Friday, April 1, 2011

Excerpt: "A Feeble Gleam of Stars"

 Winkys and words twinkled across her retinas. “;-) ;-) ;-) Amitteee hz a boyfrend! Amittee hz a boyfrend! ;-) ;-) ;-)”
The txt appeared in the bottom half of her vision, teased into her optic nerves by the nanochips bot-woven into the back of her eyes. The message scrolled left to right then vanished into her peripheral vision. Amity grinned and looked back at the girls still in the autocab. She waved. “’Night, bitches! See you Sunday.”
The girls waved back then signaled the cab to continue on its way. Amity had an urge to skip to her front door, but caught herself and walked. She palmed the biolock on the door frame and let herself in. Her face slid from faded giddiness into practiced world-weariness when she spotted her parents watching the VidWall in the living room.

 
Mom looked up when she heard her daughter come in. “How was the dance?” The image on the VidWall froze, waiting tersely for the command to resume.
Amity shrugged. “It was OK. The DJ was pretty good.”
“Did you talk to any cute boys?”
The girl glared. “Mom!” She stretched the word by a syllable; in her head it made it sound like “moron.” Amity believed her Mom wouldn’t recognize a cute boy if one grabbed her left nipple and twisted; look who she married! “I don’t want to talk about that.”
Mom chuckled and traded an amused glance with Amity’s Dad. He winked back.
“Go on up to bed,” Mom said. “We’re driving to Grandma’s early tomorrow.”
Amity nodded. “’Night.” She offered both parents a perfunctory cheek peck and headed for the stairs. She paused at the landing and looked back at the couch. “I’m going to the mall with Becca and Sue on Sunday. OK?”
The drama on the Vid had already reclaimed most of her parents’ attention. “We’ll talk about it tomorrow, honey,” Amity's Dad said, without looking up.
Satisfied, Amity bounced up the stairs to the bathroom.
Eleven minutes of scrubbing, brushing and lotioning later, Amity was in her bedroom. She flopped on her bed and tapped her left thumb and ring finger together three times. The motion of her fingers brought her onboard's menu into her eyes and she moused up her latest photo files. She had a gig of pictures from the dance, captured via the computer’s connection with her optic nerves every time she squeezed her right thumb and pinkie finger together.
She scrolled through the picture files until she found one of Kyle Latham, currently the cutest boy at school. They'd danced all night and made out for about 15 minutes in a deserted hallway. She'd even let him feel her breasts through her bra. The picture she had of him smiling, blue eyes flashing, was a keeper. She attached it to an e-mail and flagged it to the girls from the taxi.
“Hndz off, beetches,” she sent. “Heeez all mines. :-)”
Amity cracked a king-sized yawn and dismissed the onboard’s menu. She changed into a worn XL t-shirt, tossed her dirty clothes in the corner and climbed into bed. Reaching over to her night stand, she picked up her syncband, the faux terrycloth circle glowing bright white in the slowly dimming room. Amity parents' bought her the onboard a few months ago and the teen deftly aligned the syncband's sensors with the nanoports embedded in her skull. After a second or two, the onboard announced it was connected to her family's router and Amity entered her password to access her GooglePlex Global account. The onboard reported “upload commencing” and a day's worth of school notes, photos, voice recordings and e-mails streamed through the router to the Cloud. While Amity slept, the onboard would download the next day's schedule, summarize her required school readings and update her newsfeeds with the latest in music, fashion and celebrity gossip.
Amity's personal CloudPal, KittyKat15, woke up and shot a message in Wizard-World font behind the girl's eyelids: “Hi, BFF. Wud u lik a Sweet Dreamtm?”
Amity smiled and moused in a “yes,” her right index finger selecting from the menu via the senseweb grown into her left palm. She slid through more menus and chose a romantic-themed comedy. She smiled again as she chose “Kyle” for the name of the dream's love interest and supplied the program with a copy of her new favorite picture. KittyKat15 adjusted the image of the romantic lead to suit and the dream began to play.
Amity didn't notice the seizure that made her piss herself and grind her teeth together 15 minutes later. She was with Kyle and he was being so sweet. The wind played with his hair and his eyes sparkled as he leaned close, as if to kiss her.
I love you,” she said.
“Ditto, babe,” he said and then bit into her forehead with a mouthful of tiny sharp teeth.

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