Clone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Malcolm Gehovi has remained in his twenties for approximately 200-300 years. Traveling from place to place, never staying for long, his life is altered dramatically when a young man asks to test his DNA for an experiment.

Submitted: January 01, 2010

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Submitted: January 01, 2010

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April 28, 2129
 
He stands at the door, smiling that familiar leer that I have come to recognize over the years in two faces that are identical but not the same. My heart beats faster, hands shake violently, and it takes me a moment to realize that the blood-curdling scream that rents the air is coming from me.
 
Rewind.
 
March 31, 2009
 
Today I woke up in a hospital with no recollection of who I was and how I got there. All I knew was that my leg hurt, and there was a very attractive woman standing over me, asking me if I felt any pain. Then, without warning, my superpowers kicked in and blasted me out the door into the cloudy gray sky.
 
Not really.
 
My name is Malcolm Gehovi, and though I was indeed in a hospital on the night of March 31, 2009, it was just for the purpose of getting stitches on my forehead after running into a telephone pole. However, there was indeed an attractive nurse that was looking through my file while I was waiting for the doctor. I ran my hand through my hair, smiling slyly at the nurse. She ignored me, of course, focusing instead on my file.
 
“So Mr. Gehovi…”
 
“Call me Malcolm.”
 
“… Mr. Gehovi. Your height is 6’1”, correct?”
 
“Yes ma’am.”
 
“Light brown hair, blue eyes?”
 
“Yes ma’am.”
 
“And it says here that you’re 26.”
 
“That is indeed what is says, ma’am.”
 
“… Mr. Gehovi, there is no birth date on this file.”
 
“What’s your point, ma’am?”
 
“Well, when were you born? What day is your birthday?”
 
“Does it matter, ma’am?”
 
“Yes, Mr. Gehovi.”
 
“Oh. Well, I don’t know, ma’am.”
 
And there was the truth of the matter. I had no idea what day I had been born. Then again, I also wasn’t twenty-six years old. Far from it actually—one would have to add about two to three hundred years onto that number to get my actual age. As much as it seems that I’m spinning falsehoods, this is no such tale. 
 
Though I made it out of the hospital and escaped the nurse’s prodding questions that day, my story starts long before this episode and continues long after it. 
 
September 30, 1745
 
The horse’s plodding hooves drowned out my mother’s mutterings to my father as we sat in the carriage. I stared at the black interior, letting my thoughts overcome me. This was one of our many trips to the doctor during my youth. My parents were worried about my abnormal growth—or rather, lack of growth. At this time in my life, I was around fifteen years old; however, my appearance made it seem like I was only nine. Frequent trips to the local doctor marked this period of my life, along with distant and sometimes fearful glances from my mother and stoic talks with my father. 
 
So why should I start with September 30th out of all the days that I had visited the doctor? Well, this marked the end. September 30th marked the day that I decided to take control of my own life. By this point, it was obvious that I had a problem with my growth; there was no cure either. I decided that I wouldn’t stand the whispers, the strained tension with my parents, the so-called treatments any longer.
 
The air brushed cool tendrils across my face as I stared back at the house I had lived in for the past fifteen years. Unkempt brown hair framed my face, showcasing the uncertainty in my blue eyes. My hand clutched around the rucksack I held tightly, and grass itched at my legs. It was a beautiful night—yet here I was, running away from everything that I held dear. With a sudden insight, I knew that if I turned away from this house and kept walking, I would never see my parents again. Moments passed. I turned away and walked onward into the horizon. 
 
January 13, 1746
 
I found myself sitting in a bar, staring at the wood in front of me. My hair was wet, my clothes were ragged, and I wondered what on earth I was thinking that night when I ran away. From blue-tinted lips, a sigh pushed its way out into the world and fogged up the air. A mug full of steaming liquid was set down in front of me, and I looked up into the rugged face of the bartender.
 
“Here you go, son. You look like you need it.”
 
I murmured my thanks and downed the liquid in a few gulps, feeling a burning sensation in the back of my throat. The bartender filled up the mug again with the same liquid and waited until I was looking a little livelier to ask me any questions.
 
