Time Ticks By

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Margaret and Michael live together and die together, as they share an unbreakable bond.

Submitted: August 24, 2013

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Submitted: August 24, 2013

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Prelude

He stares at me from behind the glass, palms out. His eyes are wide and I can see the birthmark that we both share, the mark that makes him mine. Time is slowing down, like a clock with a low battery that strains for just a little longer before finally deciding to tick its last. Tick. Tock.

“Margaret,” he mouths. I know he is saying my name aloud, but I cannot hear him. Plexiglass is a strong material, and his room happens to be sound-proofed. He taps on the glass once again, then points to the other side, where his own clock is hanging. It’s ticking down, already at five minutes. Tick. Tock.

I am left wondering how we got into this in the first place, even though I know the answer. We just couldn’t leave it well enough alone, and now his clock was ticking its last; now I would be stuck in limbo without my other half. Ironic, because this was supposed to ensure that we’d never be apart. Tick. Tock.

The clock is counting down.

Past

We were always close. People often thought that we were lovers, as though they didn’t see the resemblance between us. We were twins, after all, and it should have been apparent. Perhaps our relationship was strange; maybe we were a little too close for comfort, but the thing is Michael and I had always been together. We were born together, we would die together. It was as simple as that.

When Michael was accepted to Brown, and I to Harvard, we parted with bitter tears. We both achieved our dream, but there was a big piece missing from our new lives. Each other.

It was only a 10 hour drive to Virginia, and I gladly made the routine visit every other weekend. We would meet halfway and stay at our grandmother’s house in New York.

It was a dream come to life when we were approached by the same company. HoloGraft, the leading pharmaceutical company of the nation, was exactly what we needed on our resumes; we didn’t know that they were interested in us for reasons other than our intellectual capabilities. We were scientists, not empaths. We couldn’t sense motives.

It started off as a dream, then ended up a nightmare.

The first instance was when Dr. Wright called us into her office. She stressed the importance of worker loyalty, and asked us to undertake a breakthrough experiment in the field. Strangely enough, it involved twins. We agreed, knowing not that her suggestion would lead to our separation.

Arguments between us led to our brief falling out. We would alternate days to work on our project. Sometimes I’d call his phone only to get his answering machine…I would contemplate leaving a message, but there were too many words to say.

Yes, in a way we were lovers, but not the physical kind. Michael and I, we were a part of each other. To be apart was to truly be a part of a person.

We didn’t know they were studying us also. They were noting our bond, and slipping us the same serum we were giving to the chimpanzees. Michael proposed the hypothesis first: the twins could feel each other's pain; if one fell ill, then the other surely would. The serum had created a bond between the animals that was unbreakable. If we could heal one, we could heal the other. This was the discovery of a lifetime. If we could somehow manage to give the serum to everyone in the country, we could have something of a “collective health” that didn’t apply to just twins. No one would have to suffer; we could cure all of their diseases.

That night, they took him away. He presented the hypothesis to Dr. Wright, and she had him taken away. “Don’t think you are no longer needed, Dr. Bloomfield,” she told him. “Quite the contrary; you are very much a necessity.” I watched in horror as he was set in the container. They administered a virus to him, though what exactly, I couldn’t tell. They let me go and just sat and watched. No one would believe me if I told them that we were human lab rats. There was nothing I could do.

Present

I planned to break him out. I had gotten this far, but then I saw the countdown they had given him. A life expectancy, an estimation of how long it would take before the virus would take its hold.

I don’t know what they gave him, but I can’t risk letting it out. My symptoms are purely psychological, I am not truly ill. If I open the door, the virus could spread. But if his hypothesis is supported, then I already spread it.

He is dying, his clock ticking down.

I can’t do this anymore. I step forward and unlock the door. He pushes it open and wraps his arms around me, warm and tight, just as the clock ticks down to the last few seconds.

We were born together, we will die together. Tick. Tock.


© Copyright 2019 Laura DeWinter. All rights reserved.

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