a tantalizing glimpse of the future
Before you get too impressed, I guess I should admit it's the fun kind of work, inspired by the arrival at my doorstep of this very valuable treasure:
(Bonus, if you look closely you can see in the background a) my very ugly but very comfortable couch, b) my mostly ugly rug, c) the green notebook which I'm using to brainstorm my next SEKRIT project, and d) the stack of laundry I'm avoiding by doing more entertaining work like this.)
WIRED, the final book in the SKINNED trilogy, comes out September 14. For those of you disinclined to do math while still officially on summer vacation, that is EIGHT DAYS FROM TODAY.
I know, you're tortured by anticipation. (Okay, I'm tortured by anticipation. I've been waiting four years for this moment.)
Here's a little excerpt to help you survive the wait. (And I believe this is the first piece of this book to see the light of day, so we'll call it a WORLD DEBUT.) Enjoy!
Mechs don't get tired. We don't, technically, need to sleep. And obviously there's no need to eat or drink or rest our legs from hour after hour of whirling beneath spinning neon lights, arms twirling, head thrown back, bass-pumping music shaking the walls, floor undulating beneath our feet, bodies on bodies pressed together, sticky, sweaty, salty flesh grinding against flesh, and in the center, me. Seventy-two hours at the Wilding, watching dancers flow in and out, like jellyfish washing up on the beach, then dragged out again by the rising tide, ragged and desiccated by their hours in the sun. Except here in the Wilding there was no sun, no hint of anything that might mark the time passing, or the daylight world beyond its midnight walls.
"You need a guy," Felicity shouted in my ear, with a giggle that sounded almost sincere. Everything she said sounded almost sincere--the same went for Pria and Cally, the other two vidlife regulars who'd swept me into their circle as soon as I stepped into the club. The fly cams buzzing over our heads glowed as they came within range of one another, and on cue the lifers laughed and shrieked, stroked my hair, whipped me in wild loops across the packed dance floor, and didn't seem to care that I was a mech--which of course only meant that their characters didn't care, and they were playing their parts.
Cally grabbed my shoudlers and kneaded her thumbs into the synflesh. "Definitely need a guy," she agreed. "You're way too tense."
"Come on, pick someone." Pria twisted me in a slow circle, her pointed finger hopping from a weeper with huge biceps and teary hangdog eyes to an albino blond to an artfully scruffed guy, bare from the waist up and dosed out on Xers, who happened to be a ringer for Walker, my org ex. Not going to happen.
Him, the voice in my head decided for me, as my eyes settled on a punkish banger a few years older than me, his spiked hair tipped with metal studs, silver bangles ringing both arms from wrist to elbow. The silver decals striping his neck marked him as a skinnerhead, one of those fetishists who claimed to crave eternal life as a mech--but didn't crave it enough to actually cut open their brains and download them into a computer. Covering yourself in mech-tech was the newest trend, at least among those who weren't trolling the streets looking for a mech to bash, and sometimes--fine line between love and hate and all that--among those who were. This loser clearly considered himself on the cutting edge. Someone out there on the network apparently thought that made him my perfect match. Go for it.
It didn't take much. My come-hither glance was rusty, but it got the job done. Or maybe it was the pinpricks of golden light at the center of my pupils, the dead mech eyes flashing under the neon strobes, the taunting glimpses of synflesh beneath the on-and-off transparent material of the flash shirt.
What skinnerhead could resist a skinner?