Death Tango

by Lachi


GENRE: Science Fiction/Horror



In a Utopian twenty-third-century New York City, where corporations have replaced governments, AI dictates culture, and citizens are free to people-watch any other citizen they choose through an app, this horror-laden Sci-Fi Thriller follows four mis-matched coeds as they attempt to solve the murder of an eccentric parascientist. Only someone or something able to navigate outside the highest levels of croud-sourced surveillance could get away with murder in this town. If the team can't work quickly to solve the case, New York City will be devoured by a dark plague the eccentric had been working on prior to his death, a plague which, overtime, appears to be developing sentience.



Rosa heard Torian Ross murmur an expletive from Johnny’s bedroom. She turned into the hall and spotted him standing in the dark room facing a backlit closet of some sort. He turned to her, immediately palming for her to halt. Rosa would never forget the look of pure terror on his face at that moment. Torian wasn’t the type to scare easily. Before she could ask him the matter, she stopped short as she saw a dim shadow hover over his face.

Someone was approaching him.

The person emerged from the closet and stood before Torian. Exact build, exact posture and exact hair color down to the highlights—a wholly perfect robotic replica of Rosa Lejeune, wearing only a threadbare tank and frayed underpants. Along with a tattered face, the android’s arms and legs exposed inner metallic joints and loose artificial sinew as if it had walked out of an unfinished autopsy. Its many bruises proved the bot had been regularly abused. This week Rosa had faced some of the most bizarre things she’d ever known, but this? This was by far the eeriest.

“Hello,” the android pertly intoned to a stunned Torian Ross. “I am Rosa Thirteen, and you are not my master.” Though slightly mechanized, the vocal timbre and pronunciations matched Rosa’s precisely. “I have your iris match programmed in my archive as Oz Corp Piece of Shit. Hello, Oz Corp Piece of Shit.”

“Holy Jesus,” Rosa whispered as the depravity of this abomination’s existence sunk in. A brisk inhuman twist of the neck brought Rosa Thirteen to feast its eyes on Rosa. With a front view of the android’s face, Rosa noticed one of the bot’s eyes was missing. Just an empty socket, like that of its master.

“You are Rosa Lejeune,” Rosa Thirteen declared. For an instant, Rosa felt a surreal break in reality as the thing, the Her, addressed her. Then came a full body flush of terror as the android’s shoulders also snapped toward Rosa. “You cause my master pain. You cause my master to mistreat my hardware.”

“I…” Rosa could hardly do more than open her mouth in petrified awe.

The bot furrowed its brow and with a deep, mechanical growl bellowed, “You must be destroyed!”

The bot charged for Rosa with a hasty limp. Torian rushed to grab its arm, but it yanked free and jabbed him full force in the chest with an iron punch that sent him flying backwards. This was no woman. Underneath the simulated skin was cold, hard metal.

Rosa sprinted back toward the living room, but even with the limp, Rosa Thirteen revved up formidable speed. As it rushed forward, the android bumped against a wall-panel, and Vivaldi’s Common Era concerto, Andante, blasted stridently through every wall in the apartment. The first song to which Rosa and Johnny had ever danced.

Rosa grabbed at an end table and raised it to thwart the coming bash. But Rosa Thirteen grabbed the table’s legs and flung it across the room to crash against a mirrored wall. Rosa staggered backwards into a coat closet. She snatched a heavy coat from the rack as Thirteen rushed her and chucked it at the bot’s face, causing the bot to halt and flail its arms, temporarily confused at the sudden darkness. Rosa grabbed the sleeves of the coat at its hilt, twisted and pulled with adrenaline-laden force. She felt gears snap at the base of the bot’s neck.

Rosa ducked around Thirteen and dove for the kitchen, accompanied by a swell in Vivaldi’s blissful strings. She seized a carving knife and cleaver from a cutlery set on the counter. The bot snatched off the coat and charged for the kitchen, its head permanently lopped to one side. Rosa swung the clever at the bot’s head to finish the job. Thirteen knocked the cleaver aside effortlessly, but Rosa did manage to sink the carving knife deep into the bot’s abdomen.

