{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
Brendan Peveril would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Dirty Little Flowers

By Brendan Peveril All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Scifi

Prologue

Jared sat in the waiting room, alone. Cecilia wasn’t there, of course, but these bandages had to come off already. The cotton itched against his skin so badly he wasn’t sure if he could wait any longer.

He scratched at the outside of the bandage, but that didn’t help, only made it worse. The terrible waiting room music grated on his ragged nerves. As cool as Song was, as interesting and out there as the procedures he was performing were, he had a perfectly normal waiting room, with the standard quiet waiting room music; vaguely familiar jazzy renditions of vapid pop songs on the verge of being forgotten.

It was meant to be soothing and unobtrusive, but Jared couldn’t think of anything worse than hearing a song he loved that way, or anything more annoying than one he hated with the kitsch cranked up. He was sure that, somewhere in the world, there had to be something worse, but it was hard to imagine from a doctor’s office.

Jared thumbed irritably again through the brightly coloured skin and blurred nipples of the waiting room tattoo magazine and checked the clock again. It didn’t seem to be moving at all. He threw the glossy pages down and pulled himself to his feet, his legs stiff and unsteady from sitting still for so long, and lurched across the lobby to where the secretary sat, typing madly, oblivious to the rest of the world.

"Hey, can you tell me how much longer I need to wait?” She didn’t react at all. Jared was about to repeat himself when he noticed that the door leading back into the practice was open enough that he could see flickering lights in the darkened hallway beyond it. He slipped through the door and the secretary didn’t even turn her head away from the indifferent chatter of the keyboard.

Jared’s blood pounded in his ears as he made his way down the hall. The lights were out, save the yellow flicker drawing him toward Dr. Song’s office. The bandages weighed his arm down and he could hardly drag his feet forward.

“Come on in, Mr. Lane.” Song was at the door, half a bottle of gin in his hand, his eyes red and guarded. The smoke wafting out of his office door was thick and perfumed, reeked of floral incense, tobacco and dope, like a humidor full of hippies. “I’m surprised it took you this long. Don’t know how you got by without your stuff.”

“My what? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Jared finally dragged himself through the door into the office. Candles were burning on nearly every surface. “I’m just here for my checkup. I don’t need any stuff.”

“We, here it is anyway. I don’t want it.” He brought a small wooden box out of the drawer and dropped it carelessly on the desk, splattering melted wax across some cryptic paperwork and onto the floor. Jared picked it up and looked at the things he’d supposedly left behind. His cellphone was in there, and so was his wallet. When he picked them up he saw little grey sausages rolling around and an old, matted toupee.

“I don’t think this stuff is mine,” he said, pushing the box away.

“I’m sure it is, Mr. Lane. Nobody else left it here, and I can see you need it.”

Jared scooped up the wig. The dirty mat of curly hair had a thin, papery backing, and the whole thing was crusted in brown filth. When he smelled it, his lip curled back instinctively at the reek of sweat with another metallic tang over it. Something familiar and organic. Blood? He reached for one of the sausages, but he froze when he saw the fingernail. He heard his phone and wallet hit the floor and looked down at his hand. Had his fingers been missing this entire time? He started to reach for his head, but stopped. He knew what he would find.

“Show me your goddamned arm.” Dr. Song set the cigar he’d been puffing aside and set into the bandages with a switchblade.

The screen of the implant was there, but it wasn’t melded in cleanly with his forearm like it was supposed to be. Jared’s skin was shriveling and cracking dryly away, leaving exposed metal chassis and plastic components underneath. Song brushed at it, sending ashy flakes falling gently to the wax spattered rug.

“Christ,” Jared said. “I thought this was supposed to be a routine upgrade. Is it supposed to look like that?”

“Part of doing something new is you don’t always know what it’s supposed to look like, kid.”

Jared held his arm up so he could see that candle light through his ragged, translucent flesh. It plainly outlined the hardware underneath. “What kind of monster are you turning me into here?”

“I can’t make a monster, I don’t know how. Monsters are all on the inside. If you can see it just by looking, you’re seeing something else.”

Jared felt like his head was spinning and his body felt impossibly heavy again, like it had in the hallway. He pulled away from Dr. Song and staggered to the window, his own pallid, ghostly image rushing to meet him. He saw where his hair was missing; his skull was broken away in places and lights blinked on the surface of his brain. His face was drawn and alien, his dry skin was flaky and torn and when his lips parts he saw broken and missing teeth. He was naked. Holes in his skin were covered with tape and metal patches, riveted to his bones. He looked, and felt, he realized, like the life was draining out of him, sucked from his scabby feet into the berber. He looked back up and reached for the cyber-punk parody of himself with a fingerless hand, but he only touched glass and could offer his ghastly image no comfort. The reflective surface of the window rippled lazily like a stagnant pond and made a sound like an angry tympani.

