8. Execution

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It was dark outside. Lily had been wearing Second Sight so long, she'd forgotten how dark it got after sundown. Or maybe the city had been cutting back on street lights since most of its taxpayers wore smartlenses anyway.

She pulled out her palmpod to get her bearings. It was only half past nine. It felt later. She was 2.3 miles from home. Totally walkable in daylight, but maybe not such a good idea at night. But if I get a cab right now, I might be sick in it. She decided to walk back and forth a little to try and sober up.

"Wait! Stop!" called a shrill voice behind her. It was a pudgy little woman carrying a giant shopping bag. "You almost walked into a ghost," she said. "Don't you have smartlenses?"

"Second Sight is a scam," Lily snapped. "There are no ghosts! It's all in the lenses. They show you shadows, and then they give you a shock just to keep you scared. Well, I'm not falling for it."

"Oh great, a Dumptrucker," muttered the woman, clutching her bag a little tighter.

"Look, I'll prove it! If you take the lenses out, they can't hurt you. Where's the ghost? Here?" Lily took a few steps forward, waving her hands in front of her. And then, unmistakably, she felt it.

She couldn't breathe. Her shoulders tensed up. There was a burning pressure deep in her chest. Everything was spinning, making her so dizzy she had to sit down right there on the sidewalk. Now I know I'm going to be sick. But the cool concrete felt so nice on her cheek as she laid down her throbbing head. Maybe she just needed to rest a minute.

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