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Decay in Mechanical Dust

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He aligned the electronic key with the door and thrust it in. It entered with a quiet beep, and a surge of electricity piped at its end. The key turned as the work began. Reid Enstrom stood in the darkened street, glancing about, and waited for the job to be completed. Just as the clockwise rotation was nearing its end, the mechanism stopped, followed by a glaring red light. Reid’s heart raced as he realized the process had failed. He retrieved the key, and with one last peek around, he darted into the alley.

The newer cars had become harder to hack, creating further hardships on Reid’s work. His code had failed him for the second time that evening, and as he neared the other side of the alleyway he heard the car’s alarm blaring in the distance. Good thing I installed that thirty second fail safe, Reid thought to himself. Enough time to make a quick getaway.

As he casually walked the barren streets he kept his eyes open, searching for police vehicles. He would soon be far enough to not be a suspect, even if questioned. He knew he had to travel a long distance before trying his key on another car. If he tried two cars in proximity to another his chances of getting caught increased. His watched vibrated as the hour hand hit the 2.

Realizing he was running out of time Reid quickened his pace. After crossing two miles he crossed another alleyway and began searching for another opportunity. Reid hated having to steal cars, but ever since he refused the job from mayor Heardy, he had not been able to get work doing anything legal, as if black listed from the workforce. Heardy had asked him to do something unethical, coding chips with the ability to remotely take control of cars, and was furious when Reid declined. The mayor explained he would never work in the city again, and so far had been right.

After scouring the streets looking for an older model car, Reid encountered a perfect sample. It was ten years old, and he was certain his key would be able to unlock it. He strolled up to it, having checked for cops and pedestrians, and inserted his key. Electricity zapped again, starting the keys rotation. This time, however, when it beeped, the light turned green.

The car door clicked, opening with a groan. After his seat belt crossed his chest, and snapped itself into place, he took off towards the buyer. The city was darker than usual; the autumn sky swarmed with low hanging gray clouds that blocked out what little light the moon had to offer. His seat belt unlatched its self, after pulling into the buyer’s garage and turning off the car.

As Reid got out of the car the buyer approached him. He wore flannel pajamas, and his hair was a mess. “What’s this?” He asked Reid scowling.

“A car. What’s it look like?”
The buyer shook his head, “No, it’s too old. I told you I needed something recent to make any money out of it.”

“I have to re code my key. It didn’t work on the newer models. I’ll have it fixed by tonight, but for now, the car is still nice.”

“It was nice ten years ago.” Said the buyer.

“It’s all I have man. I’ll have the new code by tomorrow night, and you will get your new car.”
He sighed, “Fine, but this can’t happen again. I don’t know if I can even get rid of this thing. You better have that code fixed by tomorrow night.”
Reid nodded, “I will. Thanks.”

“I can’t give you the full amount for this, but I can give you something.” The buyer said as he typed on his PAL, an electronic device with an LCD screen used for most every day functions.

Reid raised his arm to view the screen on his own PAL, and navigated to his bank account, “That’s it? Come on, that’s less than half.”
The buyer shrugged, “Do better tomorrow and I’ll honor our agreement. You’re lucky to get that. I’m going back home to bed. Be here tomorrow night with a new car.”

Reid agreed, glad that he had gotten paid at all, and headed home to work on his code.

Part 2

Reid arrived home to his messy apartment after walking home from the buyer’s garage. He tossed his coat on the couch, and headed to the end of the room where his desk lay. It was large and tilted, imbedded with a computer screen. After dabbing a few times on his desk the screen lit up, and he sat down to begin his work.

He had to get the code right this time, there wouldn’t be much work left if he didn’t. He scanned the bright screen, reading through his hundred pages of code, looking for slight errors and ways to improve it.

Working on his code made time pass quickly, and by the time Reid finished the sun was rising. He saved his work onto his key, and went to have a seat on the couch, turning on the news. They were running a story about a mugger.

The news woman, Reid’s favorite, was sporting a red dress, and her brown hair reached her shoulders. She smiled as she relayed the story.

“There have been multiple sightings of what city residents are calling a ‘Vampire’ roaming the streets and attacking citizens. While police have refused to comment on the ‘Vampire’ bit, they have stated that there have been muggings by a man reportedly very pale. He is assumed to be very dangerous, and possibly deranged. It is recommended to stay alert, and travel in pairs when at all possible. Stay safe Los Venas.”

