New Story

New Story A (mostly) words only blog. Stories from my brain.


SO, I’m writing a book. I’ve been posting it on a site called litlift, and I keep thinking about sharing some of it here. But it’s a super basic work in progress that will need a lot of editing. Does anyone wanna read a bit? It’s some sci-fi nonsense. I’m in love with the characters and obsessed with the story, and there are androids and danger and love involved. 


I Miss The Hilltop

i am pushing up hill so hard just to make sure i dont slide back down to the bottom. to be honest im pretty close to the bottom at most times but some days i get this weird random strength and i wanna push that damn boulder uphill so hard i might gain a few inches towards the top…. the top of what i assume is a hill. i need it to be a hill. because a hill has a top. it has a crest. it has a place where pushing uphill is no longer required. even a plateau would be nice. i said, last year some time, that i felt like i was finally done pushing uphill. like i didnt feel that damn boulder weighing me down and that i could sense the relief coming that muscles and bones feel after being used far past their capacity. that lightness that is almost false. the relief of knowing you did the pushing, and the gasping for air. you worked at the uphill part for so long that that there was rest. i thought i had reached that. it felt so good. it wasnt even just good it was great. it was wonderful. it was ethereal and i kept waiting for it to end. i am not a pessimist. i am a optimistic realist. i hope for the best and expect what realistically will happen. and in my life, good things ending is realistic. so i kept waiting for it to end, while trying desperately to enjoy that time of goodness… of greatness… of wonderful joy… and i did. at least part of my brain did. the part that isnt always in a slight state of panic. i am always in a slight state of panic. i live in unrest, uncertainty, in fear. its exhausting but i feel like it keeps me a the ready… and i know now that isnt unjustified. because it ended. the resting. the not pushing the boulder. somehow, in the blink, or maybe a slow gradual resting of my eyes, i am back on the slope, back to pushing the boulder. i feel like it was all of a sudden, but surely it wasnt. time moves in weird waves that are often slow and calm and then sometimes choppy and unexpected. but in any case of my accuracy, here i am. pushing that damn boulder. and i can tell you, no question, it is damn exhausting. the shitty thing, the thing that makes it so much harder to deal with, is that i did nothing to return to my position on this hill. my body is giving up on me. i dont know why. i dont have answers. i dont know what to do but keep pushing. i was told by a wise person that it is pointless to find blame. its not my own fault my body is breaking down. it is not the doctor’s fault they are unable to produce answers. its not some other person… someone i keep searching for to pin the blame on for my physical mystery problems. its no one’s fault, so i need to give up looking for someone to blame. some part of me just wants to know who is at fault here. i want someone to be responsible so i have someone to be angry at. someone other than myself. because it feels like it is my fault i am once again pushing this boulder uphill. it feels like i somehow without meaning to did this thing to myself. and i am SO tired. not just physically, but emotionally, and in all other possible ways a person can be tired. i want to give up, and stop pushing. i want the weight of this damn boulder off of me. but i know, and logic confirms this, that if i stop pushing, and turn to head down the hill, the boulder will crush me. honestly some days… that sounds ok. some days i think maybe just getting it over with and letting the boulder finish me is better than the pain and exhaustion of pushing. i wont use the phrase “its not fair” because theres no real basis of comparison. each person has struggles. but sure as shit it feels unfair. i had finally gotten to my hilltop. i had finally reached the plateau. I was finally experiencing rest and joy. and i have reverted to the boulder pushing. and its too much. and i worry soon i will have to give up. a person only has so much “oomph” in them. people say i am stronger than i give myself credit for, but i worry they are being kind. and kindness doesnt help a girl push a boulder. i miss that hilltop.

If Alice Liddell Was a Blogger…

I fell into a hole today. I’m honestly not sure where to send this file, as I am just typing on a laptop I found down here. It almost looks as if someone left it here. Just for me, to write this on. But that’s ridiculous. The hole was REALLY deep. The crazy thing is that as I fell, I lost speed instead of gaining momentum. It was amazing, and slightly terrifying, and just spellbinding. I was out in the garden, just walking around trying to entertain myself as usual and I saw that rabbit again. The one I keep seeing, almost as though it’s been looking for me. I know, that should be off putting but instead it’s intriguing. Think about it. How often do you see animals come out from hiding that seem to be looking for you specifically. Anyway, I followed it, back around this tree, into it’s hole. Well, I hadn’t intended to follow it INTO the hole, but clearly that is what happened. It was strange, because rabbit holes aren’t usually big enough for people to fall into. But this one became large enough, as though it was meant to do so. So, I fell in. I was just investigating the home of this rabbit, and I fell head over feet. My dress poofed, and like a parachute slowed my falling. I thought that was the cause of the loss of momentum, but it turned out, when my the skirt of the dress relaxed again, that I was just falling… slower. And then the hole itself was odd. There were chairs floating about and pictures on the walls. There were tables with lamps and other odd things, just being about in the space of the hole I was in. Science doesn’t really cover these kind of things, so I can just assume this is an abnormal occurrence. What was I to do but keep falling? A girl doesn’t get to choose when to fall and when not to. If that was the case, I’d have kept myself out of many accidents, and have many more un-ripped tights, un-scuffed shoes, and dressed with cleaner hem lines. If only I could choose. I looked around, half frightened, and half enjoying the scenery. When I remembered the reason for my falling, I looked down to see if the rabbit too was floating in a downward direction, and saw not only no rabbit but no other person or animal or anything. It as just me, bobbing along. HOW WEIRD IS THAT, RIGHT? I wish I would have had the good sense to bring a camera along. I could have taken so many wonderful photographs on my fall. No one would believe me until they saw them- and then I’d show them the undeniable proof! See? I DID fall down an expanding rabbit hole with nick-nacks and chairs along the way that seemed to lack proper gravity! But no. I didn’t take one single individual photo and have no proof of the slowest fall ever experienced. Anyway, I fell for what felt like forever. When I finally landed, I did then realized there was a great advantage to follow so slowly- the landing was kind to me. I landed right on my feet, and the impact was that of stepping down stairs. Not painful at all! And as I have mentioned, I have fallen a great many times so I know what an impact is like. So there I was, standing at the bottom of this rabbit hole. I lookd up for a moment, just taking in the depth that I had traveled, when I heard a noise. I turned to look down what seemed to be the continued path of this hole, and saw the rabbit! Somehow he had stayed in my line of sight and I tried to follow. I wondered for a moment if my movements would still be slowed, but I moved at a regular pace. That was helpful, but not helpful enough. I chased him, but he was so much faster! He ran down the hole to a door, and when I reached it, and went through, he had already moved on, and I was stuck. I really was! And that is where I am now, typing these words as I debate what to do. The room is large, or possibly, I am very tiny. I only say that, because aside from a strange little box with bite size desserts in them, and this laptop I am typing on, everything is SO BIG! The floor tiles are humongous, and the table I am sitting under is big enough to keep an elephant dry in a rain storm. It’s just massive! There is a door on the other side of the room, but it is locked (of course I checked). In straining my eyes to see what is on top of the giant table, I can see a weird bottle of some kind of liquid, and a small metal object that I can only hope (desperately, as I can’t even reach it) is the key to the door. I am locked in, I am trapped in this room. I’m not sure what to do, and I can’t stop contemplating if this room is for very large people, or if I have just somehow lost all my size in the fall down here. It is just curious and curiouser. I think I will post this on my blog and make a snack of those desserts I found. A girl can get very tired falling and chasing rabbits for so long! More to come, maybe. I suppose it depends on how long I am here, how the connection is, and if I remember to keep this computer with me. -Alice

