I'm sorry I didn't post yesterday. But look! I bring you fresh creative squeezings from my fevered brain!
BTW, Chapter 2 is now officially titled "Routing Around Damage". Yes, it's a reference to the John Gilmore quote. Story starts..... now!
The entire station wagon shuddered as a door slammed, jostling Teresa out of her nightmare and into the slow realization that she had been moved to the back seat. She sensed eyes on her and fought the urge to stretch. If she feigned sleep, her captors would talk more freely and she might learn something.
Captors. Shit. All these years, and still a prisoner. Or at least still thinking like one.
"Apparently there was a change of plans?" said a voice behind her. It was loud and high and nasal, male without being masculine. The car shifted into gear, gravel crunching under its tires before pulling onto harder road surface.
They'd been stopped at the side of the road, she concluded, waiting for someone to join them. Maybe he'd been the one that moved her. Had he violated her as well? She performed a quick mental inventory of her body, and everything seemed in place and unmolested.
"Apparently." Esther turned it into three words: Ap parent lee. Her voice was muffled slightly – she was facing away from the back seat, looking at the road. Teresa risked opening her eyes, saw the back seat. They couldn't see her face, which was a relief. The taste of bile was thick in her mouth, so she swallowed softly, discovering that her left cheek was stuck to the vinyl upholstery. She'd been drooling.
Nose Voice laughed far harder than seemed necessary, and Teresa burned with shame. I'm going to rip that nose off his face and feed it to him, she swore inside her head. He was laughing at her, she was sure of it, even if he couldn't see the drool. She fantasized about grinding a lit cigarette out on that nose. This Camel will burn your ass.
Damn it. Now I need a smoke, she thought.
"My plan is like the Internet," said Nose Voice when it finished laughing. "It routes around damage. It flows like water. It is INWINCIBLE!" This last was done in some kind of fake Russian accent, and rose even higher, as if Pavel Chekov had been kicked in the nuts.
'Uh-huh," clucked Esther, her tone somewhere between irritation and resignation. "Like water. Is that more of your witchcraft?"
"It's not witchcraft," whined the Nose. "I keep telling you, it's a randomly-generated probability matrix that uses psychic –"
"Oh, there you go with that psychic nonsense," interrupted Esther. "Fortune telling. Mind reading. Oracles. It's all witchcraft, I say, and I don't much cotton to that, not in my car."
The Nose laughed again. "Lawl, Esther. Ell oh freaking ell. You don't "cotton" to it? Don't you know how racist that sounds?" Teresa could hear the smirk in the Nose's voice. It was very punchable, that voice, and she hated it already.
"Honey," Esther sighed, "I'm black. If I say cotton, it's not racist, it's retro."