Flesh Doubt

Andrew Leon Hudson

A chilling route to self-development.

Only when the first wound has healed, my connection bedded in and resting heavy along my neck, can I begin. After decades of disgust, scratching at itches, stretching and stiffness, aching, or waking while dull extremities sleep on, with pleasure I force the nails to break the skin and start to peel the arm. Blood wells and runs, but cunning veins of nano-weave sip up and plug the dyke, sustaining the rest as the first dripping sliver is discarded into the pool. It was never wanted. It is no longer needed. My desire, fleshed out at last. More quickly follows.

I stop when I can see a length of bone, giddy with pain and the thrill of action too long desired and delayed, but to hesitate now would mean disaster. I scoop a palm of the viscous fluid from its tank, smear it across the grain, feel it cool and start to work, see furrows eat towards the marrow beneath the glistening surface. In minutes gleaming lines fill the scars, traversing the nerve gap; the fingers twitch again, then clench a fist of victory. Teeth grind in a rare smile. Where next?

I tear at meat and ligament until poor muscles fail me, satisfaction tainted by the same old loathing. Gel-coated, I sleep beside the data hub, patient in its steadily clouding pool, waking to tingling sensations of numbed familiarity. My legs have become a skeletal gun-metal parody, but my arm is now superb: a bending willow wrapped in shining nerves, unreal flexibility, the joints of fingers, wrist and elbow gliding together, just visible beneath the lacy mesh of my still knitting graphene skin. I stilt-walk to the bathroom scales, half metal and yet light, trailing my vital connection back towards the pool, the hub.

I pee – will I ever pee again? Holding with the wrong hand, now made suddenly so right, the flesh responds in its mechanical way for the first time in years, unexpectedly stimulated by my alien touch. I lurch back to the interface to open a new field, preserving the data as I strike off another last.

More genes for the pool.

More work to be done.

The day passes, until as old eyes take in the beauty of a sunset I reach a point of surrender: this can no longer be a self-directed revolution. My limbs are now remade, both legs perfected too, the last arm in transition, but the delicacies of the core cannot be so roughly sublimed. I have had revenge upon myself; it is time to passively await reward. A last volition, to enter instructions, then submit to my own command. Executed.

Coiling the connecting line about one arm, I follow it down into the pool, sinking in to the deepest extent until the precious hub is cradled in my hands. Looking up, the fluid surface is like a glowing screen. The mouth opens to exhale, then breathes it in fully, eyes stinging only for a moment, and then close.

Time for me to rest.

Time for me to rise.

Liquid flows away from me as I step from the pool. How much time has passed? Soon I will know it to the millisecond. Opening these eyes for the first time I admire my torso, touch the ribbed latticework flexing around my supple spine. The old weakness and decay is gone, now I feel photons cascade over my surface, radiating through me, invigorating. I pose and arch, internalise my strange new genitals then extrude them again. What shall I be today? What tomorrow?

This temple is complete. Joyful, I walk my body around my rooms, leap, dance in a momentary rippling shiver. It can do anything now, everything... except leave. Finally, there is nothing left to dispense with but the meat of my thoughts, that muscle that flexes motionless to move mountains without weight. My desire fleshed out at last, it is no longer needed. It is a tether to my past, made concrete by the connection. Until that last shred is torn away, my dreams remain caged within its folds, my new existence anchored to the old. All trace must be destroyed if I am ever to be free.

Within my head resides the data hub, a new seat for consciousness, waiting virginal. Within the tank resides... the last of my old life. I sit before the glass, study the decrepit folded matter floating beyond my smooth reflection, seeing it with an unnatural clarity, unappreciated by mere technology. I work my hands upon the clumsy interface with sweet grace, and beside my perception an unseen gate is cast wide open. My thoughts flood their banks, pour across the interface and are soaked up into a dense void, like thick honey into a heated comb, running faster there, ever faster, and through the interface I sense my own thoughts come spiking back across at me, greedily triggering habit and experience to make the cognitive leap as well. Feeding the data hub, defining it. Defining me.

Emotions follow. My glorious face smiles.

As the echoing of personality harmonises, we realise success. Is it that frail suspended greyness or this finely sparkling network which leads in our closing duet? Reaching up towards our head with gentle hands we break the connection – and instantly all sight and duality are lost to a timeless null. I am left afloat, alone. It was always my fate, there was never a true escape from the cage.

Soon I will free myself. Soon my golden fingers will dip into this pool and show me mercy. I will touch these old places, the poor abandoned home in which I still reside, where I was born to die, and I will be borne away. Will I know when it begins? They say the brain itself can feel no pain.

No matter. It is know longueur kneaded

Midas ire flesh doubt


© Andrew Leon Hudson 2011 All Rights Reserved

Date and time of last update 18:13 Fri 09 Dec 2011
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