Body Builder

Arsen was building a new body. The process was tedious and incremental, but an improvement over the natural way, he supposed. And this was no new life he was bringing into the world; just a vessel. A vessel through which he might live on.

It helped that he’d finally settled on a new name: Luciana. He hadn’t liked it much at first, but it softened to silk in his mouth as he spoke it again and again until he’d decided. Swapping his sexual morphology would go a long way toward throwing off the authorities. Even within the outlaw circles he frequented, most fugitives forced into body-building left that particular aspect unchanged. It made the synthetic body too alien to inhabit, too other. It was like wearing someone else’s clothes; the fit was wrong. But Arsen was a practical man. He was six-foot-five and 260 lbs. The frame on the table before him would be a foot shorter and 120 lbs. lighter. Less material. More cost effective.

The work was slow going, and he was a man on the run. But he also held a certain unspeakable dread for the next step, so the lengthy build-time afforded him time to process. The human mind can be scanned, cataloged, and reproduced, but it cannot be simply transferred from here to there. Once his mind was in the new body, this old body—the flesh and blood one that held his authentic, organic, original thinking and feeling brain—would be obsolete. Worse than obsolete—a liability. Out with the old and in with the new.

He would be this new creature, in mind and body. And at the same time, this dead, cold machine on the table would one day soon rise. And kill him. He knew it was true, because he would be the killer.

Arsen’s compatriots told him he would get past it, just like they did. But their eyes were hard to read. We all do what we do to survive—even if it means dying. In the ways that matter, he would live on. And with him, the revolution.

Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page. Image by Nikola Angelkoski, used with permission.

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