ASIM pre-slush workshop post #14 – another yes

Here is the fourteenth of the submissions, posted here in no particular order. Please remember that this is the opinion of one editor. There will be others who agree, but there will also be those who disagree. In the end, what you do with your story is up to you; it’s your call.

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Original text:

Lady Serpentine

She walked into the shop and the first thing I should have noticed was that she was bald, her scalp shining under the lights as if it were polished. But I didn’t – I noticed her eyes. Her gleaming, chromoluminescent eyes shining artificially, a badge of sponsorship. Somewhere out there someone paid this girl’s salary in exchange for the rights to her corneas, her follicles. Her eggs, if it came to it, but it didn’t always. Sometimes a kidney, for a higher price.

I reached out over the counter and offered my hand. It was an old-fashioned gesture, more intimate than a casual retail exchange should invite, but I wanted to touch her. She took my hand without hesitation and said “I know your work. I’m here to see if you’ll work with me on a project.”

“A project”, I repeated, not releasing her hand.

She took it from me anyway. “A body suit. You gave my friend Janey the copy of the Modigliani on her hip. I’m looking for an artist who’ll work with me on a body suit”
“For you” I asked.
“For me” she nodded, her skin clear and untouched, her face open and unsmiling.

I lifted the countertop and beckoned her inside. “Let’s talk. I’ll show you more of my work.”

I knew before she followed me down the hall that she wasn’t eighteen yet. She looked sullen instead of confident and it was no mask for her vulnerability. She’d never been in a tattoo shop before, I could tell.
The smoking room was empty, Dwayne must have been in the back taking in a shipment. I left the door open on purpose, so she wouldn’t be nervous, but she closed it herself and then slumped into one of the armchairs.
Editor’s comment:

This is a very appealing opening snippet. It has a powerful sense of tension, a hint of danger or desperation, and a solid sense of cyberpunk. It feels natural, and it invites the reader to visualise for him/herself the scene as it unfolds. I’m definitely interested in seeing more of this story.

(it needs a good cleanup in the dialogue punctuation department, though)

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