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Authors: Ioana Visan

Tags: #espionage, #science fiction, #genetic engineering, #cyberpunk, #heist, #world war, #circus, #genes, #prosthetics

Broken People

BOOK: Broken People
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Broken People

Broken People Book
1

 

IOANA VISAN

Copyright
©
2015
Ioana Visan

 

All rights reserved.

 

 

Smashwords Edition

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s
imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely
coincidental.

 

Broken People

Broken People Book 1

 

Copyright © 2015 Ioana Visan

All rights reserved.

 

Cover Art by Cristina Birtea

http://adorael.deviantart.com

 

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to
other people. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If
you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not
purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com
and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work
of this author.

 

 

First eBook Edition: February 2015

You don’t always get what you want, but if
you’re lucky, you might get what you need.

 

For one week only, an impenetrable castle is
open to the public, and Dale Armstrong has come to Bratislava to
rob it. When he finds his partner’s arms mangled, he desperately
searches for a way to fix him before time runs out.

Because the war in the Far East is sapping
all the allied nation’s resources, only The Nightingale Circus has
the spare parts, the power, and the expertise to fix prosthetics
and help the injured, but nothing is free.

Unfortunately, Dale doesn’t know about The
Nightingale Circus’s side job, but a forced encounter with the most
dangerous woman in the city, the Golden Lady, sends him their way.
On this roller coaster of crazy twists and flips, schemes and
deceit, wishes and dreams, no one can foresee how the aerialist
will land.

Anything is possible in a world of
Broken
People
.

Table of
Contents

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

53

54

Acknowledgements

About the
Author

Books by
Ioana Visan

 

1

Columns of smoke rose from the food stands
lined up along the sidewalk. Despite the closed windows, a whiff of
the spicy scent made its way inside the attic, tickling Dale’s
senses. Or maybe the stench was lodged inside his nostrils. Either
way, it made his stomach rebel. He couldn’t wait to leave
Bratislava. After two months of preparation, he was ready. All he
had to do was pick up Cole, do the job, and get the hell out of
there.

He glanced over his shoulder at the deserted
attic. Shadows darkened it as night fell over the city, hiding the
bed, the table, the chair, and the old armchair abandoned in the
corner. A heavy wooden trunk rested against a wall decorated with
marks left by posters long gone and an old, mechanical clock that
somehow still found the power to work. It didn’t look like someone
had been living here for a long time, but it didn’t have to. He’d
paid good money to rent the attic without having his stay
registered at the police station. Officially, he’d never been
there.

The last rays of sunshine trailed over the
buildings on the right side of the street, setting their façades on
fire. At the farthest end, a flash of gold lit up the top floor
window. A fair-headed silhouette fiddled with the window lock, then
disappeared inside. When the sun was gone, the light went on, but
no one bothered to pull the curtains. Feeling like a stalker, he
turned his attention back to the street and watched the
traffic.

The bells tolled in the nearby church tower,
and Dale stepped away from the window. It was time. He took the
jacket from the back of the chair and put it on, patting his
pockets as he moved. Everything he needed was in there, including a
knife and a gun with a silencer. He opened the trunk and picked up
another gun from the pile of contraband weapons. He slipped this
one in the waistband of his jeans. He didn’t know what surprises
Cole might bring with him since he arrived days earlier than
planned.

Since no one came up here to visit, locking
the trunk was just an old habit. Except for the old lady in the
apartment below, no other neighbor knew he occupied the attic. He
kept odd hours, made no sound, and never turned on the lights. How
would they know? He did, however, make sure to turn the key twice
to keep the homeless people out. More than once, one had stumbled
in and fallen asleep on the staircase. It wasn’t worth the
risk.

On the second floor, Dale caught a glimpse
of a pair of crossed eyes watching him from behind thick glasses,
and a head full of hair in large curlers underneath a colorful
scarf. Mrs. Potec hurried to close her door before he could wish
her a good evening. She probably relegated him to the same
category, or worse, as the rest of the bums. Other than slamming
the door in his face, she had never bothered to acknowledge his
presence, for which he was grateful. The one time Dale had held the
front door open for her, she’d looked at him like he was going to
rob her. Thank God she hadn’t called the police.

Once out on Venturska Street, the stench of
rotten fruit, cabbage, sausages, and the spices the vendors put in
the food—poor men’s drugs—hit him full force. By the time he
returned, he would have a headache and would want nothing but
sleep. Dale forced himself to walk forward, following the middle of
the pedestrian street. The streetlights flickered to life, and
through the steam rising from the pavement, people looked like
ghosts.

