“Tell your brother to keep his Silt out of the Yellow District. Or he’ll find me less than eager to continue our little dalliances.”
Micah did not dignify those words with a response. He knew she didn’t expect him to. They both knew that asking Booker to keep his Silt supply under lock and key was like asking a feral cat not to bite. Against his nature.
Without a second glance, Clara Love disappeared into the crowded bar. Alone again, Micah could feel the weight of the crowd converging down upon him.
Lust. Pleasure. Anger. Despair. He could feel pain, he could feel euphoria. He could even feel the numbness left behind by alcohol and Silt, though he himself was stone-cold sober. Gritting his teeth, he forced himself to drown it all out, to shut his mind off, to focus on the buzzing of the noisy room rather than the swell of emotions roaring inside his head.
Shut them out, Micah, his mother would have told him. Through his childhood, she had willed him to control his mind, his empathy. To keep it under control, under lock and key. Shut them out. Control it. Count down from five, Micah.
Five. His eyes scanned the faces around him. Most were engaged or preoccupied in rowdy merriment, satiating hunger for drink, drugs, sex. To most of these people, Micah was a ghost. Ignored, invisible. He didn’t mind so much. Being invisible had its perks.
Four. But then he felt it. The heated intensity of a stare from across the room. Someone was watching him. Micah didn’t need to turn to feel the weight of it burning into him. It was a potent mixture of curiosity and lust, and the echo of it made him hard beneath the fabric of his leather breeches. He nearly gasped aloud at the pressure that mounted in his groin. It felt good.
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