Starless Imperium

Morgan Argor Strange, Science Fiction Horror Author

The First Chapter in the Story of How I Got These Scars

Like cassette tapes are back in fashion because they’re easier to use than vinyls but more avant-garde than CDs, everything comes around. Even me.

There was a time not too long ago that I never thought I’d type this. Honestly, I never saw it coming, even though it was obvious from my earliest memories. To quote one of my favorite TV characters of all time and space, “I know what’s coming and I know nobody can stop it, not even myself.”

I had my first initial consult for top surgery today. Fuck, I never thought I’d type those words. Medical phobias and living in some nostalgic dreamworld for some time that never was made me feel like I didn’t need it.

Oddly enough, I did. But not for the reasons I thought.


My mother–sweet, strange, everything but enigmatic–call her what you will: She’s just mom to me. She developed triple negative breast cancer. So did her sister, many years ago–early onset.

Because of all this, I somehow managed to get a rushed and unexpected audience with one of the top breast surgery clinics in the country. I only met the doctor online today, but I go to the city on Wednesday.

Based on her calculations, my lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 30%–and that’s not even touching the true reason I’m writing this post at all.

She asked if I’d thought about testosterone. If only she knew … So many years, but pointless. I always described it as, “testosterone won’t give me back a childhood of being born a cis man.” Alternatively, if you want purple prose, let’s go with, “You can’t grow back a phantom limb with steroid injections.”

In other words, I thought it was pointless. Just like pretty much everything else I’d ever encountered. I’ve lived in a state of hyper-vigilant apathy for as long as I can remember–a.k.a. the end of my teenage years. (Everything before then is a weird, dense blur that I reach hazily for even now).

I never thought my family would accept me, either. And I never saw a point to trying to pass as a man. I’m short. And for as long as I can remember, I was fed the same bullshit as most people like me.

Years later, the same people who told me “never to bother with treatment because you’re too girly” would admit they didn’t understand it at the time. They expressed regret, but didn’t apologize.

Others–even a psychologist I’d known for ages–just thought I was a lesbian. And I didn’t feel like it was worth fighting back.

I’ve always liked to fight, but I don’t like to lose. And to me, this was fighting something bigger than me, and even bigger than the status quo or the lonely herd of society.

Anyone who actually knew me (unless they were in severe denial) eventually accepted it. Some, I didn’t even have to tell.

I tried to fight it for ages. I stayed married to a man, but I don’t blame him for anything. He was one of the ones who expressed regret. He wanted to be with a real woman, whatever that is, and we parted ways. I was angry at first–not because of some “lost romance” that was nothing but a high school delusion, but because of the betrayal.

I’d told him so many times that it wasn’t me. That the skin didn’t match.

He never said it–at least that I remember through my fucked up ragefits towards the end–but I know that deep down he was sorry.

I hope he’s happy, wherever he is.


Eventually I found someone exactly like me, who had already gone through the social and physical aspects of the transition. It didn’t bother me to see him exist as a man, even though everyone still called me the wrong thing.

That’s highly unusual for me. I’m usually a jealous motherfucker who will stab you sooner than feel joy for another living creature.

But for whatever reason, it never bothered me. I guess it must have been because I knew, deep down, that it was up to me to take that long and lonely plunge down the hatch.

Or so I thought.

Really, like most things in my life, it was up to my mother.


When she went down to the city, she got good treatment. Way more advanced and prompt than anything around here. Imagine my surprise when she told me that she asked the doctor who saw her if I could write a letter.

I guess it ended up being one of my more impactful pieces of work, because they got me an appointment within a week of reading it.


I’m so dissociated from my body that I don’t even know what day it is half the time, literally. I used to work a corporate job, but now it feels like some unreal far-off memory from another life, even though it ended less than a month ago. I stay up all night and sleep a couple hours here and there during the day.

I hate the sun. I hate illumination and revelation. If there must be light, may it thrive in a world that’s “always dead with darkness and alive with lights.”

No matter how many stacks of hundreds I burn through at the chaos arcade, it’ll never change the fact that I fucked up beyond repair and went down the wrong road.


When I first got on the call, I wasn’t sure what would happen. But by the end, the doctor was asking me when I wanted it done. Summer or fall.

“Summer.” I said.

It’s been so long since I had a summer that was different–one that didn’t blur into the next like a hopeless and impenetrable fog of depression and loneliness. I think the last summer without that, I was 14 years old.

When I go to the city next week, I’ll see the plastic surgeon.

He’s going to go through the scar patterns with me, and give me a choice: So finally, at long fucking last, I can tell you the story of how I got these scars.

~ Morgan Argor

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