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Eye for a Dream

Chapter 2

Taped to a plastic folding chair.

Dimly lit room, only light coming from an old bulb in the ceiling.

No windows were opened, but Rikki could tell from the outside sounds that they were many stories up. The whole room had a rickety feel, like some tacked-on addition to a skyscraper. Sometimes, when apartments or office buildings ran out of space, they'd turn balconies into new rooms, by just adding walls of metal or plastic. That's what this looked like. Three sides of the room were lined with a metal railing, welded at intervals to the thin metal walls tacked on. The fourth wall was old brick, with a glass sliding door painted black for privacy. A sheet of plastic served as a roof, and Rikki was grateful for how weak and flimsy it looked, because she was pretty sure it was getting ready to either cave in on them or be ripped off by the wind and go sailing into the face of some poor bystander on the other side of the neighborhood.

In the cramped room with her were Bobby, Molly, and a creep called the Finn. The Finn was no spring chicken, and beyond that Rikki couldn't tell a thing about his age. He had a tiny rodent-like build, and a face like a gopher. Features that maybe made him cute back when he was young, which might've been before Rikki's mom had been born, but now didn't do much for his yellow crumbling teeth and bloodshot eyes. He was running a scanning-gun up and down Rikki's body, and it was all she could do not to visibly cringe at his presence. She was choking on the thick cigar stench wafting off of him.

Bobby wrinkled his nose at her over folded arms. "You get off on betraying people, Rikki?"

It was the first time she'd heard her real name in weeks. She'd have matched Bobby's crossed arms, if her own weren't duct-taped to the chair. "So you remember me, Bobby?"

"Yeah, I remember. I remember how you dated me, while working for the bitch I was gonna burn. Not a lot of company loyalty in you either, I guess."

"You're mad I went behind Chrome's back to date you?"

"Not just me. I know about you and Jack…"

"Hey," the Finn grunted, now scanning Rikki's spine. "She came here to record a documentary, not a soap opera."

"My ass," Molly snapped. "No stimmer'd be dumb enough to do what she's been telling us she's tryin' to do. She's gotta be working for someone. Yakuza, the Mob, the Feds…"

"She ain't." the Finn growled, still scanning. "It's a regular recording job. No one riding her, no one ready to receive any transmission. For all intended purposes she's recording this shit for herself. Christ, you haul me out of my burrow to come all the way here to look at a fucking stim-setup? You remember I told you over the phone, how much I charge for house-calls?"

"Don't mind the Finn, he's an agoraphobic." Molly apologized, seemingly as much for Rikki's benefit as Bobby's.

"With reason." The Finn retorted. "Why I'm still alive. Your friend here could learn a thing or two from me. I got no idea what she thought she was doing, recording in the Gentleman Loser."

"I was gonna edit it," Rikki defended. "No one woulda' ever known who any of you were."

"Bullshit." Molly spit on the floor. "Yakuza can track people down just going off their train tickets. You think publishing a stim with an 'anonymous' console cowboy who burned the House of Blue Lights, and a razor girl with these exact augmentations, not gonna tip anybody off?"

"What're the odds your enemies even watch the damn thing?" Rikki exclaimed. "Or hear about it? I'm not Tally Isham. This vid would have a following of maybe twenty people worldwide, tops."

"A lot better than the odds of you leaving this shithole alive," Molly snapped. "Only reason I don't cut your pretty throat right now's on account of your close personal relationship with Bobby."

"Me n' her are history, Mol. Or will be, after this gig."

"What gig." Molly didn't even look at him, still glowering at Rikki.

"Ransom." Bobby sounded proud of himself, for having thought up the idea. "She's a star now, right? We take her hostage, demand a few thousand from her agents and backers..."

Molly's face contorted around her silver lenses. "You're already rich, asshole."

"I'm not just rich, I'm a businessman. Gotta expand. This is a real sweet find, a serendipity. I knew you were my good-luck charm Mol."

Good luck charm. That was what Bobby had called Rikki, back when they were together. His "luck." Rikki shouldn't have been surprised to learn that he referred to every girl he dated this way. Still, the revelation burned her. Burned her good.

Now Molly turned to face her partner. "Bobby, you're startin' to sound as dumb as your ex. You want we should have the Feds on our asses? Our pictures all over the news? Kidnapping this girl for ransom's the surest way to see that recording gets published!"

"They're not gonna catch us."

The Finn emitted a long groan, dropping his head onto the back of Rikki's chair. While Molly and Bobby argued, the old fence rubbed his face and grumbled, "...the fuck I get myself into this time?"

