Sad and scary stories

You never know what will happen... Things come and out! Don’t make enemy’s, get weird/scary things and never do bad things and you’re okay.


[© 2017 All rights Reserved To Book Maker and Ninja Togepi]

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Enjoy!
AA

43. The Clone

"So...this is..." 

"Yeah..." 

Through the white light of the room, Gem looked at it, although everything in her was attempting to wrap itself around that fact. Those bright blue eyes, that fair skin over lithe limbs, the damp blonde hair that cascaded halfway down its back, that faded spiral tattoo upon its shoulder. 

Gem's first tattoo. 

And yet, her beloved introduction to the wonderful world of body art now displayed upon another, peeking from underneath the sleeve of a hospital gown, identical to her own as well. 

Which wasn't helping her grasp the concept. 

It was simple: this shouldn't be possible. This wasn't possible. This down-to-earth, infuriatingly logic-driven mind she'd been known for possessing all her life, was swearing up and down that all that she viewed could only be the reflection of a flawless mirror. Everything from its face to its composure screamed farce, ludicrosity, hallucination, anything other than what those "whatever-ologists" had explained to her before the procedure. 

"Cloning," they had declared with a pride most unexpected, considering the connotations that pertained. Such a concept should have remained solely in the realm of sci fi flicks and fantasy, as it could be debunked simply through universal principles that in turn surmount into the "No Cloning Theorem"—which Gem had familiarized herself with just yesterday, in fact. However, the whatever-ologists that she so graciously nicknamed had assured her that they had cracked the code, discovered the loophole in this no-go theorem. In their own words, it was "a foolproof and painless procedure" that may likely result in the first ever human clone, as well as cover her college debt entirely. 

So of course, Gem had scrawled her signature on every dotted line that those suckers tossed her. This would be quick, she knew, and the sooner she could get the "learning experience" over and done with and pay off her Physics courses, the better. 

"So, you're..." she sputtered. 

"We're..." the mirror spoke back, "the same." 

Gem cringed. "I mean, not really." 

The other did too. "Yeah, I know." 

The concept of it was still so baffling. Seated before her was her very own chemical makeup, down to a single DNA strand. Every neuron that gathered together to paint every vivid memory she had ever lived, nestled snug inside another being's mind. The whatever-ologists had expressly informed her before the procedure began—although she hadn't needed telling—upon how the resulting clone would know all that she knew, and would thus act exactly as she would.

But, she had rolled her eyes in response, and walked up the grated steps. 

Honestly, it had been a climb that might have merited a dimly lit pan alongside a strings crescendo. But, Gem hadn't had the mind to reflect upon it, as she had practically galloped toward the platform that overhung one of the water tanks. She had been handed an orange rubber anklet, and instructed to never, under any circumstances, remove it during the procedure. In a few seconds a breathing apparatus made her look like Bane, and a few more later she was enveloped in frigid cold. 

That was the long and short of it. She must have passed out, for the next thing Gem had remembered was gasping for air, and being covered with a towel. The whatever-ologists had guided her down those steps, all the while keeping the cloth over her head. Although to be fair, the excess adrenaline wouldn't have allowed her to retain much of anything anyway. 

Soon she had been halted and the towel was removed, yet she was immediately blindfolded. When she inquired, they only said that they "needed to test something," and that it would "only take a few minutes." Gem had certainly acknowledged the ascending red flag, but after a moment of consideration she lowered it. These guys had never struck her as sleazy or perverted, and had seemed genuinely passionate about their experiment while they had explained to her their facility's intentions. They may have even brushed upon this part of the procedure, and it was possible that she could have forgotten, as she had been as on the edge of her seat to just "get'er done." And so they had gently goaded her forward a ways along the icy tile floor. After a few minutes, she was asked to sit down. Footsteps clomped away from her, and a door clicked shut. Gem sat for a span of ten seconds in near silence, save for a steady rhythm of breath in front of her, before an intercom blared from above, "You may remove your blindfold." 

So they did. 

Gem leaned her weight upon the table, closely examining the final result they had told her so much about. 

It giggled. 

She sat up straight. "What?" 

It pointed toward its own eyes. "You, uh...you did the squint." 

She was thrown for a moment, but when she felt her eye lids drop even farther, she grinned. "Oh yeah. You...know about my habit?" 

The clone grinned back. "Of course. I do it too, ya know." It placed an elbow on the table as well. "God, it's baffling. I can't...I just can't wrap my head around it." 

Gem nodded. Taking all this in was hard enough for herself. "I totally get it. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for you." 

It shrugged. "I mean, I guess. I'm just glad you're taking it so well." 

Gem found herself shrugging just the same, and they both chuckled.

"It's humbling, ya know?" she said. 

