Robert Pimm

Home » Fiction » Biotime 9: ‘This was not life-swapping. It was robbery’

Biotime 9: ‘This was not life-swapping. It was robbery’

Here is the ninth droplet of Biotime.

Feedback welcome: on content, frequency, style or anything else.  I’d love to hear from you.

I’m also publishing a “story so far” post for infrequent readers, bringing together the excerpts published up to now.

Ghanaian market 3, Nov 04

Ghanaian market – Photo SDT

 

Biotime.  The future, today.  Excerpt 9

[Part 1, Breughel vs. Jones, continues]

Lumusi stood up straight and was blinded by a blaze of camera flashes. Her words rang harsh in her ears.

‘I need your Biotime or I and my wife will die,’ the old man said. ‘Is it true they paid you only three hundred thousand dollars?’

‘Yes.’

He shook his head. ‘But how old are you? Surely you have more than ten years left to live?’

‘Of course. I am twenty-five years old. I have sold you thirty years of my life for ten thousand dollars a gram.’

‘Thirty years?’ For a moment Breughel looked as though he would slump to the ground, but Sister Truth held him firm. Instead, the old man opened his mouth and wailed. His voice rose, thin and shrill. There was madness in it, Lumusi thought. Was it possible that she had sold thirty years of her life to Doktor Faustus and that Breughel had paid for only ten?

This was not life-swapping. It was robbery.

But to whom could she turn?

She looked around the church. Hundreds of lenses were pointing at the old man as he howled out his hurt. It was as if every news channel on earth had put out a tendril to suck the life out of Hans Breughel – and to paint her as a thief.

Lumusi felt tears in her eyes. If she kept the Biotime, the world would hate her. If Breughel took it, the media would crucify him.

She looked again at the cameras.

Perhaps there was a way to make good come of this.

She might get Adam Boateng into trouble.

But Adam had always been good at explaining why he could not be held responsible for anything.

She would break the old man’s heart.

But Hans Breughel’s heart had already been smashed to pieces.

She would show the world the evil of Biotime.

And Doktor Faustus Life Insurance could do nothing about it.

She lifted the soft leather flap of her shoulder bag and reached inside.

 *

Hans Breughel felt the darkness begin to lift. DFLI had robbed everyone. He had paid the Luxembourg-based swindlers nearly a million dollars a gram for ten years of Biotime; they had given this beautiful, helpless girl a fraction of that sum for thirty years of her life. But he would not take his share, now. He and Lotte would die with dignity. All that remained was to return his poor old body to Haarlem. He would pass his final days there, then lie in peace with Lotte.

‘I do not want your Biotime,’ he began to say.

But no-one was listening. A gasp echoed round the church, followed by an avalanche of noise as cameras clattered to re-focus.

Breughel turned to see where they were pointing.

[Excerpt ends][Next episode]

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this excerpt from my novel “Biotime”.   If you’re interested in hearing about further episodes, follow this blog by e-mail (top right, “click here”); or follow me on Twitter @RobertPimm (left hand side).  I can promise you a fun ride.

If you’d like to read some complete fiction by me, see what you think of my “wonderful, feminist and dark” Hotel Stories.  

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