Author: William Sieving

My cell was full of beautiful memories, when it wasn’t covered in dirt and grime. Instead of smooth stones I often felt the coarse texture of my family’s ceremonial robe, a blue and white gown that my daughter Mia had received on her eighth birthday. That day seemed so long ago now, lying in the darkness. Mia had danced with me as her mother sung. A difficult memory, as that was also the year I first heard of the foreigners. Tales were told of the marvels within their walls, metal arms attached to human bodies and ships soaring through the sky. They were wonderful if they managed to stay within their borders. That eventually proved impossible. I don’t regret what I did, someone needed to stop them, I only regret that I was caught so easily. It was only after my imprisonment that I was allowed one visitor.

I veered towards more pleasant memories. Mia making her first weave, an elk for her headstrong personality. Mia excited to learn the ceremonials. It had been so long. Picturing her smile forced the tears from my eyes. As I wept, alone in my cell, the door opened.

“Make it quick.” The guard said, letting a slim figure through. I raised my head, curious.

“Father, you look terrible, as usual.” Mia crouched before me, no longer the little girl from my memories. How long had it been since I had seen her last? Months? Years? She was a grown woman now, but, as my eyes traveled down her body, the sweet memory of her childhood was replaced by an increasing horror. She had changed since her last visit. Her arm had been replaced with some mechanical replica, moving in tune with her body. Sharp angular tattoos lay spread across her skin and three metal rings pierced her upper ear. My Mia had been replaced by a woman I barely recognized.

“Mia, what have they done to you?”

She only smiled. “Nothing, father. I’m still me.” She reached out a cold hand to comfort me.

I slapped it away and retreated into the comforting shadows of my home. “Don’t touch me! You’re not my daughter!”

The woman only sighed. The guard’s head poked in and glared at us. “Everything alright?”

The woman shook her head. “I don’t know.” She looked at me wistfully. “Maybe one day”

She stood in the room for a while longer as I retreated into the comfort of my memories. Mia learning how to weave. Mia excited about her small garden. In my mind, she was the same as she had always been, sweet and smiling. How long had it been since I had seen that happy and carefree girl? Now, with the alien woman hovering over me, there was a crushing certainty that I would never see her again.