Posted on: March 27th, 2011 The Break

By Amy McLane

The desert sun blazed over my head as I bartered in the market. That was an hour ago. Now Fog was settling into the nooks of the city as I scurried along. I broke into a run, clutching the gyrebreaker to my chest. The Reset was coming.

The gyrebreaker cost me everything I had; the sage dust, the zombie mice, the transit pass. Although I’d loved the way my mice would swarm a bruiser or debt man, it was the transit pass I was regretting the most. I could have been whizzing along right now in the safety of the subway, protected in the anonymity of the dark. Now it looked like my bid to break free from this place was going to cost me my life instead.

“Hey walla!”

I put on the brakes. A gasham poked her crowned head out of a basement window. She waved at me, bracelets jangling on her wrists.

“Got room. You can pay?”

“Yeah darling,” I lied. Fog was settling on my head and shoulders, stinging me through my robe. I started to bleed.

“Slide in.”

I did. Nearly knocked her over, tiny thing that she was.

“Panc toya,” I said, as she locked the window shut, “Who else you sheltering here?”

“Couple other gashams. Juju. A Cop. And you, walla. Where’s your shiny?”

I caught her gold-covered wrist. Her eyes narrowed, her painted lips thinning to a fubuddy sneer. You don’t put hands on a gasham unless you’ve got good cause. This one looked like she could blow my brains out my nose in an eyewink.

“Where’s the Cop?” I whispered.

“Upstairs.”

I showed her the gyrebreaker. Her eyes widened.

“What else you got?” she asked, not taking her eyes off it.

“Nada. But I’ll pay you, I promise.”

“Shilshat. You’re jumping ship.”

“I won’t, not till-”

She grabbed me by the throat with her mind. “Show me your face.”

I pushed back my hood.

“Pretty. Cop’ll love you.”

“Don’t,” I choked.

The grinding howl of Reset began. The gasham let me go as the tremors knocked us both off our feet. Her crown slid off her head and rolled into a dusty corner. Without it she was young. Maybe even young enough to run.

“Come with me,” I said. “We can jump now.”

“I’m a gasham,” she said flat, “I’ve got power, money, protection. Why would I want to give that up?”

“You want to live your whole life in a closed loop? Singing birdie in a cage?”

She looked away.

I held my breath. Reached close. Touched her shining hair.

“Gasham, your Juju’s loose!” The Cop ran down the stairs. He saw us sprawled on the floor, the gyrebreaker in my hand, and drew his Ware.

“Put. The breaker. Down.”

I looked at the gasham. Fear was in her eyes, fear and something more. She took my other hand, the one that had dared.

“Do it.”

“You heard her, walla.”

I did. My thumb hovered over the gyrebreaker’s switch.

“What’s your name?” I asked her.

“Ashram Lily.”

“Panc toya, Lily,” I said, and threw the switch.

Filed under: bad-ass, stories

One Response to “The Break”

  1. Save the Cat and Keep ‘em Reading | The Parking Lot Confessional Says:
    March 28th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    [...] you escape a dystopia in under 500 words? THE BREAK is up at Brain Harvest. Go read it and [...]

  2. Save the Cat and Keep ‘em Reading | The Parking Lot Confessional Says:
    March 28th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    [...] you escape a dystopia in under 500 words? THE BREAK is up at Brain Harvest. Go read it and [...]