Title: A Twist of Fate
Genre: Sci- Fi
Word Count: 3882
Author Name: Karo
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone Number: +2348131014028
The light flickered for a while, then it became stable. The soft humming sound from the cloning machine filed the room. It was very late already, mid-night to be precise. It was the exact hour I promised my son, Felix, that I would make things right. Although I told him that, I wasn't so sure of what I was about to do. But I couldn't help it. Not when my son didn't seem to be overcoming his grief.
Even as I stood there at that late hour, mentally preparing for my next action, I could see his face and the tears that ran freely down his dark cheeks. "Daddy I can't. I can't live without her." Felix's voice rang in my head. His voice was filled with sadness and something else. Something dreadful.
I had never seen him like that before, but I could totally relate to what he was going through. It was exactly the same way I felt after I lost his mother over twenty years ago. She died in a car accident when she was two months pregnant with our second child. I was so sad and resorted to drinking, ignoring my responsibility to my only son who was suffering too. I refused to get close to him so that if he died too, I wouldn't grieve too much. My sister, seeing my condition, had to take Felix away to live with her. There was no telling what could have happened if he remained with me, neglected.
I struggled throughout that period until a friend of mine, Dr. Philip, invited me to work on a cloning research project with him. It was during the research I regained myself, being that it promised to erase loss of life. If during the time of my wife's death, I had the knowledge I now have, I would have brought her back to life and all those suffering my son and I went through wouldn't have been.
Believing that all would be well and the fear of loosing my son gone, I reunited with him. Turns out he missed me too.
For years, Dr. Philip and I carried out both book and field research. As soon as we had something concrete, we started experimenting. However, we couldn't do this without the full knowledge and support the UN. They funded us, 100% and through their funding, TransOceans was born. But even then, they were to take credit for every break through we had. The deal was part of the contract we signed.
Time went by and we succeeded in cloning several mice. Then we moved on to other animals. Dogs, cats, cows, birds and much more. The experiments were all successful until we were given the first human being to clone. Dr. Philip and I worked tirelessly to ensure its success. Unfortunately, our first human clone was nothing more than an angry lunatic who immediately attacked and killed two of our staff.
It was the first time we were experiencing such violence from a clone. But how could we know? All our clones had been animals and because we regarded animals as senseless creatures, we didn't take our time to study their behaviour. We simply locked them up in a zoo specially made for cloned animals. And so far, there was peace amongst them.
Our second cloned person, a female, also attacked staffs on duty. Good enough, we had installed security personnels in place because we feared a repeat attack. The security men quickly constrain that one and had her locked up in our observation room. There she screamed and rattled on for days; crying out in a language only she understood.
"We have to clone another one." Dr. Philip said from behind the glass where we both stood, watching the female clone.
"Have you lost it, Philip?" I asked, my eye brows shooting up. I was really surprised that he was considering such. "We don't even know what's wrong with her and you want more?"
"I want to establish a theory, Obe." He argued, without looking at me. "I want more of her kind locked up with her. Then we'll watch and see what happens."
"You want to make a human zoo." I said, rather than ask.
"Yes. Then we will compare their behaviour with that of the animals." What do you think?"
"It sounds like a good idea." I admitted, after understanding what his plan was.
We went on with the plan. Two more clones, male and female respectively, raging with intense anger were made and thrown in with the first one. The clones regarded each other with a nod, but they were peaceful with themselves. From time to time they communicated in their language. We didn't understand it so we sent for an archaeologist who specialized in strange languages and writings. While they were at work, I purchased real animals and put them in the zoo with the cloned ones. You can't imagine the shock I experienced when all of them pounced on the real animals and devoured them, tearing them to pieces.
Dr. Philip too was shocked beyond words. "If these clones are let loose, there is no telling what will happen." He said, his expression sad and filled with fear. Subsequently, he looked up at me. "We have created monsters, Obe. And we have to get rid of them. all of them."
I couldn't agree less. I knew we had to do something before a silly slip up launched those clones, both animals and humans, into the real world. There would be lots of casualties and we didn't want the death of anyone else on our conscience. Quickly, we contacted the UN and they sent some officials to access the situation.