Rikki sighed. "Join the club."

"Get me the phone." Bobby ordered Molly.

The razor girl stared at him, as if carefully considering her next response. Then spat, "Fine."

Molly turned and began rummaging through a pile of electronics in one corner, where the brick wall met one of the thin metal add-ons. Bobby watched her a few seconds, then turned back to Rikki.

"See Rikki babe, you're not the only one's 'driven.' I got my dreams, just like you got yours. Only difference is, I know how to plan, and make the right connections."

Behind him, Molly finally retrieved the portable phone, and hurled it into the base of Bobby's skull.


"Bullshit," Molly said, as she and the Finn dragged a confused Rikki down the crowded street. "Fucking pure and utter bullshit." She raised one hand, waving down a cab. "Well I'm through with that moron. Fucking through."

The evening sky still held a hint of blue behind the stars. Rikki had entered the Gentleman Loser around four. So much had happened, in just a few hours. A cab finally slowed to a stop in front of the trio. It was one of those automated taxis, that just drove itself. Rikki was always unsure about riding in a car without a driver, but in this particular situation, maybe it was best to have a vehicle where they didn't have to worry about a cabby eavesdropping on them. Unless these cabs recorded their passengers…

"Where're we going?" Rikki asked, as she was squashed into the back seat between Molly and the Finn. "Is Bobby gonna come after us?"

"Doubt it." Molly said. "Probably awake by now though. Might have brain damage if he's out much longer than that. Not that you'd be able to tell."

Rikki was silent for a long time. She only, finally, felt the need to speak when she realized what direction the cab was headed. "Are we going to New York?"

"First smart thing you've said all day." Molly sighed dryly. "We're going to the Big Apple, yeah. Figure I'll give Finn a ride home, after hauling him out here for dick."

Rikki frowned in puzzlement, before remembering that "dick" was sometimes jockey-talk for "nothing."

"And then?" Rikki asked.

"And then I'm taking you home. To California. Personally, gonna walk you home like a gentleman. And I'm gonna make sure Finn deletes that recording of yours, as much for your own benefit as mine."

Rikki swallowed and nodded.


The three of them hung out at the Finn's place until morning. Molly made coffee while the Finn hooked Rikki up to a deck, preparing to wipe her recording. Rikki was no console cowboy, but she knew how to use a computer. If she could just get her fingers on that keyboard for sixty seconds, mail that stim recording to herself, open the copy up later when she was safe at home…but did she even want to save this docu, anymore?

Finn's back turned when Molly offered him coffee, but Molly kept her lenses trained on Rikki. Once again she saw her Ikons reflected in those mirrors. Rikki didn't move. Rikki wanted to look at the computer but didn't allow herself.

"So," Molly said, casually handing Rikki a mug of coffee, "you an' Automatic Jack. Serves him right. Bobby I mean."

Rikki swallowed. "I never cheated on a boyfriend before. But was driving me crazy, Bobby not paying any attention. I mean he acted like he was so in love with me, but he never actually listened when I said anything, he was never there when I wanted to spend time together or needed help. Jack on the other hand…"

"He's around here, in New York," Molly offered. "Suburbs. Could say hi."

Rikki shook her head. "Don't wanna. Why, does he wanna see me?"

Molly shrugged. "If he does, he never said anything. I don't know, I mean, I'd like to help you out. But I don't know if this is some deep romantic history, or just one of those awkward meetings best left in the past."

"Far as I'm concerned it's the second one. Fact, that's how I'm startin' to feel about the Sprawl altogether. Dunno what I was thinking, coming back here."

Don't look at the computer…

Shit, if only she could shake Molly off. The Finn was busy rigging the computer up. Molly was the watchdog. Watchdog nothing; more like a goddamn dragon.

Then Rikki got an idea. It was beyond tasteless, probably downright cruel. But it would shake Molly up, for sure.

"I worked in a Puppet Parlor."

Molly's pose changed. Behind the lenses, it was impossible to see her eyes, but Rikki didn't have to.

The discomfort with which Rikki spoke was no act. "I really wanted these eyes. To get into the stim world. How you pay for your eyes, Molly?"

Molly's burgundy nails drummed on folded arms. "You pissed I interrupted your little documentary, kid?"

"No. I'm just psyched I'm not the only one with an embarrassing history with the Blue Lights and Bobby Quine."

"I wasn't at Blue Lights. I was here in New York." She spit on the floor.