Mechs (New Marla)

Let’s be real.

I’m a homeless cyborg with no where to go. But honestly, it’s like like my life before was all rosy anyway. My family life wasn’t great. My parents played like they cared, but now that I’m gone… I doubt that they miss me. Them thinking I’m dead probably relieved them of a lot of stress and work I supposed. Obviously I’m not, but that’s the impression people are meant to have. Because the Marla I was is no more. Now I’m some weird human/robot hybrid. The people who created me refer to me as a Mech. I’m a cyborg. It’s fine really in the sense that I am what I am…

But I don’t have a human heart.. and part of my brain is robotic too. Does that mean I’ve lost who I am? Do I even have a soul? Are the emotions and memories I have mine, or the product of these new parts?

I guess if I’m worried about it some part of one of those answers has to be a yes. 

I decided the “program” my re-creators had set up for me was NOT what I was expecting. It bordered on bad guy territory. I am not a spy. I am not a tool for people to use. I never signed a “terms of service” or anything so they can fuck right off.

I bet they’ll try and catch me. And I bet they implanted a tracking device of some sort for that exact purpose. But I’ll keep running as long as I can. 

Sometimes I long for what I used to have. Then I remember that the people in my life that said they cared about me never really showed evidence of it, so why miss them? Why look back at all? 

I want to find somewhere to start over. I’d have to be sure those people aren’t looking for me anymore, but that’s the plan. I’m going to only have people who care in my life… like, actions not just words. 

My home sucked, my family sucked, my life was below average and no matter how hard I pushed to get something better nothing ever changed. When I really think about this is exactly what I needed. Well, the robotics maybe not so much, but a chance to start over… definitely. New Marla can be whoever she wants, and go wherever she likes.

If only I could figure out where I want to go… and know whether or not I’m being tracked. Paranoia is NOT a good feeling. And the New Marla cost those people a pretty penny. I’d be looking for me if I was them. I am pretty impressed with my escape. I guess being mundane the whole time beforehand let them think I was less of a risk. 

The whole time they had me locked up while they worked on me I was just so… depressed. They had me totally jacked on drugs while they did surgery after surgery after surgery. At one point they started adding in anti-depressants because I became so lifeless they worried there would be no point to it all if I was a useless bag of bones. I guess it worked, or helped or whatever…

Because when they were going to transport me to some sort of adult-foster-home situation they let me move unrestricted and I took my chance to run. They were just totally unprepared for it. Apparently a little fresh air perked me up and got me moving. I think I ran for like three hours before I even took a break.

Towards the end they started revealing the plan they had for me and… no. I get to control my life. At least, I hope I do. Honestly I have this fear they’ve got me on remote control and one of these days my heart will just stop. Or I’ll go brain dead. But until then, I’m working on starting over. I at least can try. 

All know is that my feet can keep carrying me, and I’m never going back. To my old life, or to those people. I’ll find a place where I belong, and people don’t pretend to be one thing and are really some other thing. Which is ironic, of course because I’ll probably have to lie my ass off to fit in anywhere. Who would accept a girl who looks harmless and is really cyborg monster? 

I guess I’ll see when I get… wherever I’m going. 

I can’t wait to have a roof over my head, and a bed to sleep in every night. It sounds dumb but right now I miss those little things the most. I mean, let’s be real. Sleeping in the woods and eating handouts from shelters or out of dumpsters is pretty low. 

It can only go up from here, right?

Mechs (The First)

Picture this.

A girl, about 20 years old. Not too tall, about average. Hair above shoulders, with the underside layers dyed a bright blue in contrast to the natural mousy brown. Eyes, friendly and also brown, with a just a little makeup, very “low maintenance” as they would say.

Clothes are more complicated. Layers. Lots of them. Purple and black striped tights under knee high socks under knee high boots. A black mini skirt, but not one that says anything promiscuous. Long sleeved black tee, under a short sleeved red tee, under a hand-detailed vest. An AWESOME vest (in my opinion). Denim, I think that was originally a jacket, with hand-attached studs and patches. Nothing too punk rock but very “my own” kind of style. A brown, worn purse slung over the shoulder and across the chest, mostly holding a wallet that takes up most of the space inside. Probably also some gum, and keys. She’s only carrying a plastic Walgreen’s bag, that has a fresh tube of mascara and a bottle of iced tea. No fancy jewelry, no cell phone.

That is what I looked like just before my accident. Now picture this. A girl, about 21, in a hospital gown in a plain room, alone. I don’t know what happened to my things, or if anyone knows I’m here. But they say I am the first subject and therefore the most important. So, even though I am almost fully healed, they are hesitant to release me.