"It really is." 

She pulled her knees to her chest, resting her bare feet upon the seat of her chair. "Like, now there's...there's two of me. That's...crazy!" 

It leaned forward as well. "So, you really know everything I do?" 

"I mean, that's what they said." 

"Oh, the whatever-ologists?" 

Gem gaped, and her clone laughed in reply. "Dude! That's fantastic!" She gestured mind-blown against her head. "That was totally all in the mind!" 

"This is awesome!" it rejoiced. "So, you even know about, 'What, you leg?" 

She was already cackling like a hyena, but when her clone suddenly struck a pose with one leg out, she practically died of laughter. No one else on this planet could have understood this, the inside joke that had been kept strictly between her and her theater-major best friend.

Gem had almost forgotten. Should I try and tell Brittany about this? she thought. Would she even believe me if I told her? 

"I can't believe it!" It lowered its appendage eventually, though not before Gem had stolen a glance at its ankle, and noted the familiar orange band upon it. The whatever-ologists must have given it one of those too. She hadn't thought it worthy of much thought at the time of its gifting, and she still didn't. But now she couldn't help but wonder what they were for. 

"Now your turn!" the clone interjected. "Tell me what you know." 

Gem awoke from her daze at once, and stopped for a second to think. She might as well humor it, just to goad the conversation along. "Well, my name is Gem—full name Gemini Rose Baker," she began to list off. "And uh, nineteen-years-old, and birthday's May twenty-first—" 

"Well," the clone interrupted, "technically today." 

Gem paused, and then chuckled. By definition, today was its birthday. "Yeah, I guess you're right."

She meant to continue her bullet points of personal trivia, but suddenly found herself trudging.

For the first time during this entire experiment, she was disquieted. 

But she continued nonetheless. "My uh, mom's name is Annabelle, and my dad is Justin. And Luke and Darius are my little brothers..." 

The longer she rattled on, the lower her clone's face fell.

Gem wrapped her arms around her legs, clutching onto her ankles. "Um, my favorite band is Duran Duran, ever since I was little...which is yours, right?" 

It nodded. 

She couldn't stand it any longer. "Is...something wrong?" 

The clone leaned forward, as its eyes radiated unease. "You...do know.....I mean, do you? I mean—" 

Gem's brow knitted, and took her eyelids down with it. "Know what?" 

It took a breath in through the nose, and out through pursed lips. "You are aware that...you're not...me?" 

Her face kept itself scrunched. "Of course I am." She took a moment to organize her reasoning; the wrong choice in words could become insensitive pretty quickly. Although in most cases she most certainly not give a damn, this was herself. Do unto others as you would want done for yourself, right?—she thought that was how it went anyway. 

"I mean, of course I'm aware," she began. "A clone is technically, well, genetically identical. But once the distinction is made, they're separate entities. Two separately living, functioning organisms that will tend to act similarly. You know what I mean?" 

"Yes," it spoke, shaking its head as if to discard an undesirable notion. "Sorry. Just the way you worded things—I wanted to make sure." 

"The way I...?" 

"I mean, you said things like 'my' and 'when I was little.' I wasn't sure if you knew or not." 

Gem had never been so in the dark, and never so perturbed. An idea was worming its way into her brain, but...it couldn't be. 

"You...aren't seriously suggesting that..." she couldn't keep herself from chuckling. 

And that creepy-crawly thought was confirmed once the words were out, with the relaxing of her clone's expression.

It had actually believed that it was her. That it was Gem Baker.

The whatever-ologists had warned her that this would happen, that the result of the experiment would have her same thoughts and exact memories, so genuine that it would believe that they are its own. They must have not broken the news to it, perhaps out of fear of an outburst.

Well then, it was up to Gem, the real Gem, to break it to herself, herself

"Look," she lowered one leg to the floor and leaned forward. "This is probably going to be the most difficult thing you'll ever hear—" 

"Wait," it intervened. "You actually think that—" 

"Trust me, I understand," she calmly commenced, one hand gesturing over the table, and the other still around her ankle. "You are me, after all. So I get tha—" 

"Oh no no," the clone blurted. "I don't think you understand." 

The reflections stayed stagnant a while, as it seemed that they might have fallen upon a stalemate. But Gem wouldn't have it. If anything, she would declare checkmate. 

"You know that you're a clone, right?" they spat in unison. 

And their eyes widened in similar suit. 

Gem's mind whirred with panic, as she gazed into those bright blue irises that now terrified her. Her grip tightened around her...bare ankle. 

Her focus shot down upon her seat as she unfurled her fingers, and she saw that there was no orange band. Shoot, she thought. It must have fallen off in the water tank. This thought at least soothed her somewhat; the whatever-ologists couldn't blame her for losing something that was their own fault anyway. 

