Festival Parking

The Red Feather

From a leather-bound notebook found in the apartment of Kaya Sparrowhawk, dated 1 August 2011.

Damned if I’m going to go quietly to the fucking spirit world.

One minute I’m doing my damn job, the next I’m … well. Alan J. Asshole over at Associated gives me an assignment, I follow up, I do it, and I’m bleeding out on the pavement with a bullet in my stomach. Teach me to keep my head down. Teach me to regurgitate their empty fucking code and blind myself to the stupidity of it all. Most of all, teach me to stop asking questions. Money laundering scheme? No problem, Kaya’s your girl. And if she’s not, gun her 5’2’’ ass down. Go ahead. Pick on the little Native girl.

Either they were already bugging my computer or Alan is more of an asshole than I thought, because as soon as I air my suspicions about this sketchy assignment, they crash my computer, leaving me with the Swiss bank account number and this creepy message: “Have you seen the man in white?” No, motherfucker. And while we’re in storyland, Morpheus, I’m not taking the red pill or the blue pill. Okay?

And just to get one thing straight. I’ve been hacking since I was sixteen, some of it pretty sensitive stuff, but I have never – I repeat, never – been traced back to my apartment. So when this creep asks me about the view from my window – standard thriller-movie bullshit – I get set to run. I don’t take stupid risks and I don’t fuck around with an enemy I know nothing about. But when this white-suit motherfucker shows up at my apartment? That’s when I panic. Maybe if I’d hid in the basement, he wouldn’t have found me. Maybe if I’d gone across the hall and hung out in Jamie’s place for a while, he would have left me alone. But right then, every instinct was screaming: run.

But I couldn’t run fast enough. He caught me before I even got to my bike, and gunned me down on the goddamn cement. You don’t realize how fucking dirty the cement is until your face is right up against it, smelling the thick nauseating tar smell as you bleed out, eye-to-eye with the ants that will crawl over your dead body as easily as they crawled over your live one. I hated, then – hated everything.

When the focus shifted, when the stars came out and I saw the Bear before the sun went down — that’s when I saw her, naked and gunshot and angry, red feathers channeling her lifeblood away, endlessly. We have both been wounded — she by men in white skin, me by some asshole in a white BMW exoskeleton. And when she offers to help me finish the business left undone, to put the fear of the Great Motherfucking Spirit in that jumped-up white-suit-wearing asshole, I accept gratefully and fiercely.

So I’m left with a Swiss bank account number, a powerful thirst for revenge, and a dead sister-in-arms riding me till I bring the fight to the asshole who did this to me. To us. To all of us.

“Have you seen the man in white?” Yeah, I’ve fucking seen him. And I’ll see him again, before I’m through. You can bet on that.

They won’t see this 5’2’’ Native girl coming.

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