2022 Writing Contest

Cyber Box I flip up my hood as the rain begins its relentless downpour, feeling the cold seep into my bones. I keep my head down as I pass by a small group of guys, each with different colored mohawks. As I pass by them, I notice their jackets logo. JacklesShakles. It's best to avoid them as they are known for cybernetic enhancements and going crazy. Luckily, I pass by them without any incident. This seems to be a first for me. I usually end most days in a violent situation. I keep walking down the street, passing by the Screaming Trout. It’s a good place to grab a cheap meal, but tonight I won't be eating. I stop at a small doorway just past the Trout. In front, a muscular man with a sidearm standing guard. He is watching people that enter and leave, probably a bouncer for some underground stuff. I stall there and begin biting my thumb nail. Reluctantly I enter inside, without the bouncer noticing me. I walk down the steps, until I arrive in an unsecured area. I spot waitress walking around with people ordering drinks from them, which I also must ignore. But I keep an eye out for a chance to take one without them spotting it, as I push forward to see what’s happening. As I move closer to the center of the room, I spot what has got everyone so riled up. There’s a ring, and within it two men. They’re fighting, but something stands out. That’s when the hiss of electricity fills my ears and I see what's wrong. They aren't just normal fighters; they have cybernetic enhancements. While the weapons aren't much to look at, they could make a difference. One guy is a JackleShakle with his left hand modified to be a stun gun. His opponent is bigger, yet his legs have blades built into them. This feels reasonably equal but staring at the JackleShakle I know it's not. While his enhancement isn’t much, the look on his face shows he's hooked on something. Well, I might as well watch. I hear the opponent of the JackleShakle being called, "Alec" Alec is cautious, staying weary of the taser. Alec takes a swipe with his right foot, using the blades to slash. He misses and the JackleShakle answers with a quick succession of jabs, which miss. His actions are sporadic, clearly not as focused as he outa be. Idiot probably took something to dull the pain when he should have taken something for reflexes. He won't be happy if he wins with his guts spilling out. I begin to cheer for Alec as he begins his assault against the JackleShakle. Alec slams his foot into the JackleShakle's leg. When he pulls back the JackleShakle's leg has a wicked gash, but it doesn’t seem to faze him. The JackleShakle gets in close grabbing ahold of Alec's shirt pulling him in closer. As he pulls him in, Alec jabs his knee where the sun don’t shine. The JackleShakle is not affect by it, so Alec struggles to escape his grip. Alec manages to get out, and the JackleShakle thrusts his fist into Alec's stomach. Alec begins to shake violently for a few seconds. Alec manages to get away all the same before taking a breath to settle himself. He readies himself and begins moving forward. The JackleShakle starts giving ground and, slowly he is forced to accept defeat when Alec finally takes him down. As the crowd begins chanting, it’s my signal to slip away. Score. Spotting an opportunity in the cheering, I manage to bump into one of the waitresses. Apologizing profusely I begin to help her pick up the spilled glasses. While I pick up the drinks I stuff a few bills up my sleeves before handing over the glasses. As I walk away I move the bills into my pocket. Then I head to the exit, but that’s when I spot a man glancing at me. The money isn’t worth getting caught. I manage to get out, but as I do so the bouncer puts his arm out while saying, "Sorry Kid, you can't leave" I inquire, "why not?" I hear a voice behind me answer, "we just need a little chat" A chill goes down my spine, a little chat in this kind of place could mean anything. I turn around