Author : K Clarke
I stagger a little on the way up the front steps, catching myself against the rail where I stay for a moment, clinging like a seahorse to a piece of kelp. Fighting against the currents of nausea that threaten to sweep me away. The weak light from the newly risen sun is blinding me but I can’t work up the strength to move. That last drink was one too many. Actually, the last couple were probably one too many.
On that thought, I lose control and double over, vomiting into the bushes that line the porch. Olives. I don’t remember there being olives. I don’t even like olives.
Gathering my strength, I stumble up the rest of the steps into the merciful shade, patting my pockets to find the keys. They’re not there. Thinking about it, I’m not sure where my car is, either. I wonder how I got home.
The door rattles, opening to reveal my father. I’m gonna got reamed. This isn’t the first time I’ve been caught sneaking in after a night out, and they’ve been on my case about the classes I’ve been skipping, and my grades in the ones I do attend. Seems like all I hear anymore is yelling.
His face is calm, though, and he doesn’t say anything as he steps back to let me in. I stop in the doorway. The living room is full of dusty boxes and piles of my old baby things. There is a clear space around the couch, where my mother is cradling a baby. It’s a tiny thing, all red-faced and squishy-looking. I think it must be a newborn.
“Isn’t he wonderful?” Mom smiles at me before looking down to blow on the baby’s nose. It twitches, making little aack sounds. “He just came today. We’re calling him Peter.”
“Peter? Mom…I’m Peter.” She nods once, cooing at the baby. Not looking at me.
The hangover fades out in an instant, replaced by something I’m not sure is better.
“Son…” Dad rests his hand on my shoulder. “You know your mother and I, we’ve been… disappointed with the way you’ve been acting lately. For the last couple years. The way things have been going, well, we thought –it might be best to take a step back. Get a fresh start.”
“So you’ve –what? Adopted some baby that you’re going to pretend is me –”
“He is you. Same DNA, same fingerprints –”
“Same beautiful blue eyes.” My mother croons, stroking the baby’s cheek.
I fall back against the frame of the still-open doorway, unable to stand on my own.
“You –Cloned me? I don’t think that’s even legal! You can’t just have two of the same person walking around! You…that’s not… you just can’t!”
“No.” My dad says, soft and a little sad, “You can’t.” His hand drops off my shoulder as other hands take hold of me from behind. I scream as they begin to pull me backwards.
“We won’t forget you, Peter. Goodbye.”
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