Burning in the Void – Chapter 39

several angles at once _Sera

Sera leaned against Lana Tso and took slow, deep breaths as she tried to relax. With each breath a small part of the terror of having her body seized from her receded until her stomach no longer churned with each inhalation.

“Sera!” Lana shouted at her. The woman waved her hand in front of Sera’s face and shook her by the shoulder. “Sera, can you hear me?”

Sera nodded vaguely, but her eyes remained unfocused. She didn’t need them anymore. She could turn her attention back to her eyes if she desired it, but Sera had little motivation to do so as the view through those two weak orbs of flesh was nowhere near as clear as the crisp, multifaceted image that she could assemble from the cameras that lined the cylinder of the Green.

I can see all of it, she thought.

Sera saw herself from the outside now: A short figure with a bald head and light brown skin clothed in a simple dress of blue fabric which barely hung low enough to cover the darkening bruises on her knees. She lay on her side in the grass, a spew of bloody vomit scattered across the grass beside her head, three figures in loose-fitting garments surrounding her. One of them, the one called Lana Tso, kneeled beside Sera, supporting her body and stroking her bare scalp as she shook Sera’s shoulder and shouted into her ear.

I can’t feel that, Sera realized. She wondered if there was something wrong with her body, if the damage done by the radiation had begin to destroy her sense of feeling, as it had clearly damaged her stomach to make her vomit blood.

“I… I can’t feel anything,” she moaned. Her voice, audible through her damaged ears, seemed oddly dull compared the crystalline brightness of her vision.

Tso stopped shaking Sera’s shoulder and shouting. She bent down to look more closely at Sera’s face and her own face twitched as if she wanted to say something, but couldn’t summon the courage.

Sera spat bloody bile from her mouth, then realized that she couldn’t taste the blood. She could feel when her mouth filled with spit and blood, and she could feel her throat work as she swallowed, but her sense of taste had departed along with her ability to feel anything touching her skin. She attempted to sit up, but nearly toppled over as her numb fingers scrabbled for purchase against the cool grass. Tso put a hand on her back, steadying her, and Sera managed to push herself into an upright position.

“Lana, what’s happening to me? I can’t taste anything. My skin is numb and I… I’m seeing myself from outside of my own body.” Sera struggled with how to explain what she was experiencing. “I can see everything here in the Green, but can’t see it from my own eyes.”

She blinked her eyes three times, or thought she did, since she couldn’t actually feel her eyelids, but her fractured vision of the scene did not change. She saw herself leaning against Tso’s arm, with Jo and Petrov standing around her, shifting back and forth agitatedly as they glanced around, seeming unsure of what to do.