The sun sauntered off into the clouds. A slight wind rustled the few leaves left in the trees. Lora remembered a time when there'd been so many of them. Big, small, short, tall. Her favorite tree had been one that sat in her front yard as a child. These days she was lucky if she passed by one over the course of her day. Lora caught sight of the digital numbers that spanned the tower across the street as the hover cars stopped at the light. She was running late to her next appointment. Flashes of light tripped the edges of her peripheral vision. Another "beautification ritual" was nearly complete. Everyone knew what was really going on and there damn sure wasn't anything beautiful about it at all.
Next to the remains of the latest failed Hamma Caprifia tree stood a group of bystanders dressed in green. The Toads on their shirts always brought a smile out of Lora. They chanted "Hail to the Green" while raising a banner emblazoned with the words "Almighty Toad King." The rest of the group waved towels as they looked to the sky. Lora looked up with them. She wished she could be like the Toadies and believe in something bigger.
Lora briefly entertained the idea of walking past the ten story monstrosity sitting two buildings away. But then she thought about the near empty vial of pills under her bathroom sink and ran faster. When the hair on the back of her neck prickled she broke into a run.
It didn't matter.
The cold metal pressed against her shaved head was what registered first.
"Gimme the bag and there won't be any trouble," the robotic voice said.
A synthesizer. Lora held her hands out. "Take it."
She breathed a sigh of relief. Everything important was always in her sock or inside the lining of her camisole. Not the best spot ever, but she had to be prepared in case something like this happened. Being robbed at sundown wasn't how she planned to end the day. Her breathing was getting shallow. The scent of processed alcohol seared her senses. Not nearly as good as the real stuff. A tall bottle of vodka sounded nice. Maybe she could pick some up to go with her nighttime dose of medicine.
"Don't turn around."
Lora shook her head, trying to ignore the headache that pounded at her temples. "I'm not going anywhere. Just please don't kill me." She had to make it to her appointment. Tonight she'd be sure to take two pills because this situation called for it. Her arm felt lighter once her shoulder bag was finally removed.
After that, Lora expected to hear footfalls. The guy should've been running back to the hole he crawled out of. A voice screamed in the back of her mind. Something wasn't right. He had what he wanted. So why was he still there?
Lora's brain got the message to her feet too late.
Searing pain pierced the back of her skull before everything went black.
Lora shot out of bed when the alarm sounded, her heart pounding a staccato as her feet hit the ground.
What the hell?
Once in the bathroom, she scrounged through her cabinet for a foil pouch, pounding the counter when she didn't find what she was looking for. Where was the bottle when she needed it? She pawed through the drawer, relief filling her once she felt the vial. She downed two of the red pills without water.
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Lords & Ladies of the M'Verse: An Ooorah AnthologyScience Fiction
Each of the 100 stories featured herein will be set within a Universe of the writer's creation, all being a part of a larger, shared Multiverse. Writers have free reign to tell the story they wanna' tell and providing...