New Face, three micro-stories

Submitted into Contest #123 in response to: Write about a character who always wears a mask (physical or metaphorical).... view prompt

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Science Fiction Speculative Transgender

Jane Austen

While my toes started their usual tingling dance, a delightful last year drifted through my mind. 

Every year, for many years now, and like every other human on Earth, I shift into a stranger's body. Around the end of summer, everyone finds themselves being hosted in a different body in a matter of a few seconds.

A year ago, I opened my eyes while lying in a newly sheeted bed. It felt so comfortable that I shut them and continued sleeping. A gentle tug of the blanket woke me up. Curiously I turned to find a woman staring at me smiling. I smiled back. With every move of her breath, while her big eyes were learning my face, I had let all memories from my last body be washed away.

Her eyes centered on my eyes, and she asked, "and what is your name, pretty?". I replied in the softest voice I ever had, "Jane, my name is Jane." Her smile widened as she said, "Austin, my name is Austin." I felt so beautiful. I enjoyed the way she looked at me. I felt my cheeks getting red, so I turned my back to her and pretended I was dozing off. Austin spooned me, and we fell asleep hugged.

Our home was small and lovely. Sunlight came in the day, and stars could be seen at night. The former hosts of our bodies left a small notebook with life instructions. Nothing was urgent, there was always some work to be done, and we always had time for one another.

In vain, I tried to count the times I enjoyed the softness of her skin and the smiles that greeted me every time I caught her glance. She had a soft voice like mine, and she touched me in a way that told me I was loved.

Now my toes are tingling. The tingling will slowly grow until I am shaken out of this body. Austin's lips lay on mine. We can sense each other's breath for the last time. I whisper, "I love you." She whispers back, "Same here, wouldn't change a thing, love." We added a few pages for the living instruction book and decided to leave the host bodies in a kissing position for the next guests.

My heart is pounding, and it gets harder to breathe. Austin is holding me tight, but I feel too distant to hold her in return. I open one eye to discover that the pain I feel is caused by the seat belt holding me on the side. I cannot open my other eye, and my legs are stuck. I think to myself, "Who in their right mind drives while the switch happens?!". I am tired. Before my eyes shut, I mumble to myself, "One year, I need to survive only one year."

Baby

The overall recommendation for the switch, especially when you are old or brittle, is to lay down on your side, put your head on something soft, and breathe slowly. An elderly man was laying on the sidewalk with his jacket under his head. When he opened his eyes, he looked terrified. He was a baby a few seconds ago. I hopped for his sake that he is at least around one year old. Because if he hadn't learned how to eat solid food, he might not be able to survive.

The baby was squirming and screaming. Performed by an older body, this looked repulsive and alarming.

I moved in my new hosting body, checking if I function well enough to take care of anyone but myself. I approached and sat next to the baby. Gently I lifted his head and brushed the gray, dwindling hair with my fingers.

While waiting for him to lose his power and fall asleep, I sang him a song that someone sang to me.

"Here and there, here and there.

You are in my arms, my love.

A bird, a beetle, a river spirit.

Here and there, here and there.

You are in my heart, my love."

Then I hummed a tune I find relaxing. I sat there for a while, singing and humming over and over again. The baby's breath slowed down until he managed to find his way to falling asleep. I stopped caressing his head, slowly stood up, organized my appearance, and walked to the food automat. I collected some food for the baby and myself and returned to sit by his side. On my way back, I brought a few blankets. I was glad the weather was warm enough to stay in the street for a while, and maybe even for the night.

I laid next to him, pulled the blankets on both of us, said "Thank you," and fell asleep.

"Exitance is much more tolerable when you can care for someone."

Next person

"Yak, Yak, Yak, Triple Yak!" I muttered under a heavy mustache before I drank another cup of coffee. I hate the taste of coffee, and the next thing I will do today is to shave this mustache. I am not even one hour in this new body, and already I was craving another cup of coffee. It is not the first time I have been stuck in a very demanding body, and it is never easy.

I feel heavy. I need coffee. Yak.

After the coffee, I was going to get a razer. Before I even check where this body is sleeping, I need to get rid of this mustache. The people in the street look so beautiful and healthy. I look at the women, and they all look so attractive. One just looked at me. Almost against my will, I thought, "Maybe I've got a chance with her?". I started walking quickly to the drugstore. I got cream and a razer.

All I wanted was to puke. My belly sounded empty but felt full, like I had just eaten six meals out of a polluted river. I had to stop in the street, sit on a doorstep, and catch my mind.

It was so hard to concentrate with so many beautiful women around.

I got to a washing station and paid for a bath. I had about an hour. Getting accustomed to a new body is never easy for me. I striped and stared at my naked body in the mirror. "I look nice." I tested my current stretching capabilities. "Not too bad, limited, but I can work with this."

I wanted to have a bath but thought it would be nicer to have it without this mustache. I washed my face with warm water and started to feel some sort of self. With a pair of sizers, I trimmed short the mustache and continued without much thinking to my head. I was cutting and losing things of the last guest. Then I shaved the mustache and my head. I could finally start seeing myself in the mirror. I smiled and nodded to my reflection.

I went on my knees and bowed in gratitude for the opportunity to take part in this great journey.

Carefully I got up from the floor, making sure not to harm this body that is not accustomed to bowing. I entered the warm fragrant bathwater, lay down, and covered my eyes with a stimmy wet towel. To end my ritual, I quietly said,

"Hello, my new body friend, let's get you ready for your next host."

I slowly drifted to sleep, being awakened with a knock on the door and shout, "time's up, next person."

December 09, 2021 07:45

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