The Mirror Man
by Andrija Popovic
Camille knew the moment she picked up the package a Mirror Man would hunt her. They infested the shopping districts. Shoulder forward, she pushed down the crowded street. The consumers parted around her. Focused on their personal networks and visual clutter editors, their early warning systems guided them away from collisions.
No one could see her. She was a blocked object. No one saw the dirt on her boots, or the cracks in her third-hand leather jacket, or the ribbons on her dreadlocks. No one saw the personal network contacts in her eyes flashing red every two seconds.
System failure. Illegal override. Software jailbreak.
The street narrowed into a close alley, dotted with restaurants. Normal eyes would see virtual facades and flashing advertisements enticing her to eat. Jailbroken eyes saw plain signposts with chirping VQR codes embedded in the text.
She grabbed onto a wall, scanning the crowd behind her. Winter air clawed at her throat. No sign of them in the alley, or in the crowd.
"Spare some 'coin?" Camille nearly shat herself. The old man appeared from under a veil of discarded moving rugs. No one else saw him. Their personal content editors were set to remove upsetting items: Homeless folks, signs of decay, professionals with dark skin or foreign accents--anything and everything which would upset the user.
Which means no one saw the Mirror Men.