Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Revolver by Michael Patrick Hicks

Release date: August 21, 2015
Subgenre: Dystopian

About Revolver:


Cara Stone is a broken woman: penniless, homeless, and hopeless. When given the chance to appear on television, she jumps at the opportunity to win a minimum of $5,000 for her family.

The state-run, crowdfunded series, Revolver, has been established by the nation's moneyed elite to combat the increasing plight of class warfare.

There's never been a Revolver contestant quite like Cara before. The corporate states of America are hungry for blood, and she promises to deliver.

The "stunning and harrowing" short story, originally published in the anthology No Way Home, is now available as a standalone release and features an all-new foreword written by award-winning science fiction author, Lucas Bale.



The price tag on my head was $5,000. Easy money.
    I followed the bald man down a long corridor lined with closed doors and framed black-and-white studio portraits of the station’s newscasters. I turned away from their glossy-print gazes, focusing on the producer’s back. He wore a long-sleeved blue button-down and black khakis that had sharp creases on either side of his legs. Sweat beaded his forehead from the brief moment he’d spent outside to allow me access to the building. The overhead lighting made his shoulder-holstered gun gleam.
    He deliberately kept a few paces ahead of me, and I caught the downdraft of his cologne. He smelled nice. I didn’t. Too much time in the heat, dressed in too many layers, wearing most of the few clothes I had to my name all at once. I didn’t want them to get stolen and find myself fucked over by the winter.
    Not that I was going to live that long.
    “We’re through here, Ms. Stone,” the producer said. I forgot his name. Stevens or Stephenson. Whatever.
    He held the door open for me and tilted his head back, nose up, holding his breath as I walked past. I imagined he worked with a lot of the desperate filth, and wondered how he hadn’t gotten used to it yet. Fuck him. Let him enjoy his false sense of security. Truth was, he was living on the edge between prosperity and desolation, a good two weeks’ notice away from losing everything. Eventually it would happen, and he’d be blindsided by it, same as everyone else.
    “Should I leave you my coat?” I asked.
    His lips curled in a funny, sour sort of twist and he primly shook his head. “You can hang it over there,” he said, pointing to an overly elaborate coat hanger.
    I shook myself free of the carpenter’s coat, and then peeled off two oversized sweaters, down to a dirty, sweat-stained and once-white tank top. I thought about taking off my boots to fuck with him, smirking at the idea of smacking him across the face with a toe-jam-soiled sock. Smug prick.
    Stevens – if that was his name – stood at an end table, next to a fancy bar stool with a thick leather seat. A large wooden box the color of dark walnut was opened on the table. The revolver sat enshrined in plush velvet and he motioned me toward it with an artificial air of ceremony.
    “This is a Remington New Model Army Revolver, first produced in 1858,” he said with a reverential tone. “Fully loaded, six shots, with .44 caliber rounds.”
    I nodded, admiring the gleaming gun metal and polished wooden grip. I sidled up close to Stevens to deliberately invade his personal space. His distaste was apparent, but I’ll give him credit for not moving away. Instead, he breathed shallowly through his mouth, lips slightly parted.
    “It’s a nice gun,” I said. “Why six bullets, though? I’ll only need one.”



About Michael Patrick Hicks:

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novel Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist. He is also the author of the short horror story, Consumption, and his work appears in the science fiction anthology, No Way Home. He lives in Michigan and is hard at work on his next story.

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