My father was a hologram, yet my mother was fully human; she didn’t have a virtual bone in her body. I am unclear of the process by which I was made flesh. All I know is that at some point after he left, I emerged from one of her eyes as a ray of living crimson.

I can walk through walls, but it’s by no means an effortless process. My body is formed from viscous light, and as such, my blood flows through the space between atoms slowly. As I pass through brick and mortar, I can feel the coarseness of the hardened clay, the alternating directions of the grain. I can handle fiberglass, formica, even concrete- the only thing that I can’t pass through is a silvered mirror. I’ve tried, but my reflection always pushes back.

Lately I’ve taken up smoking. Not for fashion, or for the stimulation; I do it for the texture of the fumes, the feeling of fullness. The clouds accumulate beneath my transparent skin and make me seem tangible. Whenever the fog rolls through town, I can live like I’m solid, and nobody knows the difference.

Tonight, however, its raining in the Violet City, and I’m all out of cigarettes. Each droplet is painful, a prism scattering my blood into seven shades of moonlight. It’s not enough to cause any lasting damage, but it’s enough that I can’t ignore what I am. I catch my reflection in the window of a barber shop. The downpour has stripped me of all coherence. I can’t quite tell where my face is supposed to be.

Most people can cry in the rain without it being noticed. I don’t have that luxury; my tears ricochet as soon as they hit the gleaming pavement.