Panic Twice, Spin

A Naomi Nakamura Industries short story

You first noticed the miniature black hole in the corner of the playroom halfway into book one of the Cyber Sakura Seven series.

Your little sister, Mahina, was playing Panic Twice, Spin. Nintendo’s warning about cosmic repercussions was in big, bold red letters on the back of the game case, but you had thought nothing of it when you bought it with your allowance for Mahina’s re-up day. It was a game about fighting zombie-ninjas, for goodness’ sake. Besides, you used to play it all the time before Mahina died.

You had just gotten to the part of your book where Sakura’s cyber-suit is fused to her skin when you heard an odd sound in the corner of the playroom, left of the holo-vision. “That sounds like God flushing His toilet,” you thought. “But far, far away.”

Mahina, of course, heard nothing. And for good reason.

Three zombie-ninjas had just spewed green-black ichor and liquefied internal organs at her face, so she had to drop down into a James Brown split, which only got her one hundred points (even though it was a defensive Level Three move) because she wasn’t wearing the short, black, pointy holo-boots. You had told Mahina she would have to buy that upgrade pack with her own allowance when you boughtPanic Twice, Spin for her earlier that day at the game store.

But you weren’t being mean when you told her that. In fact, you were being nice, just like your parents had asked you to do before they left. You were being a mature twelve-year-old. You were playing the part of the older sibling well. You only wished your parents were here to see it.

The nanny had told you your father was in Japan for his business and your mother was in China for hers, and they would meet up in Hawai’i and fly back home on their private jet sometime next week. Which was fine with you. For once, you were enjoying your little sister’s company.

You just couldn’t get enough of watching her play Panic Twice, Spin. There was something so adorable about it. Not like before, when she would play your game all the time and never ask your permission.

The old Mahina had almost been obsessive about that game. Like you, she just couldn’t get enough of it. She would sneak and play it all the time before she died. She had completed every storyline and almost every side quest, except the zombie-ninjas under the moon one. And she was doing so well with it now.

Mahina didn’t stay in her split for long. She chained it to a windmill: a leg sweep started the move, while her forearms and back took the brunt of the roll on the hardwood floor. Her momentum was continuous and fluid as her skinny little brown legs spun in a lethal V.

Those zombie-ninjas didn’t stand a chance.

Mahina took their legs off at the knees. Their rotted stumps went flying, end over end, landing off-screen. She laughed as she rolled and spun.

You couldn’t help but smile. This Mahina had the exact same laugh as the old Mahina. Your mother and father had made sure she was programmed that way. It was wonderful to hear again.

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