in the night winds. Another report filled with no results for the ties to harp at me. I spill my progress to the car's mic. Traffic is light the whole way out of the Target. My headlights shine in the driveway, 03:21, as I ease into my neighbor’s spot because her girlfriend’s in mine. My frustrated mind goes over what I observed tonight.

  My report's been dialed and my bio's offline. I hate being tracked on the clock. Can’t imagine what it’s like to have a computer in your head at all times.

  In my eyes, cracking open your genetics is voiding the warranty on your soul. Slurs like "Trad" and "Purie" get tossed around by people too soft to know what the meaning of discomfort is. Too afraid to experience what makes us human. It beats having a half metal body or designer genes. I don’t know which fanatics I despise more, them or the church’s ‘Holy Knights’.

  *

  Daylight breaks at 06:45 this morning. I did
n’t even unfold the bed or undress. A phantom memory of last night flashes through my mind as I rub my eyes and mumble at the home VI system to close the blinds.

  I tell the house to fire up newsfeeds as I rub my temples. No news about my case, of course. Not even by The Universal Church. I haven't been bugged for an interview about another sociopath playing boogeyman and I doubt I will be.

  *

  I spy some guy with a glow in his eye as I'm heading into the precinct. A trinity hangs from his neck. The long trenchcoat doesn’t hide his weapon bulges. I hazard a guess he’s another ‘Holy Knight’. My desk has another stiff, this time closer to The Outskirt side of The Inner Target.

  I arrive on scene at 21:58. Another unassuming female pedestrian; no sign of struggle, same murder weapon, no trace of DNA. Our killer prefers women is the only pattern so far. Not much for originality.

  Once again, there's a bar a few blocks down from the crime scene. Another hole in the wall juice bar slash watering hole. Must be rife with potential homicide victims, yet the stiff doesn’t scope as an early intoxicating type.

  Like the previous two victims, time of death appears to be one hour prior to the call. The quick response, particularly on bodies in low density areas, leads me to wonder about the people who called them in. The amount of foot traffic, or lack there of, while I'm doing the routine scans makes it improbable some Good Sam passed by and sifted through these boxes for a body.

  *

  Back at the precinct I scour the call logs, going back and forth between yesterday and today. Both sound like males in their early to mid twenties with somewhat similar voices. I ran it through the vox-recog software and came up completely empty. I asked IT if the voice imprint system was on the fritz. They grilled me on being unable to work a simple program, claiming someone like me should have no problem with tech. Damn tekhed bastards. Always get preachy when you're not on their level.

  I decide to be the program and listen the old fashioned way. The voices, while close, don't match up in voice imprint. But for myself, they’re too alike and too weird. I know I shouldn't be putting this much effort into something meant to run me in circles, but the world needs someone to take things a step too far for no reason these days.

  I play the voices over and over and over and over again. The first one is shaky and nervous but I can't help but pick up something dead and imitating in its sincerity. It's not panicked, it's practiced. The second one has a hint of being bored with this whole charade. A voice of acted distress when coming across a dead body in a back alley in the early hours of the evening.

  *

  Another blank slate of a night back at home. You hear folk say if you don’t dream you go crazy. I don’t dream. If I did, all my dreams would be of work.

  *

  I spend my time in the precinct going over calls from previous murders in the cold case files. I focus on everybody found and cataloged via phone-in from an anonymous tip or beat cop reports; ignoring calls from sober junkers doing community service. I massage my ears then the rest of my face with my palms. Some of these voices sound like the real deal, genuine passerby. That manipulated, calculated and cool voice rears its head beginning around '77. It's a lead.

  *

  I'm on the streets, scouring the Inner Target. There's a lot of meeting grounds out there but my guy has a tooth for certain locales. Each LED drenched street, each blackened back alley, has to have someone I'm searching for hidden inside. Patrol car tires beat like war drums beneath me as the hunter becomes the hunted.

  22:15 the 15400 block of 63rd. I spot a couple, one male one female, duck into an alley. I idle the squad car across the street and scan into the darkness for what feels like forever. It’s too dark to vid signs of struggle, but only the man walks back to the street. I whip out of the driver's seat, gun at the ready.

  "Metro PD. Get down on the ground."

  The dark figure raises his hands and sinks to the pavement. I hustle across the street, gun aimed at his head, going for my restraints.

