Author : Almn

Richard’s mother was sitting in the corner, looking at me. “You’ve been a lot easier to be around lately.” It was yet another straw on the camel’s back. My mind silently ground to a halt for a second, trying to parse a correct response. Didn’t want to blow it.

“I guess those counseling sessions really helped. Understanding why people do the things they do, it really turned a light on in my head. I don’t know why, but everyone seems so much more reasonable now.”

This wasn’t in my parameters, and even with the frequent coaching of the psychologist and the effort of every electron in my brain, it was a struggle. I was doomed.

“Well, it’s been good to have the real you back.” Richard’s mother beamed. “You’ve been so sad for so long, and we were so worried about you. You know I love you, right?”

“Yes mom. I know” It was getting harder and harder to keep up the masquerade, the conflicting orders jangling around my head. I am a “beta”, a duplicate, and an imperfect an inorganic copy. I would never stand close scrutiny.

“Well make sure to call me when you get back to school. You know we’re worried about you, so far away.”

“Yes mom, I will.” She reached up at me, and I took her in my arms and hugged her tight, the way I knew Richard had hugged, squeezing like crushing the life out of her would bring them closer. In the back of my mind the second order started up it’s klaxons, insisting I obey, but I held back, for it would conflict with the first one.

I headed out into the rain that Richard had professed to love but never spent much time in, and cried. I was a failure, a waste of resources and time, a sham of a masquerade. No one would believe me for another week, and I had to keep this up for as long as his family was alive? Drinking water to replenish my tear ducts and wondering where I could get more salt from, I found a shelter, and there took out Richard’s suicide note, reading it again and again, looking for some way I could obey all of my orders, and prove that I was not a failure, like him.

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