She still had no idea what it had been for. 

"You have," the clone spoke, pinching her thumb and index tip to tip, "the nerve—no no, the audacity, to say that I'm the clone?!" 

Gem lowered her last leg finally, and weaved her fingers amongst her hair. "I can't believe they didn't tell you. That would have saved me so much explaining." 

"Excuse me?!" it shouted, its face now a portrait of rage. "What would they have to tell me?! You're the one that needs it!" 

"I'm sorry, but you're being unreasonable. I clearly remember the experiment, and I'm pretty sure I know who I am." 

"Yeah, so do I! You have my memories!" 

Gem's jaw clenched. "I beg to differ." 

"I'm sure you do. But it doesn't change the fact that you're a clone of me!" 

She remembered the anklet.

"You're obviously mistaken. In fact, you're the one becoming violent. That seems to be the nature of science-experiments gone wrong. Perhaps it's just a side-effect of this sort of birth." 

The clone seethed. "Is this what my professor meant?! Am I really this insufferable?!" 

She tried to forget the anklet. 

"You really are. In fact, I doubt Brittany would ever waste her time on something like you!" 

In an instant it bolted from its chair to loom over her, until she followed suit and rose herself. Both Gem and her clone were piping, although it seemed as if they were revealing it in differing variations. 

She had no anklet. But it did. 

"You are not a person," the clone growled. "You're a spawn." 

Gem gritted her teeth. "All I wanted was to cover my debt, not copy myself into a lunatic." 

At that, it straightened its composure. "Well then," came soft and snide, "let's just see what the whatever-ologists say, huh?" 

In that moment, it seemed that their variations had flipped. For now odds met with ends, and Gem finally understood. And realized, that it must know as well. 

It had the anklet. 

It had her anklet. 

The one distinction between them. The bastard must have stolen it. 

She needed it back. 

Gem clasped the sides of the table and thrust it rightward, skidding its legs on the tile like tires to the road. She acquired an entire yard of space between her and the fraud, and she used it to her full potential. As if a bullet from a barrel she shot forward and latched herself onto the clone, tipping them both over in turn. Upon the floor she threw a punch, and following she received one. The pattern continued until it shoved her off, and Gem saw her chance. She lunged for it's garnished ankle, only for it to pull it away. The white walls burned with the fires of hell as she leapt upon the grounded clone. Her hands planted upon its shoulders and shook the everliving daylight out of its copy-paste existence. 

"GIVE IT BACK!" she screamed. "YOU BASTARD! GIVE IT BACK!" 

The door flung open like a catapult, banging the knob against the drywall. Whatever-ologists poured in and clutched onto Gem's arms, prying her off of her clone. She pulled and tugged and put up a fight so ferocious that a Hulk would be hesitant. Four able-bodied people it took to get her off of the fake and pin her to the ground. 

"NO!" she shrieked. "IT'S HER! SHE STOLE IT! I'M GEM!" 

No amount of, "Miss, you need to calm down," "Please, we're not going to hurt you," or "It's going to be alright, Miss," would tame her. She felt her arm go rigid against the tile, and a sting so quick that she'd almost disregarded it. 

Until her vision began to go fuzzy. 

And her struggling slowly subsided. 

"I'm Gem," she cried. "I'm Gem. Please, I'm Gem..." 

She was Gem. 

She had to be. 

She had been for nineteen years. 

She remembered it. 

She remembered... 

<><><>

"Are you alright, Miss Baker?" 

Gem looked to the man above her, a whatever-ologist like all the rest, lab coat and all. A few grays sprouted here and there amongst his head of dark hair, and a pair of spectacles rested upon his nose. He extended a delicate hand to help her to her feet. 

"Yeah," she muttered as she rose upright, finding that she stood perhaps an inch or two taller than the man.

She rubbed the back of her head. There would be a nasty bruise there tomorrow. "That was...scary..." Gem laughed, not entirely sure how to put it. She raised her eyes to the scene beyond, where a woman had taken the familiar limp, bruised body in her arms and lugged it out of the room, toward a gurney that lay out in the hallway. She smirked. 

"We hope you can forgive us," the man spoke. "We will certainly compensate you for this. We hadn't anticipated such an event to transpire, although I realize that perhaps we should have." 

Gem looked at him. "What, that my clone would be a total psycho?" she joked. 

He didn't laugh, but eyed her incredulously. "That she might not take the epiphany well." 

She stayed silent a moment. "Well, to say I'm impressed would be an understatement. You actually cracked the code. It's amazing! You guys'll make a fortune off of this!" 

