How to Wake Up in Her Sleep
When I pulled away the hospital sheet, I asked Jared, “Do you like them?” and he whistled a long note, then rubbed his hands together.
“What are they made out of?” he asked, and I kind of shrugged my shoulders.
“They’re pretty fast,” I said after a while, and he ran his hand down one leg, and I felt his fingers, though he couldn’t have known.
“So how’d you afford them?”
I didn’t answer right away, and eventually Jared slid off the bed, his own gown floating in the low gravity. He stood, and beneath the blue cloth, you could see his pale legs, the cuts across the shins, and he touched my left leg then, running his index finger to my thigh.
“Did your parents buy them?”
“Kind of,” I said. “My grandfather had them delivered from Earth.”
“How do they feel?”
“Well, I don’t know about the legs, but I feel like a girl again.”
Jared rolled his eyes and stepped back. “You’re a girl if you want to be, not because of those things.”
“These things have real calcium marrow, and better yet, they’ve never been frozen.”
“They weren’t even dead.”
“Not if it’s a hospital on Earth. Then it’s good timing.”
“Sounds like your grandfather had someone killed.”
“And her legs sent to the station.”
“Don’t be jealous. There was an accident, and he paid to have them rocketed here.”
“Seems a bit much.”
“Couldn’t he’ve told you to suck it up and suffer like the rest of us?”
“Who said you’re suffering?” I asked Jared, letting the legs stretch enough to reveal the upper thighs.
“Knock it off.”
“Not here.” Jared peeked his head out the door. When he was sure no one was in the hall, he slid back into the room and threw my robe onto the bed.
“C’mon,” he said. “We’re taking them for a test run.”
Down the third corridor, we turned left, and in the hall, under white starlight, a torn Earth girl thrashed on a neo-gurney. Her legs were gone, and she writhed against a thin sheet, her small back arching and collapsing underneath her glass pressure dome. Metal nurses appeared. They droned about, registering vitals, and pushed the struggling girl through slapping doors that locked behind them forming a surgical wall with the imprint SATELLITE GENERAL.
Jared didn’t say anything, and I stared at my feet. My toe wiggled.
Could I call it my? Was that an option? Jared said it was, and later when he pushed me against the same wall, I felt the carbon steel press against the back of her thighs. I wondered if she was still a girl, but it didn’t matter, and Jared asked me, “How does it feel?”
“Like I’m dreaming.”
“Like sex with other people.”
Jared got quiet then, and asked if I felt okay or wrong or something, and I said, “No,” and he sighed and kissed me again, pressing someone else’s lips against my own.
On the other side of the wall, the Earth girl screamed. Jared said he couldn’t hear her, but I’m sure we did. She heard herself as much as I did. We, girls, could feel it, and I asked Jared, “What am I?” but he only kissed me again.
Christopher D. DiCicco was born during the winter in Pennsylvania. He is the author of So My Mother, She Lives in the Clouds and other stories (Hypertrophic Press), and has been published (or forthcoming) in such places as Superstition Review, The Fem, Psychopomp, and Gigantic Sequins. His work has also been nominated for awards, but he’d rather not talk about it. Visit www.cddicicco.com for more.
Photo by Joe Sampouw