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Zone 25 (standard:science fiction, 1757 words)
Author: Dark RiverAdded: Dec 02 2003Views/Reads: 2072/1203Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Do you also hate crowds?

It was past midday. I don't know what the hell I was thinking but I woke
up in the middle of a crowd. I hate crowds. What's the use of it? Why 
should I elbow my way? To see a cyborg fighting with a khamal? And the 
horrible smell of sweat which felt in the air and was amplified by the 
heat...I hate crowds yet I was in the middle of one. Who the hell made 
me pass through Zone 25? 

“Hey you, step aside if not I'll smash your face!, a beggar with ragged
and dusty clothes yelled at me. 

“Leave me the hell alone you bastard! Mind your own business, son of a
bitch!” and I rush to hit him. 

But the bastard gets away and slides off. That's a good one smash my
face! Damn it! I cannot walk peacefully in the street anymore! Besides, 
what street? This is not a street, it's a swarm of people who murmur 
continuously and who stink! Who the hell made me pass through Zone 25? 
One would have understood if I hadn't known how things stand here, yes 
I would have had an excuse. But I knew. I knew that it was the zone of 
the beggars, of the immoral people, of the leprous. And I also knew 
that fights between cyborgs and khamals took place there three times a 
week. Speaking of khamals, I have never understood what the hell they 
eat. They don't have a mouth. It's true that I haven't been too 
interested in finding it out but I simply wonder. What the hell do they 
live on? A huge creature of two meters high and as much breadth! Their 
skin is so damn thick that hardly can a knife pierce it. I was told 
that they were brought from a planet of Kalix system three years ago. 
“Griko! Griko!” started shouting the people around me. I look around to 
see what is going on, why the hell they are all shouting like madmen. 
About one hundred meters in front of me, four guys are setting a kind 
of stage. Actually it is a ring. A cyborg and a khamal are to fight to 
death there. But who the hell or what the hell is Griko? 

I look about for a less stinky face to explain it to me if I am doomed
to stay here, I should, at least, find out exactly what's going on 
here. I know that a fight is about to take place but I've never watched 
such a thing in my whole life. Somewhere, on my left, I catch the sight 
of a guy who doesn't seem to be one of those who hang about in Zone 25. 
I say this because he was pretty well dressed, he was shaved and neatly 
combed unlike the primitive who live in this damned zone. 

“Hey you, do you know who Griko is? I happened to be here in the middle
of this crowd and if I'm here I should at least know what's going on.” 

“Well, pal, If you don't have the slightest idea who Griko is you are
definitely new around here”, the guy answered me in a friendly voice. 
“Griko is the khamal who has been winning all the fights for the last 
two months. No cyborg has defeated him. He is as strong as an ox, this 
ugly face. Once, with one blow he pulled off a cyborg's right arm. It's 
a frightful creature, pal. He'll give you creeps, I tell you!” the guy 
told me. 

So, this Griko is a cyborg-killing machine... a living machine. Damned
if I understand how a khamal can kill no less than twenty-four cyborgs 
in a couple of months. On the back of it, these, the cyborgs are not 
beings and yet this animal beats the hell out of them! Devilish trick! 
I can hardly wait to see it for myself. However I think the fight will 
start soon. Listening to all these scamps shouting and taking into 
account that the ring has already been set, the fight will begin sooner 
than I've thought. 

“You, man, give me some water!” I heard a voice near my left shoulder. I
turn and see a ten years old kid staring at me and waiting for me to 
give him what he has asked for. 

“How on earth do you think I can give you water! You...don't you see I
have nothing on me?” 

“Give me ten kharzes then and I'll slip out to buy you some water too”
said the kid to me. Like heck! He's telling me to give him money to buy 
water as if he would ever come back with it. 

“Leave me the hell alone! I don't have money on me!” I shouted at him. I
wish I could drink some water. I would give right now 20 kharzes for a 
drop of cold water. I'm so warmed up ‘cause of the crowd! Who the hell 

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