“Holy shit, kid!” Dr. Song screamed, clutched at his ears while he scrambled under the desk for cover like a crab. “What the fuck did you do?”

Jared came too, sweating, the bed sheets weakly balled up in his fist, fighting for breath. Gentle music played in the background, a jazzy rendition of a half remembered pop melody, and Dr. Song’s innocuously decorated recovery room faded in to replace the smoky office as Jared struggled upright.

“God damn,” Jared said, wiping his face with the un-bandaged hand. “Must have been the anesthetic.”

The nurse, the spunky one, Colleen, stuck her head around the corner. “Hi, Jared. Are you back with us?”

“I think so. Is Clinton still president?”

“Har har, funny man.” She methodically checked boxes on her clip board as she looked at the monitors he was attached to. “How are you feeling?”

“Terribly. If I didn’t know you were going to be waiting for me when I woke up, I don’t know that I’d bother at all. Have I ever told you how beautiful you are when I’m on drugs?”

“You know? I’m pretty sure you have!”

“Are you going to let me take you out on a date this time?”

“Well, I might, Jared, but I’ve already seen you naked.”

“And?”

Colleen shrugged her nonchalance. “Meh.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.” Jared tried to shift his weight, but he was still too weak. “Jesus. Why do I keep doing this?”

“That’s something you need to answer for yourself, bub.”

Jared nodded feebly and closed his eyes. The exchange had been exhausting and answering his own questions about how he had come to this was too much for him to deal with on the best day.


Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

SandraHan1: This story is very descriptive, with vivid scenes from the very beginning, which made for a good scene setting. I love the symbolism in names, such as “Naysayers”, “Hadd”, etc . The story itself is revolutionary, intriguing, emotional and exciting. I was very pleased to see that there is a happy ...

OpheliaJones: This story took a different kind of spin on the "normal girl lives with definitely not normal guy" plot. The plot points of Frey's father, Liam's family, and Frey's view of Liam's world were good to read. She did not fall in love with him in the first couple weeks. Their lives were not smooth in ...

Ruby0h: Overall I thought your story was really good! It drew me in right away and kept me interested as the story progressed. I loved the character of Kayla being inserted into this story, and the way she affected and shaped the life of the original story into something totally new and interesting. I lo...

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

emmaneal74: I loved this booked. Would definitely buy it when published and read it again. The story flowed in such a way I just couldn't put it down. I was never confused about the characters or their roles in the story which can happen sometimes with so many lead. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to r...

Ding Fernando: very nice read.so realistic you can hardly put it down,i really like the character so human despite posessing immortality and eternal youth.though i would prefer a better ending..i still love this novel and i am recommending it to all sci fi fans to give it a try .you will love it too!!

minallie: One word, brilliant

Marimar Amieva: I just can't believe the story! I absolutely loved it, all of it. The characters and their chemistry between them, and the fact that they are relatable. The story also has some sick plot twists, which I never saw coming. I loved the fact that it is an adorable love story but has its mystery touc...

Dessie Williams: loved the book. the plot the characters all just great.I think it's a must read. once you start this book it's hard to put down. hope it gets published....I think this book is a must read.great job!!!!

More Recommendations

Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...

JONANNA: As an avid reader it is not often I say that about a book. The plot is what was different and the twists where unexpected. This book is defiantly a page turner and enjoyable read. I can't wait to reread this novel after a little editing to finish off the shine on this wonderful novel.

Dru83: This is the second or third time I've read this one and I just love it. It has just about everything you could ever want packed into one scifi story. It still has some parts that are a little rough in terms of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, but it's still an awesome story. I love how detai...

nirrmitshah: A truely touching story where you'd be at the edge of your seat for the most time. even though the starting might seem rushed, the story was extremely interesting and entertaining. I think certain parts could be added detailing the Mynds's culture. As well as more details on the Jhanthru history....

rihannabkj2: Great story,I can hardly stop reading this novel. it shows that compassion and love can still exist after so many years between two persons. I most say well done to the Author who wrote this book. Others should read this book inorder to know that there can still be LOVE among two persons no matt...

Deleted User: It was a great hook. I do not like reading scifi because they end up being like all the rest but this one kept me wanting more.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.