BY MARY CUDNEY
Copyright is held by the author.
RAIN SMEARED windows blocked her view of the racetrack. Being 206 years old today should have been a deterrent to her racing. Fifty years ago, it might have been. Now, not only was she able to replace her skin, but all of her other failing organs.
Science had finally caught up with the ultimate dream of almost every human being. Everything could be regenerated. Including eyes, arms, bones, teeth; just everything. It had become so cheap to replace yourself, that sometimes, even your own family would not recognize you after a visit to a spa.
For a lark once, Carolyn had observed one of her friends go through the procedure. She viewed her friend being submerged into one of the large mucus filled vats. An acid like substance melted her skin exposing all the organs and muscles, as a new raw red cover grew bit by bit around her frame. Carolyn had a hard time not throwing up that mornings breakfast as the machines poked and prodded her friends’ naked body. The result was beautiful but, Carolyn thought she might wake up with a few nightmares about the process.
Mark, had refused the transformations. Carolyn could never understand why he had chosen to get old and wrinkled and then, die naturally. That morning while reaching into the back of her closet, her fingers brushed up against the red, silk dress that she had been wearing when she first met Mark. It should have been thrown out long ago, but she couldn’t bring herself to get rid of it. It still fit perfectly, but was hopelessly old fashioned.
Just like Mark had been. She missed him so much. He had died over 130 years ago, but to her, there were times when it felt like yesterday.
Mark had been discovered as an artist after painting a series of riders on his bus route. Carolyn had felt her heart melt when she was introduced to him at his first showing. All his paintings had sold that night; at the gallery opening. His euphoric high had swept her along, into the most exhilarating time of her life. Now, he was long gone, along with his love of life. And his love of people. It was the love that shone through in his paintings. Everyone had wanted that feeling in their lives, and they had been willing to pay a lot of money, to have those feelings accompany them home. She was wealthy beyond measure. Mark had left everything to her; including his cars.
Even after so many years of racing, the excitement in the act itself had never disappeared. She loved the acceleration. The risk at every turn. It was the rest of her existence that seemed to have dulled like an ax that had felled so many trees it was tired and worn.
Determined, Carolyn thrust her helmet on. Gripping the steering wheel, of one of the fastest racing cars ever built, she turned on the windshield wipers to clear her view. The wipers flung water over the roof of the sleek, red, racer like water rushing over rocks in a stream. White spray everywhere. The track stretched before her, long and curved; familiar and yet, never the same. Wet tracks would make it harder for her to control the vehicle. No matter, she had chosen perfect weather. The engine rumbled to life as she pressed the start button.
Driving faster and faster, until the world around her blurred, Carolyn drove off the end of the racetrack and into oblivion . . .
The raindrops, hitting the window, were rolling down making pictures on the glass. Carolyn turned her head. A tear rolled down her cheek, as she realized she was in a hospital bed, with a new body. They had regrown everything.
“Why am I here?” she asked in anguish.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Smith. What do you mean?” asked the nurse taking her blood pressure.
“Why am I still alive? Why aren’t I dead?”
“Oh, that’s simple. We have instructions to do everything possible to keep anyone whose been in an accident like yours, alive,” replied the nurse. “Isn’t that wonderful!”
How could she have neglected to sign the “Do not resuscitate” form?