Saturday Storytime: The Blood That Pulses in the Veins of One

If you have a tough time with body horror, you might want to give this story from JY Yang a pass. Otherwise, stick with it for the payoff.

They are cutting you out of me, these creatures in their sealed white suits. Piece by piece their knives and curiosity are divorcing the gifts you have given me from the gifts I have prepared for you. Gone is the eye that gazed out over the cyan–purple sunset on Taurus 4. Severed are the muscles of the forearm which sculpted your old flesh into masterpieces. A gap yawns where once was the tongue that tasted your rich adventures.

My lips are dry and cracked. I cannot lick them.

The younger one wields the knife today. His name is Marjan and his golden–toned flesh looks about 20 years old, in the way terrestrians count their age. My forearm, the same one they’ve excavated from, is back in the metal vice. Marjan stretches its split skin and wedges cold metal forceps into the work pit, where muscles glisten and blood pulses weakly in bluish cords. His heavily gloved fingers reach in, and pain spasms up the shackled arm as he presses down.

—Whoa. Come check this out.

—What is it? Have you found something significant?

—Yeah, you need to get over here and see for yourself.

His supervisor leaves the churning sequencer and comes across the sterile floor of the lab, white and cumulaic in her hazard suit, blending into her surroundings like the camouflage of terrestrian animals. Her name is Jae. She leans over and peers through the glass of her helmet at my immobilized limb.

—You see that?

—Hmm. Yes.

She takes the forceps from him and elicits more pain–spasms from the arm. With my remaining eye I observe the purse of her lips as she examines the feeble fightback of my flesh.

—That’s definitely new growth, right? The muscle is regenerating!

—Looks like it. Quite remarkable.

—You wanna test it too? We should take a sample.

—Just take one. As small as you can. I want to monitor the regeneration process.

—Sweet. Prof Liu is gonna be thrilled.

Marjan picks up his scalpel. They want more from me, but this time it doesn’t matter. I have not eaten. I am pinned down to a steel table in a box of unbreakable glass and plastic. The air here is irradiated to sterility, an artificial and flavourless concoction of nitrogen/oxygen/carbon dioxide. If my core has dredged matter from these meager surroundings for fleshcrafting, it is meaningless. Utterly meaningless. Take it all away.

The pain begins afresh. I close my remaining eye. I must, I must, I must: Hold on to the memories. Not let trauma erode them. Remember all that has passed since we last met. They can take all the organic extrusions they want but they cannot take this.

Start: A mirror to this butcher’s table, the last time we met: The point from which your memories and mine diverge: The point at which I killed you: The point at which the vault of your body was sealed: The point at which its inventory of treasures locked down and made immutable:

It goes like this:

Keep reading.

Saturday Storytime: The Blood That Pulses in the Veins of One