The Finn turned and glanced at the saliva on his concrete floor. "Jesus Mol, I let you in my house, show a little courtesy, huh?"

Molly jerked her head at Rikki. "How long's that gonna take?"

"These stims take fucking forever to delete. First you gotta upload 'em from outta' her brain, which takes about half an hour, and then decompile the thing, which takes about as long."

Rikki still wasn't sure if she wanted to save this recording. But then suddenly, neither Molly nor the Finn was looking at her.

Fuck it, she could always delete it later.


They were leaving the Finn's house, back on the street. Molly turning up the collar of her black jacket. Rikki letting her raincoat fly open, now flashing her bright Ikon eyes for all to see. No one seemed to notice. Unless they were up close, no one could see the logo on the irises, and people would probably just assume Rikki had augmented her eyes a bright blue for fashion's sake.

"I don't wanna go back to California," Rikki decided. "Not right away."

"Probably shouldn't anyway," Molly agreed. "Your enemies'd trace you right back there. Where else'd you have in mind?"

"Somewhere in the middle of the country. Rural. Good place to lie low, maybe do some kinda' outdoorsy documentary. That'd make better money anyway. The public's sick of hearing bad news."

They took a tube to New Jersey, even though it wasn't in the right direction; Molly insisted on an indirect route, in case someone was tracking them. During the ride, Rikki got the sense Molly was scanning the car behind those silver lenses. Rikki's Ikons were hidden again, behind cheap plastic shades bought from a convenience store. Soon as they stepped off, Molly urged Rikki sharply around the street corner.

"We got a fucking tail. Shit."

"How do you know?" Rikki whispered, hurrying to match Molly's quick pace.

At first, Molly didn't answer.

"Molly?"

"Same four assholes," Molly replied in a low voice. "Been with us since the Finn's pad."

"Maybe they're just—"

"Shut up. I gotta think."

Molly took Rikki through a three-dimensional maze in the city, around corners, across streets, up steps, down ladders, across catwalks, until they were several stories above the ground. Molly seemed to have some idea where she was going. Every once in a while she'd seem to relax, as if thinking they'd finally lost their tail, only to tense back up and urge Rikki in another random direction.

After over an hour of this bullshit Molly stopped abruptly, and Rikki almost ran right into her. They were on a thin metal balcony, wrapped around a relatively short skyscraper. A few feet down was a short door, labeled "Employees Only." Molly hurried forward, and Rikki reluctantly followed. Molly leaned over the door's key panel, examining it, maybe with the X-ray vision or whatever the hell those mirror lenses were equipped with. She keyed a combo into the panel, and the door popped opened. Molly slipped inside and Rikki followed her, into a tight hallway lined with plastic red stalls.

Like so much of the Sprawl, this room had been crudely reworked. Apparently they were standing in what had been built to be a wide room, probably an office building; sometime in the last few decades, someone had separated it into stalls, with slabs of cheap red plastic. Rikki wouldn't call this an ideal hiding spot, giving that someone could probably slash right through those walls with a basic knife or laser. And on top of that, this place was reminding Rikki of something she didn't want to be reminded of. The line of sealed stall doors, the perfect silence, the discreet location of the place…

When a businessman exited one stall, looking as exhausted as he was overjoyed, Rikki's fears were confirmed.

"Molly," Rikki hissed, "this is a—"

"I know. Last place they'll look for us, right?"

Molly gently felt for an unlocked door, found one and urged Rikki inside, then locked it shut behind them. The lock, at least, was a modern key panel; Rikki half expected one of those cheap old metal slide-locks. Then again, with these flimsy walls, they'd need some kind of modern technological trick, to mute the sound from each stall. Otherwise, she and Molly would be hearing a caterwauling chorus of orgasms and love calls.

Even knowing the place was soundproof, Rikki felt the need to whisper. "Now what?"

Molly didn't whisper, but kept her voice low. "Now we kill two, maybe three hours, till our tail's gone."

"Unless they saw us and they're waiting—"

"Then I'll be ready for 'em."

Nothing to do. And surrounded by bad memories. Rikki took off her plastic shades and cleaned them on her cotton shirt, then tucked them into a front pocket. She decided to chance leaning against the red plastic wall, worried the whole thing would cave under her weight, but was relieved to find it firmly attached to the ceiling and floor. Rikki hugged herself, staring down at Molly's red cowboy boots. Rikki had owned a pair of boots kind of like that, back when she'd lived here, steel-toes and everything. Cowboy-themed fashion was popular, out here in the Sprawl.

