Cyberaesthetic (1)

Zadie hummed.

Not with her voice, but with her whole self.

Her very cells seemed to thrum with activity, with energy. She had felt it since she was little, and learned long ago that not everyone’s blood sang with this same frequency.

She embraced it all, every little thing, like the way the hairs on her arms stood up more often than not, the way she could send a small shock zinging along a railing to someone else’s hand. She was a whiz with technology, and discovered she could increase or lessen her effect with a little extra concentration.

The furrow between her brows would deepen, and she’d chew her lip piercing as she fixed her old coworkers’ computers with just a light touch when they weren’t looking. A little power surge was all it took. The screen would flick off and on, and all would be right. Just like the cycle of days and nights, or the soft shutdown of the brain during sleep.

Most nights she couldn’t sleep though. The hum kept her awake.

She could sense currents running through everything, through the walls, the ceiling, the earth, her own body. The wifi routers sending out their waves, the radio towers sending and receiving, flinging their signals out into the cold dark sky. The static noise would become too much, and she’d curl up on her bed and clutch her head to ground herself, literally.

The first time it happened, when her pulse raced and the electric signals pummeling through the valves of her heart reached a painful crescendo, the soft green light was visible even through her eyelids. She opened her eyes and saw the throb of energy, of light, of too much life, run from her elbow to her fingertips through her veins. Panic rose in her throat, but she told no one.

Her parents wouldn’t understand. Her friends would abandon her, call her a freak.

Now they called her when their wifi wasn’t working.

She just had a way with that stuff.

She’d always been a night-owl, and now that she’d moved out and had her own place in the city, she fully embraced her nocturnal rhythms. Freelancing as a coder for companies on the other side of the world allowed her to work at night, when the city was quiet, and the lights were dimmer. She loved the flash of neon reflected in glass, or the flicker of TV screens in nearby high-rise flats. Then as morning drew near, the squeak of trains and the rumble of garbage trucks soothed her, as they masked the hum when it got too loud.

Sometimes she missed the wide open skies of her hometown, and the wind whining through the electrical towers near her parent’s house. But here, in the heart of the city, typing away on her old computer, surrounded by sleeping people and softly buzzing electricity, she felt safe, calm.


She’d blow off steam at raves, where she’d sway and spin as the pulsing bass washed over her. The lights shining through the air, the ecstatic music, the bodies joining and separating like electrons bouncing off each other — it was the only other place she felt at home.

One night, when she’d finished her work early and walked the rain-slick pavements to meet her friends at their favorite club, she was dancing alone, lost in the moment. The music swelled, rose to a climax, and then stopped. The DJ was controlling the silence as much as the sound. That’s when she opened her eyes and saw him.

Their eyes met—through the strobe lights and laser beams, through the crush of people and the smell of sweat and spirits—and locked.

The hairs on her arms and neck lifted.

He froze, his hand hovering over the turntables and laptop, until the silence lasted a bit too long.

The spell broke as he blinked. He flicked the sound back on and the beat dropped, cracking the silence with an eruption of sound as everyone frantically moved to match the music. He put his headphones around his neck, and they drew towards each other, drawn together like atoms, or magnets, set into an invisible current. It coursed from her to him and back again, encircling them, until suddenly they were a breath apart.

He lifted his hand with his palm facing her, and she did the same, until—there.

Blue lightning coursed under his dark skin, thrumming with the same beat as hers.

As their fingertips touched, sparks crackled in the sliver of air between them and zapped outwards, frying all the power in the room.

The lights went out, the music stopped, and there in the darkness, with only the dim green glow of the emergency light overhead—and her electric blood singing inside her—Zadie smiled.


4 thoughts on “Sparks

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