My hair is longer, and the blue has grown out. I haven’t really seen myself in a mirror much, but I’m sure I look different than I remember.

They did tell me eventually what happened to the girl I first described. An asshole riding his bike on the sidewalk going WAY too fast knocked me into the street. They say no one ever identified him. I think maybe it’s becasue these people were involved…. but I won’t ever tell them that. As a person might do, my arms automatically went out to catch my fall, and were driven over. By a delivery truck something with big tires and LOTS of weight.

The new version of me has been given replacements. I was also given another “add-on" as they have been referred to, and they won’t give me a straight answer as to whether it was necessary or not. One ear was re-shaped (I can believe I hit the road hard enough for that) but they also enhanced my hearing. Like, A LOT. I’m pretty sure they sound-proofed my room shortly after they activated the hearing adjustments becasue The room looked… smaller when they brought me back from physical therapy one day. That and I couldn’t hear what was happening in the other rooms and halls anymore.

So, that’s who I was, and this is who I am. Both versions are mostly me, but the new version scares me a little. The new arms are harder to control. I hurt someone when they first let me try them out. Now I’ve had them a while and am better at controlling them. I could probably punch a hole in a concrete wall if I wanted to.

Lately I’ve been asking if they will let me go like they promised they would, and I wish they would just be honest. If they aren’t going to, I want to know. If they are… well… then I want to go! I’m sure if they do, I’ll be monitored all the time, but at least I won’t feel like a caged animal. They said I would have bled to death if they hadn’t helped me. And even if I hadn’t bled out, I would not have been given new arms like these…

They did say, I could have a haircut and some normal clothes to leave in. I don’t know if that means my old ones, if they survived, and I don’t even know that they’d fit… I’ll probably go through some whole internal crisis redefining myself when I do get out of here. Wouldn’t anyone? Girl is normal one minute, and the next is being rehabilitated after being in a gruesome accident and being given new awesome robotic arms?

I mean… I’m part robot now. That’s super weird. I bet I’ll be able to arm wrestle the crap out of anyone! But I shouldn’t abuse them… You know, like Uncle Ben said in Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” So… I gotta be responsible. 

Mechs (About to Begin)

My people skills have paid off. Maybe it was a fluke. Today my “mechanics” (that’s what I’ve dubbed them) didn’t come in as a team per usual. Today it was just one. 

I got him to talk. First time they’ve said anything to me beyond procedural words.

His name is Michael, and he doesn’t seem happy. He’s good at what he does, but I don’t think he liked the job. He told me that just like they can’t tell me anything, they can’t tell anyone outside of here anything either. 

He told me if I leave (if, not when… I noticed that) then I’ll understand the burden of this secrecy. He told me the company, whose name he still won’t reveal, has a cover. It’s very covert. I wonder if he even knows the real name of this operation.

Michael even spilled that this place I’m in, that I’ve been brought to to be given new eyes, isn’t the only one. There are places all over the world doing this exact same thing. And by exact same thing I mean this:

These people take injured, or in my case disabled people, without anyone’s consent, and basically kidnap them. They bring the chosen people to a nameless, hidden facility, and without choice are given new parts. But not donated parts from live people. The parts are mechanical. I am becoming a cyborg.

I will have, supposedly, eyes that work when they are done. But special ones. Eyes that see further and see more detail. It’ll be like having a superhero ability. 

Most of me is angry, and scared. I never asked for this, I have lived my whole life blind, and that’s the life I am accustomed to. They took me right off the street. I was on my way to see a friend (who I can only imagine was left confused and hopefully concerned for me) and just walking down the street when I hear a van door slide open, and then… they just grabbed me. They covered my mouth before I could even begin to scream. Of course there was no way for me to see them coming, but I still blame myself for not paying more attention that day. I could have HEARD something. 

I was never told where we were going, why they took me, or any other defining information. I didn’t hear them talk at all until they were strapping me to a bed to begin their testing. But they only said things like “lay still” or threaten sedatives. If I was uncooperative they would drug me. I’ve lost track of how many times they have drugged me now, and tend to just go along with it instead. What point is there in fighting it?

I managed to get my “friend” Michael to tell me other thigns too. Mostly he just got comfortable chatting and spilled the beans on a few things. 

There was most certainly a reason they chose me (although he didn’t know what it was), as there was for each candidate. In fact, they chose so carefully almost no one was rejected from the procedure. And it wasn’t just blind people. Apparently my friend had seen others get converted to less-than-human status and I was the first blind man he saw. A lady with new feet and legs. A man with multiple injuries being repaired in another location right now, who had been hurt very badly in a factory accident (though part of me wonders how much of an “accident” it was… if they research their patients first). A woman who had been released after a successful addition of new hands. 

I’m not sure if knowing I wasn’t alone in this was comforting or scary. And then I couldn’t stop thinking about those people. They were… the only others who would ever understand what I was going through. Two had even come out of this successfully! Should I be excited? Is there actually a chance that implanting all these robotics in might be successful and wont kill me? 

It seemed that the befriended employee’s chatter only left me with more questions. I was so unsettled, he must have seen it on my face. He clammed up after that and sadly, Michael was never one of my mechanics again. 

Surely, there are cameras that monitor me. Surely, someone saw him talk. My only “friend” here lasted about fifteen minutes, but at least it happened. He did say in there somewhere that it wouldn’t be much longer until they would ask me to test out my new eyes. I should be excited. That little part of me that wasn’t angry… was hopeful.

I might see. For the first time.

Mechs (Already Begun)

Sliding into bed, next to the only man I will ever truly love, I become his little spoon and try to relax. Somehow I have managed to keep my secret from him. And I hate secrets. Aside from this one little… one HUGE secret… there is nothing hidden between us. 

Hearing him breathe, almost in my ear, I try to calm and clear my mind. But mostly I just grateful he was already asleep when the spasm hit. 

It’s amazing and so fortunate how he is never with me when these things happen. My fingers start moving independently of me and it’s horrifying. It should be less scary since while they are attached to my body, they are not my own. But it is.

It is the most bizarre thing ever to watch the robotic fingers on the robotic hands attached to my totally normal body just… freak out.

