The thirty or so Outcasts around her all shouted, “Fair game,” and descended upon Draz. One boy
grabbed at his sneakers. A girl Sima’s age went for his jacket. Three others invaded his sleeping area,
raiding plastic crates full of stuff he’d collected. Oema dove headfirst into the blankets, crawling under
the dead teen to claim a small portable video game system he kept under his pillow. The instant Liz got
the jacket off the body, Gordy went for the T-shirt.
Outcast rules declared ‘one person, one item’ when someone living in the Crash died. They viewed
breaking that rule no different from stealing, so the frenetic mob scene of looting throttled back to a
reasonably polite competition for stuff, followed by a few people trading. Soon, Draz lay there in only his
underpants. No one wanted them, likely due to the unidentifiable stains. Not a soul touched the Pixie
As everyone trudged off, Sima shouted, “Wait!”
The other Outcasts paused, looking back at her.
“We should do something,” said Sima. “Not just leave him here.”
Murmurs of agreement swept over the crowd for a few seconds before Torrent, a seventeen-year-old
boy with sky blue hair, said,
Sima cringed. As much as she disliked the idea of leaving Draz where he lay, she also didn’t want to
touch a dead person. She did, however, stoop and pick up the Pixie inhaler with two fingers.
Oema gasped at her. “Yo, that stuff’s death in pink. A murder sprite. What you doing?”
“And the EGSF will aerate your butt for havin’ it,” said Theof, scratching his shaggy brown dreads.
“I’m just getting rid of it before one of the little ones finds it.” Sima held the inhaler out to arm’s length
as if it would bite her. “No way am I gonna huff this crap.”
“Careful, yo,” said Demona. The somewhat older teen sidled up next to her, dark skin hiding her facial
expression in the gloom. Neon green letters spelled ‘Super Fusion’ across her black tank top. “That
stuff’ll explode like a grenade you ain’t careful.”
A few people repeated, “Float him.”
Older boys, men really, clustered around Draz and grabbed him by his legs and arms. They hoisted him
off the ground and carried him to the right, following the rear wall of the Crash to a round passageway
leading into the old sewer system. Out of some strange sense of community, Sima followed along. She
stared warily at the Pixie inhaler until a sharp rock underfoot reminded her she left her sandals behind,
at which point, she watched where she stepped.
The procession marched down one corridor into another, the boys carrying him grunting from the
struggle to move dead weight. Twice, they put him down to better their grip. Each time Draz hit the
floor, puffs of glowing pink vapor burped out of his nostrils. Everyone held their breath.
Eventually, they reached a passage where water still flowed. The boys shuffled up to the edge and started swinging Draz side to side in preparation to throw him in.
“Isn’t anyone gonna say something?” asked Sima.
“Like what?” Oema tilted her head, clutching the game system to her chest.
Sima shrugged. “I dunno. Seems like someone should say something.”
“Sucks to be you, man.” Theof saluted Draz.
“He wanted to float.” Demona sighed, shaking her head. “People who huff Pixie wanna check out.”
“Okay, umm…” Torrent held his arms out to the side. “If no one has anything, like epic to say about
Draz, let’s just like have a minute of silence for him.”
The Outcasts stood there in somber quiet for about forty seconds before the ones holding him tossed
him into the brackish water. Draz landed face down with a quiet splash, and glided off in the current,
surrounded by solid lumps of brown matter and bits of trash.
Out of Sight
Matthew S. Cox
Publication date: August 13th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Most Citizens hold Outcasts in dim regard, but Sima never expected they’d throw her off the planet.
In 2411, overpopulation has spread a plaque of filthy, congested city to the corners of the Earth. Government has raised corruption to an art form, and no one hears the cries of those left to die in the dark passageways of civilization. Following the End of Nations, people cling to the only division left: social status.
Since running away from home four years ago, she’s managed to stay a step ahead of death―or worse. At sixteen, she’s getting too old to survive from begging, despite her best effort to pretend she’s younger. Worse, the sidewalks teem with little kids edging in on her turf, monopolizing Citizens’ charity with their wide, pleading eyes and genuine innocence.
A chance meeting with suspiciously nice cops leaves her more confused than ever. Between deadly gangs, unforgiving security forces, and a terrifying madam eager to exploit a girl her age, merely getting older is the biggest threat to her life. With no good choice to make, she risks the least of three evils.
Sima thought her life on Earth had been dangerous…
She hasn’t seen anything yet.
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats. Awards: Prophet of the Badlands (excerpt) – Honorable Mention – Writers of the Future
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