--- CHAPTER ONE ---

NEW YORK CITY --- 2O54

He lay there. Not moving. Not breathing. Not thinking.

Not alive.

He was dead.

Or so said the bullet in his skull. Exploded. In the back. Disfiguring his face. In the front. Once beautiful.

Now bloody.

And dead.

And she was above him. Hand and hook in gloves. Up to her elbows. Buried in his chest cavity. Up to her elbows.

Fat Boy Slim blared. The room. Tiny. And white. Too small to hear anything. Beside the music. Blares. Drums. Screeches. Imperceivable words. Cut. And spliced sayings. Sentences. And words.

California Is Druggy.

An Oldie. But a goodie.

She dug through blood. Bones. Intestines. And finally. Metal.

Retreating with it. She stepped back. Extracting her hand and hook. And stepping on something. Accidentally. With fat legs. Rolling it.

It ripped loose. A hose. At his throat. Sucking at his artery. And painted the room. Red. With his blood.

It swung convulsively. Dying. Spraying its decay. Until she grabbed its neck. And twisted it off. Getting a face full of blood. His blood.

"Fuck!" She rubbed at her eyes. With her sleeve. Clamping the convulsing tube with her hook. And dropping it to the ground. Stepping on it. Keeping it down. While it spilled its contents. Pooling on the tiled floor.

She wiped at her face. Clearing it from death. His death.

She stumbled towards the sink. Flipped it on. And splashed her face. Revealing ugliness. Beneath blood. Disfigurement. Beneath clean death.

Her skin was rotten. Burned. Chalky. And flaking.

"Mother fucking..." she hissed. Clawing at her eyes. Trying to rid them of their pain.

She came over. Slapped the corpse. Hard. In the cheek. Whose broken head turned. But made no reaction further.

Flipping it off with her finger. The last one she had. Besides clips of bent steal. She stumbled out of the room.

"Don't go anywhere." She said to the corpse. "I'm not done with you. You bloody fuck. I have to take a shit."

She did so. Squatting. Reaching over for a magazine. Which blared news. That she could not read. Illiterate. Looking at the pictures.

Large eyebrows curled. As she saw a picture. On the last page. Of the man. The one she had had her hands in. Just moments before. Up to her elbows.

Shitting. But not pissing. She stood. Not flushing. Replaced her clothes. And strode past the sink. Not washing. Out into the office. Dark. And blue.

"Where's the file?" She rumbled. And the receptionist rolled. Looking up from cleaning her spilt coffee on the floor. Not her fault. Though she suspected she somehow did it.

"What file?"

"On #01."

The only body ever transferred here. To the murder unit. Since Precrime was shut down. Three days ago. After six years.

The receptionist thumbed. Through files. Folders. Forms. And papers. But came up with nothing.

"Not here."

"You know how he died?"

"Papers say murder." Ironically.

She stared coldly. At the receptionist. Who went back to mopping. Black coffee coming off the floor. Indifferent to her eyes.

"You fuck." She turned. And strode. On fat legs. Back down the hall.

"Have a good day."

Upon her return. She stopped in the doorway.

Mouth agape.

Eyes wide.

Hooked. Metal hand. Clawing at the doorway. While a blossom of urine stained the front of her dress. Released.

The corpse was gone.