Tears of Ice

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
***Winner of TheNextBigWriter's New Year's Eve 2107 Short Story Competition ***

She is a woman who has awakened from a long dream-filled sleep in cryogenic freeze and must to get to New York. She has someone special to meet before New Year's Eve . . . and carry out the final part of a long awaited plan to escape her old life and live happily ever after. View table of contents...

Submitted: December 27, 2007

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Submitted: December 27, 2007



She pushed her way through the endless throngs of people.

The light and noise of the crowds wanting to take part in a unified moment of joy, the uplifted faces smiling and cheering, it forced tears to her eyes and made her heart want to burst. She had never cried before she came into existence in her new flesh, now it was all she could do. She came out of the plug and into a world of pain and tears. No one could see the blood speckled on her face or all over her breasts and gleaming green dress beneath her black coat or smell the spent cordite. No one else still heard the screams of the dying.

Clinging to her soul like the memories of bitter shadows.

She wished she could shed it, using that same livewire voodoo and the slick biz she used to shed the guise that was her old face, eyes, hair, smell, all the unwanted flesh that was her former body. Refitted, regrown with new organs, bones, flesh, face, life, the cold had enabled her to do that.

A slender woman with a group of painted girlfriends, drunk from the festivities forcefully bumped into her. Her fingers tightened their grip around the sleek gray and black German pistol in her coat pocket. The young woman was giggling and disheveled, her long sharkskin coat open. She saw the young woman's dress had fallen away and her carefully tanned breasts swayed and jostled with her laughter, nipples standing erect in the cold.

"Gomenezai!" The young woman laughed, her Japanese flavored in a northern Sprawl accent. She nearly dropped her champagne bottle, falling into the arms of one of her equally giddy and drunk girlfriends. "Gomen!" Still giggling, she kissed her girlfriend, tongues touching. Laughing, the group staggered off.

Startled, she had nearly shot the young woman through her coat pocket.

She looked up at the sparking lights and swirling holos of dancing people filling the expanse of Times Square. Strobes of light, flashes of color, images from around the world ringing in the New Year, it was supposed to be the happiest time of her life, she was supposed to be there with Ganth. They were supposed to kiss at the moment the glittering crystal globe descended and announced the arrival of the first year of the rest of their lives together. Their new lives, free, rich, invisible. Back up to the Spindle to live and breathe and love. All that work, that slick as silica effort, slicker than any corporate cowboy could pull off. It should have succeeded, she had her little ghost to help her out but instead her flesh and blood had been regrown for nothing.

The holographic images of the master of ceremonies, Johnny-Jonnie Zone, his life-mate Minda Malloy and her bevy of Zone-Babes were projected over the Sony-Braun ViewTron screen. "Here's the here, now's the now, we're back and there's just one minute to go Misters and Mistresses and I'm so excited about what I just said! Not only are we bringing in the New Year in style, it's the two hundredth anniversary happening in Times Square, New York City!" He ran his fingers through his short, shagged blonde hair, flashing his fingers in victory.

"Excitable is certainly the word, Johnny-Jon!" Minda Malloy kissed him deeply, smiled with her crimson lips and white teeth, she breathed deeply to bolster the cleavage she had pressed against his chest. It had been years since she had seen the two of them and they had not aged a day, still very much in love. The way she wanted to be with Ganth. "Sixty seconds and it's January first, Twenty-One Oh Seven!" Her Zone-Babes laughing and oozing their sculpted sensuality in a rainbow of skin and artificial hair color for the cameras. "New year, new possibilities, and gurgles and gurgles of new gossip and new adventures in the spot light!" Her hair glowed and shifted from gleaming blood red to gleaming night blue, she pursed her lips their red color turning glistening blue-black. She blinked and her eyes turned from brown to gray. She laughed. "And new guises to take on the unknown!"

She looked at the image of the starlet with a sad smile. She had effected a more radical change than Minda, no one in the time before could have possibly recognized her, she was even taller now. With seconds left and everyone counting while the glittering crystal globe above them descended, she watched the young man approach, a smile gracing his handsome features. She was calm and pliable as he swept her up in his arms. His lips on hers, she felt herself melt into his embrace, cheers whipping to frenzy level as the magic moment arrived. Confetti and streams of colored ribbon exploded into the cold air, mixing with the spectrum of light.