"This lab as well as the cloning projects should be shut down." Mrs. Libeta, the female among the officials said.
"Shut down?" I asked, surprised. "I thought we will just get rid of these ones and start all over."
"You will start all over, doctor Obe. But before then, all experiments and research are to be suspended." Obviously, she was superior to the others and had the final say.
"You mean we can't even carry out research?" Dr. Philip protested.
"Exactly, doctor Philip. Research leads to one thing, experiments. And we can't let you experiment. Not at this point."
She immediately placed a call to the UN and shortly afterwards, armed men stormed the building, killing every clone, both animals and humans. The screams and cries that rented the air was indeed heart wrenching. We didn't like the way in which they were killed, but we knew we had no choice.
While that was going on, other officials ceased our license, research materials and cloning equipments.
"We are Nigerians.' Mrs. Libeta said as she got into the van that had all our research documents and equipments. "Unfortunately I know that you will go on to practice. Be warned, we will keep our eyes on you. Until we can sort this thing out, no practicing. That is an order."
That said, she left, along with our years of hard work. The situation saddened us but there was nothing we could do. We just stood there like two little boys whose parents had been arrested.
A month later, we quietly returned to our jobs. I resumed work at the state's teaching hospital both as a consultant and neurosurgeon. Around this same time, Felix came home from the states. He had gone to get both his masters degree and Phd. During the past years we talked occasionally on the phone but, because I was too busy with my clone research, I didn't realize how much I had missed him, not until he came home.
Apart from that, I was even more happy when I saw that he didn't come home alone. He arrived with a young black lady, Kate Onude, who he introduced as his fiancée. She was a Nigerian who had spent all her years in the United States. From our brief conversation, I gathered that her family were also based abroad.
I looked from her to my son and smiled. From the way Felix was all over her, I could tell that he was truly in love. Age and too much work had taken its toll on me. So much so that I had almost forgotten what it was like to be in love. My son's attitude to his fiancée reminded me of how I felt about his mother. Falling in love is a great thing and I was happy for them.
"Congratulations." I said to the young couple. "We should celebrate."
"Yes!" They both agreed.
We fixed a date for the wedding and started preparing toward it. The day finally came and we headed to church. There we waited for over an hour. Worried about what might have happened, Felix called those who were to escort the bride. A moment later, he was trembling. All efforts from me and his best man to find out what was wrong, bore no fruit. I watched in confusion as his eyes grew wide. Horror took over his expression and then, he let out a very loud cry. His cries, inside the church hall, tore at the heart of everyone present. Some members of the congregation moved forward so as to find out what was wrong. But all he could say was
"She was carrying my baby, dad. She was carrying my baby. I've lost her and my baby." Tears ceaselessly flowed down his cheeks. Not satisfied with what he was saying, I took his phone and called again. It was then the person at the other end of the line revealed that a truck ran into the bride's car. She didn't survive it. She died on the spot.
I too felt sad. My son's would-be bride had died exactly the same way his mother died. I wondered then, why our family had such bad luck.
It took all the help and support from everyone present to calm Felix down. I had to take him home afterwards, while the others took care of the bride's family.
At home, Felix spent the rest of the day drinking. He was sad and kept talking about killing himself. I understood how he felt. I felt the same way when his mother died. However, I tried to talk him out of such ideas but he wouldn't listen.
"Felix." I said at last, sitting in front of him. "I can bring her back, but," I swallowed and then sighed, as I watched his grip tighten around the neck of the beer bottle he was holding. "She may not be the same and she will not be with child."
"What are you talking about?" He asked, sitting up. His eyes widened and all I saw in it was deep sadness. I couldn't bear to see my son like that and for that reason, I was determined, more than ever to help him. Lucky for me, Dr. Philip did not stop carrying out research. He contacted me several times, even before the wedding to tell me he had discovered what went wrong with the other clones.
"Look." I continued. "You remember I was researching and experimenting on clones?"
"Yes. But your experiments failed. You told me the UN suspended your project." He reasoned.
