So Yesterday

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld Read Free Book Online

Book: So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld Read Free Book Online
Authors: Scott Westerfeld
across one
corner. Shades of grays all mottled together like a camo pattern. It was either
an accidental photo from the bottom of Mandy's pocket, the visual equivalent of
those random calls your phone makes when it gets bored, or it was a picture of
Mandy being mugged, kidnapped, or worse. Maybe she'd tried to record what had
happened to her, then thrown the phone away, hoping someone would find it.
    But I couldn't make much out.
    "Hang on." Jen pulled my hand closer, the
phone almost to her eye. "There's a face...." She turned away, shaking her head. "Maybe. You try."
    1 took a closer look. Somewhere in the swirl of
indifferent grays, there was something recognizable. A thing that my brain
would, if I let it, twist slowly into a face.
    Which freaked me out and also gave me a headache.
    I checked the time stamp. "This was taken about
an hour ago."
    "A little before eleven? That's about when I
showed up."
    "But you didn't see anything?"
    Jen shook her head and stared at the tiny screen
    "You can get these pictures onto a computer,
right? Maybe there's some kind of software we can run to make this
    I nodded. "I've got a friend. She does special
    "What about the cops, Hunter?"
    I took a deep breath. Lexa lived only two blocks away.
It wouldn't take long.
    "They can wait."
    Chapter 8
    "Okay." She bent to tug at a lace. "A
Zen thing?"
    "No, a clean thing."
    Lexa Legault vacuumed her apartment every day with a
small jet engine, leaving it as spotless as a biotech lab. I always felt like
she should have asked her guests to wear white jumpsuits and masks, but I guess
that would've been overkill. Lexa (short for Alexandra) didn't make her own
microchips yet.
    What she did make was her own computers, which spent
their lives with their guts exposed, in a state of constantly being tinkered
with. In Lexa's apartment, dust was a Very Bad Thing.
    I'd already buzzed from downstairs, but it wasn't
until I gave the special our-shoes-are-off knock that the door opened.
    Lexa was dressed in immaculate khakis and a tight pink
T-shirt, a handheld clipped to her belt. She had all the hallmarks of geek-girl
beauty: a shy smile, chunky glasses, short hair framing elfin features, and the
fashion sense of a Japanese teenager. Her look was as effortless and clean as
those women that fashion designers draw with just a few sweeping lines.
    When I'd first met Lexa, I'd spent several months
cultivating a massive crush on her until the terrible moment when she'd
mentioned that one of the things she liked about me was how much I reminded |
her of herself—back when she was younger and not so boringly j together. I never let on, of
course, but ouch.
    "Hi, Hunter." She hugged me, pulled back,
still looking over my shoulder. "Oh, hey ..."
    "Jen," I supplied.
    "Yeah," nodding slowly, "I liked what
you said yesterday, Jen. Very cool."
    That brought a sheepish smile,
one I liked more every time I saw it. "Thanks."                                                     I
    We slipped into the apartment, and Lexa closed the door
immediately behind us to fend off any dust swirling in our wake.
    I handed her the cup of coffee we'd brought as an
offering. She always said her brain was nothing but a machine for turning
coffee into special effects.
    Jen took in the high-tech
splendor, her eyes widening as they ; adjusted to the darkness. Hardly any
sunlight leaked in through the \ heavy curtains (like dust, sunlight was a Bad
Thing), but the apartment glowed around us. All of Lexa's furniture was made
out of the stainless steel used in restaurant kitchens. The metal glittered
with the scattered red and green eyes of gadgets recharging: a couple of cell
phones, an MP3 player, three laptops, an electric toothbrush by the kitchen
sink. (Despite all the coffee, Lexa's teeth were as clean as her apartment.)
And of course there were

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