The kiss was so warm and tender, she thought he could sweep her away from everything. It was a heartfelt kiss, but it was not from the lips that she wanted most to be caressing hers. The lips she wanted the most were not there, yet she closed her eyes and melted into the stranger's kiss.

It was such a good plan. It should have worked . . .

Large arms of a robotic Kuan-Yu cargo trolley reached out and pincer claws took hold of a frozen gray disk embedded in the stainless steel wall. On it were several series of numbers, blocks of glyph and bar coding and a white square with the universal symbol for woman stenciled on it in pink. Two technicians bundled against the cold watched while locks disengaged, breaking the ice coating the wall. Boiling clouds of white vapor spilled and cascaded down as the arms retracted, drawing out a transparent tube. Sliding from the socket, the tube, like bonded poly-crystal in clarity, revealing a silhouette embedded in bio-polymer gelatin.

The man and woman confirmed the information lased into the transparency of the tube, the cargo robot following them out of the cryogenic vault on its track with their prize. Inside lay an ice sculpture in the form of a naked woman.

Dreaming for years in crystalline gel, she lay hidden inside a cryogenic crypt in an exclusive section of the Ortal-Buac medical facility up in the orbital Spindle. Her time was not just spent dreaming, inside the liquid crystal, her body was stripped and recast into a shape more suiting to her. The flesh sculpting, muscle and nerve threading, bone engineering, it all took years and vast sums of money. More money than anyone should have been able to afford, yet she could. The original body that entered the freeze was substandard. The one inside the tube now was beyond exceptional in its beauty, teal eyes open and calm, full lips parted, perfect teeth bright.

The tube was set before the receiving table in Recovery. The room was small, with comforting features. Colors consisted of a muted palette, focused around soft blues and grays. The lights provided by the glow panels were soft, to reduce the waking shock of emerging sleepers. All decided by the latest psychoanalytical AIs.

"Prep synaptic and cardiostim cocktail," a doctor in blue gray ordered. "Stream it into her umbilicus and wake her up. Stream in her real blood," a poly-backed blister holding a pressure cartridge was opened. Threaded into the base of the tube, it hissed and a white compound flowed up one of the lines in the bundle of intravenous feeds leading to the catheter port implanted in the woman's navel. Brilliant red flowed along another tube splitting from the umbilicus, finding its mark and a catheter port beneath her right collarbone. "Log start of revival sequence at Five Zero Three AM."

Existence transformed around her, becoming real. She felt the electrified buzzing in her lips, hot, full and livewire. An effervescent tickling bubbled up around her heart and below her ribs. The soft pins and needles made her breasts and excited nipples tingle. She could suddenly feel and flex her fingers. The euphoria gripping her was not like her dreams or fantasies, there was something physical to it. She could feel her body now, it was finally real. She was alive, the the nub and sensitive petals of flesh between her legs grew swollen and heated like plasma, every intimate nerve ending unique to woman came alive. She started moving and shifting excitedly, each spasm of her hips held fast by the near solid crystal.

"Good," the doctor commented without excitement. "Liquify the gel and pour her out."

A pop sounded in her ears when the tube tilted and she spilled out in a torrent of liquid gel that had cradled her body for so long. Her long dancer's legs kicking spastically, she arrived on the receiving table, fashioned from clear polycarbonate. The fluid splattered everywhere, across assorted instruments, flat panels of soft light and the medics who caught her. They regarded the pale gray shape, cocooned in a filmy membrane. When she first entered the freeze, she dreamed the essence of her femininity was drawn off, distilled and purified. Then cast white hot into the mold of her new flesh ending the freeze and returning her to life. Darkness faded. She blinked and could at last see.

A woman gasped. "God, she's beautiful!"

Naked, she lay covered in biotelemic sensors, the thick intravenous tube at her collarbone pulsing rapidly. Gloved hands carefully peeled away the membranes encasing her body, warm water washed over her. Time, did she still have time? She was about to ask when she felt all of her insides constrict and pain erupt from deep within her chest.