“So, son, where you from?”
 
I shrugged. “Dunno. Somewhere. I’ve been walking for months. Lost track of where I am.”
 
He gave me a strange look, then nodded. “Run away from your folks? I did that once too. Didn’t make it too far though before my da came after me like thunder and lightning. Never tried it again.” With a roar of laughter, he took my mug and started cleaning it out behind the counter.
 
I thought that he had forgotten about me as I lay my head down on the counter—bar life was beginning to die down. A voice startled me out of my slump.
 
“You got a name, son?”
 
“Malcolm.”
 
“Strange name, strange name…” he muttered. “Well Malcolm, you want a job?”
 
Startling myself, I nodded slowly.
 
“Good. You can start by cleaning out these mugs. There’s an extra cot in the back where you can stay if you’d like. Unless the bushes outside serve your purpose more.” He smirked.
 
My cheeks flushed; I had indeed been sleeping in the bushes outside the bar for the past week or so before I worked up courage to come in the bar. Knowing that he had got me, he handed me a mug, and I hopped behind the counter. 
 
Eventually, the mugs were clean, and I exhaustedly put the dirty rag under the counter. The bartender showed me the cot in the back, and my thin body fell onto it like a corpse. Before he left, I shot him a question of my own.
 
“You got a name, sir?”
 
The corners of his mouth quirked up in a smile. “You can call me James.” Then he left, and sleep overcame me.
 
October 2, 1776
 
“How is it, that you came to me when you looked around nine years old, and it’s thirty years later now, but you only look sixteen?”
 
“I’m forty-five, James.”
 
James stared at me for a while, his white hair a mark of the thirty years that had passed since I started working at the bar. Finally, he shook his head. “Well, that’s some medical condition you have, son. Though I’m not sure I wish I had it. Growing old is part of life—can’t escape it forever so might as well experience it with everyone else.”
 
I shrugged. “I’m not sure I’d wish it upon anyone else, to tell you the truth.”
 
Silence fell upon us, as we went about our routine as usual. “Son, let me ask you a question.”
 
“Okay, shoot.”
 
“When was the last time you ever saw your folks?”
 
I paused, looking up towards the ceiling. “The night I ran away. My mom tucked me into bed, while my father stood stoically by the door. She told me… She told me that the doctors were wrong, that we would find a cure for my disease. Then she kissed my head, blew out the candle, and returned to my father. And that was it. Haven’t seen them since.”
 
He placed a gnarled hand on my shoulder in a gesture of friendship. I smiled wryly, and we fell back into the easy companionship that we had built over the years. 
 
“You know what James?”
 
“What, son?”
 
“I never will be able to replace my parents. But I would say that you’re the next closest thing that I have to them.”
 
A grin plastered itself to his face, and he turned back to his work. “I know, son. I know.”
 
November 3, 1776
 
Rain poured down around me as I stood above a dirt mound outside the bar, which was being shut down soon. Uncontrolled tears ran down my face, mixing with rainwater. Hands shook with grief, and my lip trembled violently. Dropping to my knees, my body shook with violent sobs. Why, I thought. Why did this happen?
 
He was just old. I whispered softly in the rain. Everyone grew old. Except me.
 
I stood up, looking at the earth in front of me. Sweeping my hair out of my eyes, I shoved my hands in the pockets of my trousers. Words fizzled and died on my tongue, so I left without saying a word. Rucksack on my back and nowhere to go. Familiar, much? I smiled, but it didn’t reach my eyes. 
 
“Well. Better start walking then.” I spoke out loud to the rain, which was beginning to slow.
 
That day was the day that I stopped counting birthdays—eventually forgetting when mine was. But, that also was the day that I decided something. Never again, would I ever get close to anyone because nothing in this world lasts forever. 
 
