Author : John Tudball

Love – with all its pain and all its wonder – is the human condition. We are slaves to it and truly, above all other creatures, masters of it. When we know love we feel alive. It brings us terrible, terrible hurt but that’s okay because of the joy that comes with it. When we forget love we feel cold and empty. Inhuman.

In my line of work, you wouldn’t think I’d spend too much time thinking about love. I run a cloning facility outside New York. It’s not one of the big ones; you’ve probably never heard of us. There’s no room in the industry for another company making pigs. There’s already enough bacon on the market so’s everyone can have it for breakfast and still have some left over. And chickens are a waste. Too much time and money goes into a chicken with too little output. It’s still cheaper to produce chickens the old fashioned way.

No, we mostly clone specialty animals; ostriches are a current top seller. Last year it was pandas. Fancy restaurants where the bread costs more than most of us make in a year, they buy from us to avoid the legal issues with endangered and near extinct species.

And occasionally we sell directly to the rich folks themselves, when they want something even more special. I take care of those orders personally; they need a delicate touch. The rich can do whatever they want, you see. It’s a good basis for society. Encourages everyone to try extra hard, like. When you’ve got enough money your only restrictions are your own ethics, and who am I to question another man’s choices? I make my money growing the most beautiful creatures on the planet for food. So when someone offers me a whole lot of money and tells me they wonder what human tastes like, it’s not my place to say no, it’s my place to make sure no-one finds out about it.

Clones are grown in a lab. They’re kept unconscious – the shock of accelerated growth would be painful beyond belief. They’re not loved and they’re not capable of love. So when you ask me if I’ve ever tried one, when you look at me with those accusing eyes and whisper that word, “cannibal”, remember that they don’t know love. Remember what they are: cold and empty. Inhuman.

The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows