Short Story Contest #186 Theme: "Birth" courtesy of @Blighters Congratulations @Fernando.C for an intriguing Sci-Fi entry Reborn _________________________________________ Reborn  She felt cold, but she enjoyed it. The sense of weightlessness, the result of floating in her the strange liquid confinement, was oddly soothing. The touch of the unknown fluid with its faint, beige color, against her naked flesh brought on strange sensations; hard to describe but pleasant. There was not much room to move about. She did not mind that, preferring to stay in one place, simply…floating. The liquid flowed around her, wrapping itself around her, surrounding her, brushing against her skin ever so gently, like the loving touch of a mother. She loved its embrace, she loved it. Did it make sense to love a non-living substance? But it felt alive to her, the way it took care of her, kept her warm, fed her even; although she did not understand how it accomplished the last one. All she knew was that whenever she felt a bit hungry the fluid took on a subtle bluish hue and grew slightly thicker around her. The change would last only for a few seconds each time but that was enough for her hunger to disappear. For some reason, her body was in a very specific position all the time; head bowed, back arched and her arms and legs pushed all the way to her chest. She did not understand the reason behind this, but found the position to be quite comfortable so did not bother to change it up. Ah…she love her fluid home. It was cozy and warm and peaceful. She wished nothing more than to stay here forever, yet she had a nagging feeling at the back of her head that she would have to leave at some point. She hated that feeling, why on earth would she ever want to leave her home? It was the greatest home in the world. But what if it was not up to her? Maybe somebody or something would force her out? She could not imagine anyone could be so cruel. Still, she worried. In fact, that was the only thing that troubled her. It was hard to stay troubled in here, the liquid was just too calming. Even now, all those unpleasant thoughts were dissipating as quickly as they came to her mind. Time passed, it was difficult to say how much. Seconds blended into hours and those, in turn, into days and even month. It seemed to her that she had always been in this liquid home, despite those vague images that popped into her head once in a while of her in other, unidentifiable places. She was different in those images somehow, how different? She could not tell. It was just…a feeling. Sometimes, there were others in these images too, but she did not recognize them. These odd mental images grew more infrequent as time went one, as well as becoming blurrier. She did not really care, the images did not matter. Even if they were real and she had indeed been someplace else before her liquid home it changed absolutely nothing. She loved her current home, that was the only thing she cared about; all that she ever wanted. More time went by, the images eventually left her mind altogether. To be honest, there was not much on her mind overall. She did not think much anymore. For one thing there was not pretty much anything to think about in the unchanging scenery of the liquid, for another she was too at piece to bother trouble her mind with thoughts, instead she much preferred to just…be. *** Dr. James Patrick rushed back into the room, a look of concern on his face. A quick survey of the room revealed, much to his relief, that all was in order. His bathroom break had taken longer than he thought and with the deadline so near, it was no wonder that he had panicked. He check the three different monitors at his left, all indicated that everything was on track. Good, he thought, only thirty minutes left; Wow. Only half an hour to the first successful implementation of the ‘Rebirth’ project. It still did not feel real to him. His eyes was inevitably drawn to the spectacle in the very center of the room. A giant sphere made of glass stood on a single pillar made of a special metal alloy, made specifically to withstand the mass of the glass sphere. The sphere was filled with a substance of Dr. Patrick’s own invention, one he was particularly proud of. The liquid solution which he had dubbed ‘the Rebirth Formula’ had a light beige color and was the main element that made the Rebirth process possible. Floating inside the Rebirth Formula, naked and in a fetal position, was a twenty-six-year-old women. She had, of course, volunteered for this project. Although she would not remember that now. In fact, she would not remember anything from her life before stepping into the ‘artificial uterus’, as the glass sphere was called. Not a very accurate name but appropriate nonetheless. The aim of the Rebirth Project, as its name implied, was to give a second chance at life to those who had done not too well with their first one. It was a fresh start in every meaning of the word. And the woman in the artificial uterus was about to be the first human being to experience just that. Dr. Patrick was restless with anticipation. For two decades he had worked on this project, and here now, he would at last witness the results. The woman would be born once more, a new life, a new path ahead of her. She would be a baby in all but the strictest biological concepts once she came out of the sphere. She would not be able to talk, nor to walk or stand. Furthermore every skill, knowledge, and piece of information she had ever learned or acquired would be lost to her. Her mind was completely wipe away. Just like an actual baby, she would have to learn everything anew. She would be assigned new ‘parents’ who would raise her and teach her all that was needed for her to be a useful member of the society. The brilliance of this project was that the subject would experience every state of natural human development. Childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Only the process would be faster. Dr. Patrick pulled out two similar-looking sheets from a drawer. Both with a picture of the woman. One read: Jessica Robinson 26 Female Charged with triple homicide. Sentenced to death. The other read: Madison Avery, 26 Female The rest of the page was blank.