July 3, 1983
 
I know, I know. Big jump from 1776. Truth to be told, not much happened over the years. After a while, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t growing any older and would stay looking like I was twenty-six for a while. Flitting from town to town, scene to scene, country to country, it was likely that my eyes had seen the entire world by now. Never staying long enough to know anyone’s names, there was not any reason for me to revisit any of those places. Some might conclude that since I have lived so long and seen so much of life, my wisdom should make philosophers quake in their boots. I have one thing to say to those people. However, since that one thing is not entirely appropriate, then let’s just say that they don’t know me at all.
 
I had been doing so well when I wandered into the university that day—no one knew my name or where I was from or why I was even there. Actually, I didn’t even know the answers to some of those inquiries. It happened when I was walking around a corner in the university, and it came in the form of a young woman around age twenty-six who collided into me, books falling to the floor and everything. 
 
Don’t get me wrong; this type of thing has happened before. Normally, I just walk away and vanish, flitting to another town, another scene, another life. But something stopped me. Bending down, I looked into her eyes and offered to help her with her books. She paused and smiled shyly, handing me a textbook or two. We stood up slowly, and she tucked her hair behind her ears, looking at me nervously.
 
“Malcolm,” I said, extending a hand.
 
“Anna,” she replied, shaking my hand with her soft slender one.
 
An inner voice was warning me, practically shouting at me, to get out of there—this was dangerous territory. I stayed. For a good five years, I stayed with that girl. Anna… Against my intentions, I found myself falling in love with her. 
 
November 15, 1988
 
It had happened again. This morning, I had woken up by myself, for the first time in five years. Her stuff was gone, and the space next to me on the bed was empty. 
For the longest time, I lay on that bed, watching the sunrise. I didn’t bother looking to see if she had left a note—what was the point, anyways? She was gone, and that’s all that mattered. This was the second time that I thought I finally had something good, and now it was gone. Just like the first time. Except this time, she didn’t die; she left of her own free will. Looking back, I think that this hurt more.
 
After this, I learned my lesson again. Never again, I swore to myself. Never again.
 
August 12, 2009
 
Years upon years later, I found myself in the same town that I had been hospitalized in. In the same hospital, matter of fact. Why? I have no idea. Maybe something brought me back there for old times sake. Or to torture me. Either way, I was wandering the hospital halls that day. 
 
It was my third time circling the same hallway in a white coat I had “borrowed” from a supply closet somewhere. So far, my walk had been uninterrupted, but a few seconds after the realization of this fact, a young boy ran in front of me. I scowled, raising an eyebrow at him, but he seemed unperturbed.
 
“Please, sir. You must help my mother. She’s dying.”
 
As toughened as I thought my heart was, I felt a bit of pity for this poor boy and his forlorn expression. “Show me where she is,” I replied and was immediately tugged into a nearby hospital room. 
 
“In here, sir.”
 
My heart stopped—I’m sure of it, because for the next second I didn’t breathe at all. “Where’s your father, boy?” I asked.
 
The boy shook his head. “I don’t have a father, sir.”
 
Without sparing him a second glance, I made my way over to the bedside of the woman lying there. “Anna,” I breathed. 
 
“What?” she murmured. “My name’s Christine, moron. I’m dying.”
 
Something within me broke; I had been so sure of it. But now, I could see the differences—Anna had been raven-haired, while Christine had dark brown hair, little stuff like that. I pushed the boy back towards his mother, leaving the room hurriedly.  Suddenly, I didn’t want to play doctor anymore.
 
A tug on my coat halted me. The boy had followed me into the hallway. “Sir. She needs your help—she’s dying.”
 
“I’m no doctor, boy.” The boy looked puzzled. “I’m no doctor,” I repeated. “I’m just lonely Malcolm Gehovi, who never grows old and never dies.” With a sign, I took off the coat and left the building, leaving the boy standing there with a tight grip on the borrowed coat.
 
Looking back, I should have never told that boy my name. 
 
December 19, 2028
 
This date is crystal clear—I was in Munich, Germany at the time. Snow was lightly drifting down outside, and the warm lights of houses shone out into the night. Footsteps crunched slowly in the snow, and shadows danced merrily on the walls, twisting and turning, following the command of their real-life forms. A pair of lovers walked by, hand in hand, whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears. A dog barked in the distance.
 