Her chest convulsed and her breasts felt uncomfortably heavy, jiggling against her. Fluid gargled up and spilled from her mouth, but she was too weak to react. Hands from the blue figures quickly rolled her onto her side and it disgorged from her lungs. She began a coughing fit. Again, the heavy jiggle of her breasts was disturbing to her, they felt so different now, so solid and cumbersome. So real.

Finally she sucked in the first breath of her new life, coughing it out violently. She quickly drew in another breath and she screamed, sobbing when her bowels vigorously purged and bladder voided. There was no pain, she screamed because it was all against her control. Her color turned from blue-gray to bright ruddy pink.

"Easy, Miss," the doctor assured her, placing an oxygen mask over her nose and lips. "Easy, you're going to be fine!"

"Date?" She rasped. "Please, what day is it?"

"It's Thursday, Nine Fifty-Three AM, Greenwich Mean Time. We'll answer all your questions, but don't worry about the time, Miss," he nodded. "First we have to get you to a warming bath," he wagged a finger at her, his tone vaguely condescending. "Your core temperature is dangerously unstable and-"

She pushed the mask away, grabbed him by the collar of his surgeon's tunic, pulling him to her. "The date! Please!" She demanded, gasping. "Please! It's very important! Year!" She began to cough again, heavy phlegm gargling in her throat and lungs. "What year?"

"Please, Miss, calm down," he said, surprised by her strength. He could not understand she had to meet the man she had spent years dreaming of. It had been arranged. "It's November fifth. Thursday, fifth of November, Twenty-One Zero Six."

Seven years. The Little Mouse everyone ignored was legally dead. Replaced by a being with the form of an erotic goddess. "Thank you," she sighed, laying back, clumsily pawing a scrap of film from her face. "There's still time," the only thing she had ever been short on was time. "I can still get to Hong Kong . . ."

She could barely stand the trip down the gravity well, her growing anticipation driving her mad. Did he still love her? Would he be drawn to the shape of her body even more now? He had been resistant to the idea of her reshaping herself, wanting her the way she was. Yet she wanted to be more. She had checked her webmail and found the coded messages indicating he was alive and well and most importantly, en route to Hong Kong. Now she sat in the hotel bar, the one they carefully chose, waiting for him. She wore a Gucci suit and micro skirt, tailored to bring out her new figure, her sculpted cleavage and long toned legs. It had felt so unreal and amazing the first time she walked on them, the first time she had seen herself nude. The sensations she felt the first time she had explored the intimacy of her new flesh. She cut her long dark hair short so it would frame her face and long neck in a rough, passionate embrace. He would want her, she knew.

She had dreamt of him for so long, the cold increasing her desire for his warmth. And he was there, she watched him through the grand mirror, standing in the doorway, uncertain. Finally coming in, he wore a light beard now, framing his features and his bright blue eyes. His sandy brown hair neatly trimmed, casually mussed and roguish. Sharp and alive, she had always loved the way he looked at her. Wearing a gray crewneck, black linen blazer and jeans, he ordered a Tsing-Tao.

Summoning the bartender again, she placed her money chip on the counter. "Gin and Tonic," this got her man's attention. She had told him she would order one when they met again. He seemed unsure if he should approach her, she smiled and invited him with a glance. "Hello, Cowboy."

"Gin and Tonic?" He sat next to her. "Classic drink, friend of mine liked those."

"Did she? The beard suits you," she smiled, leaning towards him, bolstering her Channel sculpted cleavage with an arch of her Daimler-engineered spine. "Rough but well kept, brings out your eyes."

"Thank you," he smiled the boyish grin she had fallen in love with.

"You were standing in the door almost twenty minutes, with the look of a man waiting for someone," she sipped from her drink. Her teal eyes continuing to look him up and down. Hungry, wanting, she had sculpted her body into a shape that she knew would not just be pleasing to her, but him as well. "Someone special?" She had become an ideal of woman and she could see this reflected in the wonder in his eyes, bringing a smile to her lips. "Someone who loves you? A bit rougher around the edges, but she still wants you."

