Not The Same, anymore.

  There we were on the deck of the boat, Windy in action, Peter bleeding all over the God damned sun scarred walnut finish of my dead as hell ex-brother-in-law’s ketch, as things went from bad to worse.
Windy had the little shit chewing on a bit while she hacked off a line of rigging and tied off his stump, mid forearm. I couldn’t watch. The raw, clean cut meat of it, like salami. It brought my mind back to the one thing I’d been forcing out of my head; the pain, the searing sting, like I’m repeatedly fist fucking anemones in the second encarnation of hell.
I’ve got a pretty high pain threshold, I guess.
I say it’s like that, but it’s a little more complex. Actually, this fist feels like there’s a kind of sensation of being torn apart to obliteration, cellular.
And concurrently, there’s this pull inward, to swallow itself into…itself. To vanish into that very second of imagination that created it.

It feels just like I felt as a kid. Just a little shit. Like Peter, running after something, but I didn’t know what. Just running my ass off until I no longer had a choice. Before it got too fucked up. Mostly on the street. Sometimes in foster homes.

I close my eyes, allow that sensation travel up my arm and take me somewhere else. Somewhere Hidden, and I’m right there. Inside of me, just carefree. And I just hang there for a second.

But I’m lost. I’m in a straight up ‘jungle’ with flora I’d never seen before. Huge flowers that simmered with colors and light.
The petals and vines and leaves and soil were all so alive as me.
And then I lose it. The feeling. The memory, I guess.
Peter trembled so hard in Windy’s arms, he shook concern out of her Bio-Engineered emotionless stone of a heart.
Blood jutt out. That kids gonna die, I thought. We’re all gonna die, but he’s going first. He doesn’t have it in him, I thought.
And, lest we forget, the fucking Mod Squad still climbing up the aft of the ship, hopping on like apes. All sorts of Borg’d out mutant mech claw arms and robotic legs.
I looked of and just checked out the troops. How we gonna go. Not too many weapons on these girls, walking with a kind of click, shimmy and pop to their movements. Used tech in unnaturally living bodies. Most with hardly any original parts. Everything under the hood.
(Remind me. I’ll have to tell you a story about that whole process. It’s interesting)
As they gathered, one moved forward. Blonde, slender, just as I remembered her.

“You’re positively glowing, Coral.”

She stood, silent. No one moved. Except for Peter, for the moment anyway.

“Still not a talker. You look good anyway. Especially, you know… Considering.” Apparently I didn’t know how to talk her anymore. Of everything I’ve felt with, up to this point, nothing hurt like her abstraction.

I risked my existence for her. I was cut, and I was a boy, and I was nearly shot one night, for her. I slept with a knife, protected her life, protected her sanity from insane men who meant to tear her open.

Now, like a sick fucking replica, standing there, reticent, vacant.

She fixed her attention on Peter, and in a moment, his pain ceased. That definitely caught me by surprise.

“That’s clever. The kids had bugs in him.” That damn nano cybernetic cure all, Rhomasil.

“Depart.” She said.

I was so, very not ready to budge a single joint until I understood how she got there, and if there was any part of her still alive in there. I didn’t care that it was all but impossible for a Mod to remember any body. But maybe.

And a flush, soothing and invigorating energy in rich undulating waves, washed over me.

My atrophied iron clad fist grew furious and began to burn and pull away from from me, literally from my body, away from my heart. Then a cry in a crystal shivering pitch called out, and I know it was a call to it, the same way I knew it finally arrived.

That part of me was there too. All of what I’d lost to that wraith. That part of my spirit, the passion of my youth, that exquisite time of my life. My appropriate failures. My understandable impetulence. Transformed, now a thing without form, celestial, something more complex and frightening.

That Mod I cannot call Coral, watched my heart beat, my body temperature rise, eyes dilate, jaw clench, racing.

And then it was inside me. My whole self, my mind, and…well. It all shattered.


I saw eternity for a moment. A flash. I saw myself and felt everything, and understood every facet. Omnipotent. Universally objective. I immediately understood the motivations of each moment, like facial memory.

And then my intoxicating link, and that furious ring, apparently only I could hear, hit a fevered pitch. My arm was so rigid and suddenly outstretched like an ironwood branch.

It, hook down to wrist, burst into flames, green with black lace. Inside a kind of molten lead fist.

And then it was gone.

No rush or release. No jolts or effects.

And suddenly, shit got real.


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