The man's gaze had clouded behind his eyeglasses, as if he had fallen deep in thought. Suddenly the shade cleared away, and he looked back at her. "Miss Baker, I am not in charge, nor am I in any place of authority regarding this procedure. I don't really have a right to tell you to do much of anything, in fact. But, you're a smart kid, and I see a lot of potential in you." 

Gem wasn't sure if this man was attempting to be kind, or was hitting on her. 

"Because of that," he spoke boldly, "I must advise you to not speak of what you've seen." 

She squinted. "Um, you know you're kinda giving me Men in Black vibes. Are you gonna brainwash me or something?" 

He still didn't laugh. "Certainly not. I mean to say that you will find it in your favor to keep this to yourself."

Gem took a step back.

"Within the next few days—perhaps even tomorrow—we will no longer reside in this location, nor will any record of our ownership of it be attainable. No one will even know we did anything here. It is very spur-of-the-moment, but we all had discussed our results in the next room as we observed you two, and we decided that our facility must be terminated." 

She knitted her brow. "But...that's ridiculous. Y—you've proven a trope that every physics student has been taught to ridicule. This is perhaps the most astounding feat in scientific history!" 

The man shook his head. "We are...fully aware of that. Yet we weren't expecting success—on the first go, least of all. We anticipated sure failure, and we wished merely to learn from our mistakes over years of testing, and to further mankind's knowledge upon the concept of cloning and what it would truly take. All we wanted, was to be remembered for our research and determination for years to come. We didn't intend to succeed." 

"But...you did," Gem combated. "So I don't see the problem." 

That incredulous look of his returned, as if he didn't want to believe what she was speaking. "You understand exactly what we did. We cloned a living being, a cognitive one at that. She possesses all of your thoughts and aspirations and ambitions, as well as your memories and potential. She is exactly like you. How...does that not mortify you?" 

Gem had never been so confused. "Why would it?" she asked. "It's just another lifeform. It's literally a successful biology experiment. All you gotta do is keep it confined. Dude, you freaking created life! That's astounding! Why would that scare anyone?" 

The man's nose flared as he clenched his jaw. "No, she is not a biology experiment. She is not to be compared to a lab rat, Miss Baker. She a human, who thus merits basic human rights. She is you, to the point where if we decided to replace you with her, no one would ever know the difference. Not even your closest friend." 

Gem gulped. 

"But, we would never think of doing such a thing. That's why we gave you the anklet. She realized that you had it, and she did not. She is so much you that she was forced to accept that you must have stolen it from her. She remembers every paper we had you sign, every step you took toward the tank, the moment we handed you the anklet, and your cannonball into the water. Every memory up until you were submerged, is her own. In her mind, she is Gem, and she might as well be." 

"Um, but she's—it's not," Gem retorted with haste. "I'm Gem." 

"That is not the point," he put firmly. "You will not allow yourself to listen." He paused, as the rich mahogany color began to drain from his face. "I have assisted in fabricating an intelligent being that possesses every bit of you that makes you...you. Every memory so real and thought so vivid that there cannot be any reason for their presence other than that they are her own. And who is to tell her otherwise?" He brought a hand to his face, and massaged the bridge of his nose at his fingertips. "We have spawned a human that will believe for as long as she lives, that we cheated her her life. She will never fully understand that she is not Gemini Rose Baker. Because in essence, that is exactly who she is." 

He lowered his hand, and his pupils make direct contact with Gem's bright blue eyes. 

"We played God, Miss Baker, and we have no idea what we're going to do about it." 

Her gaze diverted elsewhere, as she tried so very had to find how his reasoning might fit alongside hers. But, none of it would, and she was far too stubborn to discard her own for his. She was right, after all. She always was, always had been. 

"Now, I will escort you to the main building," the man spoke. Gem snapped from her trance to view him moving toward the door. He turned around once beside it to look at her. "We've kept your clothing and backpack in the changing room, and once you are clothed you are free to leave. In about a week you will receive a check in the mail for your participation—with no return address, I must inform." He heaved a sigh. "And please, while you're still young, try to learn some ethics. It'll save you a lot of strife." 

Gem pursed her lips, with one last attempt at checkmate. "You have no right to tell me to do anything. Your words, correct?" 

The man grinned. "You are absolutely correct." With a wave he gestured toward the open doorway. 

Her eyes remained wide, and her breath drew deep and heavy. Yet she obeyed his directions. The two of them made their way down the hallway: Gem in front, and the man following closely behind. Her heart ached with every step she took, as if the force of each trudge were chipping away at her obstinacy little by little. The shards and fractals plummeted in her stomach and bubbled like a brew; she felt as though she may reveal its contents any second.  

Every moment or so an anguished scream would erupt from elsewhere, and she flinched with every single one. Shrieks so familiar, that Gem might as well have voiced them herself. 

As far as anyone would know. 

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