Perception informed me I should be cold and that the light should seem suddenly dim, but these were terms requiring apparatus I no longer had.  Similarly an impulse searched for feelings of stress and pain, but these too required organs and glands and chemicals that I no longer possessed.  It wasn’t peaceful or eerie or frightening or joyful.  In a terrible, hollow instant I understood the tool I had destroyed and wanted it back.

I became aware of a voice.  A merging of what once was memory with data from outside whatever this thing that was me had become.

‘Not what you were expecting.’

It wasn’t a question.  Past moments flash through me:  The heat of the city, the weight of a uniform, the feel of a gun in my hand, my Sphinx Krypton compact 9mm, KRISS U.S. import, Defiance silencer; in a room like this noise suppression to 124db.  A situation is only threatening if you are unprepared.  Be prepared.  Kill first.   Become a warning with every step, exhale immortality.

‘You feel threatened.  This is incorrect.  You have nothing to hurt.’

Fists, bare-knuckle pounding closed-cell foam on wood to build bone mass and strength.  Promise I’ll stop but really promising I’ll hide it better.  Bravery and heat.  Always hot where we are needed.

‘I can wait.  Time moves slowly here but it still moves.  If you wish to alter your condition you need to calm down.  Thrash around your past experiences if you must.  They can’t help you build new ones.’

Stop.  Hold.  Need intel.  Need context.

‘You can speak, if you want to.  Don’t allow the lack of throat and lung to confuse you.  Imagine speaking and the words will arrive.  Just don’t ask ‘where am I,’ you know where you are.  And don’t…’

‘Who are you?’ I interrupt.

‘…ask who I am.  Never mind.  What I am is immaterial.  I cannot stop you enquiring but be warned; there are those who have lost eternities pondering what I am.  I am a function.  I am here because The Universe is not yet ready to let you go. Your influence is incomplete.’

Silence.  I can’t think of anything to say.  I was surprised to realise how much of my thinking was tied-up with having a body.  Biology and survival imperatives run a constant narrative like the buzzing of a strip light; a low hum only noticed once absent.  I didn’t need anything and had no context for an utter lack of want.

‘Why did you come here?’ the voice suggested.

‘I lost my wife, she died,’ I said.

‘Yes.  She died.  Her influence was complete.’

‘I miss her.’