could be hidden in a new place behind a new name.
But friends are complicated.
There is the staying.
Staying because of Kara and Locke and all that they will never be except trapped.
Staying because for them, time is running out and I am their last chance.
Staying for the old Jenna and all she owes Kara and Locke
and maybe all the new Jenna owes them, too.
Staying because of ten percent and all I hope it might be.
Staying because of Mr Bender’s erased life and regrets.
Staying for connection.
Staying because two of me
is enough to make one of me
worth nothing at all.
And staying because maybe Lily does love the new Jenna
as much as the old one, after all.
Because maybe, given time, p
eople do change,
maybe laws change.
Maybe we all change.
I have an advantage.
At four A.M. in the blackness of my room, I can still see. The hall light has been strategically disabled. I stand behind my door, two hours before the appointed time, because I am a horse and do not tire.
And because I can’t sleep.
Fear is caffeine running through my veinless body, jumping from biochip to biochip, circling around my preserved ten percent, my brain, only a butterfly no larger than the real thing, but the most important piece of acreage in my universe. The difference between staying and leaving. I do not tire, but I catch my breath again and again. Betrayal. Loyalty. Survival. Sacrifice. They battle within me.
Fifty minutes to go. Is it too late to change my mind? Would the old Jenna have jeopardized her future for the sake of someone else? I lean close to the wall, the open door sand-wiching me, touching my toes. In the dark, they will never see me. I play out the plan for the hundredth time and then I hear a creak on the loose floorboard outside my door and my remembered heart flies to my throat. Footsteps moving into place.
I don’t need to look at my clock. My neurochips know to the second how much time has passed. It is time. My breaths come in gulps, and in an instant I curse and cherish neurochips that remember and mimic too much.
Twenty minutes until dawn. Now. It’s time. I shake my fingers.