A blinding white light greets me as I open up my eyes. I can’t see anything else in the room. My attempts to reposition my body are immediately stopped by fabrics straps at my arms and wrist. What kind of sick stuff is this? Where am I? I dig through the archives of my brain and try to remember anything. All of my memories seem to be shaken up or broken. I can’t seem to remember anything in the correct order. Everything is there, just wrong.
“Hello,” I call out repeatedly to the empty room. I don’t get any response.
Again, I think back trying to remember anything. Everything is foggy. I seem to have one memory wearing the same clothes that I’m wearing now. A bar, somewhere in the city. I was out having a few drinks and I started feeling out of it. I wandered outside to get some fresh air and a few people followed me. I can’t seem to recognize any of their faces in my memories. Did I know these people? Did someone drug me?
“Is someone there,” I call out again, still no answer. Just the buzzing of the bright light above me.
I try to turn my head and get a look around but the light keeps me from viewing anything else. What did those people want from me? Partial memories, flood in. Something about cloning. What kind of nutjob thinks they can clone a person? Is that what this is about? Are they going to try cloning me? No, that’s ridiculous. Nobody has the technology for that, and if they didn’t they wouldn’t be hanging around some little bar in Blackport. There’s been stories about crazy things going on in this city for years, but none of them are true. Aliens, ghosts, all that, but they’re just stories. I’ve been here my entire life and never saw any proof of any of that stuff.
“Please remain calm,” a voice crackles over a speaker somewhere in the room.
“I would be calmer if I wasn’t strapped to a table with some blinding light in my face,” I yell out in response.
The light shuts off and my eyes take a moment to adjust. A sterile looking white padded room. The only wall that wasn’t completely padded had a glass window. As if I was some kind of zoo animal to be watched and gawked at. This all reminds me of the old insane asylums they used to have on all the TV shows growing up as a kid. Was I crazy? Did someone have me committed? Who would do that?
“Where am I,” I ask the disembodied voice.
“It is of no concern at the moment. Would you mind telling me how you’re feeling,” this time a woman’s voice responds.
“I’m fine, I would be better if I could get out of here. These straps are killing my wrists.”
“We can not release the straps for now. They are for your own safety. Do you have any memories of the last six hours,” a male voice this time.
“No, I don’t recall anything recent,” a lie. I'm hoping they’ll let me go if I don’t recall anything.
This time no voice calls back to me. Did they know I lied? Are they planning something? If they wanted to torture me, they would have done it already. The only injuries I have is some bruises on my wrist from the restraints. Now that I know someone is watching me from somewhere near the silence starts to bother me. It’s different when you know someone else is with you in the silence, something unseen watching your every move waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
I must be delusional. I have to be because I swear, I just saw me walking past the glass window. How could it be me, if I’m right here. I watch the window waiting to see it again. Yeah, my mind is playing tricks on me. Wait, that’s me again, this time with some people in white jackets. No this can’t be right. Did they really clone me? They can’t do that, that’s impossible. Why would they want to clone me?
I’ve got to get out of here. My family is in danger. If that clone gets to them he could kill them all. I start to rock back and forth trying to free my wrist or flip the table over. Anything that might help me get free. I need to get out of here right now.
“Please calm down,” the female voice says over the speaker.
“Let me out of these damn straps,” I yell back at her.
“You could injure yourself if you don’t stop,” she pleads. I don’t care, I keep struggling.
“If you calm down we’ll release the straps,” this time the male voice.
I pretend to be calm for a moment, and stop fighting. The straps click free and yank my hands free. I rub the bruises across both my wrists and sit up. The voice doesn’t immediately come back. That means they think I’m under control. But, I’m not. I hop off the table and rush for the glass window. I slam the full force of my body against it.
“STOP,” both voices scream out.
I slam my body against the glass again and it cracks. A third time and I’m sent through to the other side. I’m not sure which way to run, but my intuition tells me go left, the way the clone went, so I do. Alarms begin to sound and orders are yelled over the intercoms. I don’t care. People stop with their hands out in an attempt to stop me, but nobody tries to lay a hand on me. So I just keep running around them, through them, over them. Anything to get free. Soon I’m outside of the building. I’m not sure where I am, so I trust my instincts again. I just run home, at least the direction I think is home.
