Glory fingered a loose strand of black hair as her green eyes stared outwards.
A warm breeze caressed her petite body as she sat on the wooden steps of the white porch.
The air carried a mild scent of sweet honeysuckle which she slowly breathed in.
“Enjoying your final day?” Came a husky voice from behind.
She turned partially towards her housemate, an aging, thin man, sitting in the rocker, and nodded, “Yes.”
He leaned back as he took in the mountainous view spread before them.
“It’s a shame you couldn’t be granted another twenty-eight days here.” He said as his colorless eyes scanned the horizon’s deep purple and pink hues. “It makes no sense at all as to why they couldn’t allow you to remain here indefinitely.”
“You know that’s not how it works.” She muttered as her arms wrapped around her knees.
“Yes, but it is unfair not to mention unjust.” The man tapped a finger on the chair’s armrest.
With a shrug, she replied, “I’m just grateful to have had this one last wish before it’s all over with. I mean, goodness, I had the chance to see all of my friends and family, to say my good-byes…even if none of it was real…it was nice. Really nice.”
The man scowled as he nodded, “Yes…yes.”
“I know you try to understand, Jessup, and I appreciate it very much.” Glory said as she glanced down the expansive meadow where she could see the shadowy forms of buildings that made up her childhood town. “But you don’t have to stay any longer.”
Jessup let out a long exhale,.“Yes, but it doesn’t feel right to leave you to -eh- to face your end.”
She smiled. “You are too thoughtful, but I will be okay.”
His eyes swept over her before he bowed his head. “As you wish.”
Within seconds, his body dissipated into a thin cloud of mist.
Glory studied the empty chair for a moment before returning her attention to the sky.
The streaks of purple and pink were quickly transitioning to layers of dark blue and black.
The usual nightly orbs obscured by a looming menace in the heavens where billowing sinister clouds barely concealed an enormous fiery mass barreling towards her.
A shiver ran through her body as she closed her eyes.
Will I feel any pain? She wondered as waves of heated air brushed over her.
The earth beneath her rumbled as the roar grew louder and louder until her body shuddered right off the porch, and on the rolling ground.
Crackling and sizzling filled her ears as she opened one eye to see where the fire was when she realized the sounds were coming from her skin.
Just as the burning grew unbearable, everything went dark.
Bleep bleep bleeeeeeeep.
The blipping line on the monitor instantly became a steady line.
A tall man in a white jacket stood staring at the screen for several moments, the bushy brows burrowing which revealed the deep lines around his brown eyes.
“Dr. Cruz?” Came a woman’s voice from the nearby console.
“I will never get used to this.” He said. “Extinguishing lives all for what? Profit? So that our government can repay its debts?”
“No, it’s mankind’s next step in its evolutionary process. It has also helped science learn much about the human’s consciousness.” The same woman replied.
He bowed his head for a long moment, eyes closed as he pondered on her words.
Then, he shook it.
“Those are just the Company’s taglines. We are nothing more than an assembling line for repurposing human bodies for those who can afford them. For the few who want to extend their own selfish, futile lives.”
“Dr. Cruz.” The woman’s tone now stern. “I wish to remind you that everything said and done here are being carefully monitored.”
He clenched his jaw. “Time of conscious death, 23:02.” His fingers tapped hard on the blue-lighted tablet’s screen.
To his left, the woman in a white jacket turned to focus her attention on the various displays of electronic devices in front of her.
“Closing the file for collateral number 230645 aka Gloria Swann,” she said as she pressed on the glowing screen, “body now prepped and ready for shipment to recipient number 02A02.”