Instantiated was my 2007 Nanowrimo novella that has been my only winner, to date. As an incentive to re-write the story with lack of plot bunnies, plot ninjas, and plot holes, I gave my husband the first draft of the novella. So far, so good. He seems to like it.

Tonight marked the first night of many that I plan to spend re-working Instantiated‘s contents and its story. I figured that I’d give a bit of a teaser for the re-write, for those of you who were actually interested.

This story is written in third person, told from multiple points of view, depending on the character. It’s a cyberpunk, highly dystopic narrative, set in the Greater Vancouver Area in the year 2063. Main character’s name is Raxi Fairwater, and yes, it’s a chick.

Read on, if you’d like.


The lights had been snuffed out. The tiniest noises reverberated throughout the corridors; those asleep twitched and turned over. Shadows swayed with the pin-light that stalked the halls, desperate to locate its prey before the city woke and noticed its presence. Guards would come as soon as the alarm was sounded; he knew that she would not take kindly to being tracked down. But what choice did he have?

His footsteps were muffled by soft-soled shoes resembling pointe slippers. As the door opened to one of the homes embedded in the side of the concrete wall, he pressed himself against the wall, stuffed the pin-light into his pocket, and held his breath. A figure peered out, body hidden behind the faux-stone door. Satisfied, it slipped back inside and went on its way.

His breath came back to him slowly; his nerve was temporarily shattered. He knew what would happen to him should he be discovered amongst the ranks of the Undercity. And, as soon as they found out whom it was that let him in, well, the whole community would be up in arms. It would be a dangerous place to be. Best that he complete his mission and get the hell out, long before dawn woke its residents.

Straight down, left, left, up the first set of stairs. Or was it the second set? He shook his head as he continued down the narrow corridor, paying attention to keep his steps light and to not fall into the sewer river. The stone and cement that made up the external architecture of the Undercity was a marvel to behold for those who were privy to its contents. Gaining access to it, even if you were an applicant, was a guarded secret that only the residents knew. For outsiders who wished to tour its facilities, it was near impossible, unless you had someone on the inside with either a grudge or a soft heart. The former was far more likely than the latter.

Left.

Rounding a sharp corner, he found himself staring into the eyes of one of the residents. Panicked, he groped for his tranquilizer darts. When the resident failed to make a move, he realized that it was a statue painted to look lifelike. Its glazed over eyes were painted a bottle green, shining in the dimmed lights of the open area. Some kind of human scarecrow, he assumed.

Left.

This was a much more gradual turn but was somewhat of a chicane in its execution. He darted to avoid the crumbling cobblestone, revealing unsteady wood below. The air was much more pungent in this part of the Undercity but it wasn’t the smell of rotten sewage or of the filtration system that worked the main corridors. Instead, it was a mixture of something that smelled like incense and perfumed candles. It was oddly feminine.

First set of stairs.

Careful to move as quickly and quietly as possible, he failed to pay attention to the tripwire embedded in the wall. He stumbled, just as the alarm began to sound. He knew that sound would spell his doom and the doom of the one who let him in. He leapt up the stairs, two at a time, and reached the top, just in time to see door to her apartment open. In her arms was a weapon that he’d never seen before. He tossed the package at her feet and dropped to the ground, just as the weapon let off a shot. Hands behind his back, he felt her crouching over him, examining the package and deftly cuffing his hands.

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a shock of long, blonde hair running up the stairs, weapon in hand, whispering fiercely for him to keep his eyes down and his face to the floor.

“What is this?” Blonde asked. “Is this another assassination attempt?”

Another? He found himself pondering who the assassin could have been. It wasn’t him or his company and he was fairly certain that the Undercity was not something that only the largest corporations knew anything about. Still, he kept silent and closed his eyes.

“No Corp has ever been as bold as to send us an amateur,” his target said. “I think I’ll take this inside and X-Ray it before opening it up. Take him to the lock up and call Rafe. He’s going to want to see this.”

“Don’t open it while I’m gone,” Blonde said. “If it’s toxic, you’ll need someone to administer an antidote.”

“Just take him. I’ll wait.”

His head disappeared under a mass of black cloth and he felt himself being led away. More or less, his mission had been completed and the Corp that had sent him would be satisfied with that, at the very least. Knowing that his life was more or less forfeit, regardless of whether he made it out alive, he darted ahead of Blonde, in an attempt to shake her. He didn’t hear the shot, but he certainly felt it.

The emptiness consumed as his consciousness failed.

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