Machine by Jennifer Pelland

Machine by Jennifer Pelland

Author:Jennifer Pelland [Pelland, Jennifer]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Science Fiction, Fiction
Publisher: Apex Publications
Published: 2012-01-18T17:22:15+00:00

Saturday, May 19, 2114

Celia opened her eyes and blinked in the dim light.

God, she was stiff.

She stretched her hands up over her head, then rubbed them across her face. It felt like she’d been sleeping for years.


She pressed her hands against her face and tried to think. She actually had been sleeping for years. It was all coming back to her now. The last thing she could remember was lying down on a hospital bed, waiting for the sedation to kick in. Where were the memories after that? Had something gone wrong with the replacement body?

“What’s going on?” she mumbled.

Soft hands clasped her own, moving them away from her face, and she blinked and focused on the body sitting next to the bed.


She looked so much older. Grey streaks kissed her hair, and small lines had accumulated around her eyes and mouth. But she still looked beautiful. It was a face worth waking up to, no matter how long Celia’s nap had been.

“Rivka, what happened?” she asked. “Did something go wrong with the replacement body?”

Rivka clasped Celia’s hands to her bosom and began to cry.

Celia eased one hand out from Rivka’s grip and stroked her hair. “Don’t cry, honey. Please don’t cry.”

She struggled to sit up, ignoring the wave of dizziness, and eased Rivka into her arms, cradling her in her embrace. Rivka buried her face in Celia’s shoulder and sobbed, the tears seeping through the thin cotton of her hospital gown. God, she’d missed this woman, even if it seemed like no time at all had passed since she’d last seen her.

“It can’t be that bad,” Celia crooned. “I’m back now. Everything’s going to be okay.”

She’d ask what happened to the android body later, after Rivka calmed down. Whatever was upsetting her, they could work through it.

“Ms. Ben-Ur, we told you you couldn’t come in here until we secured Ms. Krajewski’s permission.”

“What?” Celia pressed her cheek against the crown of Rivka’s head and turned to face the woman standing in the doorway. “This is my wife. You can’t keep her out of here.”

“Ex-wife,” the woman said.

She felt Rivka pulling back from her embrace, and Celia’s arms fell bonelessly to the bed.

“Ms. Ben-Ur, I think you need to leave while I explain some things to Ms. Krajewski.”

Celia watched slack-jawed as Rivka tearfully fled the room.

The woman closed the door, then sat down next to Celia’s hospital bed. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but—”

“Rivka left me?”

She winced. “That’s just the beginning of the story.”

Celia held her hands out. “I don’t need to hear any more.”

“Trust me, you do.”


“Don’t you want to know what happened to your bioandroid body? Don’t you want to know why you’re missing almost twelve years of memories?”

“T… twelve years?”

The woman nodded.

Celia looked at the closed door. She could hear Rivka weeping in the hallway. Ex-wife. Twelve missing years. “Do I want to know?” she asked.

“Probably not. But you deserve to know.”

Celia wrapped her arms tightly around her shivering frame. “All right,” she whispered. “Tell me.


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