Tonight, it was less crowded than usual,
which was both good and bad. Good because he would notice if he
were being followed, and bad because it made it harder to hide and
get lost in the crowd if he were. The trick was to remain incognito
and not give into the little girl with huge eyes and baggy clothes
who usually begged in that corner of the square. Street rats always
remembered and came for more. He couldn’t afford that. So he
ignored the filthy, open palm, the other one hanging limp and
useless from the wrist, and he didn’t give her the spare change in
his pocket like he wanted.

The little girl threw him a murderous glare
and showed him a set of tiny teeth laced with bits and pieces of
metal.

Dale increased his pace. He quickly passed
the human statue and the blind harmonica player who gathered in the
square each evening. Someone tossed a coin into the tin can at the
human statue’s feet, and the blind man stretched out a hand to pick
it up. Like a cobra, the human statue’s arm shot out and clawed at
the blind man’s hand, the wide sleeve failing to hide the
artificial tendons and the ripped, fake skin. They’d be at each
other’s throat before the night ended, but by morning, they’d be
good drinking buddies in whatever bar was still open at dawn. He’d
seen them leave together on occasion.

Ignoring the budding conflict, Dale took a
swift turn to the right and entered a dark and narrow alleyway that
opened into a square yard, unusually empty for this hour. He
crossed it and followed a labyrinth of quirky little streets
leading to the outskirts of the old town.

At the end of the pedestrian area, Dale
stopped on the sidewalk near a streetlamp to check his watch. Cole
was late.

A few people rushed around him, hurrying to
get home in time for dinner. The sign of the restaurant across the
street blinked invitingly, but the aromas tickling Dale’s nose
turned his stomach.

Two cars rolled down the street with their
windows open, neither of them stopping. The drivers were looking
for someone, but not him. Meanwhile, it had started to rain. Dale
pulled the collar of his jacket up around his neck. A gust of wind
rolled a flyer into one of the forming puddles. The cheap ink was
already dissolving in the water, but not before Dale saw the
mechanical arm throwing cards and flames, announcing The
Nightingale Circus was in town. So that was where everyone had
gone.

His attention distracted by the flyer, it
took Dale a moment to notice the black van with tinted windows
coming straight towards him. It stopped, the engine running, and
the back doors opened. Something big fell on the pavement with a
loud thud, and the van took off with a roar.

Dale had the gun in his hand but hesitated
to fire at the van. More than likely, it was bulletproof, and
shooting would draw attention. A patrol officer might have strolled
in to inquire about what was going on. Instead of wasting bullets,
he ran to the body lying motionless by the curb and, grabbing him
by the shoulder, turned the man onto his back.

Cole’s face was barely recognizable under
the bloody mess, and his hands had been burned to the bone, making
what was left of his enhancements visible, all melted together
along the bones. A good technician could replace those in due time,
but he couldn’t do anything about the ruined muscles and
nerves.

“Oh, fuck…”

 

2

Dale struggled under Cole’s weight as he
carried the heavier man up the stairs. His army-issued enhancements
hadn’t finished the recovery cycle and, therefore, were not ready
to be used. He’d rented an unlicensed taxi to take them around the
old city to an entrance closer to his building. With the city
center being a pedestrian area, he still had to carry the
unconscious man a couple of blocks. Fortunately for both of them,
the pouring rain had chased the street walkers inside, so there
hadn’t been too many witnesses. By the time he arrived at the
attic, Dale was covered in blood and the sickening sweet-smelling,
clear liquid seeping off Cole’s burns.

He dumped his human cargo on the unmade bed
and ran a hand over his face. Water trickled from his short hair
down the back of his neck, wetting the part of his shirt the jacket
had managed to protect.
Now what?
He needed Cole to be awake
and able to use his hands, or the entire operation would fall
apart. If it did, there wouldn’t be another chance to do the job
any time soon. Someone else would have to start from scratch, and
if there was one thing Dale disliked most, it was failing. He’d
invested too much to lose it all. So much work and so much hope
wasted. Millions of peoples’ lives at stake. But maybe not
everything was lost.

It was the main reason he hadn’t taken Cole
straight to the hospital. Aside from the risk of having the police
involved, none of the local hospitals could help with Cole’s
problem. The required technology wasn’t available. Since the war
had started in the east, communication with Japan had been cut, so
spare parts weren’t delivered anymore. Prosthetics fell apart left
and right, and few places remained where they could be fixed.

Cole’s soft moan set Dale into action. He
grabbed a small leather box from the trunk and opened it. It took
two seconds to fill the syringe with the contents of one of the
small bottles and inject it. Cole went quiet again. The strong
painkiller would keep him down until morning, but it wouldn’t heal
him.

BOOK: Broken People
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