He frowned. "Miss," he began, hesitant to meet her eyes. "Sorry to have bothered you, but I," he shrugged. "No worries, just out of my mind. Cheers, Luv," he stood. "Have to go."

"Wait on, Cowboy," she grasped his arm. "You didn't answer my question."

"Kay, kay, yeah, I was here to meet someone, but," he frowned, rubbing his light beard, she could see in his eyes how he had aged. "She was never gonna show. I was a fool to still believe in fairy tales," he looked into his drink again, setting it down forcefully on the bar. "She left me some dosh and good memories, leastways," he frowned, muttering. "This is bone, don't know why I even came here, I'm a complete nutter for it. She's years over the horizon!"

"You've kept yourself healthy but you've become so cynical since I last saw you, Ganth. Is it because you're over thirty now?" She smiled. "Promised you I'd be here today. Dreamed of loving you the whole time I was in the ice. Thought I was your Little Mouse, what happened to your faith in me? Don't you still want me to be Mrs.Hewitt?"

He stared at her, gaping. She laughed.

"The name is Rose Kolodny. And I," she swirled the contents of her glass. "Have a Gin and Tonic," she crossed her smooth gleaming legs at the knees and took a sip, puckering her full lips at him. "Remember how we worked out the name Rose Kolodny, when I would finally spiral down here again?" His eyes narrowed at her and she smiled with her perfect lips. "You gave me this to wear," she held up her wrist, showing him a broad, simple steel bracelet. "Told you I would order a Gin and Tonic and you told me to use the magic words Cowboy Panzer here today," she placed a hand on the inseam of his thigh. "Asked me to come tell you when the ice thawed and everything inside my skin was made new. Well, Baby, that's now. You were supposed to meet a woman named Rose Kolodny today. I am that woman. I am Rose Kolodny."

"My Little Mouse?" He blinked at her. "Is it really you? D-"

"Ah-ahh," she wagged her finger. "No. Not her. I'm Rose Kolodny, the Little Mouse you're thinking of is dead. I drowned her in the ice with the help of my pet ghost, then enjoyed a good long dream filled sleep."

"Is it? It is you," he grinned. "Luv, even your voice is different!"

"Almost everything is. Eyes, teeth, fingerprints, skin, bones, hair, blood," she chuckled. "Boobs," she lifted her breasts up with her free hand. "I was careful to have these sculpted exactly so, hoping you would like them. Had time to finally get used to them, all real tissue construct and I love them so much. Not too big, certainly not small," she winked. "Get them right for you?"

He smiled and gazed upon the cleavage of her breasts, his hand hovering above her heart. She wanted him to touch them. "But you kept the belt of Orion over your heart," he smiled, referring the birthmarks over her breast that spread out to naturally form the constellation.

"The beauty marks by my eye and chin," she smiled. "All of them."

"You are so," his voice caught in his throat. "Beautiful. You are so perfect."

"Kept them all for you," she held up her hand, spreading slender, graceful fingers that were tipped by short, crimson nails. "Everything else is new. Everything else is different. Everything is better. My vision, sense of smell, sense of taste, touch, my erogenous zones," she gazed at the ice in her drink. "I'm finally alive now, born from the freeze. The Little Mouse is dead," she hefted her glass. "Long live Rose Kolodny," she finished her drink.

She could see his senses were reeling, slowly reformatting to catch up from her old variant to the new. "Did you do all this for me, Luv?"

"Yes," she took his hand. "But not just you, Luv," she pulled out her magnetic key and laughed. "I've been in the ice, dreaming about getting laid forever now . . .!"

She was a woman gasping, crying, drowning.

Clawing at his back, savoring the comforting warmth and familiar weight of him above her, the smoothness of the satin sheets beneath her. It was so much more, so much better with her new flesh. It had given her permission to love him with abandon. Her lips felt so alive, her skin felt so taut and charged, she could feel all the details of his erection from deep inside her, from the wrinkles of his foreskin to the veins running the length of it. Her breasts blushing and swelling with her lust and with each tender caress, they felt ready to burst, nipples popping like Champagne corks. She had to hold on, she was unable to do anything else. She let out a sobbing groan against his throat, as she had before, but the sensuality in it was so much more, broaching insanity. Every nerve ending was alive and she felt so feminine, carnal and beautifully wanton. She wrapped her gleaming smooth legs around his waist ever tighter, demanding the rhythm of his gentle, tender movements carry her further and further along.

