The murder rate is well above the national mean – 0.015% per annum. That’s nearly six people every week. 85% of them are young black men. But, though proportionately fewer, some of the murders perpetrated on women are particularly horrific.
“Oh…My…Gosh! I’ve discovered a first: cybernetic post-traumatic stress disorder.”
“It’s a savage cyber-slum out there. Down at street level, so to speak.”
“It’s illegal to remove ID, but it’s not illegal to go un-wearing after twenty-one.”
Thuli begins to sob, even more intensely than before. What on earth is happening to me? she wonders.
Glimpsed in the headlights, a child darts for the edge of the road. Thuli brakes, and the car slews – she hears a soft thump – and begins to spin. Helpless, she resigns herself: a limbo of thought in which she avoids imagining the bone-rending impact to come.
Bulumko has heard rumours of adepts able to destroy a man by manipulating the electricity in his brain...
“You know, I was a virgin when we made love.”
“My father died saving me from a charging hippopotamus…”
A small, dented globe of puke-green fire wobbles to life in the centre of the room. “Sorry, I’m a bit…” Bulumko doesn’t finish what he’s going to say: the ‘something’ he stumbled over is a corpse.
It turns out that Leticia, a childhood play-mate of his, who lived with her dad, just a few streets down from his mom’s house, has been disembowelled. She is not dead yet: head cradled in the night-watchman’s arms, she lingers.
Besides him, Shikara deftly slips off her kurti, revealing her breasts, ripe and exquisite. “Don’t be afraid. I won't hurt you.” She continues stripping, peeling back her jeans, exposing lush thighs.
Looming over Bulumko, the serpent crackles with power, filaments of flame spawning from its front – drifting, sizzling. Undaunted, Bulumko pulls up an abandoned cocktail table, climbs onto it, shoves his face towards the electric conflagration.
On the podium, lead singer, Giant Wolfman James, stomps and hoots like a runaway locomotive, relying on the wooden pulpit canopy behind him to project his already monstrous voice.
He gestures, and a stream of sparks condenses in mid-air, chases into a rotating ring that drifts away from them, pulsing through the colour spectrum from violet to red and back. “Wow!” breathes Shikara.
A young woman walks out of the ocean. Coffee complexion, with straight waist-length black hair. Sleek. Busty. Her clothes are not wet.
“I am Volition… but you can call me Will.” A silvery humanoid icon appeared, shimmering.
Sean thought of Jordan: Sprat’s gonna be too big for his boots now. Need putting down… The image of a mop-haired poodle came to mind, and he chuckled poisonously. Yeah, like a sick dog. Get my flash-drive back first though.
“I’m not overdosing. And it’s not my fault if someone trolls me. Don’t overreact.”
Grumpet rested his plump hand on Jordan’s afro; dug his fingers into its thick, lush fuzz. Jordan bucked. He could feel Grumpet’s flabby belly pressing against his shoulder over the rim of the chair-back. Whoa. Freaky!