He had been having bad dreams.
He awoke, slowly, and uncertainly. He remembered the dreams, but only in tatters and shreds. There been a number of very cruel people in them. A man who was a brother, but not brotherly. And another man, this one with a strange sickle-shaped mark on his face…and a gun in his hand. Then, something huge and metal had been rushing at him from out of the night. That was followed by a nightmarish hospital filled with people rushing about. And, finally, there was a woman, smirking and hateful.
It had all been very, very strange, and terribly disturbing. He was glad to awaken and escape those visions. He opened his eyes. Where was he? He tried to remember. Of course, he thought, the Center. But, for some reason, he couldn't quite get a handle on what "the Center" was.
He wasn't in bed. Instead, he was half sitting, half reclining on a chaise lounge. It was very comfortable and warm. He was nude, he realized, but he was covered with a blue sheet of silky, almost transparent material. He felt something fuzzy under one arm. Oh, that's Teddy. His teddy bear was with him. It seemed perfectly natural that he would have a teddy bear. He pulled it a little closer.
I must have dozed off, he thought.
But he was so groggy. He tried to clear his head. He glanced around the room. It was richly furnished and luxurious. There were thick carpets on the floors, paintings on the walls, and pieces of exquisite furniture here and there. A sitting room? A drawing room? Something like that, anyway.
Then he realized he wasn't alone. Seated in a huge chair near him was a woman. He knew her…but he wasn’t sure how he knew her. She was athletic and tall. He guessed she was easily over six feet, that is, two meters. Her bright, intelligent face regarded him.
Who? Oh, of course! It was Doctor Elena from the Center. How could he have not recognized her?
She smiled at him. Somewhat sheepishly, he smiled back. "I must have dozed off," he said, in his soft, musical voice.
"You've been …asleep, yes," she replied.
"How long was I napping?"
"A little while,"
He stretched. The blue sheet of transparent cloth slipped away from him. He was surprised to see her react. Her eyes seemed to open a little further and she leaned forward as if to get a better look at him.
It was confusing. But, he stood, pulling the sheet to one side and putting his Teddy on the chaise. He heard her sigh slightly. What was she looking at?
He looked down at his naked body. It was small and smooth. There was a full-length mirror on one wall and he went and looked at himself. He saw a round face, blond hair, fair skin, large nipples, penis, testicles, and smooth legs and chest. He seemed tiny, and fresh, and delicate, and he took pride in his appearance. Pretty, he thought.
Yet, again, strange memories came into his head. He seemed to recall another body, one that was pale, and broken. Odd.
Dr. Elena rose and came behind him. She gently put her hands on his shoulders. "Do you recognize yourself?" she asked.
He shrugged. "Of course."
"Good," she said. "Very good. That's excellent."
He continued to gaze into the mirror. "Yes, well…"
"Do you remember your name?"
He laughed. "Of course I do. My name is Feldstein-Hanover." Or, to be precise, he was Robert Gray Feldstein-Hanover. He paused and considered. "But I'd prefer it if you called me Bobbi."
He realized he wasn't sure. "Bobbi" just seemed so much more fitting than that ponderous four-decker name he had possessed. It seemed lighter, somehow. Less of a burden. "I can't really say. I just, well, I just want to be Bobbi."
"Then Bobbi it shall be," she said, pleasantly. "Now for the next step."
"Keep looking into the mirror. Tell me what you see."
"Well," he looked. "I see my face. My body."
"And what do you think?"
He smiled, again sheepishly. "I am embarrassed to say it."
"Be honest. I am not here to judge."
"I… I think I'm rather attractive."
She nodded, clearly pleased. "That's good, too. And don't be embarrassed. A little vanity is cute. And besides, you are attractive. You are a lovely, lovely little boy."
"Indeed you are." She looked at his face in the mirror. "But regard yourself. What else do you see?"
He did so. What else? For a moment, he didn't see anything. Then, strangely, the surface of the mirror seemed to shimmer. He stared intently. What?
All the images from his dreams came spinning into his head. They were intense, now, and horrible! The man with the gun! The hospital with the doctors like demons in white coats! Then…ice…long, long years of ice.
He fell. She caught him and lifted him up, tenderly holding him.
He found his breath. "I was dead."
"Yes," she agreed, stroking his head. "But now you are alive."
NOTE: the first book of Bobbi's adventures has just gone on Amazon. You can see it here.