  "You're making a mistake, detective."

  "Shut up and face down. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used in a court of law. You have the right to an att… OOF-"

  It felt like a sledgehammer cracking my ribcage, though I'm pretty sure it was an elbow that caught me. I'm on the ground doubled over by the force but my body shrugs off the pain. My assailant towers over me as I roll onto my back for a better view. Their pale skin glistens in the street lamps, eyes wild and milky blue, wearing vintage garb, moonlight reflecting off the cuff bracelet. If they weren't standing over me at the moment, I'd swear it was the stiff in the alley instead of a living thing.

  "So you're the one they have following me this time. I must say, adding this game of cat and mouse to the daily routine is an occasional relief from ennui. You're faster than the last few. It's barely been two weeks and here we are."

  His sneakered heel grinds into my sternum. My guts feel crowded. Smirking with those dead eyes, applying pressure.

  "It doesn't bother me, being chased, detective. It adds some flavor into my life. Now that we've met, the fun comes from if you can stop me before I kill again. Given your special… condition, I wonder how much more fun I'll get to have with you." His voice sounds sincere, those eyes bore into mine without flitting about once. "Do you believe in monsters, detective?" he asks, face shrouded in shadow.

  "There are no monsters. Only people" I cough out.

  "Hmm, I'd think for sanity's sake, you should start believing in us, if that's even possible. After all, we very much believe in you."

  "Us? What u…s…?"

  And like that, he's gone.

  I'm ashamed of myself. I met my target and I acted like a rookie: no closure, lazy and slow on the cuffs, no pressure kept on, unless you count his heel. The bastard moved so damn fast. He could have killed me, but didn't. Why? How many of us have had to deal with these cold cases and how many are tied to this guy? He's toying with me, toying with the law. Next time, I need to be ready, not just alert. Alert could have gotten me killed. Alert got one more stiff on the slab sucked dry with holes in the neck…

  Wait… the killer didn't have anything on their person. A full exsanguination tool would be a bulky contraption to carry around. The human body carries a whole lotta blood and that guy looked like he didn't have a drop on him. The body checked out the same as all the others but there's no call in for it. I spent the rest of the night shift driving the streets, searching for someone who shouldn’t exist.

  *

  Next day, a call comes through, straight to my desk.

  "Detective McLusky."

  "Hello, Detective. How are things this fine evening?" The voice is cold as marble like the face I know that matches it.

  "You're making a dumb move right now pal. This line's already traced."

  "That's okay, I prefer the game we're playing to be a little more even. If you call me effortlessly crushing your--I guess lungs--even that is."

  "Why are you making this personal?"

  Something like a laugh scraped in the earpiece, "Your existence is an obvious attempt on my life. Besides, I thought you had to be a person to take things personally,"

  The line clicked dead. The call log flashed an address for tonight's destination.

  *

  The race over left my knuckles raw from gripping the wheel so hard. My mind tried to figure what kind of game he's playing at. Am I going to the right place? Is he waiting for me to catch him? Does he want me to stop him? How big is the trap I'm fast-walking into? None of these questions matter. I floor it with the sirens blaring their white noise shrieks of ‘get outta my way’. I don't know who, but someone's life is in my hands. If I don't step on it, he’s gonna kill that poor woman.

  Down the block is a feedphone with no one around. I'm too late or I've been set up. I get out of my car without shutting it off and book it into a nearby alleyway. I shine my light around the corners. Nobody, nobody, t
hen that voice behind, sneering at my turned back.

  "You certainly are one well-programmed law dog, detective."

  Without a word I whip my gun around and blind-fire a shot where I'm sure someone was standing. All I hit is air.

  "Too slow, I'm afraid, but nice effort", His cool voice whispers in my ear. I turn and fire, another wild shot, but this one connects. I see him clutch his shoulder and grunt in pain. He staggers a bit then falls over. I advance on him, gun trained on the head target box.

  "You're not getting away from me this time, you sonuvabitch. Get down on the ground with your hands above your head."

  He lets me slap the cuffs on him this time, calm as a kid with Space in their brain. I get him up on his feet as I look around the alley.

  "Where's the stiff?"

  "What’s stiff?"

  "I know you killed already, now where's the damn stiff?"

  "Why, Detective McLusky, whatever could you mean? There's no 'stiff' here. No crime has been committed. So, if you would…"

 
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