[Fiction] The Dead Switcher – Week 1

New episodic story that I will be writing every week-ish from now on. Hope you enjoy.

I want to try something: writing an episodic fiction in English. Why episodic? Because the periodicity and the potential audience will make me more willing to go on week after week. I will try my best to post every week but since I can’t commit to serious schedule right now, there will probably be some late posting or sometimes it may not come at all. So don’t expect something every Monday evening, but keep an eye on your notifications.

Also, if you know me or if you’ve been following this site for some time, you know that I’m not a native English speaker, so please excuse me if it doesn’t live up to your expectation of a new Pratchett. I wish I was as good (and funny) as he is, but there is a long long way to go.

So, let’s not wait any longer. Here it is. Please read it and tell your doggy. Don’t hesitate to comment, since I will take any input that help me improve. Or I will answer any question that may come along.

The dead Switcher

Week 1

I shouldn’t have seen that. Nobody is supposed to see themselves dead, even if they gave their body away. There have been countless peer-reviewed studied on the impact of meeting your own former sleeve, let alone seeing it dead, and yet, here I was, bending over it. I recognised it right away. It was covered up to the neck in bloody water, but the face was enough for me. I’ve seen that one so many times in the mirror, several times a day, and I used to hate it.

But somehow, I wasn’t hating it when I saw it in the bathtub. It looked… serene, almost peaceful. I guess anyone who slit their own wrists looks like that, since the lack of blood makes every muscle relax. I didn’t feel any hatred. The face was familiar, but it wasn’t me. Not anymore. It was more like looking at an old passport photo and realising it was someone else. I would look at it like I look at the next stranger with a face that reminds me of someone. I could even find beauty in some features that would have disgusted me when I used to wear them.

Steve yelled at me. “Get a grip” he said. I snapped out of my shock. “What’s wrong with you?” I couldn’t tell him. So, I helped him take the body out of the tub, after the police cleared us and finished with their investigation. Doesn’t seem like a mystery to me to be honest. The poor guy was desperate and didn’t see how he could go on and took his own life. I can relate, I thought about it a lot too after the operation. After I took his body. It wasn’t easy at the beginning. It’s not only a new face that I had to get used to, but a whole new body. And it’s disturbing.

In the old days, they used to do that slowly, with drugs that changed your body over the course of a few years, and you could only change as much as your body would allow. Nobody was equal on that matter. Now, you only need to find someone who is in the same situation as you and is willing to have an exchange. Obviously,you don’t have much choice in the kind of body you will get, but at least it’s genuine. They just show you the body you will get a few weeks before the actual operation, and if you refuse, you get back at the end of the waiting list. We never get to know their name or ask for a cancellation. It’s a one-time thing. You need to be sure that’s what you want before you proceed.

We put the body in the bag and threw it on the stretcher, then at the back of the ambulance. The whole ride to the hospital, I couldn’t help but stare at his face. At least at where his face was supposed to be in the black nylon bag. I guess he was really dead now.

I used to joke about that with my friends after the transfer. That’s how we call it. You may have read about the “switch” in newspapers and on TV. But I don’t like it. I hope if someone ever write a book about that story, it won’t be called “The switcher” or any title with “Switch” in it. With my friends I joked about how “I” was dead. And I was reborn. But now, “I” was actually, literally dead.

Back at the hospital, he went straight to the morgue, and I never got to see him again. It was like having a painful memory of your past giving you one last finger and then vanishing forever. At the end of my shift, I asked to see my psych, who gave me an appointment two days later. Somehow, that’s even more shocking. I still have a hard time processing it.

As usual, I could barely make out a word. It’s been like this forever. It took me years to get where I am now because I couldn’t tell what was troubling me, even to someone whose job is to respectfully listen to anything you have to say. At the end of the session, seeing how troubled I was by all this, and the possible legal implications of the situation, she advised me to record my memories and my thoughts, so I could go over it and better explain next time. I’m not too happy about it but here I am talking into a microphone.

Incidentally, I managed to catch his name from one of the detectives on the scene, so next thing I am gonna do is look him up online. It’s stupid, but I must know.