I’ll have to call… those people… in the morning. They said after the last time to call right away but I’m exhausted and don’t want Paul to find out. I’ll have to call in to work again, and go see them about it. 

"Them". How stupid is that? I’ve been the product of their work for over a year now, been implanted with their robotics, and I still don’t even know what to call them. It’s THEIR fault I have to keep this secret. Well, that and it would freak people out. But they always come get me in some blacked-out vehicle, and all I have is a card with the contact number for situations like this.

More than my worry about the spasm (they do that sometimes but not often), I worry about Paul. How long can I keep up this lie? That i’m the ordinary girl he fell in love with? The one I pretend to be?

Sure, the rest of who I am is me. But having robotic hands is a pretty big deal to most people I’d assume…. it still blows my mind sometimes. 

And… it’s either this, or no hands at all. I AM grateful. I am. But all this hush around it. It’s hard to maintain and what if they DO spasm in front of someone? What if they revel themselves regardless of how well I hide the truth?

I even sometimes pretend to need Paul to open jars. Which is RIDICULOUS. I could pull the layers of a penny apart if I wanted to. 

And he always says, “Anna, what would you do without me?” 

Inside I know I couldn’t live without him and that question makes me panic, but only becasue I’m hiding such a massive thing. But outside I smile and shrug, and thank him for opening a stupid jar that was actually no challenge at all for me. It’s all those little things. I have to remember to pretend my hand have regular dexterity and strength. I can’t type too fast at work, or write to neatly. My writing is literally at robotic level neatness. And it looks like it. So mostly I prefer to type, and focus on slowing it down. I do about 65-70 words per minute as far as people know. I could probably do 200-220 if my brain could think as fast as my fingers can move.

But work is easier, I’m under the radar there. At home, with Paul… 

I just can’t lose him.

Do I think he would leave me if I revealed my secret? That I’m actually part robot, technically a cyborg altered after my hands were crushed, by people I can’t name? What would be a bigger deal to him- the cyborg thing, or the fact that I kept it from him? 

As I curl closer against him, I almost start to cry. Though the spasm don’t hurt, as my hands (thought they have censors for touch) aren’t real and the robotics aren’t set up that way, I am in pain. The pain of lying. The pain of paranoia. The pain of not knowing what happens when all this, at least in my mind, comes crushing down around me. No secret stays secret forever. 

When, just like my real hands have gone… will he?

Mechs (Another One Begins)

I don’t know where I am. 

Who are these people?

The last thing I can remember is… working. The factory line… just another day.

Wait, no. Something went wrong. The assembly line… something… I just can’t piece anything else together. 

These people, whoever they are, have me so sedated I bet that’s why I’m so foggy. But  when I ask them what happened, they pretend I’ve said nothing. And I’m almost incapacitated. My legs are free to move, but both arms are in massive combination cast-and-restraint type contraptions. I fear the worst but try to let myself fall back to sleep when I get too far into terror over what might have happened… 

At one point, I tried to figure out how long I’ve been in this place. But nothing changes and the people that are caring for me reveal nothing. 

I say “this place” becasue it may seem like a hospital in it’s essence, but it feels must more like a laboratory. On occasion I pretend to be asleep when they (whoever they are) come in to check on things. They always come in pairs and sometimes they chatter if they think I’m not listening. But the bits and pieces mostly end up sounding like jargon, either medical or scientific.

What I have managed to piece together is that something happened… something bad. I assume becasue my last memory was at work that it happened there. And that these people are “helping” me recover. 

But if they are helping me, why will they tell me nothing? Why am I left to lay here confused and tied down? 

I admit I am somewhat scared. This place, and everything in it is void of labels. There is not a hint of company or identifier on anything that might help me conclude anything as to where I am. 

It was all of a sudden, just yesterday (or what feels like the previous day), that I remembered my family. My mother and father, my brother… what must they be thinking now? Are they aware of my situation? Are the worried for me? If it’s the latter, my poor mother must be so sick with grief, and confusion. She was always nosy, and to have no inkling of where I am… and have been… for all this time… 

When I remembered them I cried twice. Once for shame of forgetting them, although now I realize that could not be helped under the heavy sedation, and a second time for the emptiness of being without them. 

I miss them so much. I miss doing my job, feeling productive, helping provide for my family. What had happened while I was at work??

I try when the energy is there, to bring back to the front of my mind the event that last took place there. I try… but it’s lost to me for now. I promise myself that when I am free of the heavy dosage I am trapped under, this heavy blanket on my brain, I will remember. But my curiosity get the better of me and I am wanting SO BADLY to know. Part of me imagines that when I do finally recall the even that led to this… I will immediately want to un-know it.

And what of my home? I am thankful I have no pets, or plants or anything that would have been left unattended. That is, of course, aside from my bills. And that is a subject I have no energy for at all.

Some days I feel a sudden burst of energy and thrash against the binds that hold my arms in place. People rush in to calm me, but they come smiling as if pleased. I have no idea what that means, but it definitely means something. 

If I have learned anything from my time in this unlabeled prison I am in, it is to ignore when my nose itches. When one has no access to their hands to itch with, that annoyance becomes a thing to focus on. I will myself to ignore the itch… and now I only recognize it as a thing that happens, and passes with time. 

When will I know something? When will they tell me something? Anything? Will they keep me sedated like this, fogged into a stupor forever? Surely they can’t. 

This… experiment… or whatever it may be… can’t last forever. Can it?

I long for answers when my brain allows for longing.

At this point, any answer would suffice.

Mechs (The beginning)

Today is a day I wish I had friends.  

I supposed I wish for this every day, but today especially. It has been years since I have had a real group of true friends. Mostly I am alone now. Things are… different than they used to be. 

Of course, I am different than I used to be. I used to be human…

Today marks the first time I tried out my “new self” in the sun. Nothing over heated, or felt lunky or slow afterward, and I am so grateful. Winter was concerning enough with snow and sleet and puddles and drifts… “mechs” are meant to lope around in those conditions. Even with boots and a coat and scarf and gloves… it was challenging. The cold seemed to tighten me up more than today’s heat. So maybe I need to move somewhere warmer.

