Music sang in her bones. The beats were nauseatingly deep, but she moved and ignored the liquid stinging her eyes. Dark lights flashed; neon retorted. The floor was awash with garbage, crunchy underfoot as her steps fell softly around it.
Two long braids whipped as she spun and slid, flashes of metal at their tips moving in stop motion in the flickering light.
Her heart beat frantically. Adrenaline coursed through her veins, pushing her ever faster as she gasped for breath. Lavender tinted glasses flew from her nose, launched by an impact, to shatter on the floor below.
The black baseball cap followed, flicking in and out of view with the lights. She rolled backwards with a flourish, taking the hand of a partner and spinning out of reach when they tried to snatch her hand.
Bass dropped and her stomach followed; the dance floor was packed, goons of Ba’ala’ie and kzinfolk abounded, knife and claw brandished. Their fellows lay bleeding on the floor, deaf to the ineffable beat pounding in her temples.
They pounced out of time with the drop, slashing with cold metal.
She grinned and slid backward, hand on hip, other wielding a can of spray paint. Crystalline gel glittered in the dark lights, painting the world neon red. Line; spin; arc; she moved through their clutches like a dream, a slave to the rhythm of dance.
A jab from the back--cold steel cut through her trance--and for a moment the beat faltered.
She gasped and lurched forward, ducking low to sweep their legs. Her heart clenched like a broken drum, but she moved and ignored the blood gushing from her back. Line; spin; arc again, she colored the world neon red.
The music filled her chest, demanding freedom. Bass shook the floor with her every move--crescendo was a promise, not far now.
The goons grew impatient. Knives and claws were replaced with gun and explosive. They aimed, out of time, and she grinned viciously. The empty paint can tumbled from her fingers; she posed for the unseen camera and blew a kiss.
Neon lights exploded around her, lancing down her arms in scarlet and vermillion into a bass powered ball of flame at her lips. The kiss left a trail of ash through the air.
The bass crescendoed, and with it, every line, every spin, every arc of paint took the flame in a melody of madness. Paint exploded into agonizing heat, burning brighter than the sun.
Around her the goons shrieked in misery as their flesh cooked, boiling in the crystalline fire. She still moved to the beat in her bones, driven through the survivors in a wave of elegance and grace--death came by the twin blades in her braids, red hot by neon red.
She fought for breath and her chest burned, but she wiped the sting from her eyes and stopped. The song was done and she still stood. She was alone on the dance floor yet again, and for a moment there was blissful silence in her ears.
One deep breath.
And the music continued, never to stop driving her forward.