As I walk across the room, I put on my jacket because it?s getting cold. Looking out the windows, I see flecks of snow falling from a cloudy night sky. The moon is hidden behind the deep grey veil threatening to engulf everyone from above. The reflection of the office shows me the scene of the softly glowing embers I have just made with the files containing any proof of my employment here. I start to wonder how thin the glass is. I run my fingers behind my left ear and feel the chip implanted there: it is warm. I run towards the window.
My steps get faster and faster as my leg muscles contract more and more. I am focused and calm as I make this knowingly mad dash. My heart rate does not change except from physical exertion. I do not stop. I do not change position. As I intend: my skull breaks the glass.
The point of impact feels like a giant wedge being smashed into my head and the sound of impact is that of an iceberg crackling in the numbing arctic wind. At that moment there is no pain; the pain only starts to radiate a partial second afterwards and shocks the rest of my body causing every muscle to spasm. I lose complete control of any movement and lie limp watching gravity accelerate me down 22 stories. All around me the neon that lines the buildings become streams of bright fluorescent blue, pink, and yellow. The wind pushes at my body, desperately and hopelessly trying to slow my descent, managing only to spin it violently in midair like a puppet. The streams of light and wind instantaneously stop as I hit the ground flat on my back. At that moment, I feel every vertebrae of my spine compress rapidly and shatter even faster. The sensation is that of knives being expelled from every nerve into the surrounding tissue. My brain slams the side of my skull as my heart tears from force of impact. I lie there, immobile, feeling a steady leak of blood from my broken skull.
I first notice them following me as I walk out of the alley where I had taken refuge for a few hours. I am sure it is them: the men in red coats. I have only heard about them from whispers, but I was always almost certain they existed. Why they want me I know precisely. Before I decide to shake them off, I run my fingers behind my left ear and feel the chip implanted there: it is cold. Just as I round the corner of the next intersection, I sprint towards the nearest subway station.
They pick up on my movement right away as I take a quick glance back and notice them catching up very fast. All of my senses are acute, my heart races furiously, and I feel very hot. As I arrive at the entrance to the subway, I see a man in a black, leather trench coat standing in the middle of the stairs with a laser red insignia right behind his left ear. He tries to approach me as I am going down at breakneck speed. Ignoring his attempt, I jump the last flight of steps as the men in red coats reach the subway entrance. Before I know it, the sound of a single gunshot echoes through the dark stairwell and the man with the red insignia collapses as a bunch of chips, like mine, spill onto the steps.
I continue to run as much as I can, although I know there is only a dead end ahead. However, it has been a while since I felt fear and for that reason I am unable able to control it. The single thought that motivates me to keep running is that the men in red coats will not kill me. I stop running along the subway tracks when I can no longer continue. I turn around to see four men, all clad in saffron and black gloves, just metres behind me, blocking off any path of escape. One of them approaches me slowly and puts his hand inside his coat and pulls out a small handheld device. I realize at once that this little machine is the tool for extracting chips. The low rumbling of the incoming train starts to amplify.
Panic takes over me; I cannot bear the thought of having the chip removed, however painlessly it will be. I cannot envision my life without death. I decide to attempt living my life one last time: I jump off the platform in front of the incoming train as the man tries to snatch me from my death. The jump is brief and I am in the air for no longer than 3 seconds as the light of the train blinds me. The brightness amplifies until I can see nothing else. Hanging in the air, I am calm as I ever was as I run my fingers behind my left ear and feel the chip implanted there.