• ~~~Pain. That’s all that Esmeralda felt. Her vision went from dark and blurry to total blackness as she went in and out of consciousness. She fell and stopped for a few seconds to catch her breath and rest. There was no time, though. Her palms were scratched and her knees were bleeding. Her feet were throbbing and bruising. But even then she knew she had to keep running.
    ~~She couldn’t help but wonder what the point was. They would catch her. The city always had its way with these things. When they came up with a new, crazy way to change the human body, they asked the citizens. Sometimes, everyone came willingly, like with the super vision and the un-breakable bones. But not everyone came this time. So they did what they always did.
    ~~Esmeralda’s city had planted satellites way up in space. When they wanted to convince the population, to control them, the city had their satellites pour down tiny robotic microbes, smaller than microscopic, at the city. They had them aimed perfectly. Every time an un-changed human breathed in the microbes, they traveled up to the brain and took control.
    ~~She took a wild look behind her. With her super vision she could see the faint gray cloud of microbes swooping closely behind. She gasped, they were getting too close. If she were to breathe even one puny microbe in…
    ~~That’s when she saw it. An even bigger wave of them, pouring at her from the other end of the small cave she had run into. She shrieked and took in as many deep breaths of clean air as she could fit into a two-second period. She dove into a tiny, thin side tunnel, but it was too late. The gray wave was already on top her. Esmeralda squeezed her eyes shut and tried to block out the need for oxygen. She snuck a quick peak. The wave was still bouncing off of her, trying to find a way in. Her lungs were screaming for air and she could feel her body shutting down, but she wasn’t going to breathe, oh no, not until she passed out.
    ~~Her world was spinning more and more with every passing second. She fell to her side, searching for clean air on the cave floor. None. She was losing it, she couldn’t hold on any longer.
    ~~ ‘At least I lasted this long…’ she thought to herself, just as her dimly lit world slowly faded to black, replacing pain with a floating sensation, comparable to swimming in air, perhaps. She felt herself draw in a deep, relieving breath and her control over her movements ceased to work as the microbes invaded her mind. Her muscles jerked crazily as the they fought to gain complete access to her brain. She tried to remain in control, but it was useless, they were too strong. Finally, she was out completely, so much that she didn’t even notice her body walking towards the city’s packed hospital for her 3rd body-change surgery.

    “Ughh..” Esmeralda mumbled. She forced her drooping eyelids open. She was in an unfamiliar room, bright white walls with a plain tan boarder around the top. She was in an uncomfortable bed, and the stink of sterilized tools tickled her nose. A nurse stood, strangely unbalanced, above her, smiling too-sweetly.
    “You are awake, Esmeralda!” she squeaked. Esmeralda flinched at her high voice, the sound comparable to nails on a chalkboard. “I suppose you are wondering what has happened. Well, our city decided to give all humans the gift of no pain. If you feel numb, that is normal. You will get used to the sensation. Never again will you feel the sting of a needle or the throbbing of a headache. But, you are probably tired, I’ll let you wake up a bit more before I explain more.” The nurse babbled. Esmeralda was too stunned to listen. They had caught her. The nurse smiled yet again, and turned, walking out. Esmeralda lay confused, trying to sort all of this through. She tried to feel her fingertips, her arms or legs, her face, but there was nothing. No wonder the nurse was so off-balance, how could one walk like this?!
    She dug deep in her brain for the way to move her arm. She found nothing, yet again. Her mind swam with various insults towards the city. Clearing the cuss words from her head, she examined her room more closely. Threatening silver tables, lined with metal instruments of all shapes and sizes, filled her view in front. Esmeralda shivered. She hated hospitals. On the table closest to her, on the left of the bed, she saw a glass of water and a plate of crackers.
    ‘What a filling meal.’ she thought sarcastically. But her stomach rumbled loudly. If only she could figure out how to move her arm to get at them...