Bring It On!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by tom mcmullen

I've always wanted to write a mini-sequel to 'Say Hello to Pearl' (go to my website: www.isittodayhjfurl.com to read and listen to Ruth Pownall's amazing performance as Pearl and her Toy, Lauren Smart) - but never really felt the inclination - until I intercepted the bizarre communication between Dawn McNiel, behavioural psychiatrist, and the Clone herself. Bring it on! (16+)

Midnight. The Rutting Season. One Year Later…

Dawn McNiel, behavioural psychiatrist, lives alone in a secure isolation facility, encapsulated within the remote genetic experimentation laboratory, concealed by the snowy pine forests, of Tannochbrae. The last known survivor of escaped human clone, Pearl McGilvrae. She sits at her computer, wearing a beige polo neck sweater, raking her lustrous auburn blonde hair as she studies the latest emergency report on her deadly adversary.

McGilvrae, the cold-hearted killer who suffocated her lover, her human plaything: Lauren Jane Smart, aged 18, an Oban girl, a lonely girl, an only child, last seen boarding a Glasgow-bound Highland train, never to be seen alive again.

McNiel is hacked, out of the blue. Her face flushes, her lips purse, her cute snub nose twitches, sniffing out danger in the bizarre message flashing white electric sparks on her flickering laptop screen. Exhausted, panda-eyed from lack of sleep, her black daydreams, abject fears, she stares in chilled disbelief at the crazed death threats from Pearl:

Come into the warm, Dawn. Shake off your coat. Take off those gloves. Dust yourself down. Come and sit beside my fire. You must be freezing. Hot chocolate, warm minced pies, rich fruit cake!

Dawn McNiel, behavioural psychiatrist, recognizes the phrase from the recording she made of the clone making love to Smart before she smothered her pretty face with a fine feather pillow. A bead of cold sweat trickles down her back as she ponders the threat of her inclusion:

Come into the warm, Dawn. Which warm, where? Here, at Tannochbrae?

She smiles, nervous. Tannochbrae is impregnable: access and egress are controlled, limited to specific individuals by iris optical recognition. McGilvrae can’t get inside, or can she? Suppose she taught herself to override or hack complex artificial intelligence and algorithmic controls?

Pearl’s opening thrust is replaced by an altogether more terrifying statement questioning Dawn:

Would you like some cheese, girl?

Cheese! Dawn’s eyebrows raise like flags at half mast for the dead scientists of Tannochbrae, accentuating the umber weals of stress that circle her sapphire eyes. Beattie was at his control desk, scanning the corridors for signs of suspicious activity when McGilvrae cut his throat with a cheese wire. She’d found him sprawled over his unfinished ten-minute crossword in that week’s edition of The Tulloch Herald. Beattie, fifty-eight-year-old faithful husband to Annette, father to five girls, thrice a grandfather, a uniformed guard of no great importance…

Another, sinister message from McGilvrae. One of the defensive automatons defending McNiel surreptitiously glances at the screen, the other twenty-nine catch a quick glimpse, they all bow their heads, pretending not to notice:

Come to bed with me, Dawn. I’m a big girl now!

The lead robot drops its head, not wishing to intrude on McNiel’s human intimacies with Pearl, her late lonesome nights before the girl arrived by taxi from Oban station forecourt. Her study of the clone’s reaction to external human female stimuli. She blushes, her flushed face straining at the biological impossibilities, fomenting nightmares in her troubled mind:

How big? Big enough to?

McNiel transmits an immediate response:

I know that, do you think I don’t know that?

Well then, come to bed.

Dawn McNiel, behavioural psychiatrist, smiles to herself, enjoying the moment.

Mind games, eh? Two can play at that!

Not until you tell me how big you are, girl.

The message stares back at Dawn for several minutes. Impatient for a final response she selects RESEND:

Not until you tell me how big you are, girl.

The lights go out. The laptop screen lights up her petrified face. McNiel swivels in her chair, surveying thirty pairs of lidless, crimson, pinprick eyes. At least, her defence mechanism is still intact. Even if McGilvrae penetrates the laboratory’s perimeter electrified fence, breaks the optical recognition access gate, forcing open Dawn’s bedroom door, a single clone will be no match for thirty, armed fighting machines.

RESEND:

Not until you tell me how big you are, girl.

There were six other scientists based at Tannochbrae: McGilvrae and McVie, Pearl’s biological parents, McCain, McLeish, McTaggart, and McPartland. Hot chocolate, warm minced pies and rich fruit cake were traditionally served to those who were still awake after midnight in the run-up to Christmas. By Pearl. They’d all suffered protracted painful deaths as a result of the deadly neurotoxin she injected into their food that night. Dawn thanks her lucky stars, she skipped the festive fayre in favour of a turkey sandwich. Pearl replies:

I hid from you in the marram dunes, on the murky, muddy sands of Moil, by the auld groyne, a quiet, secluded place – until we had all cloned. And here we all are, Dawn! Come to see you!

We? The message freezes on McNiel’s screen. The pinprick lights blink, fading in her robots’ eyes. An icy chill blues her face: the secure door, blowing inwards. The clones swarm into the room, intent on a bloody revenge, dismembering her, limb-by-limb, organ-by-organ, bone-by-bone. Defiant to the last, Dawn McNiel, a behavioural psychiatrist, screams, her final scream:

‘Bring it on!’

*****

Immune to the cold, they strut out to the waiting world. Snow flutters down in heavy flakes, white rose petals, cascading in swirls, settling on the blank canvas that stretches between them, the open gate…and freedom.

Bring It On, Pearls.


Submitted: January 18, 2021

© Copyright 2021 HJFURL. All rights reserved.

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Comments

tom mcmullen

Oh I wish I was a clone HJ in one of your enjoyable stories!

Wed, January 20th, 2021 5:14am

Author
Reply

Thank you so much Tom, that can, err, be arranged!

Wed, January 20th, 2021 5:44am

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