All I can feel today is lonely though. Usually spring is when flowers bloom and weather turns more bearable and people shed their layers to enjoy the sun together. While I did have a while to enjoy the sun, it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as it would have been with friends. My only friend today was the book I am reading.

It’s amazing that last year I could think about swimming with no worry, or dousing myself with a hose to cool off without care. Now, water causes worry. 

I know, they told me “it shouldn’t be a problem” but the words “shouldn’t” and “isn’t” ar two completely different things. This fake, ultra-realistic skin like stuff I have on my feet and most of my legs is believable enough to wear shorts, or even a swimsuit. It even colors to match my skin if the rest of me tans. Pretty impressive… yet I still worry.

Sure, I no longer need to stretch very much before exercise, I don’t have cramps in my legs and feet as I used to, and the injury I would have had forever is gone. But…

This isn’t how I would have wanted it. I would have preferred to just deal with the pain. LIKE A NORMAL PERSON.

Normal. There’s something I’ll never be again. Part human, part machine… cyborg isn’t like hair color or favorite food. Not so easy to bring up in conversation. Doesn’t quite slide off the tongue. Doesn’t mesh with what people currently find not totally freaking weird and or scary. 

I’m NOT scary. It’s just my legs. The rest of me, aside from a small implant near my heart that regulates the interface between real me and machine me, is all human. But that’s not what people would hear. So… I avoid people mostly. 

I do want friends. But after the time spent in isolation, under sedation while I was “altered” I not only have forgotten how to make them, I’ve also no idea who I am to even introduce myself. 

"Hi, I’m Stella. I was in a facility for the last three years having mechanical legs attached to my deformed self after an accident, but don’t think of me as ‘cyborg’ think of me as ‘friend’."


Part of me wished I would have just died in that accident. I know that’s a shit way of looking at things. I should be grateful someone found me. I should be grateful the hospital stabilized me and replaced the blood I lost after that truck took off one foot completely and wrecked the other one permanently. I SHOULD be grateful I’m not stuck in a wheelchair after all that happened. 

Well, I’m not right now. And I think it’s becasue I’m so lonely. What good is being brought back to health… and then past that to super-human level… if you’ve got no one to be with?

I can walk, I have a home in a place that is currently experiencing beautiful sunny weather, I have the other things I need…

But like most things, I think being alone ruins any sweet deal. My heart aches for someone to talk to. That’s it. No deep need, no complicated situation, no crazy demand. Just a friend to confide in. Someone to call when I worry about my parts acting up. And for regular stuff too. Everyone has bad days, even “mechs”. 

Or, I assume. I am told there are others like me. Maybe not with replaced legs, but other replaced parts. They DO exist. I am NOT the only freak like myself in the world. But as I don’t know any of them… that knowledge does me no good.

Tomorrow I go in for a tune up, or check up, or whatever you call it when people come and take you to a secret facility and make sure your high-end replacement legs aren’t breaking down and are still in tip-top condition. I used to hate those trips, I felt awful about all of it… but now even being blindfolded or sitting in a blacked-out car doesn’t bother me. And there’s only one reason why.

I get to spend a day with other people. They definitely ARE NOT my friends. But they know me now, and I can at least talk to them. You know, let off some steam. They don’t mind, and I honestly don’t really know if they even really listen.

But today, I wish I had friends.

Unseen to the End

When Annie took the invisibility pills, she thought it would just be a few days of totally screwing with people, sneaking up on those she wanted to hear with out being noticed… the usual idea people tend to have.The added side effect of being noiseless would only up the hilarity. She thought it would be a romp, some fun, some stealth… enjoy being unseen for a few days then it would wear off and life would go back to normal. 

But she was wrong. The experimental pills did NOT wear off, and after weeks of being lost by the eyes of everyone… she became depressed. When she tried to move things to make noise  or write notes to reach out for help, people panicked and thought it was a trick, or something supernatural. No one ever came to the conclusion is was her asking to be recognized.

It was her own fault. The day she had popped the pills she “cleverly” wrote a note to be found saying she was going on a trip, returning days later. Only she never returned as far as anyone was concerned, and she had told no one of the experimental pill trail she had joined to get some extra cash. 

Thinking of her previously wanting the extra money and how she thought it’d be so much fun made her ache. She had become lost in being invisible, and was sure the drug (whatever it was) was starting to have side effects. She couldn’t even contact the drug company for help, since the building was motion accessed and she couldn’t make a call with no voice to be heard.

Despair began to sink in. This was the worst kind of isolation. Her thoughts became circular, spinning on what happened if the faulty medication never wore off. What would she do? She couldn’t go to work, so she’d run out of money. And she couldn’t go to the grocery store without completely freaking out anyone who saw her not there, and a floating basket or self-propelled cart moving through the store, random things coming  up off the shelves of their own volition. Not that she was eating much anyway. Her sadness had swallowed her appetite. She felt as the weeks went on that surely she was shrinking away into nothingness, but had no way of really knowing with no reflection.

Shouldn’t the drug company have sent someone around at this point? Didn’t someone have enough concern for her absence to come searching for her? Did anyone care or notice that she had been gone at least two months with no (noticed) contact?

Annie knew she would have to accept this new state of living somehow, or sink into a sadness so deep it would be the end of her. She tried to form a plan.

She started doing surveys and things online that required only typing to earn money. It wasn’t much, but it was income. She found a grocery delivery service and always left the door unlocked with a note saying “Just stepped out, please leave the food inside the door.” And she forced herself to get out. She went for walks in places she knew, but avoided them at times she might see someone she knew. Seeing anyone who she knew would look right through her was too painful. 

She occasionally walked past the office of the drug company, hoping to happen to be there right as someone else was entering and shimmy past them to gain entry. But she never saw anyone. 

Until one day, fed up with being in her house, she went by again. No one was trying to gain access to the building, but there were two men who looked vaguely familiar talking in the parking lot. When she overheard a snip of their conversation, she moved closer and listened in horror.

The two men discussed, in rising panic, how none of the trail participants had ever returned to report on the experience. They seemed concerned about the trouble they themselves, and the company would be in if anyone found out and one mentioned the possibility of the company shutting down or simply relocating to begin again. They spoke about how only after the fact did the scientists involved realize that a gene found in humans, not found in the lab animals they previously tested on, attached to the drug, possibly permanently preventing it wearing off. As if the human body adapted to the chemicals and made them apart of it’s biology. 

