I slowly opened my eyes, greeted by a tiled ceiling stained with memory and death. My eyebrows arch as I try keeping my fragile orbs open to the light in the room, blinking like I'd never done it before, obsessing with the feeling. Light. Dark. Light again. I test my throat with a swallow; sawdust coated the passage of the small amount of liquid that could be pushed down to an empty belly. I am hungry. As though I'd never been hungry before.
Lift the head. I'm certain I've done this before. I never had to think about movement before--it just happened. It did not happen this time. Nothing moved. Bones connected to muscle, one or the other was asleep. Or both. I felt my throat work, felt sticky spit be pushed down, felt feeling. What has happened? I am changing.
A beep somewhere to the left. Another beep. Two, now, faster than before. The technodrum of an age advanced beyond its years. A tempo of monitoring something. Me? Whirring noises to the right, air being pushed into the mask I wore on my face. Not air. Wind. Why hadn't I noticed it before? It must not be important. Someone will be along. They always come.
Something leans over me. No. Leans isn't the right word. Hovers? It's shiny. The light from the ceiling glints off of whatever this thing is. I am not afraid. It speaks to me, its words as clear as day as they scroll across my vision, down at the bottom, green text.
YOUR SYSTEMS ARE BEING REPAIRED.
I don't recall needing any systems repairs. I was driving my husband home from work, this I remember plainly. It was nighttime, the air thick with the coming rain. But we had plenty of time. A simple trek on the highway, fifteen minutes at the most. That must have been last night. I must have blacked out at some point. But I'm not hungry anymore.
Someone will be along. How do I know that? Text, scrolling across my vision? I don't remember how I got here, now. I'm confused by thoughts and memories as old as any I've had, but fresh to me, now, new ideas, fresh dew coating my mind. I reach up to scratch my head, but nothing moves. I can hear my brain processing the movement to send down the muscles into my arm, though neither my brain nor my arm can I see. I lie, inert, a hovering metal thing above me, speaking to me through words scrolling across my eyesight.
SYSTEMS REPAIR COMPLETE. WELCOME TO HEAVEN.
PLEASE ENJOY YOUR STAY
Pressurized steam shoots out of everything in the world, a great breath held to the point of bursting, exhaled all at once through my joints, eyes, ears, feet. I try to take a breath. I can't. I have no lungs with which to breathe, no reason to try.
The light shimmers off my metallic skin. I am dead, but have never felt so alive.