After finishing the morning news, and learning nothing of note, except that the public was gullible enough to believe in Vampires, Reid checked the time on his PAL, and realizing how late it had gotten, grabbed his jacket and headed outside. His ex-wife would be expecting him, and her money, and she was always in a foul mood when he arrived late.

Reid jogged to the train station and got on, just as the doors were closing. It chugged forth, and Reid fastened his seat belt. Maybe my son will be there this time, Reid though. Though I doubt she will let me see him. She never does.

It took only a few minutes for the expeditious train to arrive at its next stop, and Reid departed, heading towards his ex-wife’s apartment. He was greeted, upon arrival, by his ex-wife’s scowling face, partly covered by swaying golden hair.

“Where have you been?” She demanded.

“I’m sorry.” Harry said, “I was working. Is Jason here?”

“He’s at a friend’s.” She said, then tapped on her PAL, gesturing for him to transfer the funds.

He connected to her PAL wirelessly, and transferred the funds to her, grimacing as he watched his account depleted, “There you go.”

After checking her account again she said, “Don’t be late next week Reid.”

She made a face, as if a foul taste had entered her mouth when she said his name, but Reid ignored it. He left and made his way home, hoping to sleep before work that night. He crashed on the couch after entering his apartment, and was almost immediately asleep.
His sleep was unperturbed, and when he woke he felt well rested. He got dressed, and grabbed his Key, attaching it to a necklace he wore around his neck, and went to work.

Reid walked for an hour, getting a fair distance between him and his apartment, before starting his search for a nice, new model car. The streets were Vacant, and dark, the street lights only dimly lighting the area.

Reid squinted, seeing a yellow car in the distance, and made his way across the street. Behind him, Reid heard something, though he couldn’t make out what. He stood, just under a street light, and scanned the darkness before him. Seeing nothing, he decided he was hearing things, and continued on.

When he approached the car, he inserted his key, and waited patiently for it to work its magic. He held his breath as it slowly turned, then exhaled when the light flashed green. Just before he retrieved the key a sound boomed behind him. He spun around, and peered across the street. A pale man, in a large brown coat had bumped into a tin trashcan, knocking it over.

Reid scooted over, hiding the key from sight, and leaned against the yellow car, waiting for the man to pass by. He didn’t and instead stood in the alleyway, and stared directly at Reid. Reid could see his glowing eyes from across the street, hauntingly gazing into his soul.

His heart raced, and he stood still, uncertain of what to do, then the man tilted his head, and screeched, the sound splitting the silence of the night. The man lurched forward, then sprinted ahead, quicker than Reid though possible. Reid darted to the side, swung around the car and scurried down the alley behind him.

He could hear the clapping of feet behind him, as the man pursued him, groaning and screeching all the while. Reid dared not glance back, and pushed himself to run faster, down the alley and towards the next street. He kicked a trashcan as he passed by, knocking it onto the ground, hoping to delay his pursuer.

Against his better judgment Reid turned his head to look behind him, and saw the man hit the can and fall, his face crashing to the black concrete. Reid hurried into the street, and took a right, concluding that he needed to make his way back to the car and drive away from his attacker.

He rounded the corner, and sprinted to the yellow car, his heart thumping wildly. He tripped, just as he reached his destination, and scrapped his wrists. He seethed, and rose up, reaching for the door handle. As he did he looked up, and saw the man making his way towards him, screeching down the alley.

He tugged on the door, but as it opened the man leapt, soaring over the car, and knocking Reid to the ground. The attacker swung his head down, razor sharp teeth going for Reid’s neck. Reid used all of his strength and pushed against the man, but could barely contain him. The man’s head reached closer to his neck, saliva pooling and dripping onto him.

Adrenaline fueled, and Reid pushed up with his legs, throwing his attacker to the side. He got up, and tried for the car again, but just as he was there, the attacker reached him, and his nails dug into Reid’s shoulder. Reid swung around, and punched his attacker, but to no avail, the man continued flailing, reaching for his neck.

Reid took another swing, but the attacker stopped him, twisted, and broke the arm. He called out in pain, and fell to the ground. He attempted to crawl away, but his attacker was on him. Blood soaked into his clothes as the Man bit into his neck voraciously, and Reid gurgled, gasping, but no air came.

 

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