Annie felt sick, and couldn’t take hearing anymore. She ran away, barely seeing through her tears. She shoved confused people on the sidewalks out of the way, no longer caring who she effected. Her anguish was so great, it overwhelmed her. She ran, and ran, so lost in the darkness that was filling her she never realized she had ran out into the street and was hit by an oncoming truck who of course, never saw her.

The accident baffled the police until one officer tripped and fell over her invisible body. Annie’s death was the beginning of the saving everyone else who took the drug. It was weeks before it was even put together enough to investigate the drug company, but it did happen. After days of confusion, eventually someone figured to try and print the seemingly unseeable person that wrecked a truck and caused a pileup. 

Her prints revealed her identity, and after the police found her home, slowly the pieces began to come together. Sadly, by this time the company had relocated, and became in the not so literal sense invisible as well. But word was sent out to the masses for any other people also stranded in invisibility to come forward. They were offered help, and a facility to stay in where they could be monitored and at least seen by heat sensors while a cure was developed. 

Those people eventually got their visibility back. And despite that, they knew it would have never happened if not for Annie. Her death, the situation that lead to it, and her story were shared all over the world, in hopes that if that drug company ever surfaced again, the story would never repeat itself. 

Of the news, and the memorial for her, and the person to person talk to fluttered around, one thing was always the most important to be shared.

You never know when is the last time you’ll see someone.

Find a Penny

Penny had been running for so long, her feet had no feeling. It was as if they were only moving her forward becasue like her legs she willed them to. She didn’t want to look down, she knew the bushes she had run through earlier were covered in barbs and she didn’t want to see the blood.

It wasn’t so much the sight of blood in general that made her sick, it was her own. But Penny couldn’t think about that. She had to simply keep moving. She hoped the cheap shoes she had managed to scrounge up money for earlier that week would hold up…

She could still hear them behind her. She knew it was wrong to steal, but she had been so hungry. The meal had clearly been abandoned by it’s purchaser and would have been thrown away anyway. But still, it was stealing. She was almost as upset about having stolen as she was about being chased. About being in this situation in the first place.

How has it come to this?

It would sound ridiculous to others, but it was a string of those “one thing after another” sort of events.

Penny had only innocently purchased a parka at the thrift store. How was she supposed to know the donater had left something very important in it? Furthermore, how was she supposed to know that they were trying to get it back and not totally stalking her? Even more so, how could Penny have known that the item that she threw out with the other “trash” she pulled from the pockets would end up leading her here? 

She couldn’t get it back. The trash can in the subway station surely had been cleared by now. Her one cornered confrontation with the henchman-type guy who informed her of her predicament made it clear “sorry” wouldn’t cut it. The worst of it all was that he refused to tell her what exactly it was that was lost. It was definitely small, it had been balled up inside a page of newsprint when she discarded it. And usually tiny important things aren’t easily replaced.

Not that Penny had any money anyway. She had bought her only winter coat on sale at a thrift store for christ’s sake. 

She thought about all of this as she forced herself forward. What was there even to do besides that?

The forest she was running through begin to thin, and at last there were no more briers pulling at her legs. It was the first bit of relief she had felt since this all started. She tried to breathe more quietly as she moved toward what looked like a clearing, in case there was someone ahead.

It was ironic  perfect timing, her being quiet, despite adding to her breathlessness. In that few seconds of quietness (aside from her footfall) she heard the men she thought might be ahead where there, unfortunately, her running speed prevented her from having the time to register their presence before she stumbled into their camp circle  right at what looked like dinner time.

Afterthoughts of Innocence

The note I left behind when I left my home for the last time today read as follows:

I am a murderer. I accept that. I never would have seen myself doing something so awful, and I’m sorry to those I have let down. This is my goodbye.

Look, I can’t justify what I did aside from saying one thing. While I know it wasn’t technically self defense, I was defending my sanity. If there’s any left. I know he was watching me from his window, I know he was stalking me. That man needed to be stopped. I just got to him, before he got to me. Does that make it right? No… But if you go to his house and look around, I guarantee you will find evidence I am not out of my mind. I hope. I would go look myself but I am so shaken from what I have done, I can’t. 

I left him where he fell, and I’m leaving. I hope there is at least understanding that I am just a girl defending myself… but I can’t risk betting on hope.

Sure, it doesn’t make me look good, but it’s honest. And maybe if I am never caught, those who knew me won’t hold my memory in an ugly light. Not that it matters much, I won’t ever be able to see them again. Because now that I’m running… I can’t go back. Ever.

Unless of course I can change my identity somehow completely, or just accept a life in prison. And I don’t see either one of those as possible. Sure, I’ll have to survive under an alias from now on, but going back where people would recognize my face in a moment is impossible. So, I’m going. I left a few things behind for my loved ones, hoping they forgive me, hidden among my junk I had to for the most part leave behind. I hope they find it when they go to get rid of it all…

But I won’t miss much of it. Aside from my bed maybe, or my photo albums, and my books… but most of it is replaceable. I packed my car with the things I would need, and emptied my bank account. That made my leaving feel very final. Weird how money has that effect.

I’ve been driving for several hours now, just straight north. My plan is to get to another state by the time I need to stop for sleep. I don’t really have a plan for where I’m headed… but I didn’t have a plan for what led to this either. Sometimes, you just have to go with what makes sense, and not getting caught is one of those things  We’ll see how successful I am with this. I’ve never in my life full out run away from anything like this. At least, geographically. 

I can’t stop thinking about all of it. I had been terrified of my neighbor since he moved in. No one seemed to believe he was watching me, but he was. He had that “harmless” thing going on, and that’s what people thought of him. And when he came to my door this morning, that was it. I only ever swung that bat I kept by the door once. That was all it took. I guess in certain situations you don’t even know your own strength.

I hope they do go through his house, becasue I know there’s gotta be something there to prove me right. I hope they find something that makes them totally feel bad for not helping before it came to this… turning a non-violent, peace loving girl like me into a killer.

