Author : Sierra July

She never contemplated a lack of hands. Limbs constructed while the mind dottled, trying to catch up. Limbs operated when the mind was elsewhere.

Limbs were what they wanted when they came down in dazzling light; the ship seethed it titanium molding, red-hot form air travel, travel that would have split lightning in two, jagged.


She wriggles her phantom fingers, memories of appendages that grasped thoughts and dreams when her mind wasn’t yet made up. Brains hi-jacked control from hands, that’s what she believed. Neurons and synapses and the like firing signals to themselves, each other, couldn’t compute to all that she was.

Wrinkles, creases littered her hands when they were hers (still hers, unattached) maps connecting and crossing to form her life in retrospect. And they didn’t have her brain’s dingy grey coloring. Scars from burns and abrasions spoke incandescent stories to whoever studied them. Things that felt hard, unbreakable as quartz, went out like air whipped flame.

Voices tickle her consciousness.

“Subject: #101773. Name: Hisano Sora. Here for limb transfusion.” The man’s voice grows prickly. “How the devil did she lose her hands anyway? Cuts are clean.”

“The Visitors, sir.”

“Ah . . . Perfect subject for the transfusion.”

“Yes, sir.” A younger voice, a male not yet struck by puberty.

A device touches her, she thinks. She can’t be sure. Her neck brace is keeping her from seeing, metal jaws clutching at her jugular. Before she can feel the panic, the brace on her neck is called off, as are the ones on her wrists and ankles. She bolts up and studies her hands. (Hands?) Yes, she has them, flexible and solid, and blue.

“What is this?” she says aloud.

“Plutonarium Ice Fixtures, sweetheart,” she hears the older man say. “They did Pluto a discredit, hacking it off the planet list. Pluto ice makes the best prosthetics. Can’t melt, can’t break.”

What is a hand? A mere tool or a part of her? She misses the marks that were hers, the memories. The new hand is close to her face, the left one. She’s transfixed by the sheen, the glassy glow. It reacts, gripping her neck.

“Oh no, now it looks like she’s experiencing a delayed side effect. There shouldn’t be any . . . unless of course her arm . . .” The older man’s voice sounds unconcerned, like he’s watching television. Her vision blurs.

“The Visitor’s love arm manipulation, sir,” Young Guy says. “Her hands were the least of her worries.”

Her arms? That was her problem? She looks at the flesh of her arms for the first time, a shade too dark. Or was that the blackness swallowing her? Were these her arms or . . .

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