Dead and Alive

The dull thud of the club beat was an ever present comfort. The party ran twenty four seven up here in the Blue Rooms just as the blood ran twenty four seven in the Flesh Pits below. Rowan uncoiled herself from the tangle of naked bodies that had been amusing her the past few hours and walked the length of her office to stand naked at the thick plate glass that overlooked the dance floor below. Her hair and tattoos shifted to a luminescent pink but her eyes remained a frosty blue. Several of the patrons below looked up to see her standing there and within minutes the room was filled with eyes staring upwards at their goddess. She blew them a kiss, touching her two forefingers to her lips and flicking them outwards in a gesture familiar to her regulars. Many below imitated the gesture and she smiled warmly before turning away and walking towards the screens at the back of her office.

She watched impassively as her bouncers sold drugs, her companions blew tricks of clicks and her barman spiked the drinks of a bunch of corporate brats who had probably swiped their daddy's Credit stamp and were out on an adventure in the Hive. Fucking idiots they were about to have a very bad night. She laughed and turned her attention to the flesh pit cams.

Pulling a silk robe from the back of her chair she wrapped herself up and sat to watch the latest bout. A jacked up Borka miner exchanging pot shots with a local Hiver desperate for clicks and a fix. This was only going one way. She picked up a tab from the side and popped it onto her tongue. As the buzz settled in she let her eyes fall on the ratings panel. Four thousand paying customers patched in and over sixty percent on the losing side. She tapped a finger to her right temple and closed her eyes to join them.

She gasped and staggered back. Her nose was broken and she could taste blood. The last blow had knocked a tooth loose. The larger man was bearing down on her and in desperation she scrambled for the cage door. White hot pain as the electric charge fried the flesh of her fingers.

Her opponant grabbed her from behind and dragged her struggling across the floor of the pit. She glanced up in time to see a hammering blow as the Borka drove his elbow into her balls.

She wanted to vomit as the sudden wave of pain and nausea hit her. The miners breath was hot and fetid near her face now and she tried to turn away. Then his beard was pressing into her cheeks as vice like teeth clamped either side of her nose. There came a sickening crunch as the flesh was ripped away and the Borka stood with a road spitting blood and flesh out at the crowd.

She screamed in horror. She called out for help as blood filled her mouth. The boot that crushed her skull came as a sudden dark shadow followed by an immense pressure then.

"Fuck!" Rowan came back to herself gasping for breath and clutching the chair with white knuckles. "Now that was living!"

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