Standing on the terrace, they thought about the first time it changed. All they remembered now was a rainy day, a moment of terror, the feeling of something solid hitting their chest and stomach, and a second of excruciating pain. Then there was darkness, and waking up, focusing on the first thing they could see. Their right wrist, with their birthmark in the shape of the number 9. Only now it was shaped like the number 8.
They smiled, looking out from their house, across the beach and to the ocean beyond, almost as if they could see all the way over to the opposite continent where that moment had happened. The moment that changed their…lives.
They adjusted their robe slightly, draping the material more comfortably down across their shoulders, flowing with the breeze around their ankles, and turned back inside.
Introspective, they turned more shadowy memories over. Crippling pain in their stomach, rushing through their body, being raced under flourescent lights and put to sleep. A laser shot to the head, the violent seizures that came before blessed darkness. Lying on a bed, surrounded by machines breathing for them, nodding for the breathing machine to be unplugged and hearing their own death rattle as the world shifted out of focus, and went black.
They looked at their wrist, escaping further 1u90 and bringing themselves back to now. The number read 3, these days, and they kept very much to themselves. The world might have changed over those lifetimes, but people stayed very much the same. Always looking for a way to tread on someone to get ahead, or just to make themselves feel better. For someone to blame. For someone to gain power from – or remove it from.
They had resisted the transhumanist movement that had taken over the world, giving people longer life, better bodies, repairing things that didn’t need repairing, and they remained fully flesh. It made them something of a pariah to all except the fringe groups that swore the metal people were destined for some form of doom, and those groups were, as far as they were concerned, much worse than those that filled their bodies with technology.
Because most people didn’t get extra lives. They were forgivable because they only got that one attempt.
Still. At least until their next lifetime, they preferred solitude. Next time they reset, perhaps it would change; they found their wants varied each time.
Sipping a whiskey almost as old as they were, they drifted into a reverie. The night came on, and they slept, dreaming of all of their lifetimes. Perhaps the next one would see them out in the world again. But for now, the silence suited them.
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