Chapter 14: Reversed

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September 23, 2357

Genesis Mercy Hospital

Genesis, America

Ari puffed out her cheeks and then blew the air upwards over her face as she waited. She felt like a little kid again as she lightly kicked her heels in the air, counting the seconds between the departure of the nurse and the arrival of her doctor. Irritated, she paused her legs for a moment and shifted uncomfortably on the bed-like piece of furniture, setting the covering paper to crackling loudly.

There were few things worse than her yearly physical, as far as Ari was concerned. It was the greatest reminder of all just how much of a freak she really was. With every organ in her body in a reversed position of normal human anatomy, these visits were the only documented proof in the world that she was like no one else on Earth. And she hated that it was so necessary.

Taking another deep breath, Ari held it in her cheeks once more before letting it slowly slip from between her lips. Her eyes traveled around the room, touching on a poster of normal human anatomy before shooting away to study the vials of drugs that were standard for every person on the planet.

Ari almost snorted when she saw the pale blue liquid of birth control. For so long she hadn't needed it—she didn't get her first period until she was sixteen—and at her last exam it was stated that she possibly never would have a need for it. With as much as there was wrong with her, it was doubtful she was even fertile. At some point in her life—when she really stopped to think about it—she knew she would never be able to decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

"Hello, Ari."

Her dark eyes shot immediately to the door, finding there the woman who had always conducted her exams from the time she was born. Doctor Lita had been an intern at the time of her birth, so she knew from the very beginning that there were terrible things wrong with her. According to Lita, Ari had become her number one patient from that moment on. And she proved that by transferring wherever Ari moved. From Valor, where she was born, to Partisan where she spent her childhood. Now, she was a stable doctor at Genesis Mercy. Ari knew, however, that wherever she went, Lita would follow.

"Hello," Ari replied.

Lita smiled compassionately at her and her blue eyes gleamed knowingly. "Your hair is longer than last I saw it."

Automatically, Ari's hand ran through her hair. It was shaggy around her ears, now. By the end of the month it would touch her jawline. Then it would begin a slow descent down her neck before barely passing her shoulders. When that happened, it would once more fall in a chestnut rain around her body.

"Yeah," was all she could think of to say, lowering her hand slowly to her side.

"So, Ari, how've you been?" Lita asked as she moved slowly towards her. As was typical, she picked up the scanner and placed Ari's right hand atop it, capturing the print to confirm that it was she Lita was examining.

"Healthy as a horse. Well, a three-legged one," she tried to joke. Her voice was strained, however. As it always was during her exam.

Lita smiled despite the lame attempt. "Other than that? School? Home? How's Eila?"

Ari shrugged. "Boring. Sucks. Fine."

Chuckling, Lita put away the scanner and grabbed the ear-thermometer. Ari couldn't help but think that, after centuries of medical triumphs, no one had ever created another way to take somebody's temperature without sticking something in them. Nothing was said for a moment as Lita recorded the temperature for her file.

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