A Thousand Times Again

Posted: March 21, 2014 in Creative Writing, Science Fiction, Short Story
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

She stood looking out at the people, wondering what made her better than any of them. What gave her the right? Why was she the only one who acted as judge, jury and executioner? Why was this role not only allowed but celebrated by the society around her?

The sun set on the day as she reflected on her sins. The blood under her fingernails started to dry as the lights in the city started to flicker on. The bruise under her ribs began to throb along with the beat of her heart-another reminder that her heart was beating while their heart was not. Or if it was, it would be assisted by machines and tubes by now. She hadn’t stuck around to hear the verdict. As always she had left to cheers when the sirens sounded in the distance. Someone else would finish cleaning up her mess. She swept the scum into tidy little piles. Someone else threw what was left of it into the trash for her. This was the way it always was; this was the way it always would be.

She could vaguely remember the day on which this had all started. Her mother sat in the arm chair by her hospital bed crying again, another treatment had failed them. Another doctor told her mother in a hushed voice that there was no hope, at this point whatever happened was the will of God, the universe or whatever higher power or fate you believed in. There was nothing else modern medicine could do. She remembered watching the tears stream down her mother’s face and being too weak to even so much as lift a hand towards her to offer her a hug. Her hair matted to her head with sweat the same way the blood now matted it.

She remembered thinking that her next breath would be her last.

She remembered dying.

But then, suddenly she was not dead, suddenly she was alive, more alive than ever before. Suddenly she could lift her hands, her head, stand, and walk for the first time in her life. Suddenly the pain was gone, not a gradual recession, just gone. She died and came back to life healthier than she had ever been since birth. She was healthier than any human on the planet ever had been.

Her mom called it a miracle and started going to church.

Her father, who had not shown his face since she was two, came back into their lives and never left her side again.

Her doctors spent well into her teenage years trying to explain it. All they could tell was that at some point her cancer mutated. Instead of her body rejecting the cells it started to accept them, incorporating them into her very being, and at some point that incorporation had made her stronger than she was before. At some point cancer won.

It killed her, or so she thought, then brought her back to live out the rest of what she came to know as a cursed life.

At first it was small things. She was able to climb a tree that a neighbourhood kid couldn’t and saved a cat. Cliché as it may be, that cat in the tree was when it had all started. She had slipped and fallen the better part of two stories on the way back down and walked away with little more than a scraped knee which healed inside a day.

Later she was at a sleepover; the kids decided to tell ghost stories by candle light, someone got scared and knocked over the candle. Before they knew what happened the family and friends had all been dragged out of the burning house by this little girl, covered in third degree burns that seemed to be healing while you watched her walk. By the time the paramedics arrived they were all but gone.

Another round of tests…

Another round of second opinions…

No one knew how, but this all seemed to be related to her childhood illness.

Then things started to get scary.

She had been run over by a car and walked away from it. Rapidly healing was one thing but surviving when she should have died, that was on a whole new level of weird. She got labeled a freak and was an outcast in her teenage years. The scariest part was that no one but her knew that she actually had died that day for a second time. She died; she just never seemed to stay dead.

A few years passed.

She moved a lot. Always to another city, another school, another second opinion.

She found her way into university and that’s when the mask came into her life.

She was walking home from a campus dance late one night and heard a scream. A girl was being mugged on the path ahead of her. She was still wearing the feathered mask her date had given her though she had changed out of the dress to walk home. She ran to help. She had shielded the girl from a stab with her body, pulled the knife out when the bandit let go and returned the favour. The other girl had pressed one of the campus panic buttons. Sirens blared and she ran, suddenly thankful for the mask.

Her description had been all over the papers the next day, some called her a hero; others labeled her a freak. The bandit had survived, though he was suffering from wounds which would have long since healed on her. Between the mask, the make-up and the darkness no one seems to recognize her from the description the other girl had given.

She decided this was a good thing.

She went to a costume store and bought a different mask, one that her date would not recognize. She bought paint at another store to change its appearance further so even the store clerk wouldn’t know it to be her.

She became the guardian of the path.

She put other bandits in hospital.

Sometimes she died, but she never stayed dead.

This was her blessing, as much as it was her curse.

As she snapped back to the present she felt the pain in her ribs start to subside and the throbbing had all but ceased. She was still standing on the roof top looking out at the city as it went to sleep.

The lights were starting to flick off in the buildings surrounding her. The windows went black, just like the eyes of all those she had killed, sometimes in the defense of the innocent, sometimes the innocent themselves. It wasn’t fair, it should never have been her call. It wasn’t right that she had ended those lives. It wasn’t right that she lived on when she should be dead one thousand times over.

She stood looking out at the people, wondering what made her better than any of them. She looked down. Watching the cars on the street go by, she couldn’t help but wonder if maybe this time would be the last time. Maybe tomorrow night she wouldn’t have to relive this nightmare.

She felt her heart begin to race and focused on her breathing to slow it down.

Maybe this time things would be different.

She took one last deep breath.

Maybe this time things would be…

She jumped…

She fell…

And died again.

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