Where was I? At this point, I had just gotten kicked out of a pub after getting into a fight with some jerk that I swear I didn’t know was the owner until after we started brawling. Sitting on the sidewalk, I held a fistful of snow up to my eye to help the swelling. The crescendos and decrescendos of pub life could be heard behind me, and I swore when ice got in my eye. Throwing down the snow onto the pavement, I let my head sag, resting on my knees. What was the point, I wondered. Was this really how I was to spend eternity? Traveling the world, getting kicked out of pubs, never being given the opportunity to live life to the fullest and all that? I couldn’t die normally—I tried that already many years ago. 
 
“It’s just downright depressing, isn’t it?” A voice next to me asked.
 
I jumped up, startled. “You scared the effin’ shizz out of me, gosh darn it!” Or at least, that’s the cleaner version of what I said. “Who are you?!”
 
The owner of the voice looked at me wryly. He was about 5’11” or so—shorter than I was, I noted—and had brown eyes, dark brown hair, and a normal complexion. His tenor voice rang out into the night when he talked. “I’m Alex Buchell. And you’re Malcolm Gehovi—the man who never grows old and never dies.” 
 
To be fair, I think I had the right to a good amount of time for me to gape at his words, and I took full advantage of it, standing there with a very surprised expression on my face. The corner of his mouth quirked up, and he continued. “It took me a while to track you down—two years, in fact. Then I figured that I could just follow the pub fights. My logic wasn’t too sound, but I found you now so whatever.”
 
I stared at him blankly. “How the heck do you know my name, and why are you trying to find me?” I finally asked, once my jaw started working again. 
 
“You mean you don’t remember me?” He smirked. “Then again, I grew up quite a bit from the last time you ever saw me. Maybe this will ring a bell. When I was nine years old, I thought you were a doctor. You couldn’t save my mother, who was dying—you called her Anna.”
 
It took me a second, but then I remembered that day. “You’re that little boy.” I realized. I looked at the twenty-eight year old man standing before me. “Dang, you grew up.”
 
Alex chuckled. “I did indeed. You, on the other hand, did not.” 
 
I shrugged. What could I say to that? It was true, anyways. 
 
He cleared his throat. “Well, I am a medical researcher now—I do a lot of experiments with genes. That’s kind of my specialty.”
 
I patted my legs. “Do you think you could get me a new pair then? I only own one, and they’re getting a little worn down.” 
 
“No, no, not that type of jeans. I’m talking about genetics, you see. That’s when…”
 
I put a hand on his shoulder, smiling wryly. “Dude. I know what you mean—I’m just messing with you. So why are you seeking me out?”
 
“Well, I think that your growing ‘problem’ is a genetic mutation.” He paused. “And I was wondering if I could take you back to my lab and try to isolate the gene. You know, to do some experiments.”
 
When I didn’t answer, he sighed. Before he could say anything else though, I stopped him. “I’ll do it,” I said, surprising myself. 
 
“R-really?”
 
“Why not? I can’t get any more screwed up than I already am.” 
 
“Um, alright. My lab is back in the States, so if you meet me outside my apartment…” he trailed off. “You don’t have a place to stay, do you?”
 
I shook my head.
 
He beckoned for me to follow. “You can stay at my apartment. We’ll leave in the morning.”
 
The snow still fell lightly as I followed him down the winding streets towards an apartment that I had, in all probability, been to before, not knowing what I was getting myself into.
 
December 21, 2028
 
“No.”
 
“Please?”
 
“No! There is no way I am going into that thing!”
“It won’t hurt, Malcolm.”
 
“Have you ever been in it?”
 
“Yes, actually. It’s perfectly safe.”
 
“… Fine.”
 
I stepped into a large metal tube of some strange design that was supposed to scan my bones like an X-Ray or something. The door closed behind me, and whiteness overwhelmed my vision. A slight buzzing sound reverberated around me as I waited impatiently for someone to open the door again so I could get out of this god-forsaken death trap.
 
