21 Questions: Chapter Fifty-Two

      My mind rushes with asinine, ludicrous thoughts in spite of myself, my usually logical disposition betraying me, momentarily indulging in the type of fantasy I know only exists in rom-coms and happily-ever-after romance novels.   Get your mind right, Connie! This is not some Cinderella-turned-Sex-and-the-City fan-fic!   The pads of my fingers bite into the plush cushion of the sofa as their southern equivalents come into contact with four-figure insoles.   I hold my breath impulsively at the feel of his over the arch of my heel,… Read More

21 Questions: Chapter Fifty-One

        Magda leads me back to the lounging area, positively giddy, like a liberal soccer mom ecstatic that her kid’s going to prom—except, you know, her kid’s the dress.   At least one of us is excited.   The second Zane comes into view, I clam up, the mere sight of him, even from a distance, making my anxiety shoot through the roof. He looks up, catching my gaze, and I have to break it ever so briefly before meeting it again, keenly aware of his piercing… Read More

21 Questions: Chapter Fifty

        My eyeballs inflate in their sockets, going as round as the zeros they fall on.   “Is everything all right?” Magda asks, inspecting my stunned expression.   “Y-yes,” I clear my throat. “Could you give me a minute, please?” I manage, handing her the dress to walk back in the direction we came.   Tentatively, I tread up to Zane, my heart quickening as his seated figure grows more prominent.   Feral eyes catch mine even before I near their owner. My chest constricts around the… Read More

21 Questions: Chapter Forty-Nine

        The drive across town is short, expedited by unusually low traffic for rush hour and the speedy vehicle hurtling its owner and I toward an unknown destination. But it feels excruciatingly long, thanks to the harrowing, immeasurable disgrace currently imbuing every living cell that forms me, eradicating them by the billions. A thousand deaths doesn’t even begin to cover it.   I default to silence for the entire ride, my heart still coming down like a hammer from an angry judge, its echo blaring in my… Read More

21 Questions: Chapter Forty-Eight

      For a full, entire beat, my body, mind and soul are not my own.   I…I…   My breath dissipates with startling ease, my lungs collapsing on themselves as oxygen exits my brain. I find myself actually suffocating inside my own body while a synthetic penis stares back at me.   It happens so quickly but, somehow, plays out in slow motion; like hitting fast-forward and pause at the same time.   It’s only a second and, yet, it’s enough time for my mind’s lens to vividly… Read More

21 Questions: Chapter Forty-Seven

        The passenger’s door comes alive again at the silent command of its owner, withdrawing to reattach itself to its body, sealing me in.   My stomach drops as Zane locks me inside his possession, my nostrils flaring in their struggle to take in treated air. I watch his colossal frame through the extended windshield, making a swift loop around the front to the other side. I try not to freak out as a sense of finality mauls me to the ground.   I’m about to be… Read More

21 Questions: Chapter Forty-Six

      I register a distinct ringing in my ears, loud enough to supersede the continuous hum of ventilation and interjecting keyboard strokes in the background. Like all the thoughts in my head are literally crashing into each other. But the staggered wheezing inside my chest is even more prominent.   Molecules of oxygen evacuate my lungs in hordes, sputtering out of me like I’m chock full of puncture holes. Almost mechanically, I behold eyes that bore into mine, not quite looking at them as much as struggling to… Read More

21 Questions: Chapter Forty-Five

        My mother often said, “Speak of the devil and he’ll appear.”   Always pedantic.   Consistently annoying.   Unfailingly exhausting.   I never thought I’d see the day where I’d wholeheartedly agree.   All airflow to and from my lungs instantly ceases, my eyes inflating in their stead, as if trying to accommodate the large, imposing figure approaching them. I watch in muted stupor as Zane closes in, his body filling my entire line of vision, his own gilded stare spectacular against the interior, fluorescent lighting,… Read More

21 Questions: Chapter Forty-Four

        I slog through the uniquely dome-shaped entrance of the Core complex, morose and anxious when I should feel relieved it’s the end of the workweek.   A normal person would be happy to get a break from the constant bustle and hectic agenda. Instead, I’d rather take on the stress of a taxing job than that of what I’m contending with right now:   The utterly perplexing and increasingly-unclear prospect of a date with Richard Zane.   A part of me hopes he’s forgotten about it…. Read More

21 Questions: Chapter Forty-Three

      My steps are wooden as I plod away from my office. Clunky. Lumbering. Like I’m walking on century-old stilts.   My heart thrashes violently as I come to stand in front of the chief transporter, its sharp echo colliding with the countless thoughts sprinting through my head. I have to pause briefly before summoning it, trying to steel my nerves with a deep breath.   But my respiratory skills are further tested when its doors suddenly slide open, revealing a polished, stunning Renée, her expression serious as… Read More