I remember little, but I remember the gray eyes.
Those were the piercing, bright gray eyes of my nurse, whose stare
could slice through wood and iron. It seemed as if she was trying to
shred my brain with her look.
"You must understand this," she said, gripping my hands. "Things like these didn't exist one hundred -- no, even fifty years ago! The creation of the virus changed everything!"
I nodded, swallowed hard, and thought if she didn't want to live anymore. It was hard to control my hammering heart, and a cyborg's emotions must be controlled.
"You'll go to the countryside," she was saying. "There you will be the farmer's daughter. You'll be safe. You'll be away from the city, away from danger. And you'll want nothing more than your hut, your chickens, and your safety." Her bony fingers, thin, warm, and fleshy, gripped my inhuman ones so hard that I was afraid she would hurt herself. “Do you understand me?”
“Yes,” I said frantically only because I wanted to calm her down. It was painful, seeing her so alert, so anxious, because she was the one shred of stability and sanity in this very insane world, and without her I would crumble like a house without a base or a duckling without her mother. But I didn't understand; I didn't understand anything. I didn't understand how without my nurse I will be safe. I didn't understand how distance from the city can save me. I didn't know back then that she was planning to disguise me. I didn't know that I will never see her again because I was too young to think of it myself.
Some of the tension dropped from my nurse's muscles; she smiled, lowered her shoulders, and extended a hand to brush some of my wiry hair from my forehead.
“There's something I need to tell you, Jamie,” she murmured, regarding me with all the compassion one should have for a seven-year-old girl turned cyborg due to the plague.
“Jamie,” she gasped,
tears glimmering in her eyes. “Jamie, I am your aunt.”
That is the last I remember from that evening. Don't ask about my old life. It's not a life I wanted to remember; besides, my nurse, or my aunt, didn't want me to. It's not a life one even can remember, besides mixed tears, dependency, and darkness, plenty of darkness. But ten years later, as a seventeen-year-old unattractively plain cyborg, with no artificial intelligence or superhuman strength that would give me an advantage over my captors, I decided to do the one thing I never dreamed of doing.
I decided that my hut, my chickens, and my safety weren't enough for me. I decided to go against my aunt and leave the countryside for her.