By: Martin Linson
Screaming, Walter awoke drenched in sweat once again. All he remembered from his sleep was that voice again. He couldn’t even put words to try to even explain it to another person, the sheer tone grated against his bones, while the pure darkness in it terrified and even shook his very soul. Still shaking and almost falling to the floor, Walter steadied himself with a shaky hand on his night stand. Finally getting to his feet he continued to the bathroom and immediately vacated his stomach, with ironic luck slipping toward the tub yet landing his own spewed remains. Sighing he tossed his clothes into the trash, turned the shower on and closed the curtain.
Emerging from the bathroom standing in his average frame of five foot nine inches, had a typical body nothing too tone but appeared he at least was active in some way. Drying off his hair as he thought aloud, “there was a name… what was it.. H… H-something… shit!” Frustrated he tossed the towel onto the back of a chair walking into his closet as he mulled over the name more. Coming out wearing light charcoal slacks, black dress socks and belt, with a light pink dress shirt as he sat on the end of his bed and slipped on his Gucci dress shoes, taking care with a shoe horn, then tossing it on the foot of the bed as he walked out.
Climbing into his BMW M3 and starting it up as the garage door opened behind him, “H…Hln… no… that’s close though. It started with an H. Maybe it’ll come back to me.” Shrugging as he shifted into gear and pulled out, heading off to his private lab. Pulling up to a security gate and showing his badge, prompting the guard to open the gate. He pulled through the various buildings up into the back. A small two story building as he pulled up stepping out and buzzing with his badge into the building as the beep of his alarm arming was heard.
“Good morning Diane, back to the grind.” Chuckling as he smiled at the brunette woman in her late 60’s, not looking a day over mid to late 40’s though.
She was a bored widow and wanted something to do. “Oh good morning Dr. Simmons, I hope you get closer to that big break you’ve been hoping for!” She was almost more excited than he was about getting closer, which wasn’t possible, but he nodded and smiled as he walked into the elevator and hit down.
There was only one button for up and down inside, and after the long trip down the doors opened into a clean locker room. He stepped out and off to the right, up to a locker with a combination lock on it, spinning it this way and that, then popping it open. Throwing in his wallet, watch, key fob then closed and locked it. Turning around a couple corners into an open chamber that alerts a sound as he pauses. Two Plexiglas doors slide close, in front and behind him as a sterile gas is fired all over cleaning him down sterilized. Plucking a lab coat off the wall as he wandered down the various halls nodding at the many random people he was passing of all ages and sexes, until stopping at a door that pops open to his badge and walks in.
“Dr. Simmons, good morning,” his assistant greeted, a young emerging genius ahead of her time, and smarter than him yet he’d never fully admit but always encourage.
“Good morning Zoe, how does today’s first test looking?” Picking up a tablet and pulled a stylus out of his breast pocket, plucking away at the tablet through data.
Zoe scanning through the beginning readouts for the test from her laptop, “everything is looking great. I’ve implemented the variance changes we discussed yesterday and we’re ready to give this another shot.” She looked up at him eagerly.
Smiling down at her, “alright, well lets see if we get a successful, stable clone today. Initialize the test please Zoe.”
“Yes Dr.” She plucked away at her keyboard as the large machinery in the other clean room adjacent to them visible through a large radiation shielded Plexiglas wall. “All levels are green Dr.”
“Alright, Zoe, fire test.”
“Test start in 3.. 2.. 1..” hitting the spacebar on her laptop as the machines flew up into a frenzy lighting up the other room, and finally spinning down to a halt. “All levels are still showing green Dr, we should open the pod and see what we’ve got if anything.”
Walter nodded and made his way into the other room after the venting process had completed. Opening the pod and steam flew out into his face, stumbling back as he coughed, “nothing Zoe, we’ve got nothing. Damn, I thought we had it.” Walter’s eyes widened as from the steam emerged a nude Walter, coughing himself like he couldn’t breath though. “Holy FUCK ZOE! I… WE… DID IT!”
Zoe could only stand in shock as she saw another Dr. Simmons stumbling naked about the chamber room. Did they actually succeed in making a full clone, age, memories and all? She was speechless as she stood there mouth agape.
The clone still coughing turned to look at Dr. Simmons motioning to it’s throat, then groaning loudly as he doubled over, stood up straight and exploded in a flash of gore and blood. Dr. Simmons stood there in shock of the suddenness of what had just transpired.
Zoe went from utter shock to sheer laughter. The complete dark humor of what had happened wrecked her as Dr. Simmons stood there covered in, his own blood. Unable to contain herself her laughter reached him, breaking him of his shock finally as he stumbled back into the lab.
