Monday, May 4, 2009

Daily Story 19: Nathan Hale Has No Regrets

That first quiet moment of life before my heart and lungs kick on doesn't carry the same excitement and fear that it used to. I just count to myself silently, one... two... three...

And then I'm alive, gasping and twitching as oxygen floods into my cells. That part never gets better but it's a purely physical reaction rather than an emotional one. In my mind I'm still calm and composed waiting for the shakes to stop, for my breathing and heart rate to slow down.

I spend the next few minutes listening to the sounds of my womb, the pumps and machines whirring around me. I wiggle toes and fingers, remembering that every time I tried to stand right after my birth I only ended up kissing the tile.

Eventually I remove the tubes, gagging a little as the one in my throat pulls free. I carefully sit up and toss them aside, getting my first look of something other than the ceiling with my new eyes. I look closely, because the view changes a little each time. There's a little more dirt built up in the corner, a few more spider webs, another patch of peeling paint. The floor is always mopped but the grout gets darker. It's nearly black now.

I sit up, run my hands over the smooth skin on my head. I measure time by my hair, and I remember that when I died it had made it all the way down past my shoulders. It had only been that long once before. Everything is wiped clean now, back to square one. No hair, no scars. I had a tattoo once, in another life, but that's been gone for ages.

I stand, and walk over to the shower. The water comes out brown at first, which hasn't happened before. Everything is falling apart. Where my uniform and weapons should be is an empty closet but there are some old clothes in the hamper, doctor's scrubs with dried blood on them. Better than nothing.

As usual, I don't see anyone on my way to the exit. There are cameras, and I suspect that I'm being watched. The others, whoever is left, must deliberately wait for me to leave before coming out. That's fine. They've watched me leave... what, thirty times now? Always walking out that door, never coming back.

One day it will be different. One day our enemies will have finally fallen or surrendered and I will return, victorious, hair down to my feet.