Confronted by a creature so gorgeously anguished—so cross-cut with sex addiction, of a gender identity so complex and a self-esteem so fractured—how can Kelly wish otherwise than to ramp up his anguish still further? Concerning the reasons for this, she is incurious by nature; though Jaymi has little difficulty in recognising that behind her general hipness, she’s really very “Cosy Score”.
Well then, Scorpio was made for her, Jaymi reflects.
In any case, as soon as this Beast’s delicate Scorpionic beauty, sleek depraved face, sulky mouth and luscious darkness of obsession appear on her screen for the first time, all as aforementioned and in one package, Kelly applies her skilled fingers, state-of-the-art software and well-used keyboard to the task of smudging his visuals as painfully as possible.
There he is on the monitor right in front of her, clinking champagne glasses with some woman in a busy nightclub. Kelly pounds her keys, clicks her mouse, and sends her cursor curving and flicking all across her screen’s image of the nightclub.
As she does so, Scorpio senses the air in the room being flicked and whisked by a slicing of damage that has yet to gain ingress. His little silver cross swings flashing through the space between his nipples, sweats and glints in the candle-light and lands at a slant on his chest, while he glances around him … and then she breaks through.
An attempt to smudge a Beast’s visuals is felt as a visceral distaste, flavoured by the nature of the Beast, at what the smudger would presume to impose. And so he slides down, from a diva on a champagne-high of club chic, to a fey little fly buzzing drunk above a sleaze-pit. Kelly sees the barbed-wire coiled around him, ramps it up and rams it through the cells of all the others in this room—self-mutilation as the darker side of narcissism, flowing through these clubbers gathered here—a perverted, delirium-obsessed scent of visuals, gleaming in their eyes and revealed as the engine of a nightmare of culinary events.
By queasy degrees, he understands what is flowing through the room.
He fears, in other words, that he may be eaten by these people, in a literal sense: chefs and long pigs…
In shock, he sets off at a run, across the room and down a passage—then halts as he sees a girl of five, just ahead, playing with a high-fashion doll whose legs are so exaggeratedly long and elegant as almost to suggest grasshoppers’ thighs. The girl is practising ballerina moves, while talking in a cute, flirtatious, young-adult way, very “Hollywood” and precocious for a five-year-old. She turns to face him. “Hi! I’m Nutmeg,” she grates in a different voice, a voice of guttural harshness—and through her veil, Scorpio sees that this five-year-old’s face is much older than he thought. It even has lines around its eyes…
Black light blazes and her head rears up, a mass of pulp with several eyes pushing out at odd places. Shrieks cut the air.
He turns and sprints back down the passage, knowing she’ll be watching as he runs—but after fifty metres, the barbed-wire around his torso catches on a nail in a door-frame, so he has to turn back in her direction and scrabble at the wire, in a frantic bid to unhook it before she can reach him.
While he fumbles, with tears pricking the backs of his eyes, he feels the tickle of a drip of blood running down his chest beneath his black clothes, behind his crucifix.
The girl scuttles sideways up the length of the passageway, towards him. “I like to have my eyeballs licked!” she grates; and a black steel worm curls out from inside the eyeball nearest to Scorpio, as if to invite his tongue to dip down and lick it.
Without any warning, Nutmeg starts scalpelling herself, with her own smiling consent to the process—and inside a moment, a full operation is in progress, performed by Nutmeg using a single deft hand. “When I’m with you alone, late tonight,” she grates sweetly at Scorpio, “I’ll let you see me rip my face off, leaving just a slab of flesh—”
A shot of pain flickers up in Jaymi, from groin to heart (the Scorpio places). Crying out, he springs at his keyboard and starts hammering out multiple batch-reversion commands, until he has reversed Kelly’s work, returned his Beast’s visual world to what it should be, then sealed off the cockroach-hole Kelly wriggled in through. Sinking back into his seat, he spits through the open bow window.
For more about "The Beasts of Electra Drive" by Rohan Quine, see
For some great reviews of it, see
And to pick it up from whichever retailer you prefer, the retailers’ links for the audiobook format are at
and for the paperback format and the ebook format are at