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Authors: Ioana Visan

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

Broken People (27 page)

BOOK: Broken People
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No, but sitting around and doing nothing was
not a solution, either. “And he agreed to this? Me guarding his
niece?”

“He likes to keep his enemies close.” A thin
smile twisted Big Dino’s lips.

“Why should I believe you? Why should I
trust you’ll do as you say?”

“First, because you have no choice. And
second … let’s see. Aurore and her source aren’t going anywhere, so
they will be in your care at all times. I have no interest in you
taking that source, and this forces me to put a lot of trust in
you, too. I
will
take the source to Paris like I said. This
is a big train. It’s not easy to hide. It’s not like I can take it
off the tracks, so you can track us down if I don’t stick to my end
of the deal. I imagine you won’t be kind if I don’t, and I
do
intend to live past one hundred.” Big Dino tilted his
head. “Does this sound fair to you?”

Dale had to admit it did. “How will you get
through the winter without the source? I keep hearing how bad this
season was for you.”

“It was. It was one of the worst seasons in
the circus history. That’s why we’ll ask for a small compensation,
enough to get us through the winter, before relinquishing our claim
on the source. Nicholas will negotiate that. And then, next summer,
we’ll go back east in the hope of finding another one, now that we
know what to look for. For the right price, we might even disclose
the location.”

Of course, everything came with a price.

“You will have to make your decision
tonight,” Big Dino said. “The circus is leaving in the morning
regardless, but it’s up to you if we’re heading northwest or
southwest. We usually spend the winter in Italy or Spain, maybe
even the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.”

“Is everyone on board with this plan?” Dale
asked.

The two silent witnesses to this
conversation exchanged a glance.

Cielo shifted in her chair. “War is good for
business, but not
our
kind of business. People can barely
afford to pay for tickets anymore.”

“Even with the Nightingale’s help,” Renard
said, unfolding his arms. “And the prosthetic business is also
lacking for the same reason.”

“And if everyone’s prosthetics are breaking,
how can we still be the freaks?” Cielo asked.

“Well said, my dear.” Big Dino’s laugh shook
the bed. “So, do we have a deal?”

Dale hesitated. He didn’t like it, but like
Big Dino had said, it was not up to him. “What will happen to
Cole?”

“He can leave if he wants, but I suggest he
stays with us, free of charge, until he finishes his recovery.”

Big Dino held out his hand, and Dale shook
it, the big man’s skin dry and rough against his.

While Renard walked him out, he realized
they hadn’t agreed on a time period.

 

54

As if knowing it was a day of celebration,
the sun was out when the train prepared to leave in the morning. A
small crowd had gathered outside the train station, filling the
platform and waving their hands and colorful handkerchiefs.

The town’s tradition to wave goodbye to the
circus came less as a surprise than having Aurore attending it. She
stood on the platform with a wide circle around her and a smile
frozen on her lips. Her fingers clutched her purse, but other than
that, nothing gave away the discomfort caused by the proximity of
the second source.

Dale admired her resolve. Her face was
serene, without any shadow of anguish, and she wasn’t wearing any
gloves or high boots for once. Her prosthetics were put
ostentatiously on display, and she didn’t seem to care. She wasn’t
hiding anymore.

The siren announced the train’s departure,
and the cheers became louder.

As if upon command, several heads popped out
in the cars’ windows. Spinner stood with Robot Girl in the factory.
Her robo-suit fired two rockets that exploded into fireworks above
the train station. In the next car, Riella threw confetti over
Rake’s shoulder. The small pieces of shiny paper ignited and
burned, leaving behind a scent of heated sugar. Cielo waved from
another window. A shadow with multiple arms moved in the
background. Nicholas and Anya were alone in a separate car with
dancers and contortionists on one side, gymnasts and aerialists on
the other.

Aurore nodded at Nicholas, waved discreetly
at Rake, and smiled at Spinner, who stumbled backward as if freaked
out by her smile.

“You’re bad,” Dale said quietly.

She shrugged, smirking. “It works every
time.”

The wheels spun slowly at first, then faster
as the train gained speed. The crowd ran towards the end of the
platform, trying to keep up with it. Rosie was among them.

Aurore stayed put but raised her arm and
waved. Her golden skin glinted in the sun.

“May I ask a personal question?” Dale leaned
in, although there was no one left around to overhear them.

Aurore turned her head to look at him,
curiosity and a hint of a challenge gleaming in her eyes. The wind
brushed a golden lock on her forehead, and she pushed it away.
“Yes?”

“Why didn’t you grow them back? The
technology has been available for several years, and you certainly
can afford it.”

“You can’t regrow limbs separated from the
body,” Aurore said. “And it takes months for the process to
naturally complete. If I had done it one limb at a time, it would
have taken years. I can’t put my life on hold for that long. I
won’t. This is me.” She did a small twirl in front of him. “What
you see is what you get.”

Only it wasn’t so simple. There were several
layers forming that appearance. Dale couldn’t help admiring her
flawless silhouette and graceful limbs, even if they weren’t made
of flesh and bone.

Something must have reflected in his eyes
because it was Aurore’s turn to lean in, a smile dancing on her
lips. “May I ask
you
something?”

“Sure.”

She took his arm, and they started towards
the train station. “Why did you stay?”

