PROPHESIED

Her birth had been unremarkable. No signs in the heavens, no omens, no witches screeching prophecy. History would later embellish her coming into the world with all kinds of portents, and revise certain ancient texts to include details that made her coming an event foretold. It was quite a thing to have that kind of power, and in that circumstance it helped, rather than harmed, the fabric of the future, for how else could such a creature as she be explained? No science existed then or now to provide reasonable theories, and the humanities possessed no case studies from which to extrapolate even the simplest of philosophical analysis. No, she had been unique among humans, and in a time where the concept of the alien, the outsider, was limited to invading hordes of horsemen from the East and the occasional caravan up from the deep South, it made far more sense to derive her origin from the divine, rather than the otherworldly.

It was then ironic that a great host of opposing forces had been arrayed against her coming, prepared for generations by secret cults who possessed crumbling scrolls that contained true prophecies, ones penned by the hands of immortal beings in ichor and blood upon cured skins, in a separate reality from the base mortal revisions of kings. These shadowy cabals of worshippers had long known of her impending birth, and had moved mountains to prevent it. But the age and countless reinterpretations of the scrolls had profaned their meaning, making precise augury impossible. Thus she had been shielded from their machinations long enough to take her first breaths. The event of her birth had happened in a regular hospital, on a Wednesday morning just as the sun was rising, to an ordinary couple whose occupations are now lost to the vagaries of time and the rewrites of history. She weighed seven and a half pounds, had brown eyes and a very fine floss of auburn hair, and she did not scream when the doctors cleared her throat. As no one knew who she would become, she was released on schedule and went home with her parents, to lead an average childhood. The agents who sought her didn’t locate the hospital until she was in her twenties, and by then she’d become far too strong to be assassinated in her sleep. The fact that they’d missed the birth was one of the key contributors to the renewal of their discipline and vigor, and their coming to prominence once more in political fields. It would only take them half a decade to re-secure their hold on parliament, something that had been relaxed over the centuries, as there’d been little reason to have a direct influence on the populace. Maintaining influence over the bureaucracy of nations was expensive, both in material assets and in the dilution of their ideology, so it was an endeavour that was pursued only in times of great need.

Her birth and subsequent growth into a young adult had been classified as a “great need”.

UNFOLLOW

“Whenever I see anyone I’m following on a given social network celebrating their follower count, I unfollow them.”

“Why?”

“Because there’s enough hubris in my own life; there isn’t space for anyone else’s. That and, if I continue this practice long enough, there’s the hope that I’ll unfollow everyone and regain my freedom.”

“You could just unfollow everyone right now.”

I laughed. “No, it doesn’t work that way. It’s more akin to tattoo removal than erasing a whiteboard.”

LAMED

Her limp was much less pronounced than it had been, but she’d had years of physiotherapy and learning to live with it to thank for that. Even still, a keen observer would be able the detect the slight dip in her hips whenever she took a step, and the way she favored her left leg whenever standing at rest.

The accident had shattered her pelvis, though describing it like that made it seem as though it had broken into a million pieces, like a ceramic plate tossed onto the kitchen floor in the heat of an argument. The bone had cracked and separated in three places, and the pain had been excruciating. Paralysing. Once her rescuers had peeled the remains of her subcompact car apart with their pneumatic jaws of life, she’d been removed from the wreck with as much care as humanly possible and strapped to an orange plastic backboard, the kind with fist-sized holes along its edges to allow for easy carrying. Rendered immobile, her lower body a universe of screaming pain, she’d been further strapped to a helicopter and airlifted to George Aphonse Memorial Hospital, where the finest bone surgeons in the state had attended to her horrific injuries. It had been the professional opinion of three of the four specialists who’d overseen her admission that she’d never walk again. It was the fourth doctor, Emil Merin, who’d rejected those opinions and recommended her for a controversial and experimental procedure that took advantage of the latest advancements in nanotechonolgy.

Tiny robots had been injected into her bloodstream, their preprogrammed routines propelling them to their destinations along the ragged edges of her destroyed pelvis, where they anchored themselves and began manufacturing the tools they’d need to re-knit her. The greatest objection raised had stemmed from a fear of a failure to contain the machines, both during their operation and after. Emil assured the family and insuring agents that the robots were only good for one thing, and that was the task they’d been assigned, and after they completed their work they became biologically inert and passed through the body like any other waste product.

Emil was a fantastic salesperson, and that made him an excellent liar.