Molly was rummaging through the pocket of her leather jacket. "Used to sit here and think," she pulled out a pack of cigarettes. "Between tricks. Hated this place, but kinda liked it. It was peaceful, when no one else was around."

She lit herself a joint, then made an offering gesture at Rikki with the pack. Rikki shook her head.

"I never liked it." Rikki said. "Working in a puppet parlor, I mean. I was desperate's all. I wanted these eyes, bad."

"Yeah?" Molly fanned her fingers, blades poking out. "I wanted these. And my lenses."

"Why?"

Molly had to think it over a second. She shrugged. "Street samurai. Wanted to tussle. Back then every muscle-for-hire serious about their job was getting augmented, so that wasn't even a question. It was just a matter of which ones to get. I was a kid, people used to make fun of me for scratching people with my nails during fights. I couldn't never break the habit, so I figured what the hell, if you can't beat it, upgrade it."

"And the lenses? Who you wanna hide your eyes from, Molly?"

Molly took an even longer time to answer. "I seen 'em on a few people. D.J., when I was a teenager. Couple rent-a-cops arrested me when I was older. Really stops people in their tracks, having non-human eyes. Your opponents can't see if they're getting to you. Good for a street samurai."

"But you can't never take 'em off?"

"Don't got anyone I wanna take 'em off for."

Rikki made a sound through her teeth. "Introverts. I never understood you types. I can't live without people. Why I gotta be a stim-star."

"I can't stand people. Why I need these claws."

The conversation came to a serene silence, where they each respected the other's need to be someplace else. Rikki wondered if Molly was telling the whole truth, about her reasons for the lenses. Probably not. Probably something had happened, something she was ashamed of. Like how people who didn't want to be noticed put on sunglasses, in a half-conscious attempt to disguise themselves.

Molly suddenly straightened, like a dog or cat reacting to a subtle noise. But wasn't this place soundproof?

"Mo—?"

"Shh! Get down."

Rikki lowered herself into a crouch, while Molly drew a tiny gun from her leather jacket. Then with one cowboy-booted foot, the razor girl gave Rikki's back a shove. "Down!" Rikki pressed herself to the ground like a kid in army school.

Now she could hear the clicks, someone hacking at the door, getting it opened. So that was what Molly had heard, seconds before, a click in the wall panel. Was Molly's hearing jacked up too, or was Rikki just a dunce?

The second the door was opened Molly fired, but at that same moment, a metal arm shot between the door and the wall and cupped over her gun, crushing it like Styrofoam. Now having a hold of Molly's hand, the metal arm swung Molly against the wall. Obviously, Molly wasn't the only one at this party with an augmented body.

Clenching her teeth, Molly readied her free hand, but didn't unsheathe her claws just yet. She placed one booted foot on the door, fighting against the thugs trying to break in. Rikki rolled over and planted both booted feet against the door, even knowing her own mediocre strength was probably useless in this situation.

"Relax bitch," a male voice, the owner of the cyborg hand, said. "Boss Man wants you alive."

"Look me in the eye and tell me that." Molly snapped.

The cyborg gave a laugh, like he was play-bargaining with a disobedient child who didn't want to go to bed, and moved his face into view. His eyes looked surprisingly human, hazel under thick brown eyebrows. "My boss, wants you, ali—"

Molly's free hand flew forward, claws extended to their full length, and the thug fell back screaming, his robotic grip loosening from Molly's other hand. Molly kicked the door shut and yanked a tool from her pocket: a cheap laser pen, normally used by repairmen and scrap artists. She activated its short red beam, and used it to fuse the door shut in one spot.

A new voice, raspy and female, yelled through the fused door, "We got guns trained on both your asses…!"

As their attacker spoke, Molly moved to the other red plastic wall, her claws still out. They glistened with bright red blood, and some other fluid Rikki didn't want to know the origin of. Molly moved all of her clawed fingers downward except the index, which she used to carve a hole in the wall, just big enough for her and Rikki to duck through. The Chiba steel blade cut through the plastic like cheese. Molly was careful to pull the chunk of cutaway plastic out as quietly as possible, while the woman outside rambled on, demanding their surrender. Molly gently set the slab of plastic down on the floor, shoved Rikki through the hole, then followed her in.

This stall was empty, thankfully. Molly carved another hole, a bit more hastily than the first, and they stepped into a stall where a fat businessman was ramming a "puppet," a hypnotized whore who rented her body to her customers while her mind took a vacation. The customer halted his work to stare up at the two intruders. His face paled at the sight of Molly's bloodstained claws.

