The ghosts direct me to the bar stool tattooed with spotted pinpricks, burnt leather sparks. A fold-out table, jumper cables, drunken modems. The ghosts pull back their tattered polyester sleeves and prep the scalpels.
I sit on the bar stool, my circuits splayed, my spirit open. The ghosts draw a map on my skull with their icepick fingers, clock hands tapping on bone. Their knives slice through tissue, bone carved away, morphing into a tunnel. The ghosts prod further—down into the dark.
The ghosts take out the extension cords. Plug into the modem. Reach inside and tug my circuits until a feed crawls in and tells me what I need. The surgery could take months, years. Until then, I need to remain on the stool.
May I have a glass of water?
The ghosts refuse to answer.
Emma Foster is a recent college graduate who attained a minor in creative writing. She is preparing for graduate school next year. Her works have appeared in the Cedarville Review, Voices of the Valley Literary Journal, Ariel Chart, and others.