Rebirth

I hold my head up high as I stride deliberately and slowly up to the short flight of wooden steps. I stand tall and proud, aware of the stares of all the spectators around me. They probably think I’m trying not to burst into tears. In reality, I’m trying to hold back a bout of laughter. The whole situation is just so hilarious. In spite of my efforts to stifle it, a smile plays at my lips as I climb the steps to the platform, and a small chuckle escapes as I approach the gallows. I step up, they fit the noose around my neck, I know the drill. I’ve been hanged quite a few times, so it doesn’t faze me. But glancing around at the people watching my death...some of them loyal, disguised members of my rag-tag army, some of them the stony-faced idiots I was trying to kill...I can’t hold it back any longer. My smile widens, and I laugh. Carefree, mindless of the people who now most likely think I’m crazy, I let the laughter come. I’m still laughing when I feel the support fall away from under my feet. Damn, I think, I was going to jump. And I laugh until the rope cuts the breath from my body, and then I feel the shadows of death obscure my vision. Lastly, before I my consciousness fades away, I think, Give me better eyesight this time...

~*~

Everything floods back. My newly obtained hands automatically clench into fists, and my new body is tense. My brain anticipates more pain for a fraction of a second, before I realize it’s over. I’ve been through that pain...99 times, now. At least, 99 times since I’ve started counting. My earliest memory is from 1942. That was when I was gassed in a concentration camp because of my religion. That was when I still believed in religion. They don’t count years anymore. No, the world can’t bring itself to be that organized these days. But I still count years. Today is September 28th, 2486. At least, unless I miscounted somewhere. But I’m not the type of person who would lose track of even one day. I let my body relax and take in the atmosphere around me with my eyes closed. The air smells crisp and clean. The ground beneath me is littered with dead leaves. I can hear the night sounds of a forest all around me. I open my eyes slowly, so as not to surprise myself, and stare up into the night sky, dotted with stars and blocked out by trees in a few places. This time, thank goodness, I have excellent vision. It may be the best I’ve ever had. I turn my head with care and see that I’m in a small clearing with only a few trees scattered throughout the browning grass. I’m laying at the foot of one of these trees. As I ease my body into a sitting position, a stray leaf detaches itself from the tree, floats down, and lands on my leg. I reach out my arm to brush the leaf off, and almost gasp at the sight of my leg and my hand. My skin is a pearly white color, and the shadows created by the tree above me make my skin seem to shimmer. Where the moonlight touches it, it glows softly. My leg is perfectly shaped, the toned muscles sharply defined in my lean figure. I can feel the raw strength pulsing through my limbs. This is an exceptional body, there’s no doubt about it. I reach back tentatively and feel for my hair. It’s silky and smooth, and very, very long. When I bring it around to look, I see that it’s a brilliant black, the same color as the vast night sky above me. I reach my hand up and finger my face, putting together a picture, imagining what I look like. Then I spot a small pool at the far corner of the clearing. Time to test my legs. I rise up shakily, still feeling the aftereffects of the pain, and walk slowly over to the pool, regaining my grace before I make it to the edge. I take a deep breath and snap my eyes open. What I see makes me wobble on my feet. I had guessed I was beautiful when I first saw my skin, but nothing I imagined compared to what I actually look like. The pearly glow of the moon is present all over my body, giving me the appearance of a nocturnal goddess. My eyes are a clear, light blue, stunning in themselves. My nose is thin, the perfect size and shape. My lips are full, and a beautiful red color. My eyebrows grow in perfect arcs over my long, midnight-black lashes. My hair cascades down to my hips, and it glows in sharp contrast to my skin. I stand in awe for a few seconds, examining myself down to the tiniest detail. I’m going to try to preserve this body more than all the others, because I love it. Maybe I’ll stay alive for the rest of the month...that would be nice. My record shortest time in a body is one week. I get into a lot of dangerous situations, but that’s to be expected since I’m the leader of a rebel army.

After making sure I know my new self from head to toe, I turn on my heel and walk briskly out of the clearing, breaking into a run when I reach the trees. I settle into a graceful rythm, and if I had watched myself from afar, I probably would have described my steady lope as wolflike. I don’t
have any idea where I’m going, I just know that I’ll eventually find the fight. I always manage to.

Now it’s time to get back to work.





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