"Yes. I said so." I admitted. "But Dr. Philip did not stop researching. He called to tell me that he found a solution. Something that would correct what went wrong with the first experiments."
"Are you sure?" He asked, getting to his feet.
"Yes I'm sure. If Dr. Philip says it will work, then it will work."
"Ok. So what do I need to do?" He asked, desperate.
"Her family will let you near her body. So I will give you a list of what to bring for me."
"From her body?"
"Ok. I can do that."
"Good. While you're at it, I will get in touch with Dr. Philip. I'm sure I will be able to get him to work with us."
"Ok dad." He nodded, the sad expression gradually clearing from his face. "I'll get on with it.."
"Sure." I said, feeling very relieved to see new hope in his eyes. "But clean up first. You smell badly."
"Yes." He managed a light smile.
After he was gone, I contacted Dr. Philip and told him my plan. At first he argued that we may need time to experiment some more before trying it out on any human being again. But I told him we had no time. We either do it or I loose my son. And I couldn't bear the thought of loosing him.
We eventually agreed and within the next two days, bought all the equipments and tools we needed. I turned my spare room into a mini lab, Dr. Philip came with most of this new discovery materials and Felix brought his fiancee's cell samples. Dr. Philip decided it was best to try out his new approach on a few house rats first. And I agreed. Unfortunately, all of them died. The way to get them to stay alive was to fall back on our previous method. Unfortunately, it meant that Kate would be nothing but a raging lunatic, just like the others before her.
"But dad you said you could do this?" Felix cried, when he saw the dead rats. "You said you could bring her back."
"Yes I said so." I admitted. "But we still need to carry out some tests. The ex….'
'You promised me!" He yelled. "You said you could make it happen!" The tears were coming out again. "I can't. I can't live without her."
"Take it easy, Felix." I said, trying to calm him down before he did something stupid. "Just give me till mid-night. Please."
He looked at me with so much doubt in his eyes. "If after mid-night she's still not here, I'm gone dad. I will be gone for good. I can't bear this pain anymore. Its too much."
"I promise she will be with us by mid-night." Dr. Philip assured him.
So there I was, looking down at Kate's unclad clone, lying on the table and waiting to be brought to life.
"I hope we are doing the right thing?" Dr. Philip said from where he stood by my side.
"I know we are not. But I need to save my son."
"Ok then. Let's do it." He encouraged.
I put on the electric charger and pointed its narrow head down, at her heart. The next few seconds were filled with humming sounds as a result of electrical surge. Few seconds later, Kate's clone jerked. The jerking increased and when I saw that she was almost convulsing, I had to switch off the machine.
"What do you think?" I asked Dr. Philip, who was already checking her vitals signs.
"It didn't work."
"But its supposed to." I complained. "We did everything right."
"Not everything.' He said, between closed lips.
'What do you mean?" I frowned, still trying to recover from the disappointment.
"I changed the procedure a little bit. Just a little." He said, finally looking up. His expression was that of regret, but mentally I waved away.
"You what?' I asked as my heart beat doubled and my hands made a fist."
"I did it for our safety," He explained. "Felix is not a child anymore, he should understand that these experiments come with their own disadvantages. What will he do if we both die in this room? Killed by the monster we were about to create."
"Are you deaf?" I yelled. "My son needed this. He needed her! You heard what he said will happen if..."
"Forget his threats." Philip yelled back. "He should be a man and stop whining about. You are his father, smack some sense into him."
"I will only do what I deem fit." I said, through clenched teeth. "What do you even know about loosing a loved one?"
"Oh. Don't even go there. I know a lot."
A heated argument ensued and insults soon followed. The result was a fight. we fought each other like mad men, using anything we could lay our hands on. The rage I felt gave me an upper hand. I had Philip on the ground in no time and was about to pound his face in when we heard a soft plea.
"Don't kill him, please." The voice came again.
Frowning, we looked up and saw Kate, cuddled up at a corner of the small room. She had blood on her hand and forehead. We must have thrown something hard at her, without knowing it of course. Her eyes were sad, scared and uncertain. We had been too busy in our shameful act to realize that our work was a success.
