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Flinch (standard:horror, 8177 words)
Author: David J RodgerAdded: Jan 10 2002Views/Reads: 2181/1465Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Raymond works promoting clubs in Manhattan; he's an advocate of any new technology he can get his hands on. Not all technology, it seems, is meant to be good for you. Flinch - "Would you let it inside your head?"


"Sixth Sense. Do you have it?  Imagine the moment when you need to
communicate without any indication you are doing so.  Imagine being 
able to speak without making a sound. That's Sixth Sense. A new 
technology available from Flinch Technology Labs..." 

Raymond zapped the TV into silence with the remote then sprawled out
across the divan: he already had the implant. The new technology was 
already old for him.  His bare feet touched fur and body heat, 
Bubastis, his cat, arched its back to press up against his soles. 

Raymond laughed his famous laugh, bright teeth within a perfect mouth,
"You're such a flirt!" 

The cat stretched forward, paws clenching and unclenching on the silky
divan cover, emitting a deep rumbling purr. 

Raymond tensed his muscles, satisfied when the vertebrae in his spine
audibly clicked in quick succession. He sat upright, glanced around for 
something to throw, picked up a small cushion and hurled it at the cat. 

Direct hit. Bubastis leapt forward and thundered across the varnished
floor to the other side of the vast room.  Raymond chuckled and pulled 
himself off the divan. He stood upright and stretched again, squinting 
in the bright shaft of amber sunlight sloping through the window.  The 
day was almost over. He had managed about three hours sleep. 

He lingered on the pain building up in his muscles as he forced his body
to stretch, then relaxed. 

"Bubastis," He said out loud, "Adjust window down to thirty percent." 

The dazzling glare of the sun dimmed to a sultry glow as the windows
darkened on command.  Bubastis was simply a man-made familiar, an 
organic replicant that looked, behaved, smelled and sounded like a real 
cat. Raymond had loaded Bubastis with the Management software for his 
apartment: it was a chique thing to do with feline replicants.  Raymond 
had watched the old sci-fi films from the previous century; Terminator, 
Bladerunner. That 'future' was now here, and the reality of it was so 
much better than the projected dreams of the nineteen hundreds. 

He padded across the varnished floor to the wide, narrow strip of window
that ran the length of the room. Manhattan stretched out before him, 
the furnace of the sun trapped at the far end of 5th Avenue, filling 
the wide cavernous street with blazing golden light. 

Darkness would fall swiftly, suddenly, the light blocked out by the vast
monolithic skyscrapers that nuzzled every flat inch of ground space, 
ranked shoulder to shoulder, compelling the street-based observer to 
forget there was such a thing as sky. 

He loved the city.  He loved the night in the city. 

He used a mental keyword and conjured up the synaptic-command suite into
his peripheral vision. The command-suite was superimposed across his 
natural vision, generated by the pea-sized implant of raw chip memory 
wet-wired inside his skull.  Such implants were commonly called WAM: 
Wet Access Memory. The product marketing said he would never find 
enough data to fill it. It was a  glossy half-lie. He would never have 
enough personal data to fill it, but a friend of his had once 
configured his own WAM to act like a web-crawler: opened a link to the 
Internet then sat back. An hour later the friend was being rushed to 
hospital with an embolism, caused by synaptic leakage around the 
implant. The WAM company paid all fees to hush up the incident, then 
sued the clinic that installed the implant for gross-incompetence.  The 
clinic went bust and Raymond's friend got enough money for a year in 

Life could be so random. 

It was Raymond's favourite by-line. 

Raymond was twenty seven. Nigerian born, British raised, living out of

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