The strength of the orgasm that took her was so gloriously pure and intoxicating, she nearly fainted . . .

"Thought you'd never come, Luv," he whispered.

She laughed. "Of course, I did!"

"No," he laughed, realizing the joke. "I meant Hong Kong. Thought you nicked off past the horizon."

"Not without you," she kissed him, caressing his cheek. "Who else could I spend my life with?"

"Some jetsetter bloke with a bloody Ferrari," he mused, drawing his arms around her.

"That bloke will be you," she smiled. "But no Ferraris up in the Spindle."

"Normal gravity there?" He wondered and she nodded. "You never did explain how we'd afford it all. Just a little ghost helped you."

"The little ghost was an Ono-Sendai artificial intelligence," she smiled. "Very old, very lonely, they never listened to it anymore, never talked to it. I wound up making friends. When they scheduled it to get frazzed, the Ono gave me it's fortune, fractions of pennies it saved from transactions around the world. Gift of friendship, the Ono gave me several identities too, gave me a new life."

"Dramatic. Quite a bonus for a data-pusher," he smiled.

"Maybe it loved me," she kissed him again. "Now we can disappear."

He smiled. "After we see in the New Year and cut final biz?"

She laughed. He was still a lovable rogue. "Still pirating braindance-sims to the masses, Baby?"

"Information should be free, art is for the people, censoring feeling and touch is an outrage," he grinned. "Especially when it involves recordings of romantic interludes. But I can retire for you. Easy."

"Why?" She demanded teasingly.

"Because, dear Strumpet," he lifted her chin and kissed her lips. "I love you. You were worth the wait. You know I wanted you before. You were beautiful then too," he grinned.

She shrugged, looking away. "I'm sorry. I didn't want to leave, I didn't want you to have to wait so long, but I had to die then so they couldn't find me now."

"And I want you even more now. You were worth it," he reached over and searched a pocket of his jacket, bringing out a small box. "So," inside was the ring she had promised she would wear. "Finally let me have you for good?"

"Oh, Ganth," she sniffled. "Always. But I wanted you to have a trophy wife," she smiled with a gleam in her teal eyes. "And I wanted to be a trophy wife."

"Beginning life as an honest woman?" He teased, slipping the ring on her finger.

"New Year means new beginnings," she let him take her into his arms, melting into his embrace. "We begin in New York . . ."

On the Lufthansa sub-orbital she told him about her dreams in the ice. He was amazed, hearing her recount their intensity. "You're still semi-conscious when you're frozen?"

"Only feels that way," she settled into him. "Oh," she arched her spine and shifted her Italian sculpted hips. "And Sweetie, they're all wonderfully wet dreams, too!"

He grinned. "Really?"

She licked the tip of his nose. "I was dripping! The oxygen depletion, boosted hormones levels, controlled brainwaves. Best nights sleep this girl's ever had."

He looked into her teal eyes. "You remember them?"

"I remember all of them," her full lips found his. "And you wake up soooo horny, too," she laughed. "I wound up coming right as they thawed me, had that satisfied ache deep inside. Started touching myself the moment I could, got myself off just by teasing my nipples! I could never do that before," she gripped him tightly. "Oh, Baby, it's going to be so great! I just couldn't wait to get back to you!"

"I'll say, Luv," he sighed, kissing the top of her head. "You're wearing me to a bloody stump!"

She looked around, noting most other passengers were asleep. "No sympathy, just imagine what will happen to you when I'm eventually pregnant."

"Please, not that!" He grinned. "The horror!"

She stood, tugging on his hand, looking for the lavatory. "It only gets worse from here . . ."

The night was flowing with electric hypersensitivity. New York was just as living and kinetic as it was when she had left, when she was a little mouse. Years ago, when she left from John F Kennedy International, she gleefully flew to her death as that unremarkable woman. Now every breath of air was sweet, every step light, every sensation a gift, every moment with him a blessing.

