#AtoZChallenge: Faceless

Falden limped back to the shed. He was sure he hadn’t been followed, but he looked around just to be sure. He hobbled his way to the rusted metal sheet lying by the door and moved it aside to reveal a biometric ID panel.  It chirruped to life and asked him to hold still while a full facial scan was performed. A grid of yellow light was projected onto his face and the scanner seemed satisfied. Falden walked over to the door of the shed, which appeared to be a mass of cracked wood hanging off a hinge but was in fact a hologram. The real door slid open and Falden walked through.

The lab reeked of formaldehyde. Most people would find it off-putting, but to Falden, it smelled like home. He limped over to his chair and sat down, happy to finally rest his legs. Things hadn’t gone to plan that night. He had run into some old acquaintances. People that recognized his face, though they had no idea there was a different man behind it. It was Falden’s fault. He shouldn’t have picked a man so deep in debt.

He got back on his feet, wincing as a spear of pain jabbed his calf. Leaning against every surface he could lay his hands on, Falden slowly made his way to the large door at the back of the room. There was another biometric scanner, more elaborate than the one outside. He went through the requisite scans and the door slid open, releasing a gust of chilled air into the lab. Falden grabbed a heavy jacket hanging from a rack by the door and put it on.

He limped into the cryo room, lined with rows of man-sized tubes. Each tube was occupied by one of the many ‘donors’ Falden had collected over the years. They were all cryogenically frozen, their organs and tissues perfectly preserved, to be used when needed. They were mostly drifters and runaways, people who wouldn’t be missed or easily found. But once in a while, they were found. Like tonight, when he ran into his latest donor’s old friends. It was time for a change.

Walden passed by a series of tubes until he found one that looked promising. A young man, a hitchhiker, if he wasn’t mistaken. He would do. Falden entered the combination that unlocked the tube and pulled the corpse out. It was time to begin the procedure. In only a few hours, Falden would be a new man.

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