I've been working on this thing all weekend, but I'm still pushing to the end

This game reeked with death, and it seemed the endgame would smell just as foul. Kneeling in a still room where raindrops slammed against window glass, I heard the rumble of thunder growling in the distance as the storm moved in. Lightning flashed, bathing my face in its brief flicker. My damp hair, curls washed away in the rain, clung to my skin. My teeth chattered from the cold of the room. So cold. The air wrapped me in its spiky chill, even the breaths I took were tinged with milk white streams, dissipating rapidly.

 

One of my hands pressed tight against the wound in my side. Surface since the toughness of my suit took most of the blow, but all the same, I'd lost blood and it stung so bad that I couldn't blink back the tears fast enough.

 

My silent pleas remained consistent - don't let it barge in this room.

 

But how could it not hear me? It’d searched and locked on with 99.5% accuracy on the pounding of my beating heart. It knew my rate of respiration, the amount of lactic acid that built up in my muscles and it'd know that I’d reached my limit.

 

My limit remained in this room, and it knew. An advanced biodroid had all the bells and whistles of its respective time in the 23rd century, built to exude perfection in its tasks by humans, but didn't compare to the calculated meticulation of a mutated human whose brain was doped up on all the possible chemicals to send it into overload, with cybersavvy retrievals just as copious as the droid. All over a biotech virus that was well over 200 years old and led to the end of the Old World. It roared with a vengeance and now its progeny was after me.

 

Only a matter of time.

 

The weapon in my other hand had a charge at 20%, which meant if I shot to kill, I'd only have the one to make count. With the way my hand shook, not much confidence remained with me to get it right. I wasn’t well with one hand shots. Used to be a time when I didn't know how to shoot at all, didn't know I’d have a need for it so soon.

 

At my feet, he lay on his side, his wounds greater than mine. His breath staggered, body shuddered, and I wished I could take one of my hands free - from wound or weapon - to smooth back the hair from his brow. But even the gesture wouldn’t heal him, for surface or mental wounds, and it would waste energy that I needed for the both of us. He looked up at me, eyes glossy, but I couldn't bear to look at him long.

 

The sound of boots echoed through the hall, slow and steady as it took its sweet time, knowing there weren't any other places for us to escape. Its mind programmed with a hack that could predict all the ways I could possibly move in this entrapment, the blueprint of the building in its head an internal compass that knew there was only one way in and four ways out, three of those routes leading to certain death for a human like me. It’d followed us through the wire, followed us through cyberspace, ending up in an abandoned sector of the GLK.

 

Well, if it wanted to kill us, then I’d make sure it'd go down with me. I leveled my weapon from behind the desk as it slammed against the slide door.

 

Alice in Chromeland meeting the Queen of Silver Hearts, front row seating. Play your ace, your majesty, and I’ll play my spade. Only one between the two of us will get out of this game alive.

 

I’m making sure that the one isn’t you.

 

My prologue to this YA cyberpunk project I'm working on, spoken from my protagonist. Almost done (and I may even polish this selection further down, there are certain turns of phrase I'm not happy with).  Going back over it with a fine toothed comb through each of the chapters today.  Will probably see where I am tomorrow or Tuesday and make an announcement if all's well.  Taking the time today to push through.

 

But I still haven't made any headway for my ARC stack. >.<  Argh.