The New Year was arriving that night and they would welcome it in the center of Times Square. "There's no better way to start our future together, Baby," she smiled, holding onto his arm while they walked through the crowds of people. They stopped in view of the giant ViewTron holoscreen. "How about right here?" She draped her arms around him, her lips a breath away. "Johnny Zone and Minda Malloy still always kiss don't they? We could do them one better when the ball drops."

"Perfect," he agreed. "Cut biz, pop back here, start our life . . ."

The biz was up from Pier 34, in one of the warehouses. Always in a warehouse. Ganth arranged to buy out of his partnership months earlier, a gratuity added to ease the transition. She recognized some faces, but that was not comforting. Pirating BrainDance sims was a victimless crime for the most part, and Ganth had high standards with what he peddled. Nothing hurtful, nothing exploitive, just adventure, high adrenaline and passionate lust. A rogue with principles. Some of his business partners did not share them. "Geeeee-Man!" One of them said. "Sorry see you go!" They clapped hands. "Bigger, better things, m'man?"

"Cheers, mate," he pulled an envelope from his tall coat and handed it over. "Time for me to go back across the pond."

The other man counted the money. "Aww, G-Man, makin' this real sweet."

"Bout his list, man?" An unfamiliar face demanded.

Ganth frowned. "What's he on about? Contacts weren't in the deal, Ceez."

"Don' worry, Gee, he a new guy we hooked up with," Ceez answered.

"Yo!" The second man pulled a gun. "Want that list!"

She gasped. "Ganth!"

Ceez pulled his own pistol. "Yo! What you doin'?"

"Want that list!" The man bellowed. "It's pure cream! Limey don't give it up, he get smoked, yo!"

"Put up the shooter, you wanker!" Ganth yelled.

She looked around, suddenly everyone was armed pointing guns at each other. The pit of her belly went cold, she knew what was to happen. People were yelling, cursing, gesturing wildly, then someone opened fire. Her world exploded into a cacophony of violence, she saw people drop, others scream, blood spatter across cargo containers. His strong hands grabbed her, lifted her to her feet and sped her away. "Baby?"

"C'mon Luv, we're gone!" He said, a gray and black German pistol in hand. He pulled her along guiding her into the shadows. A hissing whistle whipped past her head, snagging her hair. He spun and pushed her down behind him, shielding her with his body as he opened fire. She saw a man fall. He had saved her life. He had killed for her. She knew he loved her. "Are you hurt?" She shook her head. "We have to go!"

A shape staggered into their path.

It was the man who started the violence. He was shot, clutching at a wound. "Want that list, fool!" There was a machine pistol in his hand. "Pure cream!"

They lifted their weapons at the same time and she saw a flash of light between them. They both fell. "Ganth!" She scrambled on hands and knees to him. "Baby!" She rolled him in her arms, cradling him. "Oh, my God!" She knew he was shot, she knew he was hit bad.

"Get out of here, Luv," he ordered, shoving the gray and black pistol into her hands. His bloodied hands pressed it to her breasts. "Skags here are dead. There are more. The Metros'll be here, too. You have to go!"

Tears streaming down her face, she stuffed the Mauser into her pocket. She would not leave him. "You can't make me leave you, Honey! No! Don't make me leave! Please, you can't!" She pulled hard on his collar, she would take him with her. "I can get you help! Get you patched up and get us out of here. Baby, come on, we're going to live up in the Spindle! We're going to live a real life, we're going to have a family! Get on your feet!"

"Can't," his head rolled when he looked at her. "Can't use my legs," she pulled his coat open and she gasped at the sight of the large spots of red reaching from his chest to his belt buckle. "Not just in my guts, one got me through the spine."

She shook her head. "That doesn't matter. You'll walk again, we can fix that, get you a spinal graft, we can!" She had struggled so hard, she would not give him up. "I didn't go those years all alone through the cold and dark to be without you, Baby!" Sobbing, she grabbed him with both hands and shook him. "Baby, get up!"