“Okay, we got it. You can come out now, Malcolm.”
 
“Can you quite possibly open the freakin’ door?”
 
“Oh. Right.”
 
The door opened with a whoosh, and I gratefully stumbled out, tumbling on the floor. Alex Buchell stood next to the door with a wry smile on his face, watching me pick myself up and brush imaginary dirt off of my jeans. “Since when are you claustrophobic?” he quipped.
 
“Since the Spanish Inquisition,” I replied calmly. As he looked at me strangely, I relented. “I’m just kidding, genius. I’ve always been claustrophobic.”
 
An eye-roll was all the thanks I got for relenting, as Alex turned back to a screen on the table next to the X-ray type machine. Peering over his shoulder, I snuck a glance at the screen.
 
“What does that contraption do again? And why couldn’t we just use a regular X-ray device?”
 
“This ‘contraption,’ as you call it, is not a regular X-ray device,” Alex said absentmindedly as he looked at the screen. “It analyzes, not only your bones, but your muscles, tissues, blood vessels, etc and looks for differences in them. That’s in layman’s terms, of course.” His lips drew back in a teasing smile.
 
I shook my head. “Layman’s terms… Do I look stupid to you?”
 
He didn’t say anything.
 
“Fine. Don’t answer. Any results yet?”
 
Alex shook his head slowly, scanning up and down the screen. “No, nothing in your physical shape has caused your aging problem. We’re going to have to look at your DNA.”
 
“Oh. Joy. Another machine, perhaps?”
 
He picked up a pair of tweezers and plucked a hair from my head before I could protest. “Not exactly. I’ll also need a blood sample, if you don’t mind.”
 
“Whatever,” I said, rubbing my head. “You know, you could’ve warned me. That hurt.”
 
Alex rolled his eyes and walked over into another room, leaving me to trail behind like a puppy following an owner. Ah, the tendrils of friendship.
 
December 23, 2028
 
“Malcolm? Dude, wake up.”
 
I groaned, throwing a pillow in the direction of the voice. It got thrown back at me with more force than I had expected. Damn. I cracked my eyes open a bit.
 
“We’ve isolated the gene. Come on, I want to show you.”
 
Sluggishly, I rolled out of bed and stumbled over to where Alex was waiting patiently in the doorway. He looked at me oddly, keeping his eyes fixedly on my face for some reason.
 
“What?” I asked, irritated.
 
“You gonna put some clothes on?”
 
“… Oh.”
 
As he turned around respectfully, I quickly pulled on boxers, jeans, and a plain white t-shirt, running my hand through my messy hair. Alex rolled his eyes when I put my hand on his shoulder. “Ready now?” he asked with a smirk. 
 
“Geez, it’s like you’ve never seen another guy naked before,” I grumbled.
 
He chose not to answer, and we walked briskly down the hallway. Or rather, he walked briskly; I just half-jogged to keep up. Finally we reached a lab room, which looked exactly like every other laboratory in the building.
 
“Come over here. You’ll want to see this,” he said excitedly. Silly researchers.
 
Alex was right though; I did want to see this. I looked into the microscope he was pointing at with such enthusiasm…
 
“Why is it green?” I asked. “And shaped like an X?”
 
“It’s green because the dye we used to isolate it is green. I have no idea why it’s shaped like an X. That’s definitely abnormal,” he replied. 
I took my eyes away from the microscope, not looking at Alex directly for a few moments. “So that’s… that’s the gene that caused me to stop growing?” I asked cautiously.
 
Alex nodded, smiling.
 
“Does that mean it’s gone? I can grow old now?”
 
His face fell. I took that as a bad sign. “Unfortunately, that’s just one of the genes that cause your growth and aging problem—there are more.” I was right; it was a bad sign. He continued, “However, we were thinking of using your DNA to clone… well, you.” Alex hesitated. “We’d need your permission, but we thought it’d be easier to test ways to get rid of it and ways to see if it would work in other humans on a copy instead of you. We… well, I don’t want to cause you any unnecessary pain.”
 