"Pardon us, Boss," Molly said, without even looking at him.

She quickly cut another hole in the wall, then turned and flashed her bloody claws at him. "You tell anyone you saw us, I'll cut your dick off."

She and Rikki hurried into the next stall, where a middle aged man was enjoying a young male puppet.

"You hear what I told the last guy?" Molly threatened.

The customer continued his business, as if he barely noticed them. "Yep."

He offered a sarcastic wave, giving them no more acknowledgement than Molly had given the last customer. Rikki figured this guy was either high as a kite, or just working really, really hard to contain his fear under a guise of indifference.

They went through god knew how many more stalls, passing god knew how many perverted men and even a few women, some in pairs, all blissfully fornicating unconscious human beings like they were inflatable love dolls, until Molly and Rikki interrupted them. Rikki wasn't sure how much longer they could keep this up, before the thugs back at the first stall figured out where they'd gone. And eventually she said so.

Molly replied, "I'm gonna take us to the end of the hallway, then we'll slip around the corner. I'm just not sure how much farther down we gotta go. Kinda doing some guess work here."

"Wait a sec," Rikki said.

They were in an empty stall now. Through the last hole they'd created, a customer in the previous stall gave them a curious look. Molly flashed her claws at him threateningly, and he quickly ducked away.

"What're you doing?" Molly asked Rikki quietly.

"Hang on," Rikki's eyelids dropped, as she began replaying a memory, and not a natural one. "Two more stalls," she said finally. "There're twelve stalls in this hall, we started in stall number three, and now we're in number ten."

Molly was silent for a moment. "Alright. Let's get going."

They made it through the next two stalls, both of which were empty, and then Molly cut the last hole. They stepped back into a hall, forking off of the previous one. The hit men chasing them wouldn't even see, from where they currently stood. Molly and Rikki hurried down the hall, around another corner, and onward, until they found another door. Then they were back on the outside balcony, breaking into a full run.

Without looking at Rikki, Molly said flatly, "You're still recording."

"Gotta watch our asses, don't we?" Rikki defended.

"Yeah," Molly agreed weakly. "Once I get you out of here, before we part ways, you dump this footage for good. Or I take your eyes out like I did that punk back there."

Rikki nodded quickly. "Yeah. Totally."

They turned onto a long catwalk, that attached this skyscraper to a partner across the street. They were at least ten stories up. Rikki never had to abide by the old "don't look down" rule, as heights didn't really bother her. And right now, the height was much less frightening than the street samurai leading her across it.

They were halfway down the ramp when a figure appeared on the other side, with a handgun trained on them. Big black guy, shaved head, eyes modified to mimic a snake's. His clothing suggested a typical street gangster, not associated with any particular subculture that Rikki was aware of, other than generic "punk."

"Shhhhit," Molly hissed as she skidded to a stop in the middle of the bridge.

"I think we got you broads outnumbered," the man said.

"Outnumbered and out-augmented."

It was the cyborg who spoke now, coming from the other side of the catwalk. Blood flowed from his eye sockets and from cuts around his face, all of which he barely seemed to notice. The way his lip was twitching, Rikki guessed he'd swallowed some crystals for the pain. He was shirtless, allowing Rikki and Molly a full view of his jacked-up muscles and two robotic arms, cased in translucent blue plastic.

Next to the grotesque figure was the female gunner, a middle-aged woman in a cargo coverall, head shaved except for a burgundy-dyed ponytail jetting out the base of her skull. Back on the other side, the black guy was joined by a white gangster who looked barely out of his teens, face covered in piercings. Molly, having lost her gun, and Rikki having come to the Sprawl unarmed, could only watch as the four closed in on them.

The cyborg took a hold of Molly, seizing her by the shoulders. She didn't fight back, and if she was throwing him some kind of defiant look, it was masked by her shades. And he wouldn't see it anyway, given his current situation. Rikki had no idea how he could even find his way to Molly, with his eyes gouged like that. Obviously there was more "cyborg" about him than just his arms.

The woman with the ponytail seized Rikki by the throat with one hand, gripping her small gun in the other. The woman's fingers were like iron, and Rikki decided that her muscles or bones or both had been altered beyond human durability. The other two thugs just lingered back, guns ready.

"Alright, we're game," Molly surrendered casually. "What do you want?"