This impact caused minimal damage, so Rosa retreated back to the living room, this time headed for the exit. However, the bot reached out and gripped Rosa’s arm just under the shoulder. The android lifted Rosa into the air and slammed her onto the living room floor with such velocity Rosa could hardly process it until she lay face up on the ground, her shoulder throbbing.

Thirteen stomped hard onto Rosa’s belly. Rosa’s breath escaped her along with bits of lunch. The bot then lifted its leg to stomp down on Rosa’s face. Rosa searched for a final prayer, but her could find none amidst her whirling terror.


Author Interview

1. If you could tell your younger writing self, anything, what would it be? People are going to take your shoulders and point you left then point you right, and you’ll still find closed doors. Take your own shoulders and point them in the direction /you/ want to go. Accept the part of yourself that society wants you to hide the most, once you do that, all the locked doors just swing right open.

2. Favorite childhood memory involving books? An hour before my first day of class as a Freshman on campus, I opened up ‘The Shining’ to read a little bit before heading in. I had much better vision then. I stopped reading when it had gotten too dark to continue. I looked up and the entire day had gone by.

3. Did you want to be an author when you grew up? Yes! I wanted to live in New York City, to be a music artist, own my own production studio, and be a writer with fiction and non-fiction titles under my belt. Having very few role-models on TV, online or on the radio who looked like me or had my experience (a legally blind, woman of color, child of immigrants), I assumed these kinds of dreams were not for me. Lo and behold, one day I quit my fancy day job and jumped headfirst into my passion, and here I am a music performer and writer with my own New York City studio.

4. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be? Energetic. Clever. Driven. I don’t know that anyone who knows me would disagree!

5. What’s one movie you like recommending to others? I like horror films and it’s horror month. I recently watched “Us” by Jordan Peele, and would highly recommend it. It’s unique, diverse, eerie, and a great metaphysical post-film discussion.

6. How long, on average, does it take you to write a book? It took me six years to write my first novel ‘The Ivory Staff” and two months to write “Death Tango”.

7. If you were the last person on Earth, what would you do? Wow, so many thoughts. All of them dark.

8. What are your favorite genres to read?   Science Fiction and Horror

9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Finish the book! Once you’ve finished the book, the hardest part is over.

10. Tell us 10 fun facts about yourself as of today! 

  • I’m legally blind.

  • I’ve met the president twice, Sec Hillary Clinton and VP Kamala Harris, and a ton of ambassadors.

  • I’ve spent a Christmas in Russia

  • I’ve gone sky diving

  • I’ve co-written or otherwise worked with Apl.De.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg, and others

  • I am a level-7 Google Guide

  • I’ve charted on radio

  • I’ve ridden a camel and have gone horse-back riding

  • I’ve hosted a segment on disabled rebels on PBS

  • I’ve walked the Barbie Movie Premiere pink carpet


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lachi is an internationally-touring creative artist, writer and award-winning cultural activist living in New York City. A legally blind daughter of African immigrants, Lachi uses her platform to amplify narratives on identity pride and Disability Culture. In her public life, Lachi has helped increase accessibility to the GRAMMY Awards ceremonies as well as create numerous opportunities for music professionals with disabilities, through her organization RAMPD. Lachi also creates high-quality content amplifying disability. She has hosted a PBS American Masters segment highlighting disabled rebels and releases songs such as "Lift Me Up" and “Black Girl Cornrows” that elevate disability and difference to the pop culture market. Named a “new champion in advocacy” by Billboard, she’s held talks with the White House, the UN, Fortune 100 firms, and has been featured in Forbes, Hollywood Reporter, Good Morning America, and the New York Times for her unapologetic celebration of intersectionality through her music, storytelling and fashion.

In her free-time Lachi writes sci-fi and fantasy novels with diverse, headstrong characters, focusing heavily on atonal world-building, quip-ridden character development, likable villains and psycho-spiritual discourse.







Lachi will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway