The Reckoning

She had a black hole for a heart, or at least that was the rumor. When you go around calling yourself The Reckoning, rumors like that are bound to follow like famine follows a locus swarm. In truth, she had no heart at all, just a pump. And a backup. There was no black hole, only a black market where you could get anything—anything—if you knew who to threaten.

It had taken years, but she finally acquired everything she needed, the last unholy trinket being an illegal copy of a digital prison filled with the digitized minds of a million would-be murderers, unburdened of their corporeal bodies for the betterment of society, or so some believed. Yes, she had what she needed now.

Tonight marked the eve of St. Reckoning’s Day.

Siphoning out a criminal’s mind and forcing them to subsist on the same scant electrons as a million of their peers tended to drive them mad. Most were nonviolent before they went in. But now… She was encouraging a level of bloodlust even beyond what the penitentiary system produced naturally. Even the board of wardens would blush.

Of course, with all the petty thieves and basement pharmacists gone, someone had to do the unpleasant domestic work they had tried to survive on for generations: collecting old garbage, manufacturing future garbage, cleaning shit-smeared toilets in upper middle class homes. This work went to the Automates, naturally—human shaped autonomous shells without souls; not so different from their owners, really.

But not to worry. She would supply the souls.

Screw it, she thought. She had never been the patient type; she was a woman of action. Why reap tomorrow what you could be tasting already?

She laughed hoarsely. Hysterically. Her birth name was Hope. She couldn’t stop laughing. It sounded like an incantation. Yeah, screw it.

Here comes The Reckoning.

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