Author of Dark Fiction
Short Story: Immersion
The girl jolts like she’s been dropped into this body from thirty thousand feet. Her eyes flutter and her heart hammers on an arrhythmic beat. The breath catches then rushes in too fast causing a choking fit. Where is she? What’s she doing here? Who is she?
Lying prone she’s almost afraid to open her eyes. She curls one hand flexing its fingers. The skin feels dry and cold. Alien. She digs her fingernails into the palm and feels a sharp pressure.
The rushing pulse of this body feels dangerous. Dangerous like it might explode.
Deep breaths. Get the systems under control.
Her eyelids drift open and she sees a light fixture, nothing more than a bare bulb overhead.
She’s aware of a scratchy blanket beneath her.
Looking down she sees that the body is wearing a thin tee shirt and shorts.
When she explores the body with her hands, she feels railroad track ribs poking through paper skin. When she sits up in bed dizziness overtakes her, and she lies back down panting.
One more try, and her feet are on the floor, and her hands are clutching the edges of the thin mattress.
She stands, nearly falls over and catches the nightstand.
She makes her way to the bathroom afraid of what she might see in the mirror.
To soften the blow she explores her face with her hand, feels taught skin, slightly oily.
The bathroom is dark. All the better to allow her to see her form gradually.
The mirror shows her the outline of a small thin girl with long hair.
She closes her eyes and flips on the light switch.
Her heartbeat again feeling dangerously fast she opens her eyes a crack. The light is blinding so she closes them again. Screws up her courage and opens them again. Just a crack at first, then wider.
Her heart is beating uncontrollably now and she can hardly catch her breath.
When she opens her eyes fully, she doesn’t recognize the face, not an inkling, not an ounce. It’s long thin nose and solemn lips are unrecognizable to her.
She gets up the nerve to look in the eyes. They are brown and unremarkable.
But when she looks into them something catches. Something snaps into place.
And she remembers why she’s there.