12 “How much money to kill my friend”

Short Story 12

“How much money to kill my friend” the drunk young woman offered through a sneering unconscious grin.

“I don’t think you understand” the robot calmly countered.

The bar of various but ultimately similar robots slowly began turning to stare at the woman.

As the last of them whirred into place and let out a quite beep of subject acquisition, a strong ‘Click’ was heard above them. The woman’s face relaxed into a simple blank expression that gently revealed a smirk as she stood up straight.

‘The Blue Scream Of Death’ it said in large letters neatly filling the screen of her tablet. “Good luck” she whispered as she pressed it firmly between her thumb and fingers, illuminating the room in ultraviolet rays from a sphere in the ceiling that attacked everything around it while flickering like a strobing mirror ball.

No screams.

She carefully took several steps around an imaginary square, careful to avoid the foot cups or tracks of any sitting robot.

No movement.

“Jesus Christ” came the strained wheezing s of a voice above her.

She snapped out of her calm methodical trance. “Shit! Sorry Keb. Drop it. They’re down.” She bent her knees slightly and held out her arms just in time to catch the metal sphere Keb had already dropped.

She balanced the ball precariously under the strength of one extended arm. “Bag” she gently motioned with the other as a large black cube missed it and slammed against the floor. “Before you say anything”, she looked up “I think you’re getting too old for this”.

Without making a sound, a slender old man slid gymnastically from the rafters. He was dressed entirely in black and possessed a bushy white beard that stuck out of his hoody while still almost covering his eyes.

The young woman looked at Keb, searching for an explanation. “And yet you can do that. Unbelievable.”

“You never forget your training, ma’am.”

“Please don’t call me that. We’re equals now Keb. You’re Keb. I’m Tilt.”

“Yes ma’am – er – Yes Tilt.”

“Right Keb.” she zipped up the box and swung it over her shoulder. “Time to loot.”