Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mindspider, pt. 2, 443 words

After knowing her mind-scream, I found where it flowed backwards, psychic residues left on her from her last few minutes alive. I lifted them carefully, piece by piece, from the body. They were already getting a little worn and faded, like old cloth, but the edges weren't so frayed that I couldn't put them back together. I spun a little mat to lay the pieces down on, so to speak, and went to work. The bits were disjointed, disorganized, like they always are in a murder. Well aware of the possible arrival of the Dusties and the end of my work, I still had to take my time stitching the mindprints back together in order. My fingers danced back and forth over the body like I was working a loom, putting the warp and weft of her experiences back together.

I am walking in the Lower Ward a few hours before anti-peak. Running a few last-minute errands, before heading back to my case. I fear the Signer-hunter that's been stalking the Cage, but I hide all my faction emblems and know this place like the back of my hand. The alley is a perfectly safe shortcut home, and I've taken it a hundred times before. But then, I am startled, and drop my sack, my dried apples and a loaf of bread spilling out, but I barely notice. A large figure, maybe human but barely discernible in the shadows, rises to its full height. Naked steel gleams in its left hand, and it reaches out with its right to grab me. I turn to run but the vise-like grip—

I let go of the lasts, focusing instead on where he touched her, how he touched her. I run over her upper arm with my mind, probing slowly to find the aura traces of her killer. Finally, he got sloppy, touching her with his bare hand instead of through leather or steel. I'd seen the same thing repeated too many times in the past week, visions of shadowy death with no personal skin-to-skin contact. But now I had the taste of his aura, even how he appeared to himself, firmly fixed in my mind. I made sure the guards were reading it off the top of my head, then let go of the deader and then unspun the link to the Hardheads. Glad to finally have this job over and done with, I took my payment then and there and left for my case. The Dusties weren't even in sight of the watch house yet.

-Special Investigator Jerin Ciowyn, Agent of the Court; Investigation Report; Fourth Hive, Sacrilegion, 127th Year of Factol Hashkar's Reign

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