As China Miéville gave chase through the fetid alleys he could tell that the figure he was pursuing was slowing deliberately and so, as he rounded the last corner it had taken, China Miéville ducked and rolled, avoiding the outthrust fist that had been set to use his own momentum to knock him out. He skidded back to his feet and pivoted, ready to rejoin the fight. His adversary turned slowly, and smiled at China Miéville’s disbelief as a face not unlike his own reflection, seen through a glass, darkly, looked backed.
Pressing his advantage, not-quite China Miéville charged, and China Miéville-proper was spurred into a frenzied defence. They moved in harmony, almost perfect parity, as kick and thrust met block and reversal, which were themselves parried or deflected. It began as a fluid motion, almost balletic choreographed combat, but the shock of seeing a face so like his own had slowed China Miéville slightly and soon his enemy gained the upper hand, knocking him violently to the ground.
“No, I didn’t come through the rift.” He answered China Miéville’s unspoken question. “That’s a plot hole of my making. I’ve been here all along, pulling the strings.” He stamped down on China Miéville’s chest to punctuate his point and stop him from getting up. “Haven’t you wondered why you became so aggressive China? Forgive my familiarity…” He smiled at the very idea. “Quantum overlap of sympathetic psychic fields. You’re becoming like me, China EVIL! “The sound of pre-recorded thunder roared in the background and China Evil looked down at China Miéville quizzically. “Too much?”
Enraged, China Miéville grabbed China Evil’s ankle and twisted, upending his foe. He didn’t get up, instead pressing his advantage by rolling onto China Evil and trying to drive his head into the ground. Their hands scrabbled for advantage, the fight now more brutal and more artless than any China Miéville had had, and soon his position let him get his hands around China Evil’s throat. Gasping through his compressed windpipe China Evil began to smile, rasping out a laugh and China Miéville realised that his fury, though justified, was not his own. He released his dark double to much spluttering and coughing, and stood, turning to walk away.
“You’ll have to kill me, you know. The rift? It won’t close until I die.” China Evil called out, his voice rough and sore. China Miéville carried on walking. China Evil roared with pathetic, thwarted rage and drew a gun. His first shot ricocheted off the wall beside China Miéville’s head, who ducked low and grabbed a bin lid to shield himself. As he turned China Evil had fired again, and the bullet sparked off China Miéville’s metal, struck the wall, and returned to sender, through his scarred eye and into his brain. As China Miéville regarded his dead double in horror China Evil’s phone began to ring. HE looked at the phone, ‘COULD THEY BEAT-UP CHINA MIÉVILLE?’ flashing on its screen, and answered the call.
“The rift’s closed.” A voice on the other end of the line said. “You killed him, I take it?” There was a long pause. “Hello?”
China Miéville had already dropped the phone into the squalor of the alley. He knew where he had to go.
WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE