An excerpt from "Insignia". Original fiction written by me.
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Drug use had become widespread in the country, where wayward
youth and bored elite alike used pills, liquids, powders and syringes to escape
the filthy, stinking, desolate, corporate reality of their mundane lives and shamble
through the streets as zombies. To capitalize on this booming market, the CORPs
went so far as to manufacture and distribute their own, distilled forms of
popular street drugs; for an exorbitant price, of course. – from the Memoirs of A. St. Claire.
The Sink was a slum city by definition, with trash-filled
gutters and rat infested sewers, but the district she was going to was known as
the seediest of the seedy, the not-so-secretly named drug-district. It was the
favorite haunt of black market dealers of designer, mind-altering substances
and where the most whacked-out junkies and hapless addicts came when they ran
out of money, but not of life.
This was where she would fence the Trax, a powerful, medical-grade,
sedative that was difficult to bootleg and very expensive to buy pure. Street versions, known as Scum, were often
laced with very foul additives such as battery acid, cyanide, ground
fiberglass, mercury, frog blood (why?
Mara had no idea) and carbon monoxide. Scum was growing in popularity due to the
increasing rarity of medical-grade Trax.
The dirt bike whizzed down the narrow streets, skyscrapers
looming above like over-protective parents, as Mara wound farther and farther
into the web of the city. There were few people on the road at this hour: a lone pimp in a luxury longcar returning to
his whorehouse, a scuffed-up sedan with peeling paint idling at the corner, and
one brave cyclist on an electric bicycle with his headlamp barely piercing the
gloom of a city on the edge of daylight. The skyscrapers began dwindling until the
tallest was only fifteen stories high. The streets became ever more clogged
with debris: empty aluminum bottles, metal scraps, rotting food, discarded
needles. When the trash finally overwhelmed the road, Mara had to ditch the
bike in a side alley and continue on foot, picking her way around a dead rodent
and skirting a pack of dogs fighting over a sheet of cardboard.
She not only carried her steroidal anlace, but an
old-fashioned handgun the likes of which were rarely seen in today's world. She
liked it because she could make the bullets herself out of almost any scrap
metal and they would be untraceable. However, she carried it mostly for vanity,
preferring hand-to-hand combat. Well that, and she liked the effect a pointed
gun had on an adversary’s face.
She was nearing the heart of the district now, the alleys
overtaken by shanties made from corrugated metal and rotting wood with
cardboard rooves. It was in one of these shanties that her contact resided. It
barely stood out from the rest, but the thin plume of smoke particles dancing
in the shaft of light from the cracked door indicated that she was in right