You splash cold water on your face. Your eyes in the vanity mirror look heavy hooded and haunted. Your hands seem to belong to someone else; that demented beast from the flick in your head.
Such thoughts are not helpful. You are not insane. Simply beyond mere mortal morality. A slick and reasonable terror.
Despite the ordeal, your skin is giving off a subtle lustre, your feline body is still gloriously well defined. You seem to glow and tighten further after the consumption of each new victim.
Yes, you only need to lose that clenched demented glare and you are still the fiendish dream lover your victims are so eagerly seduced by.
Victims. Yes. You are ravenous. This entity who hijacked your vision, chip, and brain has drained you, rendered you powerless. Depleted. And power is your sustenance. Your elixir. Your venom. Power surges in your veins. But the currant is ebbing.
You don’t even bother to wash your sticky fingers before hitting the fire exit stairs. Your make it down 23 floors in under 5 minutes. As you pass the sturdy blankly staring sturdy concierge, you realise that your are afraid. And that this is a nearly forgotten emotion. You left fear behind with your transformation.
The past is where such states of beings belong. You refuse to be subjected to nagging dread ever again.
Your polished knee hight boots echo on the slick early evening pavement. It must have rained when your chip was interfered with. The spring showers left a residue of heady freshness.
You are no longer afraid. You are enraged. You are free. For once. You out evolved policing. No one can pull you back into the ranks of the bleating flock around you.
Hailing a black cab you instruct the driver to take you to regent’s park.
They are watching you? Well, they are going to get a show they won’t forget in a hurry. Whoever they are.
Dance- Hall music and lights spill out from the park. Guess you hit the jackpot: the Night Fair is in town.
‘We’re closing in an hour love’, cautions the girl at the ticket booth. You tell her an hour is plenty, and buy a pass and a pile of replica coins, actual copper and silver and bronze imitations, as tokens for the rides. Of course, you paid for them with Theo’s hacked chip, but still, this fair is like stepping back in time. A hundred years. Perhaps more.
The rides are too slow. You can’t stand it. Everything is steam operated or claims to be powered by some other ancient mechanism, and with your exhilarated metabolism, even the most state of the art roller-coaster wouldn’t have provided enough of a thrill.
Anyhow, you aren’t here for the kind of period adrenaline kick they are peddling.
A hand painted sign, complete with 19th century font, invites you to step into the pennies arcade. Funny how clunky it feels, putting your hand in your packet, finding the right shape and size object, and putting it in a slot to make something happen.
You enter the booth marked as a ‘Peep Show’.
Naturally, you are under no illusions this would be a real peep show. Those disappeared years ago, made extinct by a combined assault of the competition from Chip-Cam, prohibitive rents and moralistic regulations.
But your curiosity is piqued. This peep show advertises a preview for 3 ‘pennies’ and a private experience for double this price, per minute. You put your pennies in the slot and are rewarded with an effect of jingling coins, like the sound a ghost vice.
The blinds slide up. You were expecting the hatch to be a hologram screen. But it’s not. it’s an actual window looking into a revolving stage.
There are three live acts currently on offer:
The first figure on the revolving stage is the Strong Man, dressed like a 1980s WWE fighter, lifting gold bullions (fake, no doubt) chained to a massive ring through his septum.
Then rolls on contortionist, a pretty little thing done up like a rhinestone crocodile. She seems to be giving head to her tail.
The last side show act to sail past your hatch is the Fire Eater. You can’t help but thinking that if this was a genuine time machine, the sultry brass -clad diva could have doubled as the tattooed lady.
Each circus freak offers you a private show. The strong man hints he has other hardy piercings he’ll gladly display at your pleasure. The contortionist doesn’t need to insinuate anything. Her talents are apparent. She contrives to lose a couple of the acrylic gems stones covering her her nipples as her rubber tail brushes against them.
They look directly at you. Attempting to make eye contact. But you made sure to select the ‘discreet’ option when you entered the booth. So the double sided mirror is impenetrable to their gaze. Let blindness be the lot of others. Not you.
‘C’mon, Sir, Madam or Thing’ taunts the Fire Eater as she halts before you, metal wire bodice and brass plated brassiere shimmering ‘Can’t take the heat? Be a sport, gimme a little peek!’ Her voice is tantalisingly husky. Must be all those flames down her throat. You can tell she’s been around. And this seasoned depravity, combined with her taut body and feral stance is nothing short of maddening. When your hatch remains opaque, she give you a stage shrug, the parody French mannerism making her shoulder muscles and the peacocks tattooed on her throat and breasts ripple under her armour.
Your ‘pennies’ run out. You exit the booth and purchase the last candy floss before the pink haired girl shuts down the machine. More stickiness to musk the rich smell on your fingers from when you got your self off watching Theo being split apart.
Now your fingers are sugary. Covered in a pink crystalline web. You detest candy floss, but relish the irony of how wholesome and harmless the act of holding this pastel growth and licking those cum coated fingers makes you appear.
Tinny music and an overly jolly baritone announce closing time.
Cleaners descend on the trodden grass, picking up rubbish and scavenging for lost treasure. Once they would have found money on the floor. Or phones. But that’s no longer a perk of this shitty job. Best they can hope for is jewellery, substances, or forgotten bits of clothing .
You jump the fence and enter the track and trailers park. The steward ignores you. He thinks that the arm you waved at him bears a genuine artist pass.
That’s one of the up-sides of being able to manipulate brain waves and electric pulses. You don’t use it much. Your charisma is often enough.
In keeping with a dead tradition, the fire eater’s home is marked with a bad painting of her practising her art. It’s a deep red 1930’s half -cab bus. Helpfully, her name is also painted in fanciful letters. ‘Blaze’. Right.
It’s hard to recognise the feisty show girl in the figures who approaches the bus a few minutes later. She tied her hair back, and both tangerine locks and Amazon thighs are concealed under a hooded zebra Onesie.
But Blaze’s gait is the same – a predatory sway. Not at all burdened by the fire extinguisher in her hand and the heavy looking case strapped to her back, which must contain her kit.
Blaze stops in her tracks. Much to your surprise, she doesn’t seem alarmed by the stranger leaning against her bus.
‘Hello invisible one’ she purrs. ‘Glad you decided to come out and play’.
‘So the glass isn’t really tinted then?’
‘Oh, it is. Must be my second sigh that tipped me off’.
‘A real live witch then. Can you tell fortunes?’
‘Not very accurately. Only the immediate future. If it concerns me.’
‘So I take it I feature in your future?’
‘This must be the cheesiest chat up line in the book, but as it happens, yes, you do’.
She turns the key in the lock, and slides back the door. You follow her. Certain of your welcome. This is getting easier every time. Fire girl walked straight into your trap.
Evidently, she has no talent for predicting her own fate.