I lifted my head and looked at him as he bit his lip in anticipation. “You want to make a clone of me? To perform tests?”
 
“Y-yes. We’re looking to see firstly if your gene would cause the same effects in your clone and then how to get rid of it. Afterwards we can see if we can use it to lengthen the human lifespan—but of course that won’t be our first priority. Especially after seeing what trouble it caused you.” He looked at me seriously. “Will you let us do it?”
 
Without hesitation, I agreed. “Sure. What could go wrong?”
 
His face broke out into a wide smile, and we walked to another room while he explained the process of cloning to me.
 
He shouldn’t have smiled. Things were going to go horribly wrong.
 
December 26, 2028
 
I tapped my fingers impatiently on the desk next to me, as Alex shot me pointed looks that were probably meant to dissuade me from tapping. I ignored him. He deserved it anyways, making us wait for the past 3 hours to go inside the holding chamber of the research center. On the other hand, it really was the fault of the researchers in charge of the holding center who hadn’t been expecting us at 6 in the morning and now had to get the chamber ready. I stopped tapping.
 
Alex opened his mouth to say something…
 
THUD.
 
He shut his mouth, and we looked at each other confused. “What was…” I started.
 
More thuds were heard, and suddenly, the door burst open. The body of a researcher was launched as if by a catapult through the door and into the wall opposite. He was unresponsive, his neck bent at an odd angle. A metal cart was pushed out after him, as the doors started to swing shut. 
 
I had leaped up when the doors burst open; Alex on the other hand was trying to put on his lab coat, standing up less quickly. 
 
“We have to see what’s going on,” he said, once he was situated. He wore an expression of worry and confusion.
 
I nodded and followed him cautiously through the doorway. 
 
“I don’t know what could have gone wrong,” he muttered. “The clone was stable—I saw him. Maybe something else happened…”
 
He trailed off as we got to the cell where the clone was supposed to be. The bed was empty, and a hole was in the wall, leading out to another room. Alex’s eyes widened, and he ran out of the door as multiple explosions and thuds sounded throughout the building. I followed him, grabbing his arm to slow him down.
 
“What happened?” I asked, out of breath.
 
Alex pushed off my hand but kept walking briskly. “The clone must have escaped. When we were cloning your DNA, there was a part that got cut off… it shouldn’t have mattered though. He was stable when I first saw him; he looked just like you, your age and everything. Obviously he must not be as stable, mentally I presume, as I had believed.”
 
“Where are we going then?”
 
“To find out what information the people in the control room have to offer. Obviously we have to restrain the clone before it does any more damage. It should be right down this hallway.”
 
Another explosion sounded throughout the building, and Alex shuddered. “He must have blown up the west wing. I have no idea where he got the dynamite though; we keep it locked up.”
 
“Alex, I think if he was able to put a hole through the wall, he could probably open a lock.” 
 
He stopped—we had reached the control room. “You stay out here,” he said. “Keep watch; I’ll ask them where he is.” Another explosion, closer this time. 
 
“I’ll fend him off with my wit,” I said sarcastically, grinning at my friend.
 
Alex rolled his eyes and smiled. “See you in a few minutes.”
 
No he wouldn’t. Moments later, another explosion shook the walls near me, throwing me away from the control room door—or rather, what had been the control room.
 
Blackness threatened to overcome me, but I struggled through it, fighting my way out of the rubble. “Alex?” I called out, rubbing my eyes. “Alex, dude, answer me. Where are you?”
 
Unhindered by the rubble, I trudged into the remnants of the control room. A body was perched precariously on one of the chairs that had partially survived the blast. Looking warily around, I saw where the clone had thrown the dynamite in—just one opening in the air vent had allowed the dynamite to be slipped through. Then I saw him, and every thought flew out the window.
 
Alex was sprawled on the ground opposite the air vent, part of his arm having been blown off by the blast and a chunk of building impaling him through the chest.  His eyes were closed, but he had an expression of surprise on his face. I didn’t have to check to know that he was dead. 
 