But at this point, none of that really matters. Unless I get caught…

Becca Running

Becca tried to hold her breath and be silent. But after running for about three miles she was gasping for air. Why were those men chasing her? What did she do? Becca was clueless, and ready to pass out. Long distance running was NOT her forte. 

She could hear them drawing closer, their voices getting louder as they approached the alley she had darted into. She knew it was dumb to hide in an alley with only one way in and out, but she could feel her legs starting to give, and needed time to rest. At least she was small, and could hide more easily than others could. It was a seriously wonderful coincidence that someone had wrecked a car into the back of the alley ages before, giving her somewhere to shimmy behind and disappear.

They were smart, whoever they were, and she knew this when they grew quiet as they entered the dirty, trash strewn alley. Dumb thugs would just taunt, and yell at their prey. These guys, whoever they were, knew better. They made their way toward the crashed car slowly, looking around for signs of her.

Knowing she had yet to silence her strained, heavy breathing, she pulled her sleeve over her mouth in attempts to at least muffle it. Through a space in the door of the heap, she could see them. If they didn’t approach the wreck at the same time, she might have a chance to dart between them and get away. But if they boxed her in, there was no chance. She was exhausted  and afraid, and knew her evasion skills were almost non-existent. She was amazed she had made it this far.

The bigger of the two, if one was even bigger, was almost to her. If he tried to pry the rusted door open, he would see her. And even if she was so wedged in that he couldn’t pull her out, he had a gun. She tried to be tiny, and silent…

and her phone vibrated. It didn’t matter that it was set to silent. The movement of her phone in her pocket took her so off guard she gasped, and she knew he heard. There was no stealth now. The bigger one called out to the slightly smaller one and they both pointed their guns at her hiding place.

Becca closed her eyes and braced for the inevitable, but then opened them again when she heard someone far away- probably at the mouth of the alley- yell at them. What could that person be thinking? Did it matter? She might actually have a chance to escape now! She peered through the space and saw them moving back toward the other direction. They were yelling at the mystery person, but since she didn’t speak the language they had spoken (screamed) at her she never had a clue what they were saying.

For the tenth time in the last fifteen minutes she told herself she would never travel to a country that didn’t speak English unless she knew their language again. IF there was a chance to have an again. She listened in amazement as the person was clearly taunting them, laughed outright, and took off back down the street in the direction she had come from. She may have been petrified but not so much to keep her from getting the hell out of there in a hurry. She jutted upright, and climbed back through the window the way she had come in, but got stuck.

Those thugs (or whoever they were) might have left for the moment but they way they had pursued her, there was no way they had completely given up. She knew this, and started frantically to un-wedge her shoe from the space it had gotten lodged in. It seemed like the harder she pulled, the more stuck it became and she knew the easy thing to do was to slip the shoe off her foot and just go. But how far could she run in one shoe? 

She decided to find out. After untying her laces and sliding her foot out, she said a goodbye to the shoe (she loved those sneakers…) and made a run for it. It was clear the best option was to turn the opposite direction from where those men went, and she did just that. It was a little weird and off-balance, but she managed a decent speed, glancing back to see if they had given up on that stranger and come back for her. 

She realized she was just turning corners now, and not paying attention to where she was headed. But, it suddenly stopped mattering when a door on a storefront flew open, and an arm reached out and pulled Becca off the street. Standing in almost complete darkness, panting, with one foot exposed and hurting, Becca just waited. She had run out of processing ability and had no idea what had happened. 

Of course her surprise was overwhelming when a light was finally turned on and she saw the person who had pulled her off the street. It was a girl, just her age. They could have almost been twins. And from the apologetic look on the stranger’s face, she finally had an idea as to why she was being chased by men with guns in a country she had never been to before. They had mistaken her for… whoever this was.

But who was she?

The Ninja and The Brute

Running, always running. 

I can’t even remember what it’s like to casually walk somewhere. I am impressed with my own ability to move silently these days though. Who knew a klutz like me could be  so graceful? Turns out it only took an onslaught of zombies to get me there.

Yea, zombies. Honestly despite how ridiculous it is to even say it, not too many people were surprised. The way chemical warfare was advancing, some people even anticipated it, and were actually prepared for it. I wasn’t, but at least I wasn’t in denial like so many of the older people… they were the first to go of course. And thanks to cinema and video games most older kids and teens were hardly freaked out at all. 

It’s amazing how quickly a normally non-violent teenage girl will go to wielding a shotgun or ax and destroying zombies on a regular basis. That’s my little sister. Wendy is fifteen and while I’ve become more agile and silent, she’s become a tiny, adorable zombie killer. She calls us The Ninja and The Brute. It’s pretty accurate. Trish the nineteen year old ninja, and her sidekick Wendy the brute. Of course, Wendy would say I’m the sidekick, in traditional sister fashion.

Some things never change, not even after a zombie breakout. Not ever after most of the people you know have either died or disappeared. I hold onto those things. Like our banter, just as hilarious and obnoxious as ever. She might be the only thread keeping me attached to whatever normality is now. I definitely wouldn’t have stayed alive this long without her. 

It hasn’t been just the two of us this whole time, but in the eight months since this all began, no one else has stayed… alive. There was Bill, who was my neighbor and  stuck with us for a solid three months at the beginning. But he found out his girlfriend was a zombie when she attacked us on a grocery run and couldn’t bring himself to kill her. There was Marcy, a girl from Wendy’s school who found us after her entire family was destroyed in a fire that was meant to take out a group of zombies. She was with us two days. That was so sad. Wendy was upset for weeks, blaming herself. Honestly I think watching her friend die was what hardened her into the brute she now is. 

I try to see the positive. Like, at least I’m not alone. At least my one companion is my sister who I love very much. Of course that will make it all that much harder if something would happen to one of us… but I try not to think about that. We’ve done remarkably well so far. Considering I used to be a shy, uncoordinated, easily intimidated almost-adult and Wendy was a non-violent, tree hugging, save-the-earth kinda sweetheart you’d never guess to wield weapons young teenager. The other groups we’ve crossed paths with even briefly were mostly just guys. 

