Distorte is a collection of stories written by Pierce Gleeson

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Burning Bridges

You open your eyes. They are not your eyes. The tiled ceiling comes immediately into perfect focus on command. You did not know the meaning of perfect focus until now. Swinging your legs off the table, you marvel at the weight and heft of them. Somehow both heavier and less cumbersome than they were before, their texture is ivory, their colour an irridescent blue. Your body immediately looks familiar. It should. You’ve been looking at blueprints of it for months. Years.

Your gaze shifts from your clenching and unclenching hands to your other body lying on a similar table nearby, covered by a sheet. No more sheets now. No more clothes or apparel of any kind. The idea suddenly seems laughable. Why cover perfection?

On a whim, you step over and pull the covering to the ground. There is little perfection to see here. A pudgy, pale characterless body lies before you; your home for the last fifty years, the minimum age required by law. Time has eroded this vessel in a way your new frame will never know. Wrinkles and scars cover its pockmarked surface, outward evidence of the deeper decay within. You feel no connection to this shell. It is no longer you. It never really was you.

Electrodes are attached to a dozen points on the skull, and your exquisite new fingers twist and pull at them as you wrap your hands around its face. To your surprise, there is heat still there. It is your first sensation of warmth since the transfer. The perception thinks the same, but feels different. Your new body will not tremble or shudder under stress, but you feel a distinct revulsion as you knead the features with your knuckles. So soft, so giving. So weak. It takes almost no effort at all to sink your digits one by one into the flesh. As blood pours forth, you momentarily panic. There is no rising in your chest, however. Emotions have been shorn of all unwanted physical reaction, making them more controllable. Less real. “Why shouldn’t I,” you think. “My property”. With two or three light blows you have reduced the skull and brain to nothing; a wet mess dripping off the tabletop onto the tiles. Your former mind destroyed. Your second womb. Your prison.

You turn to leave the room, pausing for a moment to rinse your hands in the sink. Blood and gore run easily from your smooth fingers. The skin sparkles and glows slightly under each droplet. Opening the door, you walk outside to meet the world. Renewed. Reborn. Resplendent.

Written by Pierce Gleeson
Posted on the 07 Feb, 2005