Flashback 6 years old

    "Mom, I want to help," I whine loudly, and mom shoots me a smile.

    She bends down and kisses my forehead gently.

  "I wish you could, baby. But mommy is using a knife," mom says, and I frown.

   I stand on my tippy toes and stare at the pile of celery.

  "I am big enough. I can help," I repeat, and mom sighs.

    She closed her eyes for a minute before lifting me up and placing me on the counter.

  "You can watch, my little Miracle. But keep your hands away from the knife at all times. You are still too little to cut up veggies," Mom says, and I smile while nodding. 

    I love watching mommy cook. She makes the best food. I want to learn how to make yummy food. So when I have a family, I can make yummy food for them too. I will make all my favorites for them. When mommy comes to my house, she will smell the air and say, "mmm, something smells good."

  As I stare at the ever-growing pile of green vegetables, a drop of red liquid falls from my face and lands near mom's cutting board. I stare at the drop for a few seconds and more begin to fall around the first one. 

  "Mom, look," I say as I point to the red drops.

    When mom sees what I am pointing to, she gasps and puts down her knife. She grabs my face with both of her hands, but I keep my eyes on the growing pool of red liquid.

  "Krystal, look at me, honey," Mom says, and I look up into my mother's worried face.

   When I look at her, she gasps again and grabs the kitchen towel hanging on the stove. She presses the towel to my face and bites her bottom lip.

  "What's wrong, mommy," I ask a little muffled, and mom gives me her fake smile.

  "Nothing, honey. We just have call Dr. Gayley. It's time for you to have a checkup," Mom says, and I smile excitedly even though she can't see.

  "Okay," I reply.

I like my doctor. She is nice.

End of flashback

    My hand shakes as I sign my name on the piece of paper that could save my life.

Ever since that day in the kitchen, I have been poked and prodded. I have had countless treatments and multiple surgeries to fight the different cancers ravishing my body. I have grown accustomed to hospitals and nurses. Even when I went into remission, I never seemed to accept that I would ever have a normal life again, but I tried.

I tried to dream about having a family. I begin to think about a future career. I participated in sports. I got good at styling my hair and doing my makeup. I even had a boyfriend for a short period of time during my sophomore year of high school. But I always had a feeling that long life would never be within my grasp. So when my yearly checkup revealed the cancer was back, I wasn't surprised. I wasn't sad. I accepted it quickly. But mom...Mom didn't.

  Her dreams for my life had blossomed during my years of good health. She had thought the nightmare was behind her. She thought her child would outlive her. She thought she would see me get married and have children.

  "I need to write my mother a goodbye letter. I won't mention anything about this...I need to say goodbye. She deserves a goodbye," I say as I hand the contract back.

  Ms. Cummings nods and digs into her briefcase again. She hands me a spiral, and I give her a small smile before looking down at the paper.

   My mind swirls as I try to think of a way to begin. How do you say goodbye to someone who loves you more than they love themselves? How do I convince her to carry on with her life?

  I take a deep breath and place the pen on the paper.

Dear Mom,

   Thank you for being the best mom a girl could ever ask for. You showered me with love every day of my life. You made me feel complete even when you thought I was missing out.

  I'm sorry we didn't get more time together. I am sorry my body wasn't strong enough to kill the diseases inside of it. I want you to know I am ready.

  I am prepared for all the sickness to end. I want to know peace. I want to rest and actually feel refreshed. I know you will miss me. You are too great a mom not to miss me, but I want you to be happy, mom. I want you to find love. Maybe have a few more babies. I would love that for you.

  When a fast-tempo song comes on, dance crazy for me. When a bird chirps outside, chirp back like I used to. Curl up, and read some good books like I love to do. That way, I am still here. You will hold my legacy, mom. I won't leave this Earth until you do. My memory will be in your heart, so I won't truly be gone. If you do have more children tell them about their wacky sister.

I love you, mom. I will always be with you even when you can't see me. Hold me in your heart forever. I will be safe and healthy there.

Bye, mom. 

  I sob as I place the pen down on the spiral and hand it to Laura. She takes the spiral gently and sets it down on the small side table.

  "I need to explain the process before you are teleported. Are you able to listen, or do you need a few minutes," Ms. Cummings whispers, and I nod.

  "I'm listening," I whisper back as I wipe my boney face.

  "The center expects harvested women and will be ready for your arrival. You will arrive unconscious. They will immediately place you in one of their machines that gives them a full-body read-out. Depending on what they see will determine your treatment. I hear it is a speedy process, and it heals your body completely. You will look as if you were never sick. Even your hair will be back. Personally, I can't wrap my brain around a machine like that, but it exists. I have to link the teleportation device with your DNA, but once you are logged, you never have to do that again. The teleportation system is on every civilized planet, and I understand they use it to travel as we do airplanes. Do you have any more questions before I prick your finger and get you logged for transport," She asks, and I stare at her with watery eyes.

  "When I get settled, can I call you for updates on my mother," I ask, and Laura smiles?

  "Yes. That is a reasonable request. Anything else," She replies with a soft voice, and I nod.

  "Are the men ugly? Do they look like aliens in the movies," I ask sheepishly, and Laura chuckles?

  "My sister sent me a picture of her mate. He is beautiful. She said the majority of the people look very similar to humans but bigger. More muscular. They also range in colors. We have a very neutral color pallet for our skin tones. Brown, cream, peachy, but theirs seem to be more varied. Probably due to the different vegetation on each planet. But no, they do not resemble aliens depicted in our films," she answers, and I nod.

  "Good. I think I am ready. If this was all a dream or if I am already dead, it really doesn't matter. I am prepared to be done with all of this," I say, gesturing to the hospital.

  Laura nods and takes a small black box out of her case. She holds it up to her eyes, and it does a scan of her face before popping open. I watch intently as she pulls out a small orange device. There are only three buttons on the top, and they are all white. They aren't labeled, so I have no idea what each is for. The device isn't very big, and it's square. It has a small scene underneath the three buttons but nothing else.

  Laura holds out her hand, and I place mine in hers. She presses the middle white button, and a small needle pops out of the end of the square device. She pricks my finger quickly, and the device gives a beep as the needle disappears.

  "My device only has one location I can teleport people to. It is very basic compared to the teleporters they use," Laura explains as she stares at the small screen.

  I glance at her face quickly before looking back down at the screen. After a few seconds, a loud beep sounds again, and the word logged pops up on the screen.

  "Okay. I am going to press this button, and your body will be sent to the medical center. It was a pleasure meeting you, Krystal. My contact information will be given to you when you arrive there. They give you paperwork and a copy of the contract you signed. They will also guarantee you speak their language. They have a unique way of sharing information and knowledge. Goodbye, Krystal," Laura says, and before I can respond, she presses the button.

   A strong wave of energy flows through my body, and I grow drowsy instantly. The room around me vanishes, and my eyes close on their own.

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