In the stereotypical way, men shied away from zombie slaying less than women do, and I guess have seen more zombie flicks so they had more survival skills to start off with. But we were smart. As soon as the metaphorical dust settled after the initial outbreak, we started raiding our surrounding area, stocking up on food and weapons and trying to figure out a plan.

Our plan has been rewritten so many times I’ve lost count, but each amendment to it has worked out. After our parents… turned… we realized we needed to get away from our own town. We just didn’t want to have to kill anyone else we knew. It was so hard, knowing that the face of the thing that was attacking you used to belong to someone you cared about. The easy solution was to just go away from the place where that was possible. But that meant moving into unknown terrain, and that was a big downside.

But we did anyway. We found the biggest car with the best gas mileage we could, loaded it with gas, food, and our defenses, and drove. People we had met mentioned things they had heard in regards to a “safe zone” but it was never the same place. Some said go North, some said get off the main land, some said West… so we had to choose for ourselves. And since we knew the fewest people on the West Coast, we went that way.

Technically, we’re still going that way. It’s slow going. Trying to keep ourselves fed, watered, and keeping fuel in our car… it wasn’t easy. And we weren’t noticing any increase or decrease in the zombie population so we have no way of knowing if we made the right call.

So, here we are. Somewhere in Kansas. Because of all the farms there’s less bodies around, but every time we get near a town again there seems to be more people (living or otherwise) than in some regular, non-farming areas. Almost like a lot of people thought coming out to the boons was a good idea and it clearly turned out not to be. I don’t know what their plans were, but it seems like most people just didn’t have much of one.

One thing is always at the front of my mind, and while Wendy doesn’t really care (“it doesn’t make any difference,” she keeps saying) I need to know. It’s a simple one too. 

Why? Why did this happen? I know that knowing the answer to that won’t bring anyone back that we’ve lost, but I’m an answers person. The news stopped airing before anyone knew to tell the masses, but SOMEONE has to know. And since I feel like it’s harder to keep moving forward without a goal, that’s mine. I am really only trying to do two things. Keep my sister and myself alive, and find out what caused the zombies. Maybe knowing could keep us from becoming one, or help us save others before they turn.

I believe whoever created the cause of it all, has a cure. Or, had a cure. I don’t know how prepared they were for all of this. It went from a single incident to so many, SO fast. Who knows who at the center of this is even still alive… but I’m going to try and find out. Because if stay still for too long, or lose motivation to keep running (and killing) it’s over. And as long as I have my sister to take care of, I can’t even think like that.

Mara, changing.

"Write about love," they said. "Write what you know!"

Well, those are two completely different things, thought Mara. She knew a lot of things, a huge vast amount of things, actually. But love, it wasn’t one of them. Sure, a younger her had thought she had been in love, but the current her knew those feelings were just infatuation. Which was fine, but didn’t leave her with any experience to draw from. So if she couldn’t write about love, what did she know to write about? 

Mara had lived her whole life in the same town. She had known most to he people in her life the entirety of her life. The adults associated with her parents, or education, or stores in town were all the same. The kids she grew up with, were still for the most part still the people she knew, just older. The town itself, had grown a little on it’s outskirts, but mostly had stayed pretty much the same. And thinking of all this sameness made Mara realize something. She didn’t know change. But change made for good stories. 

The sudden realization that hit Mara square in the face was a simple one. Something in her life would have to change, so she would know it well enough to write it. But what to change? She had become so familiar with a life that stayed the same, anything major would be scary. But change was scary… wasn’t it? It was more obvious that she would liked to have recognized, but she recognized it nonetheless. 

Mara would never make it as a writer in this small, never changing town. That’s what all this deep thought was about, being a writer. There was only one answer to this, she would have to leave. She would have to strike away from home. People who did leave her town usually spent their whole lives planning for it. Mara refused this direction of attack and decided within the month, she would be going. Going where, wasn’t really the point, it was the choice that mattered. And it has been made.

Ok, now that I’m leaving is DOES matter where I go… so where do I go? She thought, walking through her neighborhood trying to memorize the things she might never see again. Nothing came to mind. Major cities seemed off putting. L.A. was so… flashy. And New York was too crowded. Chicago had so much crime. Where does a girl form the middle go when she strikes out?

Later Mara was at home, checking her email, and Tumblr, and YouTube subscriptions, like she did everyday. She hoped desperately to come to some amazing idea from something she saw. Nothing was working. Then, super randomly, she typed in “travel” on all her favorite sites. On Tumblr she saw a lot of amazing photography, and stories about cool far away places, but then she saw it.

A post by one of her favorite bloggers. He was a writer, like her, and lived in Canada. He was responding to a question from another fan of his, asking how he felt about meeting… well.. fans. He said he loved it. He said, that if anyone ever came to his town, he would gladly sit down and have coffee with them. Well, that’s as good a reason to go somewhere as any. And since I have no other ideas… Canada it is!

Mara was so relieved to have picked a place to go, she spent the rest of the night excited, ignoring the planning that was involved. Mostly it was packing, mapping a route, and most importantly, telling everyone she knew goodbye. That last one was super unappetizing  so she planned only to do this with her family, and her best friends, the night before she left. Maybe even the morning of.

Mara packed over the next week, broke it to her parents when they asked what she was doing, and made sure to tell them she’d be back… eventually. She made sure not to define when that would be, or if it meant for a visit or to live there again. No telling what her distraught mother would do to keep her there. Thank goodness her father understood, and calmed her mother. The night before came, a Friday  She gathered her few closest friends together and broke the news. Mostly they were excited. Good Enough, she thought when she was lying in bed for the last time. She intentionally took some over the country pills to help herself sleep, knowing her excitement would be too much otherwise and she’d be awake the entire night worried and excited and freaking out a little.

The morning of, as she was putting the last of her things in her hatchback, her mother tried one last time to get her to stay. As much as she loved her mother, she said no, she had to go. She hugged her parents tight, climbed in her little car, and drove away from all she knew, and towards the biggest question mark she had ever put intentionally in her own way. She hoped desperately for just a couple things.

One, was to make it to border, then her actual destination without getting lost. Two, was to learn at least to write what she knew better, if not to write about love too.