Author : Michael Hughes

Remer opened his eyes, but the room was coming into focus more slowly than it should have. The synthetic glare of the fluorescent bulbs made it difficult to think. Where was he?

He searched his mind for the last thing he could remember, but kept coming up blank. The harder he thought, the more he realized he didn’t know. He couldn’t remember anything beside his name. He had no sense of time to help process how long he’d been out. He could sense the shells of memories that should’ve been there, but they were empty: a void of a memory that no longer existed within his mind.

Then he heard voices. His hearing was coming back now, but his eyes still hadn’t been able to focus on his surroundings. The voices were speaking, but not to him. He could clearly hear the words they were saying, but they held no meaning. The words they spoke were as empty as his memories. He felt he should understand them, but again, nothing came.

Finally, his eyes began to focus and the view he was presented with was completely foreign. He was lying on a table of sorts, perhaps an operating table. Had he been injured? Trying to access his memories was useless and he made no serious effort to follow that train of thought.

He wanted answers. Perhaps the voices, now belonging to strangers who stood near the table, could provide them. He tried to speak, but no words came. He struggled and lifted his head, again trying to muster the strength to speak. But nothing came.

The strangers noticed his movement and quickly surrounded the table muttering more empty words. Their tone was urgent. Not yet harsh, but something was definitely bothering them. He tried again to speak, this time a small squeak managed to escape his mouth. One of the strangers stopped and looked him in the eyes.

He said something to the others and they stopped as well. All of them now focused on Remer’s face. The first stranger said something to Remer, but he still couldn’t understand him. The tension built inside Remer’s mind, he knew he should be able to understand them! The stranger repeated the phrase. Tears of frustration began to build in the corners of Remer’s eyes. He tried to respond. He gave everything ounce of effort he had in him! And it worked!

“Where am I?”

The words were weak and no more audible than a single drop of rain on a forest floor in the spring. If the other strangers hadn’t been so focused on him, it’s likely they never would’ve heard it.

As soon as he uttered the words, memories and understanding flooded Remer’s mind. He could understand the strangers now. It was as if the words he spoke shattered a mighty dam that held back the very fabric of his being.

He turned to the first stranger, who he now recognized as a doctor, and asked one simple question, “Why am I here?”

The man looked him in the eyes, his face grave and bathed in sorrow.

“Mr. Remer, you are not who you think you are.”

“What do you mean? I had some trouble remembering when I first woke up, but now everything is clear. I am Jonathan Remer, CEO of Remer Industries. I run one of the largest medical cloning facilities in the Western Hemis….”

His words trailed off. He was a smart man and realized now the gravity of the situation.

“I am a clone, aren’t I?”

But he already knew the answer.

One of the other doctors approached him carrying a syringe, a single tear forming in the corner of her eye.

“I’m sorry, sir.”

He didn’t resist as the needle entered his arm. The room began to fade to black. He thought he heard faint weeping.

Then everything fell silent.

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