Author : Ian Florida

Metal grates against stone as my cell door shrieks open. They shout as they slam their rifle stocks into my ribs. I laugh. They pause. They think I should be afraid. They think the metal mask they’ve strapped around my head keeps them safe. I know better; I have a plan.

The leather bites into my skin as they strap me to the cart. They wheel me through the compound’s silver corridors. We enter the fluorescent halls of the medical wing. The light stings my eyes. I blink.

In that instant they jab the needle in my arm. The blue fluid flows down the tube and through my paper thin skin into my tight purple veins. I try to relax and remember the plan.

A thump shudders through the cart as we push past a door. My mind swoons but I don’t need to see to know where we are. The sterile stench of disinfectant fills my mouth. We’re in the operating room.

White masks and blue scrubs crowd around. I find the one clutching the blue sack. The world starts to dim. I don’t have the concentration to make him pull a gun or unstrap my bonds. That would be too much. Remember the plan, something simple. A single word.


My need burns like the morning sun setting fire to the fog.


My vision starts to focus. They haven’t noticed yet. I glance to the side, quickly so I don’t give it away. His hand is resting on the line, cutting off the blue river’s flow. I smirk.

The surgeon drops his knife, “he’s awake” he screams with a voice that reminds me of my cell being opened. One reaches for an alarm, the man at the foot my bed raises his gun; they try to jab another needle in my arm.

“Freeze,” I whisper. They all obey.

“Cut me free,” I order. The lead surgeon takes his scalpel and slices the leather straps. I smile in thanks, but his face remains blank. He is my prisoner now.

I touch the sunlit window and smile. “Shatter.” I collapse against the empty window frame. My muscles shake. I slip to the ground and let my feet dangle from the tenth story window. I sit that way until the sun burns a ruddy red and slips behind the hills to the west.

I sigh as the last light flickers beyond the ramparts of my prison. The sun is dead. I give the surgeons their death as well. I stop all their hearts but one: the man with the gun. I release him so that he may release me.

I can feel his heart race as he realizes I’m no longer strapped to the table. I can feel the wind on his face as he turns to see why the window is open. I can see myself through his eyes: bleached skin that clings to limbs as thin as reeds streaked with blood and cobalt liquid. I feel his trigger finger finish the arc it started so many hours ago.

I leave his mind and return to my own, it’s better to die in the place you were born. If I can’t be on my own world, at least I can be in my own mind and free.


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