Still panting, I got off Philip. He in turn quickly got to his feet and together, we walked carefully to her spot.The new Kate didn't look violent, neither did she look like a monster.
"Hi." I said, taking off my lab coat and carefully bending to wrap it around her.
"It worked." Philip said, almost in a whisper. His lips curved into a smile and soon afterwards, he roared with laughter. I couldn't help but laugh too. We were extremely happy about our achievement.
Eager to deliver the good news, I ran upstairs to Felix's room. You can't imagine the shock I received when I saw him hanging from a rope tied to the ceiling. My screams alerted Philip because within minutes, he was by my side. He managed to pull me out of the room and close the door.
"Like I said before, your son is, sorry, was a coward." He said, angrily. "Why did he have to go and die? The experiment worked."
I couldn't argue with him. I just kept crying. Sympathizing with me, Philip bent low to console me. "I'm sorry, Obe. I'm really sorry about what has happened but, the police will be here soon. We can't let them know about Kate or our experiments. You know we'll both go to jail."
"My son is dead!" I cried. "Can't you see that? I tried to avert it but he is dead! My only son is dead." I cried, profusely.
"Choose one, Obe." Philip sighed. "Stay here and grieve for him or help me clear out the lab and hide Kate before you call an ambulance. Your son is dead and the police may not totally agree that it was suicide."
"But he is hanging from a rope."
"It doesn't matter. Somebody may have put him there."
I saw reason with Philip, so I pulled myself together and joined him to clear out the lab. Before calling the police, I begged him to hide Kate for me, at least for a few weeks, while I bury my son. Still fascinated by our break through and wanting to study our new clone some more, he agreed.
Fortunately for me, the police believed it was suicide. And because of that, no real investigation was carried out.
After the burial, I picked up Felix's phone and was going through it. I came across a recorded video. One that explained everything.
That fateful night, while Philip and I argued about another failed experiment, Felix chose that same moment to visit our small lab. Hearing us argue and seeing that his cloned fiancee wasn't moving, he concluded that the experiment had failed. He wasted no time going upstairs and taking his own life.
"Felix." I said with shaky breath; obviously still mourning my son. "You should have been patient with us."
A week after the burial, I went for Kate. Philip willingly handed her over, being that he had studied her extensively."
"She's like a new creation, Obe." He told me at a quiet corner, away from Kate's ears. "She can speak but she cannot read or write. I have been teaching her a lot these past few weeks. You should continue with it."
"I will." I promised, nodding my head.
"One more thing." His words stopped me on the spot.
"She doesn't know who she is. So I told her you're her father." He said, no regret in his expression. "She definitely can't replace Felix, but at least you have a new daughter."
I thought about what he said, briefly. Then gradually, a sincere smile curved my lips. Philip really meant well for me. If he hadn't changed the procedure for the experiment, Kate would have turned violent and we would have had to kill her. Then I would have experienced double loss. Like that wasn't enough, he practically gave me full custody of the girl.
"Thank you Philip." I said at last. "I owe you a great deal."
"The only deal you owe me is her safety. Make sure she is safe."
I nodded in response and was soon off to join Kate in my car. That same day, I secured two international passports and visas for our trip. We couldn't stay in the country anymore. People may notice Kate and then there would be trouble. Besides, I needed a face surgery for her. I didn't want anyone, not even her families abroad, to recognize her. As long as I was concerned, their own Kate died over a month ago.
Our first stop was to be London. I already made contact with a man over there who was going to help with the face change. From there, Ghana was our next and final stop. I decided it was best to start over in another African country, where no one would bother us. Most importantly, I needed to be in a place where no one knew me or knew that I had a son, not a daughter.
"Daddy,"Kate called, looking at me with the same loving eyes with which a daughter looks at her father.
"Yes dear." I replied, while following with my eyes, the carriage carrying our luggages to the air craft.
"What is that?" She asked, pointing at the big, metal bird with wide wings. "Is it a bird?"
"No my dear." I followed her gaze, smiling. "Its an aeroplane. Don't worry. I will teach you more about it later."
"I promise." I said, smiling at her eagerness to learn. Guess what? She smiled back too.
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