Waking Hours, Pt. I

Wake up.

You’re in a small cubicle, six by sixteen.

It’s dark. You’re sweating.

Where am I?

Clench your fingers. Soft bed sheets.

You’re sitting up in your bed in your apartment.

Get up.

The bathroom is two steps away. Small, cramped.

Toilet. Sink. Cracked mirror. How’d that happen again?


Water on your face.


You’re awake.


The kitchen is four steps away.

Dregs of coffee three days old.

Clothes on the floor. Now they’re on you.

Time to leave.



The air is cold. The city is windy. The ground is wet.

In the distance, shiny buildings of complex geometrical shapes tipped with construction cranes blot out the sun streaming through cloudy skies.

The dark clouds above roll and swirl angrily around the tips of spires. A storm is coming.

You hear a clanging sound from the metalworks behind your apartment.

Your footsteps rattle the rusty, metal catwalk.

You leave behind your gray cubicle among a line of gray cubicles.

Down the stairs, around the corner.

You arrive on a concrete platform. A graffitied back wall.

There are two other people on the platform.

A man in a trench coat sits on a bench, sniffling and reading a newspaper.

A woman bundled up with warm clothes stands shivering at the edge of the platform a few meters away.


You look out at the city.

Your vision is obscured by buildings across the way. Dark, blank and boring. Motionless.

The city stretches high into the sky and reaches down into the depths of darkness.

An alarm sounds. The tram to the inner city arrives.

You’re across the city in the blink of an eye.

The hustle and bustle of the inner circle envelopes you.

The tram descends into the shiny city of opportunity.

Cars whizz by, people shuffle along to work and other destinations.

In the distance, more cars move in little ant lines through the air, and people travel hundreds of yards across airwalks zigzagging between skyscrapers.

You step out on the airwalk in front of central HQ.

Walk up 22 steps. Open the big door.

What’s on the agenda today, chief?



It’s a homicide. Some cyber punk got shafted.

Male. Age: 22.

Eyes: brown. Hair: short and black.

5’7”. 135 lbs.

Damn shame, says the coroner.

Take a look at his face.

Face is split in half. A gash from the left temple down to the jaw. Right eye is missing.

Right eye is missing? Appears to have been taken out deliberately.

A distinguishing feature – the massive hole in the chest. Heart’s been cut out. Also very deliberate.

One arm was a prosthetic, but it was torn off. Lifeless copper wires protrude from the stub.

Check behind the ear for softs. Could be video evidence.

There are the slots. No dice. They’ve all been removed.

Pockets contain… nothing. No ID. Fingerprints burned off.

 “A puzzler, eh, kid?”

It’s the Chief. You hate when he calls you that.

He saunters in with his opinions and rationale.

He suspects it’s a one-off. You don’t think it’s that simple.

Nothing is that simple anymore. Not in this city.