“So… that happened…” Walter was in a daze, dripping covered with gore and blood.
Stifling a giggle, “so it seems close b-but, unstable-e” barely holding it together through that one.
Arching his brow, “oh you don’t say? I’m going to clean up, call in the cleaners so we can look at some numbers and get ready for another test. We got something, I’m not stopping now.” He walked off towards the lockers and showers as she turned back to her laptop calling in the cleaners and processing the data.
Zoe was exhausted, they had been running tests for hours, the cleaners had gone home and the room was just coated in blood from failed attempt after attempt, even Zoe was sickened by how far he was taking this. “Dr. we’ve got to stop this, this is insane, all this blood, no ones cleaning it, and there’s got to be something morally wrong here, I know it’s clones of you but still… Plus I’m so burnt out, I don’t know how much longer I can go.” She was fading fast, any longer and she wouldn’t make it home most likely.
Sighing loudly “fine! Just go home Zoe, I’ll continue, I can’t stop now, not this close… it’s right… there! I know it!” Shaking his head in frustration, “just go before I say something stupid, they’ll clean up in the morning and I won’t be much longer. I just need to punch some more data here before I can call it for me.
She sighed as well, “ok but you need to get your rest too, you’re useless with no sleep and you know that.” Shaking her head she walked off to the lockers and the elevator to leave for the night.
Walter scanned and sifted through the data, making small tweaks here and there. “Why isn’t this working! It should be stable and work, what the hell?” He slammed his head down on his crossed arms on the desk “gah! Shit, why isn’t this working, why explode? That’s insane!” Sighing as his eyes closed for a few seconds.
Yet awakening a few hours later, screaming in a dead sweat, but screaming a name this time “H’LUUNE!” Panting in a pouring sweat as he sat hunched over in the chair, giving his head a shake as he stumbled in the direction of the lockers for a towel. The lighting was at minimum being late hours, and some areas were one motion lighting as he walked up they lit his path. Finally shuffling into the locker room as he swiped a towel off the stack and started toweling off the sweat from his face and head immediately.
Glancing up he saw a rotting corpse just standing in the doorway of the locker room staring at him. Patching of skin remained as bone and sinew was falling from bones with stretching sticky sounds, a raspy gurgling could be heard from it as it’s lower jaw was completely gone, it’s tongue lolled about in the gore below attempting to communicate in some obscene fashion. It had one eye left, and it’s milky crusty gaze was fixated on him, the hollow hole beside it seemed to pierce him beyond reality. Gasping he stepped back and tripped back over a bench yelping out in terror “AIIIEEE!”
Panting on the ground as he scurried to see the doorway again, this time to see nothing. His heart thumping against his chest he panic looked around the room for that creature that stared him down, only to find nothing in the entire locker room. Finally satisfied nothing was there he made his way back to the lab. “I’m losing it man, coffee, yeah that’s a plan…” Making a pit stop at the vending machine as he punched in the code and swiped his card. Picking up the cup and sipping on it slowly.
Softly sighing as he took his seat in the lab again, slowly finishing off his coffee as his nerves settled from that encounter. “H’Luune was the name… I remember now, but no clue what it is, whom it might be or where.” Shrugs to himself starring off into no where as he thought aloud. “Ok, well lets give this another shot, then I’ll leave I guess.” Shakes his head one last time taking the last sip and tossing the cup in the trash as he turned to her laptop.
Punching up the new adjustments he’d made into the initialization for the test as the machine began to spin up in the other room again. The hairs on his arms began to stand up as he felt a tingle on the back of his neck, shrugging it off as he pressed the spacebar, firing the test. The machines fire up and burst into a flash, in the instant before the flash Walter swears he can see that corpse thing in the room with him by the Plexiglas wall, and some other humanoid creature by the machine. That one much larger, revolting in appearance as his eyes reflexively shut and he spewed over the top of the desk spinning away from the laptop and blacking out.
Awakening to being slapped in the face by a naked… him “what the fuck?!” He scurried back until stopping against a wall.
The naked him stood up and smiled, then motioned at himself, “it worked! I’m here, and I didn’t pop like the others.”
Puzzled, “wait… what, how do you…” Walter was cut off by the clone.
“You updated the DNA remember? So I know everything up to this test, you thought the DNA might have corrupted, it looks like you were right. It’s been an hour and I feel great.” He smiled down at Walter.
Getting up Walter still looked puzzled at the clone, “so… what do I call you then?”
