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Three Reincarnation Rituals

I killed my old self to see if I would finally return home to myself.

Fiction | Fiction, Flash Fiction, Remains, ghosts
December 21, 2022


I killed my old self to see if I would finally return home to myself. But I just came back worse and hotter. I reshape my silicone body mold to give myself an itty-bitty waist and the fat ass that I deserve. I reconfigure my brain chip so I only fall in love with ratty skater boys who are actually men that are too old to be doing this shit anymore. 

I go on a date with one such specimen. He takes me to Chuck E. Cheese in an ironic critique of our childhoods growing up under late-stage capitalism. Skater Boy tells me that Chuck E. Cheese is actually an orphan who hosts birthday parties for other children because he never had his own. He says this all with deadpan enthusiasm and a wink. 

I sculpt my facial muscles to plaster a sexy smile on my face. I play the bimbo laugh track from my mouth speakers. 

“Oh my god, that’s crazy,” I say. 

Skater Boy pats my ass lovingly and tells me, with pride swelling in his voice, that he’s never met an Asian girl with a juicy ass before. I laugh. 

“Oh my god, that’s crazy,” I say. 

Skater Boy holds my hand tenderly, and we dip our greasy french fries into a cup of artificial cheese. We make out beneath lights the color of yellowed teeth. We listen to the symphony of crying children, who are frightened by a band of smiling animatronic rats that sing “Happy Birthday” forever. 

I think I am in love. 


I killed my old self to see if I would finally return home to myself. But I just came back as my mother’s daughter. I ripped out the heartstring wires from my rib cage again and tied them to her wrist so that I would never lose her. I programmed my thought-streams to loop endlessly around her, blessing myself with an obsession with daughterhood. 

I have come to her, my Original Creator, for advice and wisdom. But my Chinese mother says nothing. She just furrows her worried brow and stares at my ass for a long time. 

“Have you been eating too much again?” she finally asks. “Are you okay? You look different.” 

I look at her incredulously. “Of course I look different! Every day I kill and rebirth myself. I completely rearrange my guts, reshape my body, and rewire my brain. My teeth are falling out and everything is sore and I am in pain. So no, I am not okay.” 

My mother gently strokes my synthetic hair but looks at me unsympathetically. She goes back to watching videos on her iPad. 

“I told you Mercury went retrograde yesterday and that you would experience technology issues!” says my mother as she jabs at the flickering screen. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” 


I killed my old self to see if I would finally return home to myself. But I just came back as a washed-up oracle. I disconnect the prophecy sensors that live behind my ears. I have nothing left to say. I reach into my throat and rip out my speaker box, throwing it away into the cold desert night. 

I am tired. No matter how many sticks of incense I burn or tarot cards I pull, I cannot find any answers. I do not know how to return. 

Instead, I worship the balsamic moon. I have one last spell to perform for the moon to break this reincarnation cycle. Only faith and devotion to something that will never answer me back can save me now.

I strip down to my underwear and wade knee-deep into the shifting, swirling sand. The desert winds sigh, nipping at my silicone skin but I feel nothing. I moonbathe under the thin smile of the balsamic moon’s milky glow. My titanium steel legs stretch into long sinewy strips of shadow across the dunes. 

Once my body is properly cleansed, I can perform my final spell. I crouch down and make a small hole in the sand, a hungry mouth waiting to be fed. I fish out a crumpled packet of wildflower seeds from my bra and rip it open, the seeds tumbling out like baby teeth. I softly mouth a lullaby into the hole and seal everything with a kiss. 

And the flowers! How they bloomed & bloomed & bloomed—

This story is part of the Remains notebook, which features art by Chitra Ganesh.