by Bennie Grezlik © 2002

Jesse Hilman felt terrific as his four guards led him along the Death Row corridor towards the chamber. Capital Punishment in 2048, he decided, wasn't scary at all. His euphoric thoughts broke for a second as he thought of the injection only minutes away, but very little fear penetrated the courage cocktail they had given him hours ago.

Of course, it helped to know that he wasn't going to die. His new bride, Sarah Wignal, had assured him that her plan would work. She had started writing to him almost a year earlier, just about the time the appeals had run out. She was a research doctor, and she got the prison system to allow her to do a full neutrino scan of his brain, supposedly because she was studying violent behavior. She later confessed her love to him, then told him that she had stored his brain patterns in a crystal lattice memory cube. When his time was up, she would transfer his pattern to a new host and no one would ever know.

She was a smart woman, that was for sure, probably smarter than any of the twenty-three women he had killed. Whether he wanted to spend his freedom with her, well, he would take care of her with his new body.

While they strapped him to the gurney, he saw her through the window. She held up her bag and winked at him.

His arm felt cold as the poisons flowed into his veins. He had a moment of panic, but then he felt as if he were floating somewhere outside his body. The light faded. Sound faded. He could think, but it felt like he was shrinking into nothing. The feeling seemed to go on for hours. When he felt he could take no more, light returned. He saw her face as if he were looking through the wrong end of a telescope.

A tinny voice said, "Sorry it took so long, sweetie, but I got you back to my apartment as soon as I could. Are you hungry?"

Hungry? What the hell was she talking about? Where was he? But, as a matter of fact, he was hungry. Ravenous. He opened his mouth to tell her. He heard himself crying. At least it sounded like crying.

"Sure you're hungry, sweetie. You're always hungry. Look what I have for you."

She shook a red and white box. Jesse salivated and cried again.

"That's a good boy. We won't have to worry about you hurting anyone ever again." She poured the Frisky Treats into a bowl.

Jesse dug in, purring as he ate. He was already dreaming of napping in her warm lap.

x x x

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