Dance Like It Doesn’t Hurt by C. L. Sidell

There’s good money in dancing, and the work’s easy.

I pull on the electrode-lined skinsuit and step onto the stage.

When the blacklights flicker on, I can’t see anything except other skinsuits – limbs moving awkwardly, robotically.

Closing my eyes, I surrender to the electronic impulses directing my hands to caress my thighs.

I never see the clients; I don’t need to.

I know their expressions – eager, soulless, power-hungry – as they wield controls like puppeteers.


Another dancer punches me in the face.

Unfortunately, some of the clients are also sadistic.

It’s easy money.

But occasionally I go home with bruises. 

C.L. Sidell grew up playing with toads in the rain and indulging in speculative fiction. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in Apparition Lit, Dark Moments, F&SF, Martian Magazine, Medusa Tales Magazine, Orion’s Belt, Strange Horizons, and others. You can find her on Twitter @sidellwrites

Support us on Patreon!