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Body Packaging #10: Welcome To The Other Side

Jul 9, 2012

Simi Valley, California

At first, the only sound audible was an incessant hissing.  It possessed the fury of a thousand snakes circling.  Suddenly, a muffled voice burrowed through her right ear drum.

“Most of us fear.”  There was a pause which felt like it lasted a lifetime. Then, the voice began again. “We fear the greatest things that could ever happen to us.  Getting married.  Starting a great new job.  Even dying.”  The voice sounded distorted.   She didn’t know whether it was the way the person talking to her actually sounded or if it was from having damaged her ear drums.

Images of people’s faces floated above her like phantoms.  Her body was numb.  There was literally no sensation in her limbs.  But somehow, she could feel her own heart beating.

Her lips were so tight and puffy that she could barely move them to utter a few words.  Her voice erupted from her throat like she was coughing up coarse dust.  “Where am I?”

“Still curious after all you’ve been through, eh?  Impressive.”  A warm sponge gently removed the caked blood from Dede’s right eye so that she could make out the shadowy outline of the speaker’s face.

“Am I dead?”  Dede stared up at the surprisingly soft-featured face of a woman in her early thirties with hauntingly pale skin.  The woman’s long blonde hair  framed her face and trailed down her narrow shoulders.

“The world thinks you are.  But, no, you are very much alive, Dede Storm.”  There was no signal from her lips indicating whether this was good or bad news.

“Who.  Who–”  She was becoming increasingly frustrated at her lips’ and vocal chords’ blatant refusal to cooperate with her mind’s questions.

“Save your strength.  My name is Melange.  We have been watching you for some time.  You and your overly ambitious cousin Veronica.  You are quite the team.”

Who was this woman?  How did she know so much about her?  She had always been so careful to cover her tracks.  Part of Dede simply wanted to give up.  But that other inquisitive part that refused to quit began to go into overdrive.

Melange smiled with the milky blue eyes of an enigma.  “We sensed that you might have problems with Majestic.  We pried your dying caracas from out of the flames.”

Dede managed to blurt out three words.  “Thanks, I guess.”

“We knew that you would never work for us until you absolutely had no choice.”  There were several new sounds her one ear began to pick up.  A whirling.  A deep swooshing sound.  And a click, click, click that sounded like an old fashioned teletype machine.

This didn’t sound good.  She was definitely not among friends.

“You may not realize it now.  But in a very short time, we will transform you back into the magnificent creature that you once were. And once you are.  You will be working for us.”


Melange silenced her with her eyes.  “Save your strength.  You will need it to survive.  You are in a secured site in Simi Valley.”

Dede Storm felt her insides jostling around like paper mache as she let out a slight laugh.  She was going to be reborn in the Valley.  Dede’s mind was moving furiously despite her body’s mummification.  It was a miracle that she had made it through the fire.  But if she was now going to have to work for whom she sensed she would be working, she wondered if she would have been better off dead.


© Jennifer Strauss 2012. All Rights Reserved.