Authors: Rien Reigns
Copyright © 2013 by Rien Reigns
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.
This book is primarily a work of fiction. If it was complete fiction and had no basis in this known universe, then I wouldn’t have been able to write it, and you wouldn’t be able to understand it. That being said, the characters, places, businesses, events, and incidents portrayed in this book are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
is, however, one item from this reality which I’ve added to the story for my own amusement.
This item is the painting:
© by Swarez.
It is unfortunately already sold but can be viewed at the following websites, along with other fabulous works of art
Hemoglobin Hits the Fan
, is of my own imagination. At the moment anyway.
Dedicated to each and every person
who has helped me along the way in the pursuit of my writing, especially and specifically my amazing and wonderful wife.
You know who you are.
Throughout time, sages have said all of creation is like an intricately woven tapestry, weaving together lives. It’s bullshit. The closest they ever came to the truth was in thinking of lives like threads. But there is no
, like there is no
. That isn’t to say there isn’t some-thing behind the strings. What it means is - life is more like an innumerable amount of threads tossed in a pot and stirred around a bit. It’s only inevitable for threads to get knotted together. Certain ones, more so than others.
PART 1: The Devil of Pueblo
1: Francine’s Fulfillment
“An Inquisitor may conduct a myte audit on any civilian or citizen within the ChronoGen affiliated Countries as they deem necessary. This audit may be public or private, with or without the knowledge of the individua
The day I met
Paxton Thrass is the day my life descended into hell.
If I’d known that in order to achieve my dream, I’d have to live through a nightmare, I might have chosen something different to pursue.
I’d awoken again that morning for the ‘I cared not to remember how many-ith’ time. As I lay in my hammock I attempted to keep my mind from firing up, but curiosity crept its way into my consciousness.
“Kali, time,” I commanded, my voice resonating to my ears craggier than usual.
‹Good morning, my sweet. It’s 10:15AM local time,
said a soft, sensual female voice inside my head.
I groaned in response.
Damn updates, I thought.
What the hell were those programmers thinking? Making a machine in your head speak to you like you were lovers. It was a cruel joke. Of course some people went all in for that sort of thing.
Not me. I liked flesh. Human flesh.
I often wished there was a way to turn off the automatic personality improvement updates for my Cerebral Assistant – CerA for short. I always ended up reverting Kali back to her previous state anyway.
Realizing it’d only been fourteen minutes since I’d previously asked what time it was, received an answer, and forced myself back to sleep, I groaned.
At least to my benefit the room was cast in complete darkness so none of that irritating light could infiltrate my senses and add to my calamity. Still, why was I finding it so hard to stay in slumberdom when it was supposed to be my day off and all I desired was to sleep the day away?
Still wearing my synthetic skin,
, the almost everything-proof, black long coat with over two dozen pockets, I reached into compartment 22 and fished out my catch. A stainless steel flask. I took a swig letting the liquid fire inflame my esophagus in an attempt to numb my rebellious mind into submission. It was the end of a long hard day somewhere in the world, and I was there in spirit.
I lay motionless, waiting for the whiskey to do its magic. It didn’t have the effect I hoped it would. The teasing of something substantial had awakened my digestive system. In response it grumbled that if I didn’t feed its desire it wouldn’t allow my mind the reprieve it so desperately wanted. Reinforcing its position of dissent, a dull ache arose in the pit of my stomach as if saying, ‘Feed me, or I will eat myself, turning you into an unwilling cannibal.’
It was a bluff. Not once in my hundred and eight years could I ever recall experiencing an ulcer. I knew if I could manage to ride the nuisance out for about thirty minutes the pangs would cease and my stomach would surrender. Unfortunately, I knew my mind would cave before then, having stayed awake too long.
Knowing how things were going to play out, and not wanting to suffer through to the inevitable, I arose from my woven womb and stretched with a curse.
If I was going to be awake I could use some assistance to pull me out of my zombie state.
“Kali,” I said aloud, even though I didn’t need to. “Locate the nearest food establishment
that serves authentic coffee.”
I had my own private stock there in my
personal autonomous domicile (pad), but I needed to make a more substantial offering to my stomach and I didn’t have anything on hand that would appease it. Besides, my stuff was rare and expensive, which is why I only prepared it once a month, or on the special occasion I had a very lucky lad or lass accompanying me in my antics of debauchery.
nearest establishment is twelve blocks away. Do you want me to take us to it, or are you up for a run this fine spring morning?›
She’d obviously realized I was unhappy with the changes and had reverted back to her normal voice. That was an improvement. Unfortunately, she still had that friendly antagonistic attitude I hadn’t figured out how to get rid of yet. Maybe once I’ve eaten I’ll do some more poking around with her programming, I thought.
“Don’t get fresh with me, you infernal machine. Move the damn vehicle and gradually increase illumination.”
I was already moving towards the sink before the lights came on. Even though it was still too dark to see
clearly, I managed to avoid hitting the table I’d left up the night before because it’d become a common occurrence.
I reached the sink and mirror just as the lights reached my preset maximum desired luminosity. The brightness of the lights was too much though. I squinted and realized I had a headache.
“Kali, dim the lights a few hundred lumens. It’s too fucking bright. And why the hell do I have a headache?”
Kali did as I commanded
‹Sorry about that. Even though the mytes cleansed your body of the toxins from last night, you haven’t been drinking a sufficient quantity of water recently. This is why you feel hungry, tired, and all around irritable.›
“Yeah, yeah, all right, I get it.” I grabbed a glass from the cupboard next to the mirror and poured myself some water from the cistern on the counter. Normally I had some sort of soda on hand but I’d been slacking in my grocery acquirement. All I had was water. For being essential to life, water was boring as hell.
