By Valerie Brown.

“You say a research lab did this to you?”

“Yes,” I swallowed. “I went there for a broken ankle two months ago. They healed me, I thought.” The throbbing, purple softball acting as my ankle said otherwise.

“What do you mean healed you?” The cop’s thick brows pinched together. His pen hovered expectantly above a yellow notebook.

I swallowed again. “Two months ago a fell off the runway—I’m a model—I was supposed to walk in Vincenzo’s fall fashion show.” I beamed, but the cop didn’t notice. “Anyway, I fell and my ankle snapped. I went to Memorial Hospital. I don’t remember the doctor’s name, but he said there was a bone regeneration trial and gave me the address.”

The officer’s pen scribbled silently across the pad.

“The people there seemed legit. They took my DNA and x-rayed my ankle. A few hours later they injected me with these little things called Antibots—little robots programmed with 3D images of my bones and how to reconstruct them.” I sighed. “I healed right up. They asked me to keep in touch if any pain returned and gave me this card.” I retrieved the card from my wallet. It read ‘Robotics Research’, with an address and telephone number listed underneath.

The cop sneered. “So, you just let these people inject you with tiny robots?”

I sat up straighter. “Walking for Vincenzo was my big break.” I forced my chin up higher. “If I hadn’t been in the show, I’d never of gotten my modeling contract.”

“Ah-huh.” The officer stepped back as the doctor entered the room. “I’ll get some descriptions later.”

The doctor waited for the officer to leave, then stared at me from beneath heavy eyelids. “Ms. Gatton, I’ve reviewed your x-rays … it seems as though your ankle bones are disintegrating.” He rubbed his forehead. “You have the ankle of a ninety-five year old with bad osteoporosis.”

I licked my lips. “What does that mean, exactly?”

He exhaled. “I can give you bone supplements, and physical therapy will help the pain.” He shook his head. “I think your days of walking in heels are over. To be honest, Ms. Gatton, I think you’ll be lucky to keep that ankle another five years.”

The words hung over me like a shining guillotine blade. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.” The doctor patted my shoulder, then stepped out of the room.

These people aren’t going to get away with this. I swung my legs over the side of the bed and prepared to step down.That doctor—that criminal stole my big break. I scrolled through my phone contacts. I remember that doctor’s name. He won’t get away with this. I dialed a number. It only rang once. “Cobra, I’m calling in a favor.”

“Little Viper,” Cobra’s chuckle vibrated in my ear, “I thought you were going straight?”

“Old habits, you know—Cobra,” I felt the old venom coursing through my veins, “I need you to make someone disappear.”

val portrait writer's carnivalValerie Brown has been writing for five years. She loves creating character driven stories in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction.

She lives just north of Richmond, Virginia with her husband, rowdy two year old daughter, a golden couch potato/dog, and two wired tabbies.

Check her out on: Twitter and her Blog

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