My skin reflects shadows of the jungle. Deep jade greens and umber skip over my new surface, chasing each other like butterflies. My hand, its virgin nevus splayed between my fingers as if it wants to web, looks alien; a messenger from their world.
“Does it hurt?”
“Not really. It throbs a little.”
It swells and rises with the tides of another world. It feels their sunrise and the direction of their wind, wet and pregnant with spores. It thrives on the rhythms of alien moons as it gnaws its way up my elbow.
“Do you retain sensation? Do you feel this?”
“Yes. A stabbing pain. Sharp.”
The pain is like a story told by someone else, told to a hand that picks kauma berries from inside a ripe solar cluster, a meaningless story hardly worth repeating.
“You are very brave, Miss Levy. This mission is invaluable to – ”
The silver sheath is spreading up my shoulder. Every day, I am a little less human, a little more myself. Reflections chase each other up my breasts, down my shoulder blades: yellow flares like lantern eyes, the deep burgundy of the night sky. Electric bursts of lightning spread down my belly, tantalising and sharp.
“The Kaai expect you. They will probably send a ship. We don’t understand everything, but –“
There is a mirror in my room. I like its duplicity, its pretence of companionship. I look into myself through its warped surface, and I am looking into a jungle. The Kaai welcome me with sweet water and soft leaves.
They call me Silver, for the colour of the reflections of the cities of Earth that forever chase each other over the surface of my skin.