Author: Hari Navarro

I lay naked on the beach as the tide it nudges, teasing as it tucks me beneath its gossamer sheet before then retracting and sluicing itself back through the curves and crevasses of my body. A gentle wind peaks, whipping into a gust, one that scoops briny foam the settles shivering and yellow as teeth unwashed, from the black mirror shorelines timid and all but silent lap.

My name is Master Flight Surgeon Frances Kahui, 20, my work in off-planet nanotherapeutic oncology is without peer and I’ve always been beautiful. These words form not out of vanity, albeit arrogance was essential in my rise through the ranks, they manifest from truth.

Life has always been the easiest of fits. I cannot remember a time that I struggled, no problem too vexing no issue so unsettling it would cause me to question just why I was here. Life never toyed or set me to fall, never it did.

It’s true I qualified for intelligence enhancement upon enlistment, but that only served to complete a mind already primed and surging at the leash; ravenous as the spittle of ambition brewed and dripped from my chin.

My body is true – young legs that grew long and lithe, skin glowing as the first sun-struck blooms of peppery rust and eyes becoming swirls of warmth as if beneath the effortless glide of the chocolatiers sweep. Testament all to the nucleic strands that splay from my being; a fiery trace back through space and time, a hook of bone that anchors at a beach not so different from this upon which I now lay, the island – home of forebears.

Needless tacks thrown at my feet, that most archaic of notions, that one’s sex and appearance somehow relate to their ability to contribute. So turgid and dusty a thing, one I duly ignored but one that sadly still draws breath. It breathes, but in truth it is hoarse, carrying its own respirator and what more perfect hell than to live in a chamber brimming as it is with whiskey neat and the incessant clanking of testicles shriveled and grey.

I relegated my tender years to insignificance as I drew the very best from my team. Transposing my gift of bottomless optimism and insatiable curiosity as their own resolve it ebbed, so draining it is to surf the lonely currents of spaces endless hollow. But we got here and weep we did as we gazed down upon a globe so stunning in blue.

I have no idea why it happened, my ship cracking apart as it entered its final entry, but it did. I remember my face reddening with the prickle of joy, I remember clouds streaking as they raked apart and we cleaved ever downward, I remember the jolt and the death screech of steel as I am ripped away and I remember the gush of heat as my clothes are torn from my limbs and I spiral dead and scorched into the midnight sea.

I lay naked on the beach, bloated and bleached. My gut and chest cavity seething with gas; little comfort for the eel creature that swam through the puncture wound in my side and now lives in my stomach like a kitten curled before the heat of roaring hearth. My eyes swollen shut and my lip curled back, my feet and hands are gone.

The child’s toes crunch and curl into the sand, ten years old and set to become legend. With stick she pokes at my corpse, and I so bow to the first to find life outside of her own.