Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 47

He was still not quite conscious. If I was going to do it, it had to be now. He was bigger, stronger, I’d never overpower him if I gave him time to come to properly. I kicked at him, flipping him over, and sat on his chest. Trembling at first, I closed my hands around his throat and squeezed. He started choking, flailing. Trying to stay on top was like trying to ride a bucking bronco. But I must have had the divine strength running through my veins, because I held on. Squeezing and squeezing, my knuckles turning white with the effort. Not too much, the voice in my mind told me, don’t break the windpipe, just cut off the air supply, just a little longer... Eventually, the struggling stopped and the eyes glazed over. Then I saw it, seeping out of every pore. Thick, green and cloying, like a cloud of noxious gas. I let go, didn’t want to do any lasting damage to the body. I batted at the soul as it swirled around me, and it disappeared into the ground. I was shaking as I pulled out the specimen jar, and unscrewed the lid. “This will work,” I whispered to the being in the plastic container, “I don’t know how, but I know it will work.” The soul shone even brighter, and I could feel the trust, the bond, between us. It rose up, leaving the substandard vessel I had found for it, briefly filling the dark alleyway with shimmering light before swooping forward, and disappearing beneath the skin of the corpse in front of me. The body twitched. Inhaled deeply, and began to cough and splutter. I leant forwards, raised it to a sitting position, my hands on its shoulders. “Can you hear me?” I said, “are you in there?” The eyes opened. Hazel irises staring in mine. It rose one hand, reached out and caressed my cheek. “Yes,” the voice was deep, but the tone light. “I... I’m here.” The soul inside made the face smile, slightly lopsided. And the hand left my cheek to explore its own face. “It’s a man,” the voice said at last, “I... I was a woman.” “I’m sorry about that,” I said. “I didn’t know. And, well, I don’t suppose opportunities like this come around every day. Beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.” “Oh, oh I’m not complaining!” the smile was beaming now, “It’s just... so strange. But wonderful, thank you. Thank you so much!” It’s a good job no one was there to see us, we would have made a very strange sight. Two grown men sitting in the dark, hugging and weeping. We talked for a long while. Her name was Fiona, she’d been in an accident from what we could piece together. Last thing she remembered was getting into the car, driving home from the cinema. She must have been picked up unconscious, and died in resuscitation. We looked through the guy’s wallet, found out his name and address. It was hard for her to accept at first, that she would have to pretend to be someone else. Couldn’t go back to her home, her parents. But she had a life to live now, it couldn’t replace the one she had lost, but it was life. And a good soul deserves a shot at life, just like the world needs good souls to live in it. I took her to the flat, where the previous owner of her new body had resided. We were both grateful to discover he lived alone. The place was littered with empty liquor bottles, and needles. We searched through his belongings, pieced things together. No job, criminal activities, addiction. The guy had been going nowhere, exceptionally fast. Fiona wasted little time getting the place cleaned up. Within a month she had a job, and had enrolled in college. She’d been studying psychology before, when she was Fiona Knox. She’d need to regain the qualifications she had already taken, in her first body, to get back on the same course again. This time as Dennis Cole, her new identity. And she’d have to fund it herself, but that was no deterrent. She worked tirelessly, and these days I hear she’s doing pretty well. She sends me a postcard from her practice PAGE 47