A young boy gets involved in a dangerous job while working for a lunatic scientist who is undertaking some wild experiments.

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Cloning Ben

Ana Esther

‘Alright, honey. Just a bad dream…’
‘Hum!’ Ben opened his eyes, agitated. ‘This horrible-looking monster was gonna grab me.’ His heart drummed in his chest, ‘This evil Foetus again, Mum.’
‘Ben, I told you not to watch that documentary about that dead… Tasmanian Tiger, was it? That’s adult stuff, young man!’
Ben’s cheeks puffed up, he just hated the way Mum called him young man. ‘Mum, what monster is a Foetus anyway?’
‘Go ask your Dad!’
‘I did.’
‘He told me to ask YOU.’
Next day Ben approached the school librarian. ‘Mr O’Naree, what’s a Foetus?’
‘Benjamin!’ The librarian handed him a dictionary. ‘There, lazy boy, look the word up, then tell me what it is, OK?’
‘Cool, now I reckon! Mr O’Naree, see, loads of scientists are trying to clone a Tasmanian Tiger using the DNA of that foetus in the Museum. Watched it on telly.’
‘You knew what DNA meant but not a foetus!’
‘Er… anyway, can I use the Net, sir?’
The librarian joined Ben and confessed his enthusiasm for the extinct Tasmanian Tiger. They found sensational sites about the most recent research on the cloning project. On one, a local scientist claimed to be ALMOST there! Ben could not resist sending him an e-mail asking for details.
At home, when Mum and Dad were deep asleep, Ben checked his e-mail account. Guess what?! There was the scientist’s reply, with photos and all:
Benjamin, dear boy!
I can feel it in your words you’re the assistant I’ve been looking for all these years. I’m about to conclude my research and proceed to the cloning process itself. As you may grasp, it needs secrecy. Can I count on you as my assistant? I insist that no information can ever leak, not even to your parents. Top Secret stuff. If you agree to this, come to my lab in Dumping Road tomorrow after school.

Before going to school next morning, Ben didn’t even hesitate to lie. He was sure this was his chance to prove to his parents he was not a kiddo any more. ‘Mum, I’m gonna play footy with my mates after school, I’ll be late!’
The scientist’s lab was not far from school. The neighbourhood felt chilling though: no ‘homes’, only deserted warehouses. Ben’s stomach ached. ‘I wish Mr O’Naree were here…I should have told him.’ Now he stood in front of the sombre building.
Ben was about to run back home when the door opened up revealing the skinny figure of Mr Knutsy. The scientist welcomed him with a grin. ‘Quick inside, Benjamin! Has anyone seen you?’
‘Then, I’ll show you ‘round.’ The scientist gave a last peep outside before pushing Ben forward into a big room full of cobwebs.
The walls were crammed with shelves loaded with jars containing all sorts of freaky foetuses, so spooky! The scientist looked weird and a bit overexcited, probably because he was such a great genius. But he seemed a nice guy. He even showed Ben his ‘Confidential Files’ with his findings about the Tasmanian Tiger DNA chain. Gradually Ben’s fears vanished.
‘It’s great being your assistant, Mr Knutsy! I’ll be back tomorrow to start working with you!’ Ben felt so important to be part of Mr Knutsy’s ground-breaking research. When Mum and Dad knew it they would be proud of their young man.
Ben shared his secret with Mr Dick T. O’Naree but omitted that his parents had no idea of his whereabouts after classes. He told the librarian of the scientist’s eccentricities and Mr Dick T. O’Naree pressed to come along. ‘No way! Mr Knutsy’ll think you’re spying on him.’ Ben always said.
Each day a new lie and he would sneak out to Mr Knutsy’s lab. He had such fun filing notes, cleaning up Mr Knutsy’s mess after each test… Everything went fine until that afternoon when he saw the scientist grimacing in front of the computer. Ben knew it was something to do with the results of Mr Knutsy’s last experiment. Had the Chamber of Scientists replied his e-mail? Suddenly, Mr Knutsy stared at Ben with huge, bulging eyes reflecting Tasmanian Tigers all over their pupils.
‘Benjamin! Have I told you that the last surviving Tassie Tiger was called Benjamin, just like you?’ Mr Knutsy was so excited he did not bother to listen to Ben’s reply and rambled on, ‘You know, I feel ever so frustrated. A lifetime dedicated to science and what do I get? Those fools of the Chamber of Scientists calling me nuts! Decades of fruitless hard work. I’m getting nowhere breeding those monstrous foetuses. Now, I have this greatest idea...’
Falling into a rage, Mr Knutsy jumped over Ben in a burst of ghastly laughter. He grabbed Ben with great strength, dragged him to the research desk and tied him there. Paralysed by the shock, Ben offered little resistance.
‘I’ve been wasting my time trying to clone that stupid marsupial. I’ll rather clone you, Benjamin!!!’, he shouted, ‘I’m a genius!’ Mr Knutsy considered for a while. ‘Let’s see… In order to clone you, shall I kill you first, or not? I‘ll check it out!’
Ben screamed to the top of his voice, in vain. Mr Knutsy seemed so involved in calculations that he cared little to his surroundings. Ben shivered and bit his lips in an effort not to panic. ‘My mobile…’ he remembered, ‘Mr O’Naree’s number’s in the memory…’ Despairing, he stretched out his arm and reached for his mobile phone. His veins were pulsing under the tight wrappings. His contorted neck hurt but Ben finally managed to send Mr Dick T. O’Naree a ‘Help-Me!’ message.
Time passed… nobody showed up.
‘Benjamin! I can clone you right now!’ Mr Knutsy was ready. He collected all sorts of sinister surgical tools. Ben felt the sharp point of an injection needle in his arm.
‘Stop!’ yelled Mr Dick T. O’Naree. Neither Ben nor Mr Knutsy had heard him knock the door down and come into the room.
Mr Knutsy collapsed. Weeping his eyes out the scientist begged ‘Have mercy on me! I just wanted to clone Benjamin…’

Ben was so scared it took him some weeks to recover. Mum and Dad grounded him for his harmful lies (‘No internet for a month, young man!’). When he next met Mr Dick T. O’Naree he apologised for behaving so badly to such a good friend. But he would not give up:
‘I’ll be a scientist when I grow up, but not a mad one! I wanna protect animals from extinction.’
‘Oh, no! Thank god I’ll be retired by then!’ Mr Dick T. O’Naree sighed in great relief.

*I wrote this short-story in March 2007 but Ifirst published it on a Brazilian literary site called Recanto das Letras.

Submitted: August 14, 2010

© Copyright 2023 Ana Esther. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:


Joe say no

A very interesting story, keep on writting.

Mon, August 30th, 2010 8:36pm

Elsa Bother

Ana Esther,
I enjoyed reading your story very much, you know how to contrive a plot and catch the reader's attention pleasurably from the beginning till the end. Congratulations, keep on going!
Elsa Bother

Tue, August 31st, 2010 1:01am

Zack Lewis

I enjoyed that! :) It was a fun story with a neat twist! Keep it up!

Fri, September 10th, 2010 8:44pm

Midnight Rose

Funny refreshing story!

Mon, September 13th, 2010 4:38pm


liked it..

Sun, March 27th, 2011 6:41pm


Very fun story for kids. I found it enjoyable. I also love your creativity! It's a great story to tell kids before bed-time. Keep up the great work and keep me updated. Good luck :)

Sun, October 14th, 2012 4:24pm

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