The Ghost of a Girl Who Never Lived
by Keffy R. M. Kehrli
3rd Place - Best Story - 2010
I am Sara's second body.
My first memory is of Sara's resurrection in a room that smelled of cotton balls
and hydrogen peroxide.
"That's funny," a man said.
The world felt raw, sore, and new. Under my back, my butt, my fingertips, I could
feel every thread in the sheets beneath me. The blanket over my stomach scratched.
Padded straps crossed my arms.
"What's funny?" This voice was a woman's.
"Got another error message," the man answered. "Have you ever seen that one
I felt the sheets with Sara's fingers, and the texture conjured memories I didn't
have. I should have known where I was and what I was there for, but I couldn't
catch hold of the fleeting thoughts. In the dim light of the room I could only see the
"Let me see." I heard a frenzied clicking. "It failed twice?"
"Nothing copied the first time, so I started over. It got about halfway through, and
then it gave me this."
"Error two-one-five-two. Copy error," the woman said. "I've never seen that
before. I've never even seen an error in the middle of a transplant. Did you check
"It didn't list this one."
The woman sighed and said, "The only thing I can think of is if we wipe
everything out and start over."
Operating tables, and the anesthesiologist's face. Tissue paper examining tables,
candles in a church.
"She's conscious, though," the man said. "When the machine aborted, it sent the
Copy Completed code. Don't look at me like that! I don't know if I ought to mess
around with it anymore, or . . ."
The woman interrupted, "You know we can't do that without contacting the
parents. Come on, we might as well go see what the damage is."