Book One in the CUSA series
(C) 2017 Adam Cole
Published by Nuncici Press, an imprint of Adam Cole Works LLC
So Basil descended the platform arc and exited into the lobby, feeling the door solidify behind him. He came down the stair to stand in front of the secretary’s desk. Ms. Sanchez gestured to the chair in which he had sat before, saying “You can sit there.”
Basil slid into the chair again. It molded to fit his form. Then it began to vibrate once more.
“We do not encourage the indulgences of the Infidel…”
“Little boy?” The secretary, Ms. Sanchez, was standing over him and smiling. “It’s time.”
Basil shook himself. The chair had once again gone still. The sky trapped in the apex of the pyramid was now black. Ms. Sanchez extended her hand. Basil took it and pulled himself out. He looked back at the chair suspiciously.
“Usually clients aren’t in there for more than forty-five minutes,” she said. “You were in stasis for four hours. You can feel it.” She sounded sympathetic. “You don’t notice the time passing, but you can feel it.” Basil said nothing. She nodded to affirm her own words.
He felt naked, overly light. He looked himself over, and his breath caught in his throat. Trying to keep the trembling out of his voice, he said, “My bag.” He was missing his drug-bag, with the sacred implements inside.
“We have it,” said the secretary, reassuring him.
“Give it to me.” Basil was quickly coming to himself as he looked into her eyes. The secretary frowned, unpleasantly surprised at the tone of his voice. “Give it to me now!”
Put off, she found she could not answer him as she would have spoken to a child. She shook her head a little as she turned. “Follow me. I don’t have it.” Basil walked right at her heels, ready to overtake her at the moment he saw his property.
“Oooo…yes…” came the voice from all directions, soft and sinuous. The AVEs were spaced every twelve meters along the wall, broadcasting at low volume. Voices came from everywhere, selling, accessible to anyone who came within reach of the spherical halo. Basil and the secretary arrived at an open doorway.
Several people were in a bare conference room, sitting around a low table on a sofa and chairs. The canvas bag was lying on the table.
Startling the occupants of the room, Basil sped towards his bag and grabbed it by the strap. They laughed, thinking him the child of an office-worker. “Hey, amigo, that’s not yours,” one of them said, rising.
Basil had gone into the corner with his back against the wall and glared at the man who had begun moving towards him.
“It is,” said the secretary quickly. “It is his. This is the dealer.”
“Him?” the man asked, pointing at Basil. He didn’t seem to believe it.
The secretary nodded. Basil rummaged through his bag. It had been opened, but nothing was missing. He let out a tiny sigh of relief.
“You’ll be in here,” the secretary said to Basil across the room. “You can start any time someone asks.” Basil nodded at her curtly, to let her know he was ready for her to be gone. Making a funny shape with her mouth, the secretary turned on her heel and strode from the room.
The four people who had been sitting when he entered now regarded Basil. The one who was standing stepped towards him. “So, kid,” he said. “You’re the dealer.”
Basil nodded, still holding his bag tight.
“We didn’t go in it,” he said, pointing at the bag. He was lying, but they were fortunate they hadn’t opened anything. People had died at parties by ingesting unidentified powders and drinking liquids meant for syringes. If anyone at this party was hurt, Basil would be held responsible.
“When can we start?” a woman asked him.
“Ms. Sanchez said we could start any time,” a man interjected.
“Well, I want to start now,” said the other woman in the room, getting to her feet. She moved towards Basil. Coming near him, she slowed awkwardly. Impassive, he watched her approach, but made no move to receive her.
“What do we do?” she asked, uncertain.
She had never taken before. “White Lamb for the child,” Padre would have said. Basil opened his bag with a slow, practiced movement. He knew what to pull out without having to look. He removed a small pill, flexible like a sponge, with his fingertips.
She reached out her palm, but he shook his head. He signaled for her to get on her knees.
More about Motherless Child
When Rosa’s mother loses her job with the Corporate United States, her family must flee or be killed in an employee purge. Taking the dangerous bus trip across the Unincorporated States, they are ambushed by bandits. Hopelessly separated from her family, Rosa is rescued by the people of Ascension, a small backwoods Virgilna town with a terrible secret.
Seventeen years in the making, Cole’s book about a girl trapped between two Americas serves as a reminder of what the United States has become, and what it still could be.
Adam Cole is an author and music educator in Atlanta, GA. He has written numerous books and stories for children, as well as a number of adult and non-fiction titles including The Girl With the Bow and Seven Ways the World Can End.
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