Monthly Archives: May 2018

Not Completely Soulless 2

The wind blew an icy chill over Sari. Her skin responded by popping up with some goosebumps. This reminded her to do a little shiver, rub her arms in a vain attempt to warm herself back up.

 

Just in case someone was watching.

 

She had just stepped out of her apartment building into the little ocean facing alcove at the front. Up here on the top of this hill that was called a mountain barely anyone walked passed. Still, just in case, she performed the ritual of blowing into her hands.

 

A piece of her soul flared up again, though this emotion was not her own, a resonance with another full soul on the edge of her perception. It was amusement. Perhaps someone in the building laughing at a soulless creature pretending to be cold. Or maybe a human in a house nearby watching a comedy show.

 

“It’s going to be one of those days.” Sari didn’t let the emotion creep into her voice so it came out as icy as the wind.

 

With a step forward she went into hyperspeed, the cold wind tried its best to cut into her but she couldn’t feel the temperature of it, only the pressure of it on her skin. Within the space of a few heartbeats she had made it down the hill.

 

No-one would have seen her even if they had been paying attention. She wasn’t sure if it was a function of her shimmer or her speed but she was imperceptible at her highest speeds. Usually her shimmer just made her appear more attractive or less noticeable at will, never had she become fully invisible. Yet, if she was actually moving fast enough to outrun human sight then really her clothes should not have been able to withstand the incoming air.

 

Regardless she had practiced controlling her shimmer every day, there were stories that her Uncle was able to become fully invisible.

 

Sari slowed to a brisk walk as she came upon an alley between two buildings. Now that she was in the more populated area of town it was harder to move that fast without disrupting anyone. Even though she was fairly thin and aerodynamic the air she displaced had previously knocked over several people even a couple of small cars.

 

This had also sparked another idea, could she turn her drag into lift. More study into flight was required for figuring that one out. But she wanted to finish off this game series she had gotten into. There were fourteen games and each of them were hundreds of hours to fully complete. Now that she thought about it they were probably made expressly for soulless like her, surely humans don’t have as much time on their hands.

 

There were several people going her way through town which was fairly normal for this time of the morning. She passed them easily with her quick pace, this got her a few glances but it was probably more because her shimmer was turned to eleven. It was much easier to mentally block the onslaught of human emotion if she was focused on projecting the shell of confidence and beauty.

 

Many would have been unable to look upon her directly without feeling completely inadequate and shamed. But most would only catch the full effect for a moment and just be in awe. This effect would only last seconds and once she was out of their view any negative connotation of the feeling would be gone. A shimmer was able to project an image and influence those who are very suggestible but it was only ever temporary.

 

Even though she wasn’t in hyperspeed it felt like she had made it across town in an instant. She decided to slow down her pace a bit there was plenty of time in the day to do what she needed. First though she was going to pop into work.

 

“Dear Lucifer woman turn down the brightness.” Hank physically shielded his eyes from her Shimmer.

“Sorry, sorry.” Hank was technically human but besides being a landlord and business owner he was a very powerful Warlock.

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The wizard of Coz

I always loved taking the subway, the cool clean Oz of the recyclers, the whooshing sound of the water in and out of the airlock at each station. I haven’t been on one since I was a child. My mother worked at the government building in the centre of the city, far from the Agropolis that our housing unit was docked at.

 

She used to take me and my sister with her because they had an onsite daycare.

 

Looking down from the bottom walkway I could see the rails on which the subway cars travelled. The flashing red lights almost invisible deep under the blue-green water. Air bubbled up as the nearby station prepared to eject one of those cars onto the rail.

 

I couldn’t smell the crisp acidic air of the lower levels because of my filtering mask. But I remembered the burning in my nostrils as clearly as I could see the waves gently lapping at concrete and steel under the walkway.

 

Out here in the open the air wasn’t safe to breathe anymore, not that it really was before even without all the Coz. That was probably one on of the reason Mom stopped bringing us with her. Our housing unit was sealed and the main function of the Agropolis besides making food is producing Oz from the Coz.

 

My filtering mask has an electrolyzer that can convert the Coz on the fly for about an hour before needing recharging. They were originally designed for maintenance men stationed in the high atmosphere monitoring stations but once the Coz got down to sea level it became the new fashion. Mine is a simple black but there are designer ones with angles and pastel colors. I wouldn’t call myself fashionable and I don’t usually venture outside these days anyway.

 

It’s probably been about ten years since the last trip I took on the subway and probably ten months since I last needed to leave the housing unit.

 

I stopped leaning on the railing, turning away from the waves like waking from a dream. The walkway was anything but empty. I’ve heard that our city has the largest population of those above water, I could believe it.

 

It would only take a few full breaths of the Coz out here to give mild nerve damage and that’s if you get your mask back on and don’t faint from mild asphyxiation. But even so hundreds of people walked by, several had full face masks, only one in fifty people used complete body covering suits.

 

I stepped into the crowd and followed the flow until I got to the subway entrance.

 

No-one followed me down the stairs. Usually only commuters took the subway, it was too expensive to use as casual transport around the city. Those who worked in the center of the city had their travel reimbursed as it was the only place you couldn’t live close by to. There were no Housing docks in the Agropolises there as it was all dedicated to filling workplaces or the manufacture of goods that require Oz.

 

My ears popped from the pressure change once I got to the bottom level. The station was clean black and white tile with fluorescent lights reflecting off every plastic advertisement enclosure hung on the walls. The enclosures were empty, apart from one or two which I think were just old PSAs reminding people getting off to put their masks back on now that they were off the subway.

 

The subway guard looked at me with her scanning blue lights. The last vestige of the robotic workforce, standing around looking menacing.

 

I made my way to the airlock separating the stairs from the subway platform.

 

“Please wait for the airlock cycle.” The guard said in her chirpy yet somehow aggressive tone.

 

She didn’t even want to check my ID or ask where I was heading today. I always hated that about the AI swarm, they knew everything there was to know on earth but generally kept it to themselves. No wonder we stopped them from taking all the jobs.

 

“Please enjoy your trip.” That same voice pushing me to get into the airlock and hurry along so it could put its processing power back into undoing entropy or whatever it was that they did with it.

 

I got in the airlock and was immediately blasted with that chilled crisp Oz. I rushed to take my mask off so I could savor the nostalgia for it but was not quick enough. For some reason I blamed the robot guard for this, even though I knew she wouldn’t have cared enough to rush the airlock cycle just for that.

 

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