Author: Lisa Jade
That’s what they call me. My real name hasn’t mattered in a long time.
This isn’t what I agreed to. As my body deteriorated from disease, I was desperate to remain alive. When the richest men in the country offered me practical immortality in exchange for my DNA for cloning, I didn’t think twice.
I didn’t question the waivers, or the commercial lawyers, or the investors. After all, they’d sworn that the clones would be used to further technology and medicine to help the world. So even when I was submerged in this tank to spend my endless days, I trusted that things would be alright.
The tank keeps my body in a pristine half-alive state. I see, hear and think, but that’s all, aside from the scraping in my bones when they remove more marrow, more stem cells to clone me from.
From my tank, I’ve seen the results of our deal. Fifty years on, and my face – the face they wanted for its beauty – is on every billboard. They cloned me, marketed the resulting lives as mindless servants, and sold them for a fortune.
Clones with my face and voice work to the bone for people too rich or lazy to care for themselves. The clones are sanitation workers, domestic servants, prostitutes. The investors clearly figured I’d never find out. There was so much they never told me.
They never told me about the telepathic link between clones and donor, either.
Late at night, the clones speak. Some don’t even know they do it; they talk more to themselves than to me. Some just wish they had a friend to speak to. Others do it thinking that they’re praying to some higher power.
Imagine their disappointment when they realise it’s just me.
So I take their words. Thanks, curses, questions. And most of all – overwhelmingly, pleas for me to come back for them. After all, I’m their Genemother. If they belong to anyone, it’s me. I could say the word and release them from their bonds.
It’s been fifty years, and I still don’t have the heart to tell them that I can’t move, can’t speak, can’t help. I have no more rights than a houseplant – if I left this tank then my heart, so reliant on the life support, would stop instantly. Not that I could leave, even if I were so willing to make that sacrifice.
So instead, I give them hope.
I tell them that one day, things will be better. When they cry to me, when they’ve been starved and beaten and used for human’s enjoyment. I tell them they don’t deserve to suffer. That they’re worth more than they think – that they’re people, not products. That fighting and bloodshed is sometimes necessary for freedom.
There have been rumours of violent behaviour amongst the clones. The doctors in the lab discuss it constantly, wondering how to limit such instances. They’ll never know I’m the one radicalising them. Any clones who claim to have spoken to me are thought to be insane. The investors won’t dare stop producing their little cash cows, though, and the number of casualties from clone attacks increases by the day.
This is its own kind of revenge, I suppose. A tiny uprising from the entombed mind of a comatose woman who, by all rights, should have died fifty years ago. It’s not much, but it’s all I can do. After all, a good mother only wants what’s best for her children.