I’m not sure where home is, but I just keep running where my body tells me to go. I recognize this city, but I don’t know if I recognize these streets. Everything is a blur right now. None of this really makes any sense and it probably never will. I just need to get home. I finally stop in front of a small white house with the porchlight on waiting for me. This is my home, I don’t know how I made my way back here, but I did.
I walk around the yard and make sure nobody is there before making my way to the front door. I check my pocket for my keys, but I can’t seem to find them. No keys, no phone, no wallet. I just ring the doorbell and wait. My wife answers the door in her pajamas.
“Do you know what time it is,” she asks sternly.
“I’m sorry, it’s been a crazy night. Are the kids okay,” I ask as she ushers me in.
“Yes, but if you really cared, you wouldn’t be coming in at three in the morning,” she says quietly although she wants to yell.
I tell her about all the madness over the last few hours. She doesn’t believe any of it at first, but she can see the fear in my face. She fixes me some leftover meatloaf and we go over the whole thing once again. She mentions a black van that she had seen a few times in the neighborhood and I wonder if that something to do with all of this. That’s why I love her, she doesn’t always understand the crap I put her through, but she at least tries to.
Soon we’re forgetting everything we talked about and sneaking up the stairs to our bedroom, kissing and trying to make sure we don’t wake the kids. She closes the door behind us and I slide the bookshelf in front of it. The same thing we always do. She’s already on the bed, minus clothes, staring at me waiting. I’m an adult, I remove my own clothes and join her. I forget everything in the moment of passion and it’s like the first time all over again. I recoil from her warmth as if I’m afraid, but I’ve been here numerous times before. Nature takes control of us both as we twist in turns in ways we hadn’t in years. Mixing things new and old until our age catches up with us. We laugh and hold each other close.
I’m awakened to my wife’s screams I shoot straight up in the bed as the sunlight fills the room. Across from me several armed men holding guns to us. My wife frozen with fear. I want to run, but I know they might hurt her so I hold still and wait for them to give us some kind of orders.
“You put your hands up and you get out the bed,” one of the men barks orders to us.
“Stay right there and don’t make any sudden movements,” another barks contradictory orders.
“Which one is it,” I yell back at them.
They’re just looking for a reason to shoot us. This is a setup. We’re not walking out of this alive no matter what happens. She’s crying screaming and demanding to know what’s wrong. She still thinks this is some misunderstanding and we’ll all walk out of this with just fine. That’s the worst thing about her, she always hopes for the best and never expects the worst.
Slowly she gets out of the bed and makes her way over to them. I wait until they send her out of the room and wait for my moment. I toss the sheets at them and dive towards the window. I go straight through the glass and struggle to stay on the slanted roof. Gun shots keep going off inside. They might not realize I’m out yet.
Unfortunately, the people below me realize that I’ve already made it out. More guns pointing at me. I’ve made it out of some crazy situations recently, but I don’t think I have a way out of this one. I expect my life to flash before my eyes, but it doesn’t. Either they lied or this isn’t my end. I look around through the crowd trying to spot my wife and kids.
When I finally spot them, they’re being loaded into a van alongside a man that looks way too much like me. Are they sending my family with the clone? I don’t know what is going on anymore. Someone down below is barking orders, but I can’t hear him. I’m too focused on my family being driven away from the scene. This whole thing is a mess. I take a seat and wait, I’ve given in to my fate. Whatever happens next, is supposed to happen.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sunrise before. My memories are less scrambled, but I can’t remember one. Not sure why I waited so long. For just a moment, everything seems calm. The helicopter has gone away, nobody is yelling orders and there’s no gun shots. Sure, everyone has a gun pointed at me, but I really feel like I’m at peace.
I feel a shove from behind me and I start to slide down the roof. I try to turn and hang on to the gutters but I miss. I land on my feet but my knees can’t stand up to the impact. I find myself on the ground and don’t even think about it. I’m going to run. Not sure how far but I’ll run.
“Quick, someone turn him off,” a voice yells out and a few people rush over.
I try to stand up but my legs don’t work. I look down and see that they’ve been broken off below the knee. There’s no pain. There’s no blood. Instead just wires and gears. Now I’ve got more questions than before. I scream out in shock.
“What the f-