First actual story, so I think it deserves a bit of a note.

First of all, I apologize to anyone who is Buddhist, Hindu, or just a believer in reincarnation. It is not my intent to mock your beliefs (at least, no more than anyone elses, and purely in a spirit of humour) and I admit that I should have done more research for this story than I actually have. In the same vein, I own none of the concepts I'm playing around with here.

I also do not own the characters, setting, plot, language or writing of this story. I'm a firm believer that you cannot own words. However, the characters and deities described here might be rather upset if you decided to try to use them without their permission, and might ask me to interceed on their behalf. Which would not be pleasant for you. Entiendes?

Lastly, I'm having some trouble with formatting and getting used to this system. If anyone feels like pointing out errors so that I can correct them, I would be very grateful. For that, and for any other comment you might like to give me.


Reincarnation is a bitch sometimes.

I don't mean coming into a new existence as a cicada or something, either. That's more like a vacation than a punishment; for one thing, it's not hard to be a good cicada so you're back to human fairly soon anyways, and for another it's really nice to have a life where your greatest purpose is stuffing yourself with...whatever it is that cicadas eat.

No, there are two things that really suck about the whole reincarnation business. The first one is the process itself. I don't care what you've heard, it hurts. Like anything. So here I am, happy in my nice little corner of non-existence…except for the fact that I'm being forcefully thrown back into the lovely, painful circle of samsara. Fuck dignity: I'm clawing the walls and floor, cursing and screaming and crying and basically just begging them not to rip me away from Home again. Not that it does any good; I can see Home fading before my eyes and I can feel my body being…spun, I guess, out of raw nothingness and back into nasty, stifling existence. You have to feel it to understand, but it's like…being a tree. Sort of. Shut up, I'm getting to the making sense part.

I've been a tree a couple times, actually, and let me tell you that there's nothing more painful than being ripped up by the roots. (Thanks, by the way, whoever did that to me. Probably one of your ancestors.) Being reincarnated is as though every cell in your body has roots and is being torn forcefully away from Home. Then, before you can recover from that, its as if those same cells have been filled with boiling lead—poetic, aren't I?—that cools all in one second, making you heavy and clunky and just plain feeling wrong. In other words, you exist again. Whoop-de-fucking-do.

The second thing that sucks? Reincarnation isn't nearly as orderly and nice as people think, at least not for me. I don't die in one body and then get born into another new life with a clean slate and no memory of the past. I've been born once or twice, but mostly, I get shoved into a body halfway through its life, when something or other comes up. Because I'm Life's favourite little problem child.

Ah Shiva, I'm in a hospital bed again. You have no idea how many times this happens. I blink once or twice, trying to adjust to the dragging, sick feeling of matter and body after being so completely free. I'm hypersensitive to everything, this close to the switch; the sheets under and around my body, light puffs on air on my skin from the air conditioning, little pieces of hair moving slightly on my head…all of it grabs my attention briefly, jarringly concrete after such a fluid existence. I just wait; I've got this routine down. And sure enough, it fades after a few moments, my spirit adjusting to the new restrictions placed on it, and I can focus on practical concerns.

What can I really say about the room? It's a hospital. I've been in an obscene amount of them over the years. This one is cleaner than most I've been in--the more technology advances, though, the harder it is to tell when something's clean or not. Have you noticed that? Way back when, you did a purification-thingie and maybe rinsed with water and you were good. Now there's all sorts of microorganisms and who-knows-what and there are body parts that I swear didn't exist back then and if you don't disinfect your spleen every three days you go INSANE and then DIE and incidentally would you consider buying our very useful spleen-disinfecting product?

...right, the room. So, it's pretty clean, and sort of boring. The walls are almost white with a hint of green in them, and there's a circular rug on the floor by the bed. There are a couple bland watercolour landscapes and a shelf with some board games, but overall the room has this sort of 'no one is ever going to want to be here, so why really bother' feeling to it. This contemplation of the room has at least gotten rid of that 'ew, I have a body again' feeling completely, so now I can turn my attention to the body I'm inhabiting without feeling sick.

Let's get some basic info. I check under the sheets quickly and affirm that I have legs, feet, toes, and all that good stuff. And speaking of body parts, I'm male. Always good to know your gender, in case there's a pop quiz. Plus, finding out you're in a relationship without knowing which gender you are? Awkward, trust me on this one.

A quick examination of my upper body yields some rather vague information: I could be in the hospital because of the very pretty bruises all over my torso, or it could be the scars on my wrists. Not another suicide; at least I have the 'my life sucks' attitude down, because guess what? It DOES.

And now it sucks even more, because some woman's appeared out of nowhere and is trying to strangle me. No, wait, hug me. Same difference. Standard operating procedure for me is to squirm away screaming about cooties, but until I've settled in I think I'll be a bit more unobtrusive.

"Oh Jacob!" Is that me? That is me. Again, your name is one of those things that's good to know. Hug-lady holds me away from her for a moment, her enormous blue eyes leaking tears everywhere and smearing already smeared makeup. This lady is a mess, and I have a feeling that she would be even if her—brother? Son? Friend? Man-slave? Whatever—wasn't in the hospital. Her hair is bleached-blonde, but already the roots are a very dark brown that I personally think would look a lot better with her complexion. That is, if she wasn't wearing bright pink blush, too much eyeshadow, and a scary shade of lipstick. I sound like a fashion critic, don't I? Crap.

"Jacob, honey, how could you do this to us? We were so worried! Darling whatever the problem is I swear we'll fix it, all right? There's no need for you to resort to something so drastic, please sweetheart don't ever do this again…I was so, so scared…" She breaks down sobbing again.

Oi oi oi. I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not, since it wasn't me in the first place and I could really care less if 'Jacob' tried to kill himself. It's my turn—for now anyways—and my job (haha. Like I get paid) is to un-fuck it up. The trickiest thing in this sort of situation is figuring out what sort of personality I have; it's easier when I'm just thrust into a 'normal' situation, really, because then at least people give me cues as to how I'm expected to behave instead of watching me anxiously. Time to play the amnesia card for all it's worth. I love amnesia. It's the mental-disorder equivalent of ten 'get out of jail free' cards.

"W-who…? I'm really sorry, but I don't have any idea what you're talking about, ma'am. What am I doing here?"

And she faints. She actually faints. As in, out cold, boom, on the floor. Ten points!