The Title

by David Caldwell

When Shiva Starts to Dance: Part 03.


Deckard consciously attempted to apply a sense of logic to his thoughts, which at the moment were as chaotic as the crowded, filthy street they were now in. Everywhere were laser lights, old fashioned neon, mirrors, plasma advertising screens and other sensory gambits that never quiet managed to conceal the general state of dilapidation of everything. Likewise the throngs of people, residents of the huge city, swirled around him all bearing expressions of lost hope beneath whatever gaudy masks or costumes they wore.

As though a circuit had been switched Deckard stopped and reaching up grabbed the large lapels of the other man's long synth-leather coat.

"You can't be Roy Batty so who the fuck are you?

Reaching up and placing his hands around Deckard's wrists and without seeming to move his fingers he began to apply a gentle but firm pressure.

Hardly moving his lips he said. "My name is Michael, Mr. Deckard, and I think it would be in both our interests to get off the street in order to continue this conversation."

He inclined his head slightly to the left, Deckard followed his nod and made out amongst the crowd two uniformed control officers moving in their direction.

Michael relinquished Deckard's wrists. The two of them moved through the crowd and turned off into a dark arcade lined with booths selling all manner of goods. Hookers solicited amongst the customers at the stalls. A plastic-clad woman with a dark, flaking rash over half her face, badly covered by makeup, pushed between Deckard and his companion forcing her arms through both of theirs.

"Hey bellboys comin lisima ficin, you, me, him" gesturing to indicate her willingness to service both of them at once.

Michael removed his hand from his pocket and passed the woman an Opesynth dispenser. He then removed her arm from his and taking Deckard's pulled him forward leaving the prostitute looking dazedly from the dispenser to the backs of the two men disappearing into the crowd.

"Are you a dealer?" Deckard said without turning to look at the man walking next to him.
"No I'm not, but my employer is. In any case dealers do not give away whole dispensers; a taste to get someone interested occasionally."
"So why did you give it to her?"
"It was obvious from her appearance that was what she was working for. Giving her that dispenser, which I had cause to confiscate from one of Mr. Lewis's employees earlier, meant that she could forgo the drudgery of having to work to earn the credits to buy it. I can understand if not quite empathise with this particular human weakness."

They continued walking. The streets here being narrower and overhung by the towering apartment blocks on either side, little of the nearly constant, caustic rain reached them. They paused before an apartment building, constructed at the turn of the century, Deckard estimated by its appearance. Michael spoke into the voice id and what once would have been a glass front door but was now clad in riveted steel slid open for them. As they waited in the shabby foyer for the elevator Deckard noted the name of the building "The Clinton Arms" in metal script on the graffitied wall.

The elevator opened directly into an apartment that obviously took up the whole floor. As the automatic lights flickered on Deckard could see that this room of the large apartment at least, was sparsely furnished.

"Let me take your coat Mr. Deckard."
Deckard stepped back, "I'm fine, just tell me who you are, why you're walking around with a dead replicant's face and what any of it has to do with me?"

He realised that by the end of his questions he'd been yelling. He had to get a grip on himself; this guy was as cool and hard as tempered steel and he was going to need all his wits about him when this Michael made his move, whatever it was going to be.

"Very well let's move into the other room where we can get comfortable"
"I don't want to be comfortable. I just want answers." Deckard shouted looking at Michael and at the same time reaching inside his coat for his pistol, he found only the empty holster.

Michael removed his right hand from his coat pocket holding up Deckard's Blade Runner Special. Holding it out he placed it on top of a nearby stack of boxes.

"Take it, I just wanted to make sure you didn't do something rash in the street which might have drawn unwanted attention to us."

With that he removed his coat hung it on a hook, turned and walked into the next room. Deckard noticed that Michael's build was similar if not larger than Roy Batty's had been.

Not knowing what to do and feeling suddenly drained of the last of the energy the drinks at the bar had given him he followed Michael into the next room, leaving the pistol where it lay.

  Back     Contents     Forward