I’ve sold my novelette HigherWorks to Asimov’s Science Fiction. Here’s a taste:
On the far side of the crossing are two uniformed officers of the UK Immigration Service, conspicuously not cops courtesy of their berets and their semi-automatics. The two are staring straight at them through the stream of crossing pedestrians.
Mrs. John Dee wedges herself between Dyer and Shimago. “You’re not seriously waiting for the walk light?” she says. Then she follows their gaze and adds, “Oh. Oh dear. But they can’t stop us unless they have cause.”
Shimago says, “Crossing against the light is cause.”
“And not crossing is suspicious behavior,” Dyer says.
As if summoned by her statement, the two UKIS officers step off the curb. Dyer fights the sudden urge to look over her shoulder; looking like she’s going to run could escalate a bad situa- tion into a fatal one.
And then she looks anyway, because she knows what she’ll see: the fragile-faced woman, from the canal, from the catacomb wall, standing in carbon black relief against a white sunlit store- front. Not a woman, though, is it? Not a rival nano cook, not some patent-tracking bounty hunter in from the US. It’s something else entirely, that outline drawn flat against the concrete like an opening, like a door. With no conscious decision Dyer takes Mrs. John Dee’s hand, tugs her to- ward the figure even though it’s already fading to a shimmering afterimage. There’s a real door there, though, behind the figure’s promise and Dyer grabs the handle, looks back to see if Shima- go is following.
The impossible shape is now standing in the crossing, still no more than a silhouette: the gleam of leather below and eyes above, and as the UKIS officers step up behind her the bright sudden slash of a smile.
And as she smiles there’s a pop pop pop from overhead, loud enough to sting, smoke and a shower of glittering fragments. A beat of silence, then the crowd in the street rears up screaming and crashes down together like a wave. Another round of pops. Still on her feet, Dyer can see that it’s the street surveillance drones blowing out, one by one, but for the folks on the ground it’s cause for more panic. The UKIS officers struggle to keep their footing as they track Dyer through the scrum. One fails and takes the other down with him. The impossible woman’s hair fades with the smoke; the gleam of her smile fragments like the falling debris.
Mrs. John Dee tugs Dyer’s hand. She and Shimano are already through the door.