Dale contemplated the answer. He’d wanted to
successfully complete his mission, save those people, stop the war,
all that. But that wasn’t all. He’d also wanted to protect Aurore
and prove to Ternchiev that he wasn’t just a thief. And now, he was
stuck in a town that, until yesterday, he couldn’t wait to leave,
in the company of a woman with a will as strong as his, and he
didn’t mind. It could have been much worse.

“I’m not sure,” he said.

“Uh-huh.” She smiled knowingly and
whispered, “I’m so going to enjoy torturing you.”

“Oh, I know.” And, once again, he didn’t
mind.

To prove it, Dale covered the golden hand
that held onto his arm with his free hand. When Aurore arched an
eyebrow, he answered with a smile of his own and glanced at the
empty horizon.

The Nightingale Circus had left town.

 

Sad to part with The Nightingale Circus
crew?

 

Read their stories about how they came to the
circus and why they stayed in

 

 

The Nightingale Circus

 

 

Don’t be shy and come inside!
The
Nightingale
is waiting to take flight!

 

Welcome to The Nightingale Circus! Listen to
the singer with an enchanting voice. Watch the knife throwers who
are also prosthetic builders. Here is a telecharger on the run and
a ballerina with no lungs. There is a broken pole dancer and an
Asian bot. You’ll be amazed by a regular girl who becomes exquisite
and frightening at the same time.

They’re better known as the famous
Nightingale, the Blade Masters, the Magician, the Swan, the
Firebird, the Rocket Girl, and the Golden Lady.

They are all waiting to tell you their story
about how they came to the circus and why they stayed.

This is a companion short story collection
to
Broken People
.

Acknowledgements

After I finished writing The Impaler Legacy
series, I felt it was time to return to my first love, science
fiction. When I visited Bratislava a few years ago, I very much
enjoyed the old city, and I wanted to write a story that had the
action taking place there. I had this image of a man standing in
the window of an old building, watching a woman in a building
across the street. I wondered what he was doing there so, between
other projects, I started plotting on and off.

It felt like a cool idea, so I decided to
make it my NaNo project. Now, my idea of NaNo is a bit different
than what everyone else is doing. When I’m working on a story, I
usually write 1,000 words per day, except for the weekends. For
NaNo, I wrote during the weekends, too. It was tough, but at the
end of November, I had 30,000 words written … and I was only
half-way into the story. What initially had been planned to be only
a novella had turned into a novel.

For a long time, the story was called “With
a Flick of the Wrist”, like Queen’s song, which could serve as
soundtrack. However, in the end, it became clear the story wasn’t
about a trick but about the people in it. Writing each individual
story felt like the next natural step, so if you fell in love with
Broken People and don’t want to let go of them just yet, you might
want to check out The Nightingale Circus. It’s a short story
collection revealing how the main characters came to be in the
circus and why they stayed.

As usual, many thanks go to my critique
partners, Boringname, Jkang, Miki, Larrue, Pianoal, Pranabow,
Rellrod, Ros, Sarahbeth, Xc0000005, my editor, Kim Young, and my
illustrator, Cristina Birtea.

Thank you to my readers and reviewers, too.
If you got this far, please take the time to leave a review on
Amazon and Goodreads to show your support. I will be forever
grateful.

And let’s not forget Mom, Dad, little
brother, grandma, and the cat.

All right, see you in the next book!

 

About the
Author

Award-winning writer Ioana Visan has always
dreamed about reaching the stars, but since she can’t, she writes
about it.

After fighting the apocalypse aftermath in
“Human Instincts”, she played with shapeshifters in “Blue Moon Café
Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks”, she dealt with vampires in
“The Impaler Legacy” series, and then she designed prosthetics in
“Broken People” before tackling longer works like a fantasy trilogy
and a science fiction series.

Aside from publishing short stories in
various Romanian magazines and anthologies, she published a
Romanian short story collection “Efectul de nautil” and the
Romanian edition of “Human Instincts”.

She received the Encouragement Award from
The European Science Fiction Society at Eurocon 2013.

 

For more information, go to

http://
www.ioanavisan.tk

 

 

Connect with Ioana online

Blog:

http://weirdvision2001.blogspot.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorIoanaVisan

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/weirdvision

Books by
Ioana Visan

ENGLISH BOOKS

 

Human Instincts

 

Blue Moon Café Series:

Where Shifters Meet for Drinks

 

The Impaler Legacy Series:

The Impaler’s Revenge

Sweet Surrender

A Victory that Counts

Casualties of War

Order Restored

The Third Wheel

The Impaler Legacy Omnibus

 

Broken People Series:

The Nightingale Circus

Broken People

 

 

ROMANIAN BOOKS

 

Efectul de nautil

Instincte umane

 

 

ROMANIAN ANTHOLOGIES

 

Dansînd pe Marte şi alte povestiri
fantastice

Steampunk: A doua revoluţie

Venus – povestiri erotice science
fiction

Cele 1001 de scorneli ale Moşului SF

Zombii: Cartea morţilor vii

Călătorii în timp. Antologie de povestiri
SF

Ferestrele timpului. Antologie de ficţiuni
speculative

Bumerangul lui Zeeler. Antologie Gazeta SF
2014

Best of Mystery & Horror #1 - Revista de
suspans

Xenox. Contact între civilizaţii

 

www.ioanavisan.tk

 

BOOK: Broken People
3.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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