I’m late, I’m late–meant to have this up much earlier today. The busy just does not go away, does it? Hope you enjoy despite the late!
Meyari McFarland returns to the world of Mouse and Snake in a story of a mother’s love struggling to protect her child.
Banan had never been violent. She left that to Nakato, her daughter Rafah’s best friend, and her other friends. But the relentless attacks against Rafah both emotionally and now electronically had her contemplating violence on a grand scale. As Banan ventured into the electronic world of the net, she discovered that the threats to Rafah were far greater than a mere broken heart. If Banan didn’t get to the heart of it, she could lose not only her daughter but also her life.
Electric time is a dramatic cyberpunk story set in a decaying future where global warming has won and humanity scrapes along in a world falling to pieces around them.
By Meyari McFarland
Banan rested her fingers on the soft canvas, worn from deep green into a faded olive that revealed every oil and blood stain, that marked the door to Rafah’s bedroom. This stain was where Rafah had stormed into her room after failing to make her first bot walk properly. That one, long and jagged, dark brown splatters against the fading canvas, was where Linah’s blood had spurted when the sisters had accidentally wounded each other during childhood combat training.
And that bleached white spot was where Andrea’s blood had settled when Nakato beat her to a pulp for abusing Rafah.
She breathed in, long and slow, as anger burned under her breastbone. Their house swayed slighting in the wind, the scent of Rafah’s beloved cucumbers and lettuce filling Banan’s nose.
There would be salad tonight, Banan decided, a sweet and sour salad with three different sorts of lettuce, young cucumbers sliced thin and strawberries scattered on top. She would send Linah to get Orange Chicken from the Silver Dragon down web on the intersection Broadway cable and the 1100 zip line. Perhaps Nakato could bring something as well, though getting that girl out of her nest sometimes took crowbars and threats of death, especially when she was working on a new bot.
Crackles came from the lab, Linah welding, Banan automatically identified. Both of her girls had been too silent in the last few weeks. The nest was quiet, nothing from Rafah, nothing from Linah. Banan strained her ears and only heard wind quietly whistling through the web outside, rain drumming down on their nest so constantly that it faded into a steady, easily ignored, murmur. Banan flexed her shoulders. The sensation of a tiny spider-bot crawling up her spine increased as the silence went on.
“Rafah?” Banan called as she straightened her back and scratched gently at the door.
Banan sighed and unzipped Rafah’s door, peeking inside only to sigh at the sight of Rafah curled up in a ball on her hammock with every blanket she had wrapped under, over and around her so that she had a nest inside of their nest. She was almost entirely hidden under the blankets but Banan could just make out the curl of Rafah’s legs tucked close to her chest and the way she’d tucked her arm under her head so that she was as small of a ball as possible.
Her dark hair was tinted blue and red by the flickering images on the screen of her handheld. The little computer wasn’t linked into the house system but even from the doorway Banan could see that Rafah was reading. She suspected that she was reading through her email though the pinched, almost sick expression on Rafah’s face suggested that it was something else, perhaps test-to-destruction data on one of her robot designs.
Either way, whatever she was listening to was inaudible as the sound fed through Rafah’s glasses rather than through the handheld’s speakers. Banan couldn’t hear anything more than tiny tinny noises with a strong slow beat that reminded her of Rafah’s favorite dance band from childhood.
“Rafah!” Banan said more loudly this time when Rafah failed to notice her at the door.
“Yeek!” Rafah gasped and flailed against her blankets.
She twisted hard in the hammock, setting it to swinging so wildly that it jerked the walls of her bedroom and set the nest to quivering as if it had been struck. Rafah’s eyes were wide and her bottom lip already trembled as if she expected to be struck. Frankly, she probably did and that made the rage carefully hidden in Banan’s heart surge higher.
Banan caught the foot of Rafah’s hammock, stabilizing it so that Rafah wouldn’t fall out and hurt herself. Rafah shuddered and let out a long, low sigh while shutting off her handheld. She ran one hand through her shorn hair, fingers shaking when they found the ends by her jawline instead of halfway down her back as it had been before Andrea.
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