Tears in my eyes, I lifted his body, ignoring the blood that got on my clothes, and somehow found the exit leading to outside. As I slowly walked outside, I heard the buzz of a helicopter landing nearby, the wind blowing my hair back. Alex had been able to call for reinforcements, I suppose. The troopers ran into the building, carrying the new guns and technology of the day. Shouts were soon heard, and a struggle was taking place. A few minutes later, they had subdued the clone. He walked out between two state troopers with his hands handcuffed behind him. I watched him, this man who looked so much like me… except that he had green eyes. I suppose that was the part of DNA which was cut off. 
 
Suddenly, his head snapped up, and he looked at me. I will never forget that look. Madness shone through his green eyes, and they seemed to say that this wasn’t over. Then he was gone, into the helicopter.
 
I set Alex’s body down on the ground and cried.
 
February 17, 2059
 
The government calls me today after all these years. The clone, or X as they are calling him, is dead. They had killed him after deciding that he was not worth the trouble of keeping. I suppose I am relieved, though the pain of Alex’s death will never leave me.
 
Later I wander aimlessly into town—not to a pub this time. I had given up drinking a long time ago. I walk into a coffee shop, sitting down with my back to the window and ordering plain black coffee when the waitress came up and asked me what I would like. She is pretty, but I do not take notice. My life has no purpose, no meaning anymore. Some might say that my will to live is breaking down. It already has—I just notice it more nowadays.
 
I am playing with the napkin dispenser on the table, when a reflection from the window catches my eye. I spin around quickly, but nothing is there. I could’ve sworn…
 
The waitress brings me my coffee, smiling at me, and I thank her absentmindedly. She leaves.
 
I stare out the window at the empty sidewalk. I knew what I had seen. There was no way I would’ve ever forgotten that sinister smile…
 
July 1, 2087
 
I spent the past twenty years or so moving. I don’t stop. That incident in the coffee shop scared me, reminding me of that day. Not again. He is back. I know it. Appearances in windows or on television remind me of his presence. I only stay in one place for two days at most.
 
He will not find me. Never again.
 
May 24, 2100
 
He finds me. No matter where I go. He’s always there.
 
January 21, 2112
 
I don’t know where I’m running—it all looks the same. Fear drives me on, feeding my energy. He is close behind; I can feel it. Feet pound the pavement; quick gasps of air fill the oppressing silence. A tear silently falls down my face, whipped away quickly by the wind. I keep running.
 
April 28, 2129
 
He stands at the door, smiling that familiar leer that I have come to recognize over the years in two faces that are identical but not the same. My heart beats faster, hands shake violently, and it takes me a moment to realize that the blood-curdling scream that rents the air is coming from me.
 
He finally has me cornered. I cannot run from him any longer. “What do you want?” I ask desperately. 
 
He mimics my words, even standing in the exact same position as I was. The madness is still in his eyes, though fiercer now. 
 
I put my hand against the doorframe that I’m standing in and ask again. “What do you want from me?” I plead. “Are you going to kill me?”
 
Mimicking me more, he does not answer but continues to grin maniacally. 
 
“No, no, no,” I say to myself, him mimicking me. “You can’t! I don’t die—neither do you. I have nothing to offer. Nothing left to give.” 
 
But you can die… he whispers. Somehow he does this without moving his lips. You were never trying before, admit it. Jumping into the shallow end of a kid pool? There was never any chance of you drowning or cracking your skull. 
 
I stand there, flabbergasted. He mimics my expression, and I scowl. He scowls too. Suddenly I realize something. “That means,” I say (he mimics), “you can die too.”
 
The madness is clearly present in his blue eyes. 
 
“This is it,” I say, he mimics. “You’re going down.” I pick up a rock. He picks up a rock. When I charge towards him, he charges towards me, his blue eyes revealing the insanity within. One single scream shatters the air as we collide.
 
The mirror shatters, and suddenly, there is nothing more.
 
The End


© Copyright 2019 Kimika. All rights reserved.

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