Jinn by Daniel Moore
Endo’s body was drained, her stomach concave and skin wet. All she wanted was sleep, to roll back to the middle of the bed and let the hours melt away, but the thumping at her temples forced her eyes to stay open. It was a vice of tensed muscles that clamped down at the base of her neck, reminding her that sleep wouldn’t be an easy thing to find. She had often wondered if the implant was a mistake, if she could’ve done without it or made money some other way. There were options in the new city. Unlike New York, L.A. seemed to have industries on top of industries buried just beneath the surface. She wasn’t a stranger to going through seedy routes to keep the lights on. But in the end, Endo always came back to the same conclusion; she couldn’t live without it.
The body next to her rolled over the sheets. Pale skin turned blue beneath flashing lights trilling to the tune of the alarm. Endo ignored the sound and stared at her, watched her breast rise and fall as she took shallow breaths in her sleep, dreaming of memories that took place thousands of miles away, on nights that ended like this, years ago.
Endo leaned over to kiss her awake. The sting of a migraine bit back in protest, making her grunt in discomfort. She held it for a moment, felt the clamp tighten behind her eyes. When she felt she wouldn’t vomit from the pain, she leaned in and planted her lips beside her ear.
Endo climbed out of bed, massaging her temples with her thumb and forefinger, trying to make her brain fit in her skull again. She switched off the alarm, killing the flash projecting from within the walls. She looked back at her bedmate, reaching out, searching in slumber. Silently, Endo tiptoed out to the bathroom, carefully closing the door.
The digital display on the vanity greeted her by first analyzing her features with intuitive software designed to prepare her best for the night ahead. Text over her reflection suggested that there might be damage to one of her trigeminal nerves, and listed homeopathic and pharmaceutical remedies to ease the tension. Endo tapped the glass, hearing the beginnings of a simulated voice springing to life to read the options aloud. Rather than heed the suggestions, she opted for a handful of ibuprofen from behind the mirror and a drink from the tap. The taste of chalk and the lump in her throat was tolerable — 1200 mg would ease the pressure on her head in time.
Endo showered and hummed that familiar tune, the one that traveled with her from the life left behind. While washing her face, she remembered fragments of the chorus, words that dropped to the beat but didn’t line up properly. And as she brushed her brown hair, careful not to touch the nape of her neck — the opening to her jack, the seat of her metal-lined slot — she heard the song playing from the bedroom, softly coming from the speakers of her PC monitor. She smiled.
Endo walked back to the room, finding her sitting in the center of the bed, her face awash in the glow of a tablet resting in her naked lap.
“Aren’t you tired,” said Endo, burying her head in the corner closet.
“Aren’t you?” she said, running her fingers through her short, black hair.
“I wouldn’t mind sleeping for another day or two.”
The Line of Fate
No Sleep till Deadtown
Pigs Fry; Pigs Fly
Ripples From The Weather Aggregator
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