Looking at myself in the mirror, I could use a shave. Running my hand across my face was like petting sandpaper. I stroked the hairs growing on my lip and chin area which were longer and softer and beginning to show the signs of a potential goatee.
Overall I looked like shit. I felt like it too. I felt like my actual age. Not really though. I had no real frame of reference for what a hundred and eight year old would feel like without cellular regeneration.
Even though my preferred thirty-something year old self stared back at me, I found I was sick of the face. I could use an age adjustment.
Maybe I should go older next time I take a dip, I thought. Change things up a bit. Sam always thought I looked good with some gray. She’d been jealous though. Said men aged better than women did. Not that aging was an issue anymore.
As I drank the water my thoughts were filled with irritation for having awoken. Even though it was my mind which had initially refused to stay asleep.
I’ve often thought the brain and its two hemispheres are a biological reflection of duality and completely explain the Id and the Ego. Of course this pisses me off even more, thinking my mind is at constant odds with itself.
My face itched so I rubbed the stubble and thought I should just fucking shave. I kept trying to grow out my facial hair in a vain attempt to look more manly, but each time when I got to that stage of irritation where my face constantly itched, I’d cave and shave, not having the fortitude to follow through. This circumstance always led me to wishing I could alter my genetics. It was in the realm of possibility. It’d been done before. Decades had passed since the GMO scares. And it’s not like I was asking to insert foreign DNA and cross myself with a gorilla or something. All I wanted was to be able to grow some fucking facial hair without it driving me crazy.
Why does it have to itch anyway? It’s my own fucking hair. Can’t my body identify itself?
Thinking of my face itching made it itch even more. I scratched at it and squelched the desire to dig my fingernails into my flesh and scrape out every last hair follicle.
I refused to keep track of how many times I thought
about how efficiently I could do my job if I were able to alter my appearance. Of course each time I had this thought, it was always followed by the realization of the potential pitfalls of such transformations. If I were able to alter my appearance on a whim, well, ultimately so would every other person. And then how fucking hard would it be to keep track of people. My job would become a god damned nightmare.
It could be done though. I already generally tracked my marks by their CerAs. But humans are biologically hard-wired to recognize faces. Kali could tell me where a person was in a crowded room, but it was way easier if I already knew what they looked like and recognized them by their face.
My stomach growled again and I decided shaving wasn’t crucial at the moment. Kali sealed the decision when she said
‹We have arrived.›
I pressed my foot down on the pedal below the archaic manual faucet. Water flowed from the spigot at my preset desired temperature
of 38°C. I cupped my hands and splashed water on my face, washing away some of the weariness I felt, as well as the dried rheum which had accumulated at the corners of my eyes.
The water helped me feel refreshed enough to do what needed to be done
- getting some coffee and food in my system.
I ruffled my hands through my
unstyled, finger length black hair, making myself presentable enough to be seen in public. I then spritzed myself with my overly expensive, pheromone inducing, specifically tailored to my own body chemistry, cologne. It was normally for special occasions, but I needed the boost with how I felt, as well as thought I looked that morning. I’d been told by Frank on multiple occasions the stuff was a scam. That it didn’t do shit. But I’d been complimented enough times while wearing it, and had plenty of pleasant encounters for it to have proven itself. Even if it was a placebo effect, confidence was the key, and the cologne boosted mine.
With one last look in the mirror I nodded to myself
. Not with full approval, but with some acceptance. Maybe later, once I’d eaten and was feeling happy about being awake, I’d get a haircut and shave. Maybe.
turned my attention to my shelf of hats. There were nearly a dozen to choose from.
“A civilized gentleman needs a hat for every occasion,” my grandfather had always told me. I thought it sound advice. I
contemplated wearing my black fedora but instead opted for the black tricorne instead. I took it off the hook and placed it carefully on my head so as not to mess up my hair. With a last look in the mirror I adjusted the collar of the vault and exited.
Stepping onto the sidewalk I made the mistake of glancing upwards thinking I was still in an enclosed portion of the city. I was struck in the face by that big bright ball of burning gas just chilling in the sky. There was something which just pissed me off about that sphere of radiation
, that source of life, sitting up among the blue and the white, looking down on everyone, gloating. It infuriated me how it lit up other people’s day, yet all it did for me as of late was give me a fucking migraine. I tipped my head down so my hat could deflect the suns blows while I retrieved my shades.
When I raised my head back up after donning my darkened spectacles
, I saw the glowing neon sign of the establishment where I would
find a cup of authentic coffee. ‘Francine’s Fulfillment’ beamed at me in smoky blue letters.
I couldn’t see inside the diner
due to the windows being made of privacy glass. All I saw was the sign and the reflection of the outside world around me.
And in that reflection, two kids, a boy and a girl, were bouncing a ball back-and-forth on the sidewalk to my left. Laughing, the boy intentionally bounced the ball over the girl’s head. Without looking she ran in to the street after it.
Not much further down the road was a freight truck coming at her at a frightening speed. In the blink of an eye I saw my nightmare manifest itself again into reality.
Before I knew what I was doing I bolted into the street, grabbed the girl, and carried her to the other side.
With her safely in my arms I turned and looked back. The truck had stopped a safe two meters away from where she’d been.
Immediately the little girl started screaming at the top of her range and proceeded to hit me with her little fists of fury. In a matter of seconds I was surrounded by several civilians. A woman pulled the screaming girl from my arms, and as soon as she was safe a man tried to punch me. I saw the approaching fist just in time to step aside, but in doing so I bumped into another man who then pushed me back at the man who’d thrown the punch.