A Thursday Prompt for June 17, 2021
Prompt word: face
Artwork linked to Royz of Furaffinity.
Malou had put it bluntly, the Job is done. It's over, Riley. On the face of things, nothing changed for the world or low earth orbitals, save for minor shuffling at the top echelons of society.
Riley's bonus was spent repairing injuries in a Swiss clinic, some facial reconstruction and cauterizing former desires. A flight took the husky back to the Northwest Cascadia sprawl. He found dog's body work for a former data jockey turned night club owner, managing the Club's stage effects and Cyber 101 security.
He acquired a girl friend, Sasha, who liked giving him neck sashes glowing in various hues.
One drizzly November evening, his boss asked him to Uber transport a friend of a client. Use the Club's self-driving sports car. Pickup at Tukwila, drop off at Fife.
At Tukwila, the pickup stood in the rain in front of a tip-up concrete warehouse that still bore the name: Boeing. A corporation long extinct. Her head was shielded by a rain hood with ear cutouts. Droplets sliding off a weather proof dress with shoulder cuffs. Aglow in luminscent stripes down the front. She held a small, flat box in one paw.
Riley rolled down the window, calling out the coded greeting. She nodded her head. The passenger door opened itself, allowing the lupine to slip into the passenger seat. The low slung vehicle whirred down the road. Self driving, but custom dictated a driver should be present.
The lupine spoke first. "Hey Riley. Whats up?"
That familiar voice, hint of a Canadian accent.
"Malou? You've changed!" Riley stammered. The lupine's irises were iridescent blue. Implanted bio orbs or artificals replacing her former compound eyes that displayed HUD data in her field of vision. Malou's facial ruff now possessed the multicolored emission of bio-luminescence fur.
Malou chuckled, "Work related. Long Term assignment," the lupine flickered her ears. "You're looking pretty decent yourself. Neck sash is a nice touch. Your girlfriend's?"
"She's got good taste," Malou said. She paused, then continued, "There's a reason, I requested you to pick me up."
The lupine raised the small, flat wooden box from her lap, holding it aloft. "You left it at the Clinic. It's yours."
He took it, holding it as if it was uncomfortably warm. "Malou...I just wanted to say..."
"There's nothing more to be said," Malou replied, "The Job we did as a team is done. Nothing changed, except us."
Riley glumly added, "Altered."
Underneath an overpass in Fife, the Club vehicle steered itself into a temporary slot. Malou opened her door and eased out. Riley opened the driver's door. He turned to face her over the car's roof. A dog, trying to recapture youthful memories. While an older lupine wore the high fashion of UW district youth. Yet another mask.
Malou sighed, "If it's memories you want, look in the box," She turned and walked off.
Riley held out a hand, "Malou..."
She called out, "Riley. You have choices and means to carve out who you want to be. The Clinic removed the armature riding your spine. You're lucky, few have that these days."
She strode off into the misty evening, vanishing.
Under drizzle sweeps of windshield wipers, Riley slid open the lid. Within was a stainless steel, four pointed, engraved Shuriken. The keepsake of keepsakes for a youthful husky with hollow eyes, fiendishly driven to data jockying. Eternally dry mouthed from the twisting shaft of exotic opiates, dope sickness and hangover.
The Club's sports vehicle dropped him off in front of his flat. He ascended the stairs, opened the door. Sasha's boisterous, tail wagging greeting. A hug. Asking about the box he held. A blank face recalling ghosts for a moment, then a toothy smile. He slid the lid opened, revealing an empty interior. A found object. A pretty, wooden, empty box for knick knacks.
Earlier, he had tossed the Shuriken out over the railing and into the Sound. The husky didn't need it anymore.
Riley never saw Malou again.
A short tale or Thursday Prompt for June 17, 2021
Thursday Prompt is a writing prompt hosted by Vixyyfox on Furaffinity.
Prompt word: face
Consider this an alternate ending to Neuromancer with anthro characters, set in the Pacific Northwest.
Inspired by a cyberpunk art by Royz on Furaffinity