Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes. That was before the storm came, taking away everything I had known. Now I am surrounded by machines that beep and flash, by people who enter my room dressed in biosuits. They talk in a language that I cannot understand. They are faceless, masked and sinister. My body is permeated with wires and tubes. I can no longer move.
Before, when was before? Time has lost it’s meaning. Do these people know who I am? Is anyone left who would care?
Once I was loved. I was a child with ambitions to be a teacher, or a doctor, or an engineer. I had a mother and a father; a sister who cried over a patch of dirt on her pretty dress, or an unkind word spoken by an erstwhile friend. What mattered in life was how I held my cutlery, the way I spoke to adults, the grades on my school report card.
It was all laid out before me, this life filled with judgement over how I behaved, how I performed beside my peers or for others. It was assumed that I would wish for nothing more than that which my parents had: a job, a house, a partner, children of my own.
Did I ever think to be different? I do not recall any feeling of limited options. Sometimes I would rail against the never ending demands of teachers, I would wish for more material possessions, but did I really want to change what seemed like a natural progression?
When the storm came I was afraid. I was afraid that I would be in trouble for not knowing where my sister had gone with that boy, that my parents would blame me for some failure. Always I wanted to please, to be what they would consider good.
I was alone in the crowded square. All were looking west, some crying out in panic. We could see the dust cloud approaching fast and could do nothing.
Was I lucky to survive? I was neither clever nor brave, it was the screaming of the others that made me run away and hide. I did not know that the newly abandoned shop had a cellar with a separate room, secured by a heavy door. I was trying to block out the sound of fear; of the people who had frightened me for much of my life, who were now so very afraid themselves and I did not fully understand why.
I do not know how long I stayed hidden. I slept, I waited, I slept some more. Time passed slowly in the silence and darkness.
Eventually my concern over what might have happened, why nobody had sought me out, was overcome by an increasingly desperate thirst. I remembered the water pump in the square.
That was when I first met the biosuits. They spotted me as I emerged from my cocoon, shielding my eyes from the brightness. There were cries and gesticulations; I was grabbed and bundled into a van. Now it was I who was screaming, struggling against their restraints until I felt a sharp pain in my arm and all went black.
I awoke in this bed, unable to move. I have not been able to move since.
My life has lost it’s bearings. I wake and I sleep, but do not feel rested. Fluids are added to my body and taken away in plastic bags that all look the same. I am observed and discussed but know not by whom or why.
My windowless room has become my purgatory. I can only guess if what I have done, what I have become, will lead me into heaven or hell.