The cyborg answered, "Our boss wants the spy, so he can ask her a few questions. You, he just wants to offer a job. You two come quietly, my boss'll buy me some new eyes, and you'll get paid double than what you are now for the exact same work. Works for both of us."

"I ain't interested, and the only questions my friend here can answer for you is probably celebrity trivia."

"My ass," the woman holding Rikki snapped, then glared into Rikki's eyes. "I wanna know what you recorded back at the Gentleman Loser. And who you're working for."

"No one!" Rikki blurted out. "I'm just a dumbass making a documentary. I already lost all my footage, she made sure'a that!" she jerked her head in Molly's direction.

"Alright, let's try it this way." The woman shoved Rikki backwards, half over the railing.

Rikki hung practically upside-down, the woman's hand crushing her windpipe, gun pressed into the base of her ribcage. Staring at ten stories worth of windows and the distant street below, Rikki could no longer pride herself in not being afraid of heights.

"Tell me one more time," the woman's voice rang surreal, in Rikki's pounding ears, "who're you working for?"

"Hey," Molly snapped. "She'll answer all your questions, if you answer mine first."

The only part of her body Rikki could currently move was her eyes, and she did, finding Molly in a similar position. Pinned against the railing, with Cyborg Man's two hands clamped over her throat. Molly's own arms gripped the railing behind her, straining to keep herself balanced.

"Yeah?" the cyborg asked Molly dryly. "What you wanna know, Leather-ass?"

"Just one question's all I got for you, Boss," Molly said. "You ticklish?"

And she jammed both hands up into his armpits, where the robotic arms met the flesh. Rikki didn't have to see his bloodied face cringe to know that Molly's claws were up there, severing wires and tendons. Nor did she need to see the blood beginning to drip from his armpits, onto the catwalk. Molly didn't take her fingers out of him; instead, she used him to haul herself up off the railing, and then yanked him close, using him as a human shield, against the two men who were now shooting at her.

The woman holding Rikki yanked her back up onto the catwalk, so fast Rikki's head hurt and for a moment she didn't know up from down. But feeling the gun pressed to her temple, she knew she was now a hostage.

"Let him go bitch!" the woman hollered in Rikki's right ear.

Without missing a beat, Molly replied, "You got it," retracted her claws, and shoved the injured cyborg into the two other men, knocking all three of them over the edge of the catwalk.

And then, so fast Rikki couldn't even see, Molly was right in front of Rikki and her captor, and there was a blurred motion as her clawed hand passed right near Rikki's face. Rikki felt the gun leave her temple. She looked down to see it on the floor, with two severed fingers tangled around its trigger. Next thing she knew, both Rikki and the gangster were on the catwalk's floor, Rikki panting on her side, the woman lying on her back with Molly's steel toe on her chest. Molly quickly gathered up the gun, shaking the severed digits off over the side of the catwalk.

That'll be a nasty shock for someone a few stories below us, Rikki thought.

"My turn," Molly took aim at the woman's face. "Who sent you?"

The woman's mouth slowly opened, and Rikki anticipated the answer, even knowing that the name would probably mean nothing to a civilian like herself. But instead of speaking, the woman suddenly clamped her mouth shut, teeth crashing painfully against each other.

"No, shit!" Molly quickly lowered to a kneel, and pried the woman's mouth opened. "Oh fuck no, awe…" She tossed the gun to the floor in disgust.

Mint-blue foam was erupting from the woman's lips, as her face and body went slack. Suicide-tooth. Oldest trick in the book. Rikki didn't even know those were a real thing; she'd always assumed it was a cheesy cliché used by lazy writers.

"Fucking blow me," Molly retrieved the gun, stood back up and gave the woman's body an angry kick. "Fuck it, we gotta get outta' here before rent-a-cops show up."

And then it was back through the city maze, trying to shake off any possible tails, just like before. They found their way into a shopping center, and sought refuge in an uninhabited elevator on the edge of the building, with a glass wall that offered a nice view of the city. Rikki lost herself in the streaks of neon as they coasted down to ground level. And their faces, Molly's gleaming mirrors and Rikki's electric blue irises, soaring down through the night.

"Why didn't you take their offer?" Rikki asked.

Molly's face was unmoving in the glass reflection. "You dusted, or just stupid? What'd you think that muscle-meat meant when he said the boss wanted to 'ask you questions?'"

"That was me though. You he just wanted to offer a job. Why'd you toss that offer over a catwalk, just to save me from getting interrogated?"

Molly's face remained still in the glass, speeding through the neon rapids.

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