Chapter One

The darkness bears weight. A girl makes her way steadily down a deserted sidewalk in the wrong part of town as a black sedan affixed with a set of interlocking circles oozes by under a streetlight. The girl’s footsteps make a quiet rhythm against the dirty pavement.

It’s a hot night and the girl is clad only in thick-gauge wire, her armor. She is wound tightly ankles to thighs, wrists to shoulders, joints exposed, limbs encased. The wires crisscross between her thighs and continue up over her torso, tightening around her heart and finishing off at her throat.

Her armor looks painful.

Her footsteps grow louder in the odd quiet, as she passes city block after city block. The sedan slows almost to a stop beneath the streetlight and a shrill siren breaks out in the distance. The girl turns her head sharply toward the shrieking siren, then looks down and continues walking.

Several minutes pass and the sedan drives off, the siren fades. As it disappears, another set of footsteps interrupt the girl’s steady footfalls. The second set is louder, faster.

A bottomless voice emerges from everywhere at once. “Do you want to run?” It asks. The girl shakes her head and continues her steady pace. The only sign of her fear is the tiny turn of her head to the right, over her shoulder, as she tries to get a glimpse of whatever is coming.

Her wires glow pale orange the streetlight, their recursive, metal tracks holding her together. The approaching footsteps grow louder, and she quickens her pace but does not run. The footsteps match hers.

The man is tall, his knife long. He breaks into the frame and just like that the footsteps stop, just like that he is on her. Sound returns like a slap, a truck rumbles by in the distance and up above, a dog yaps in comic relief.

The girl freezes, then yields to his touch. The angle shifts as she slumps against him, as up ahead a traffic light turns yellow. Another and then another follow in quick succession. This angle reveals the smooth texture of the dirty cement, the deep grooves on the brick buildings.

The villain holds the girl, one arm pinning her elbows to her sides, the other holding the knife to her throat.  She folds into him easily. The streetlight catches the silver gleam of hatred in her eyes. The traffic light ahead turns red and her wires shoot red sparks to match. The sparks fall to the pavement and disappear.

He releases her arms and tangles his fingers in her blonde hair. She yelps when he yanks. That first pain stands out. More sparks fly from her wires, down her arms and legs. She cries with the electrical storm, but she doesn’t call for help.

Traces of the villian’s dark smile appear in his profile. He is enjoying this. The traffic lights go green one by one and he begins to move: His fingers in her hair become fingers on her throat. They dig into her skin as if molding clay. Her head, suddenly loosed of its restraint, thrashes and flies forward. Her gasps come loud as cars cross slowly in the distance. From underneath her armor comes the muffled sound of her heart racing, breaths escape her mouth in smoky drabs that hang in the orange glow. The dog’s yaps come again from above.

The two figures eclipse each other.

The girl’s gasps turn into chokes as the lights pass into their second cycle. Yellow lasts for hours. The wires around her throat come unclasped. Tears burn tracks down her face and lips, and her silver eyes go blank with pain.

The villain lifts her to her tiptoes. Her feet dangle; she doesn’t resist but her eyes are empty; she is elsewhere. Amid the struggle, the wires around her thighs have loosened. His large gloved hands make their way from her throat to her small shoulders. Yellow cycles to red, and red sparks travel down her arms. She drinks the air, then tenses as he throws her back against the bricks. Her armor, still tight around her abdomen, absorbs the smash and her eyes fly open, flashing silver in the darkness. She’s back.

The brick wall knocks loose more of her wiring, revealing pale skin against dark brick.

The green cycle reflects in the villian’s dark eyes. His fingers work again at her throat and she gives way. He pounces, yanking away the already loosened wires, removing her armor. He clears the way of the extraneous. His eyes glint yellow, crazed, hers, silver and angry. His teeth bared, a half-smile on his face, he forces her legs apart with his knee.

A pile of discarded wires lies on the dirty sidewalk. Her pale flesh grates across the jagged bricks making a quiet sound. Green comes around again and his eyes glow hunter. Somewhere this is happening. His fierce grunt and her whimpers merge into a song.

Each thrust snaps her head back. Her face is painted with pain. He quickens his pace while she fades into the bricks behind her.

Her sudden pleasure surprises her as an unexpected orgasm rushes down her ravaged nerve endings and sends another flurry of sparks over her exposed, flushed skin. Her eyes shoot open in surprise, reflecting green now. She smiles and her villain ceases his movements, grabs her by the throat, and throws her, naked and bleeding, to the sidewalk before he darts off down the grimy street toward the traffic light. The dog resumes its barking. The bottomless voice requests help, and in the distance the sirens come again.

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