Adrian M. Gibson
What I Write
From SPORE: An Illustrated Novel (unpublished)
NEO KINOKO PATIENTLY WAITS in the still of dawn as a menacing wave of gunmetal grey clouds approaches the metropolis on the horizon. They loom overhead—advancing like an army straight out of the past—as Koji Nameko fixates on an accumulation of spores and sea salt on the grimy street in front of him.
He leans on his squad car. A standard-issue Chaga Mark IV with spore-lev engines that lift it half a meter off the ground. Whisper quiet. Sleek. Doesn’t belong in a crummy neighborhood like this. Not with a detective like him either. It shifts a little as he empties his weight onto the hood. He lets loose a hefty sigh, basking in the humidity as light rain builds up, pitter-patters against the concrete. Gentle introduction to the impending crescendo.
The storm sweeps in faster across Kinoko Bay. Picks up the pace, dims the sky. Sheets of rain dump down in an instant. Release a dense musk of tobacco, sewage and wet fungi into the air. Mornings like this instill Koji with a refreshing sense of melancholy. Wake up. Take it all in. Then a cigarette. That’s all it takes to get through the day.
He pulls out a pack of Psilo’s fungal cigarettes from inside his heavy, waterproof trenchcoat. Then shuffles around in the pocket again for his custom lighter. Typhoon season brings out the best in Neo Kinoko. He looks upwards. Let the sky open up and the shit rise to meet it.
Koji taps the augment on the left side of his head. A collection of spores flare to life on the AR lens in front of his left eye. Coalescing in a ring around his iris. He’s greeted by the MIYU interface. He snorts—its stupidly annoying kawaii mushroom mascot waving hello to no one who cares. <Messages>, Koji thinks. His eye flashes through to a sub-menu. Pops up in the left side of his view. A red bar indicates a high-priority message, already read fifteen minutes ago. <Re-read high-priority message>, he thinks.
BLOCK 9, SOK’O SLUMS. THE PETROGRAD ARMS, APARTMENT 413. POTENTIAL 187 — HOMICIDE. MAINTAIN CAUTION.
Rain pours over the edges of Koji’s shaggy mushroom cap like a waterfall. He tips his head forward to create a dry pocket in front of his face. He draws a single Psilo from the pack, careful to avoid streams of water. He sticks it between his moist-yet-cracked lips and flicks his lighter to life. The flame creates a burst of light beneath his cap. Illuminates his face, forming stark shadows in the gloomy twilight of this hellhole street.
He brings the flame up to the tiny mushroom cap on the tip of his cigarette. Tip ignites in an instant, sending a burst of spores and sparks out into their watery doom. Koji takes a deep inhale, cannot help but remember Psilo’s marketing tagline: “First hit’s the finest,” he mutters under his breath as he exhales. A sardonic grin stretches across his wrinkled face.
The first draw from that little psychedelic cap hits like a freight train. Same as every time. But it never gets old. Koji’s gills flare, head is bombarded with a momentary rush of psychedelia and dopamine. His vision flitters in and out of blurriness. Corrects itself after a few seconds. He lays back on the hood of the squad car. Car sinks a little deeper, just as he does.
He allows the rain to soak in a bit, clean out some of the muck in his brain. Storm clouds above warp briefly. Minute shockwaves of color flutter across their roiling textures. He loses himself in the turbulent movements of the tempest before him. Mind wandering. Flashbacks of torrents. Chaos. Pain. Collective memories. Faded memories. His memories. All. Jumbled. Together…
He pops out of his fleeting trance. Glimmers of the eastern sunrise in the corner of his eyes. Light refracted by droplets on the lenses of his AR goggles. Just then, the nicotine kicks in and brings Koji reeling back in. Back to reality, and to the crap that awaits in the apartment across the street. Responsibility, duty, all that. He leans up off the hood. Car bounces back up, relieved.
Koji takes another few drags of his cigarette, smiles his crooked smile and exhales. He flicks the ashy butt onto the street. It lingers there for an instant, then the mycelial concrete begins to consume it. Gets stuck halfway through. Faulty construction. This city is coming apart at the seams.
Koji leans forward, takes a deep breath of muggy Kinoko air. Lungs fill with the sweet smells of rot and ruin. His AR goggles fog up a bit with humidity. He wipes them with a moist sleeve, then makes his way toward the Petrograd Arms.
|What I Write||
I write science fiction, with a leaning towards near-future and cyberpunk with biotech influences. The project I’m working on during the Write-a-thon is my first novel set in a fungalpunk universe. As an illustrator, I am also using the opportunity to illustrate various aspects of the world, including characters, scenes, objects and more.
If you would like to see my art, feel free to visit my Instagram page.
My Write-a-thon Goals
As this is my first Write-a-thon, I would like to keep my goals simple. The quarantine has given me a great deal of time and inspiration for this project, and I plan to use the Write-a-thon to keep that momentum going.
Therefore, I would like to write for an hour or 500 words per day, whichever goal is reached first. This does not have to be in the form of chapters, per se, but could also include the outline or appendices I am including in the novel.