short stories

Echoes Down an Endless Hall

They tested me again and again to ensure that the implant had properly salvaged the functions of damaged tissues. “An experimental procedure,” a doctor said once, actually volunteering information. I had learned to hoard my questions. In return, they accepted it when I chose not to say if I felt any pain here, or here, or here, if I remembered. Perhaps they thought I no longer understood pain, or my past. They were right on one count.

Red Knight, they called me, like a chess piece. I tried to tell them that there was no red knight in chess, that it could never be played. They never answered.

A military sf short story, published in F&SF Apr. 2000. Dedicated to Paradox. I am also grateful to the Critters (an online SF/F/H critique group), Liyet, and Paul U. for their help.

Remind me next time not to cram in chess, Swan Lake, and harmonicas into the same story.