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“Mr David, it is time” the Chinese man said, flashing a smile of bright silver teeth. “I trust you are ready to pursue the final action?”
David looked him over. Small in stature with perfectly round mirrored sunglasses sat on the bridge of his nose, matching the line of silver teeth glinting inside his old weathered face. Atrophied just the same as everyone now; riddled with implants, a husk of a human. But this one, this husk had special talents. Talents that he needed now.
“Mr David sir, we’re going to need an answer. Events are beginning to align.” The old man hissed, flashing that grin. He caught his own broken reflection between the mirrored sunglasses and the panels of his huge teeth. A splintered face that he had once recognised, now just bits in this moment. A rough cheekbone, a bloodshot eye, a quivering lip.
“I can’t be sure,” David said as the old man turned and walked away. The shafts of light cutting through the round room from all angles, glinting gently off the old man’s implants. Just breathe, he said to himself. Take a moment, you can change this.
“I’m afraid, Mr David, that when a client has this sort of question of conscience, I am often forced to move their hand. Would you like to see her one more time? Before I execute?”
He watched as the old man took a seat in the middle of the circular concrete room, piping and wires lifting themselves out of the floor, screwing themselves into his tiny frame.
He hadn’t been there for her, he knew it. He’d seen her drift and drift and finally when he’d held out his hand, it had been too late. Now, here in the dark grey, it was her or him. They couldn’t be separated; the party wouldn’t allow it. They would both be taken.
He balled his eyes and scraped his fingers across his scalp. She’d never done anything other than love him, and now he was going to make this accident happen, end her, so he might carry on in this weathered world.
The roof flickered alive with the stream, broadcasting her moving through the city, gliding as she always did. His heart leapt and he went to scream but nothing came out as the car veered and smashed her into a rag doll. He fell to his knees, looking up, watching her jellied flesh twitch with a final breath.
The old man’s chair turned to face him, his silver grin flashing before he spoke. “Now, come, Mr David. There really was no other way.”
He felt the tears run down his face. He knew there was another way, he’d always known that there could have been another way.
Building inspiration: Tsitsernakaberd
Musical inspiration: Jon Hopkins — Abandon Window