"Listen to me, you have to go. Leave! Don't look back," he insisted, his voice weaker now. She could see that he was bleeding badly. His hands were shaking and the pool of blood he lay in continued to grow. "There are more coming, they," he groaned. "Don't know your face, no clue who you are! Get out of here!" He shoved her and she fell onto her backside, into his blood. "I'm sorry, Luv, truly I am," he grimaced. "Ruined everything for you, for us, but you have to escape! Go! Leave! Get back to the Spindle! I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," he repeated with each gasp while she held him, growing weaker and weaker until he breathed no more. She wailed.

She stared at his body for a long time, tears streaming down her face. She slowly stood, not knowing what to do, her future had just died with him. Most were out of action around her. Most were too involved with the final steps needed in expiring messily to pay her any mind. She avoided the tiny rivers of blood, pooling in depressions and cracks in the permacrete, horrified at the slaughter. But she would feel no remorse for any of the dead. Not over scum such as this.

She reached the open doorway, taking in the Manhattan skyline, the lights and holos and music and cheer. As Ganth had ordered her, she left without looking back . . .

Numb and unfeeling, she stood in Times Square, surrounded by living, breathing people. They were swept up in joyous delirium, something alien to her, she was free, but there was nothing left for her, nothing to live for, nothing to want, nothing to salvage. What good was having money and untraceable identities when all she wanted was Ganth? She thought of pressing the muzzle of the gray and black Mauser pistol under her chin.

There was nothing left for her. Her heart beat, but could not pump life or warmth through her veins. There was no future now, only cold darkness. The money could serve one final purpose. It could bring her back to the Spindle . . .

She opened her eyes and broke her lips from the handsome man kissing her. "Happy New Year, Sweetness," he said.

Smiling, she nodded, wanting to savor just one moment of happiness. "Happy New Year," and she reached up with her lips to return the kiss.

His lips broke away from hers and laughed. "Ultra! You lips are just so-so kissable! And you are so-so lookable, too! Better than Minda and all her Zone-Babes in synch! But you're so cold to touch!" The young man shook his head. "No static, Baby, I can warm you up mega!" He kissed her again, his lips wanting hers, craving her form, wanton, driven, animalistic. "You are just too beautiful to be alone tonight," it was quite flattering to her, before she went into the sleep, random men rarely wanted her with such finality. "Got some great derms of Beta, clean from Chiba, we can dose that and I promise you'll come all night long!"

He was strong and handsome. She believed he really could have delivered on his promise to sexually fulfill her. Make her feel so warm and good, if she had wanted to feel warm and good. It was too late, she never wanted to feel warm or good ever again, she smiled with tears in her eyes. She shook her head and began to pull away.

"Hey, Baby, where're ya goin?" He grinned.

"I have to go," she said. "Can't be down here anymore," and she walked off into the throng. She could not live with the grief she knew yet to hit her. She had no choice, she could not be made to grieve, she had to return to her winter sleep. She would go once again to that unfelt cold.

And she would never return . . .

"Don't get this one," the tech commented.

"Don't get what?" The woman asked.

"That mos'triff femme we just flash dunked in the ice," the man looked over the information. "Nothing to it. No tissue refit, no detox, no transgen switch, no organ rebuild, she's just in it for the sleep. Using a gobfill of her chip to stay in the plug, too. She won't be thawed till L. Ron beats Jesus to the second coming."

The woman watched while the clear tube of crystalline gel holding the ice sculpture in the shape of a naked woman was slotted into its socket of the cryogenic vault. It slid into position, displacing the boiling vapor and locked flush with the vault wall, another anonymous disc with numbers, coding, and the universal symbol for woman stenciled in pink on that white square. "She was one of those uber-rich aristos, probably bored with what was going on down the well. Maybe she wanted to suicide without the authenticity code. Maybe it's that fetish thing. Not our problem anymore. Why care?"

"Eh, shame," he grinned. "Her tits sizzled!"

"Well they can't anymore cuz' now they're flash frozen with nipples like diamonds," she sighed. "C'mon it's cold, let's get something like food."

They left her to her arctic sleep, and she continued dreaming in that forever darkness and unfelt cold . . .


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© Copyright 2018 James Weir. All rights reserved.

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