Anabiosis| Imade Iyamu

2017

Today was the day we slept for one hundred years for the first time.

The doctor read out the particulars of the cryo-contract to us again (as he was legally obligated to). Did we understand and agree to the terms and conditions? Yes. Did we accept to be placed in suspended animation, revived regularly every hundred years? Yes. Did we accept that the hospital would not be held liable for any loss of lives, memories or organs? Yes.

Yes, we knew the risks, but we knew why we took them.

This year the National Assembly’s newly amended Same Sex Prohibition Act was passed, allowing for all known and suspected homosexuals to be killed on sight. It was not safe for two women like us to be in love anymore. So we decided to preserve our bodies in cryosleep, to be resuscitated in any future where we could be free to love each other.

“Are you sure about this?” My voice ran tepid.

“Don’t be scared,” you nudged me, “you won’t die. We’ll just sleep and wake up, born again.”

I liked that; the idea of not dying, but simply being reborn into another life where we could be together. I held on to it and let it germinate within me. You slipped my hand into yours and cradled my head between your breasts. It felt so safe there.

After signing on the dotted line, we entered our respective pods filled to the brim with a thick gel-like substance. I saw nothing but azure and then I fell asleep.

 

2117

The first thing I saw when I woke up was your eyes, browning against the glint of the florescent light behind you.

“Are you okay?” you asked me. I nodded. You told me how my body had jerked and thrashed, resisting the revival. I hadn’t felt a thing, though. It was like I’d woken up from a dreamless sleep.

You kissed me. And as our lips reluctantly untangled, we stood face-to-face. Your breath felt warm and heady against the curve of my upper lip.

“What is the outside world like now?” I asked.

You told me how nothing we wanted had changed. That it’d only grown worse. Tyres were thrown around the necks of gay men as they burnt to a fetid crisp. Street touts conspired to flog and rape the demons out of lesbians. We were still not free to love each other.

“We need to sleep again,” you said. “The times are still not for us.”

“We can’t,” I refused. “We’re lucky we even woke up! What if something happens this time?”

“Anything that wants to happen let it happen.”

My eyebrows furrowed in response.

“If we go now then there was no point sleeping in the first place.” You pleaded, “Do it for me.”

You slept again. And I, accomplice and victim, slept with you.

 

2217

“My love.”

Your voice and tongue greeted me from the other side.

“I have missed you,” you whispered, enunciating every syllable carefully like a gentle opus meant for me alone.

I looked at my body. A film of the sticky gel from the pod stuck to me like a second skin. How much time, I thought.

“How is it now?” I asked. You said it was better now. That the Same Sex Act had been repealed.

“Beautiful!” I cried. “Now we can live our lives finally.”

“No,” you said. “Only the laws have changed. Just because a law has changed doesn’t mean people’s attitudes have. They still kill and rape us out there.”

“But it’s something! At least we can do something now; we can report anybody that abuses us.”

“Report to whom? Nobody cares!” You screamed throatily.

“I’m sleeping again,” you said. “By the time we wake up, people would’ve gotten used to the law and we’ll be accepted, then we can live our lives”

I tried, and failed, to stop you. Then I joined you in sleep again.

 

2317

The doctor’s cold, synthetic hands drew me awake.

“You are extraordinarily lucky,” he said. “You’re the only cryopatient from the ‘10s that has managed to survive.”

“What?”

“We had an unfortunate technical problem, power outage you see. Over half of the pods gave out.”

Mournful, unending squalls burst through me and rent into the quiet air as the realization hit me. I asked him to take me to where your dead body lay. He did.

He left, handing me a vial, and said, “After all the extended periods of cryosleep, your internal organs are rejecting revival. Your insides will decay in a matter of hours but this should stop that. Make sure you drink it.”

Maybe we were wrong, I thought. We were so sure that all the answers to our happiness were waiting for us in some indeterminate future, but what if our happiness was in death? Something so simple and easy staring ahead at us.

I threw the vial against the wall and watched the liquid escape violently from the shattered glass. I thought: in death we would sleep and wake up, reborn at last, and never to sleep again.

Awaiting rigor mortis, I lay against you, my head between your breasts. It always felt so safe there.

 

About the Author

Imade Iyamu is a young writer from Lagos, Nigeria. She has been published in such places as Wolves Magazine, Afreada Magazine and The Kalahari Review. In 2016 she was longlisted for the Awele Creative Trust Award. Her work was published in the ‘Dearly Beloved’ Anthology of Zoetic Press and is forthcoming in the International Women’s Day anthology of Praxis Magazine.

8 Comments

  • Issue 4 - DWARTS October 12, 2017 at 1:54 am

    […] Imade Iyamu […]

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  • PenPrince October 13, 2017 at 2:15 am

    Beautiful writeup, and writer ?

    Reply
  • Seun October 13, 2017 at 8:59 am

    This is so refreshingly different from all the love stories I’ve read. Nice interplay of allusions. I really like it. And it has a poetic flow to it too. Well done.

    Reply
  • Omolade Zainab Adeyemi October 13, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Whao!!! Charged…emotional…melancholic…beautiful at the same time. Good piece. Keep it up.

    Reply
  • V! October 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    This is super awesome!! Thumbs up

    Reply
  • Efemena October 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Nice, Nice…

    Reply
  • Efemena October 14, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Nice, nice and nice! ??

    Reply
  • Uzezi May 20, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    This is awesome cyberpunk! The author deserves some, and then more accolades.

    Reply

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