“Yeah I’ve been thinking about that while you were napping… for ease sake why not just call me One for now. I mean if you’re going to try more it might be best to stick to numbers until it’s solidified.” He shrugged looking at Walter.
He nodded slowly agreeing, “Yeah, ok One… uhm… you should look for some clothes in the locker room, maybe a hoody or something too, we’ll need to get you out of here somehow.
One nodded, “alright, well we could both look at your work and show off to Zoe when she gets here as well.” He smiled. “After I find clothes… Oh and you can have her pick up a hoody, because I doubt anyone has any in here honestly.” He made his way to the locker room as Walter shrugged knowing he was right and turned back to the laptop.
Zoe dropped everything she was holding upon seeing the two Walters smiling at her sipping on their morning coffee in the lab. Once again her jaw was ajar with utter shock, she tried to form words, but all that happened is her lips motioned them.
Walter walked up to her nodding, “yes Zoe that’s right, it worked. After you left I past out for a few hours and when I woke up I made some tweaks and decided to update the DNA. Something about it made me think there might have been a corruption. Well…” He turned motioning to One.
He waved at her “Hi there Zoe, I’m One. At least for now until things get figured more out and all.” He sipped his coffee.
“No, it couldn’t be that ease Dr. there’s no way that exploding bodies become stable with just a new scan of your DNA?!” Shaking her head in disbelief.
“I don’t know what to tell you Zoe, but that’s what happened, you’re more than welcome to take a look at my tweaks to the program too,” he motioned to the laptop.
Knelling down she picked up her files and tablet, then made her way to the desk, swiveling to the laptop after setting everything down. Clicking around, step by step she looked through the entire process of the test to see what he’d changed to make it work. She had found no actual changes, yeah there were some tweaks but they were more cleanup in the process than anything else, that wouldn’t equal exploding subjects to not.
“Why don’t we use you and you can just see Zoe?” Walter said, sipping his coffee while One tapped through a tablet.
“What?! No! You’re not taking my DNA for that thing, you’re crazy!” She shook her head and closed her eyes, horrified by the thought of another her as she heard the machine firing up once again and opened her eyes.
One was at the laptop having pushed her chair aside and running the test again. “Well let’s fire this off and show you it works, then you’ll believe us.” One smiled back at her as Walter finished off his coffee and nodded in agreement.
“What the fuck!? I said don’t do this shit! This is crazy now, I mean before it was an idea… I thought cloning organs and stuff would help everyone. Now this… cloned duplicates? What are you playing with here Walter?” The other room flashed bright as it fired off it’s test again, Zoe turned away shielding her eyes.
“Zoe, you’ll see, it’s amazing! We did it, we made the biggest break through in human history!” Walter was lost in the excitement of the moment, as the chamber opened up and out of the steam stepped Zoe.
“AEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!” Zoe shrieked seeing herself walk out of the cloning chamber, tears streaming down her face now as her body was in shock, shaking and shivering seeing the unbelievable before her.
“Don’t be afraid Zoe, I was at first too, but it’s ok, it’s really just you in the end. Go say hi, for me please?” Walter motioned to the Zoe standing in the chamber covered in blood and gore still.
Shivering Zoe doe eyed and tears steadily streaming down her cheeks looked up at Walter shaking her head slowly, “b-but I-I don’t want to.”
Walter reaching his hand to hers, and guiding her towards the red hollow of a room, reluctantly Zoe went along feeling like her options were limited in her situation. She to the entrance of the room and looked at… herself… it was the oddest feeling ever. When she was moving in her own independent ways not being a reflection, it was hurting the reality of her brain. Another thing, something didn’t seem right about the other her. Something seemed, off, her eyes didn’t seem quite right. The oddity of her eyes caught her curiosity though as she started to aimlessly step closer and closer to the other her.
Once she walked into the room she turned to say something to Walter and caught a scream in her throat when she saw Walter’s dead body on the floor hidden behind a metal desk in the chamber. His body was mangled as if something broke him. Her tears returned, streaming down her cheeks as suddenly the other her was behind her arms wrapped around her with an inhuman strength.
The clone Zoe spoke in a soul grating gravely voice, “We have awoken, he awoke her, and we will come back. Through these false bodies. And with the more of us, we will bring her back, her glory will rein upon you filthy mortal world, and none of you will even deserve to share the same planet as the Goddess H’Luune.” Zoe struggled as the creature her’s grip tightened. “We are the first precursor to her return. You gave us the machine to do so, mortals.” With the creature Zoe’s last words it snapped Zoe’s neck and tossed her limp body on top of Walter’s as she went to go greet the other two.