Author : Ken McGrath

Her name was Julia 13.

There had been twelve others before her, all exactly the same. The only thing that was meant to be unique about her, about them, was the number after the name.

But she started to act differently.

Unlike the others Julia 13 began to get curious. It had never happened before. The others had just accepted what they’d been told. Julia 13 had begun by asking questions. The sort of questions that made those around her uncomfortable and silent, the ones nobody wanted to answer or was even sure how to answer.

First there were the queries about her name, about the number which followed it. She then tried to find out about her forerunners, about the original Julia, if in fact there was one, or if she, Julia 13, was just a composite of many women. She was trying to find out about a past she’d never had, that those in charge believed didn’t belong to her.

Someone, one of the technicians on the lower rungs of the ladder that made up the Facility probably, let slip to her about the vat where the previous Julia’s, where she, had been bred. She learned where she’d been born, in a lab, in an artificial womb, deep below the Facility Building.

It had confirmed some of her fears, but she wanted to know more. She needed to find out about her ancestors, if indeed they could be called that, the other Julia’s and what had happened to them.

Her persistent questions had brought her the unwanted attention of the Facility Director though.

He’d let it run on for a while. He was curious too. He was always interested to see how his girls would develop and up until this one they’d all been a success. They’d all conformed. But Julia 13 was different to the others. She was much more inquisitive. In the end he decided that thirteen was probably just unlucky for some, especially since none of the others had shown this trait. In the end he had her removed.

Julia 13 did have a legacy though. After her they stopped giving the girls numbers, after her they were just Julia. Plain and simple, a name with no number, nothing to distinguish one from the one before or the one that came after.

There were certain elements of the past after all which the Facility didn’t want to keep on repeating.

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