Cyborgs Chapter 1

It was the sound of my own, frightened whimpering that startled me out of sleep.

Breathing shakily, unnerved and embarrassed, I pushed myself up onto my elbows. Beside me in bed lay Reza. He was turned away, his long, black hair a tangled mess trailing behind him. To my left, on the bedside table, stood a baby monitor, assuring me that my son was in his crib: body warm, breathing regular. Such normal, reassuring things, and yet, in the pale blue, hungry light of morning, they seemed alien. My dreams lingered, like the final notes of a song which go on echoing in your mind, even after the music has ceased. Right, I thought. Reality. Reality exists. I lay back down, pulling the blankets up over my shoulders. Beside me, Reza stirred. His long arms stretched out and pulled me close to him, enveloping me. Sleepily, he nuzzled the top of my head. The warmth felt familiar and I smiled. "You okay?" he asked. I nodded. "'Fine." "What was your dream?" His voice had that deep, scratchy, unused quality it got after sleeping. I sighed. "I don't know. It was weird. I wish I could remember it fully. I remember this image of somebody laughing. But their face -it was like they had no face, no expression." I hadn't actually been able to look directly at the person in the dream, but I had felt with the synaesthetic understanding of dream-logic that it hadn't matched the careless laughter spilling from it. "I wasn't even me," I continued, slowly, trying to piece the fragments of memory together. "I was a few different people, I guess. We were in some place, some elaborate structure, vaguely spiral-shaped, but not. It stretched out over the sea. We were all looking for something, I don t know what. There was this whole plot going on, and all this history... I can t remember it. It probably didn t make any sense." We were quiet for a minute. "Wait," I said then. "I remember. One part, anyway there was more besides this, but woke up, I remember: I was walking on water." I felt him smile against my neck. Of course. "You were watching me. A whole crowd was watching. And then you said, 'Max, do you think that's really a good idea with the baby?' And then I looked down and suddenly Andy was there, in my arms. And then gravity kicked in. I fell into the water it was like going down a tunnel. It caved in behind me, right before I

pouring from all directions. I kept holding Andy but the water just wore him down til he was about the size of a tadpole. I tried to hold onto him, but I couldn t. He just washed away." I paused, remembering that moment. The image was absurd, but the anguish and dread had been so real. Reza kissed my neck and said nothing. I played with his hands, tracing his veins where they stood out, lightly pressing them. After a while, he said, "Max. You're not going to lose or break the baby. I promise. Don't worry so much." "I don't really," I said, smiling wryly. "Just when I sleep. I can't help that. I doubt I'm the first new mother to have anxiety dreams." "True," said Reza. "I've had some weird ones myself." He yawned and pulled away. I am hungry, he announced, swinging his legs over his side of the bed. "Time for eating things." He stood and I moved into the middle of the bed. The sheets were warm where he'd been. "And tonight," he continued, throwing a shirt over his head, "we get to meet your Frankenstein." "You'll be there?" I asked. "I thought you were watching Andy." "I'm bringing him in with me," he said, heading into the hallway. "I'm not missing this." He came back with dhosas, stuffed with vegetables, and Irish Breakfast tea. We ate in bed and didn't leave until we heard Andy cry for company and food. "I'll get him," I said. The crying stopped as soon as I cracked the door to his bedroom open, replaced with a quiet rustling. I opened the door the rest of the way. "Good morning, kitoto." Andy had rolled onto his belly and pivoted to face the doorway. He looked up at me through the bars of his crib and smiled gummily, his little golden-brown face beaming. I lifted him out of his crib and carried him back to the master bedroom. Seeing Reza, Andy stretched out his chubby arms. Reza took him and tossed him in the air, eliciting a gleeful squeal from Andy. After eating, I spent a while playing peek-a-boo with Andy. His eyes would go wide every time I surprised him and he'd laughed, which made me laugh: we were delighted just to look at one another. When it was time, I kissed him and Reza both, and headed for the lab. Later they'd be joining me to witness

history change; that evening, for the first time ever, the Cognition Subsistence Device was to be fully activated.

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