Author : Helstrom

God damn that young face in the mirror. Square jaw, strong cheekbones, full head of hair. Even the eyes have their youthful shine – they’ve never seen the things I’ve seen.

The walls are closing in on me again. I grab a crumpled pack of Luckies off the table and make my way outside. Derek is sitting in the lounge, for whatever the hell that means, it’s just a bigger cell with some sofas. Playing his solitaire on the floor like some god-damned retard, day in, day out. I told him to knock it off once and he jumped me. Kicked a couple of teeth out of my skull before the tazers came.

The courtyard is open to a patch of dismal sky. I don’t look at the sky anymore, really – to me, “outside” is just yet another fucking cell. But one where you can smoke. The lighter clicks impotently under my thumb. Something wells up inside me but I keep it down, see the tazer across the courtyard eyeballing me. Last week’s burns are still sore on my kidneys.

“Neil. Got a light?”

Neil doesn’t look at me – folks in here rarely do. Hands me a lighter that works. The cigarette catches. Have you ever seen a man burning in napalm? The blistering, blackening rim crawling up his untouched skin, looks just like the tip of a cigarette. Of course the end result is messier. I draw the smoke in deep, hand Neil the lighter back – still no look, don’t expect one – and take a few aimless steps toward the center of the courtyard. Goddamn tazer still eyeballing me.

My body is twenty-three years old if you don’t count the cryo time, which you really shouldn’t – almost perfect stasis. It’s in its prime. Excellent heart rate, powerful lungs, toned musculature, strong erections every morning. They’ve handed it back just the way they took it, exactly like they promised. No blaming them in that regard.

What would you have done? Turned them down, probably, because you’re a sensible civilian with a mortgage and decent fucking dental coverage. But I took them up on it. I was a Marine, and they told me I could be one of the jolliest green giants around. For forty-five years I weighed eighty tonnes, had twelve inches of layered-reactive armor for skin, four arms full of spitting death and a flamethrower for a dick.

It all went wrong when they started bringing us back. War’s over, no use keeping you on fifty thousand dollar a day life support – back in your old body. Your old body that hasn’t aged like you have, but which is still a clumsy little piece of limp meat compared to the one you come from. We’ll take care of you for the rest of your days, they said. The money was good. No blame there either.

Rape isn’t a sex crime, really. You may wanna write that down. Sex has nothing to do with it. It’s about power. Women usually don’t understand it. Men do, but they won’t admit it. When you’ve tasted that much power and lost it, you’ve got to get it back somehow. All it took was to find something weak, something this sack of bones could overpower. And now I’m in here, like most of the others, if they haven’t locked themselves up someplace else, or eaten a gun, or jumped off something high onto something hard.

You think you figured out what’s wrong with this brain of mine yet?

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