“I still don’t understand how anyone could justify putting a little kid through this.” Quinn’s father glared at the doctor, viciously protective.

The doctor shrugged. “It’s to discourage use. They didn’t intend it for little kids.”

His mother had been begging hopelessly against the policy all morning. “Then why does he have to do it?” She asked.

The doctor was direct. “It’s the law.” They came to the end of the white corridor. The doctor put his hand on the white door, and looked directly at Quinn’s father. “Ten minutes in the room, you are allowed to be present because he’s a minor, but you can’t block his line of sight.” The doctor held open the door. Quinn’s father pushed the wheelchair into the room. There was a boy asleep on a metal bed in the middle of the room.

Quinn’s father started his stopwatch. “It’s starts now.”

“Right.” The doctor sighed, shaking his head.

“Quinn, that boy isn’t you.” His father gestured to the sleeping child. “It may look like you, but it isn’t.” Quinn couldn’t see the boy on the table very well from his wheelchair, just the side of the Copys’ pink face and arm, the rest covered by a blue sheet. The Copy was totally bald, and everything Quinn could see looked soft. He had no spots or scars at all. The Copy had tubes in his arms that led to bags full of yellow goop and clear liquid. Quinn felt his father put a big hand on his tiny shoulder “He hasn’t even got much of a brain son, so you don’t need to feel sorry for him. We just have to stand here in this room for a bit, because it’s UN law, because they want to make little kids feel bad.”

“They make everyone who gets a clone done for parts do it.” said the doctor.

Quinns father whirled and pointed his finger. “You just keep your eyes on your watch.” Quinns father knelt next to the wheelchair. “Now Quinn, it’s important that you understand that boy isn’t real, he’s just a bunch of parts, like the Connect-A-Bits that we got you. He doesn’t think and he’ll never wake up. He’s just going to go on sleeping forever.”

Quinn knew the truth, he knew because he had heard the other kids in the hospital talk about it when the grownups were out of earshot. They said that the doctors don’t make the first cuts on the Copy; it’s all done by workmen who haven’t taken the doctors’ oath. They just go in and cut out a huge chunk of person in the area they need and then doctors take that slab of meat and carefully take the chunk they want. One of the kids said that sometimes the Copy wakes up and screams, but Quinn didn’t believe that part, it sounded stupid, like it was from a scary movie.

Quinn’s mother’s eyes were glassy and she tightly gripped his hand. She looked at the Copy, her chin trembling, and her mouth tight. Her eyes were red.

“He’s breathing.” she said softly.

“Yes, Sarah, it’s breathing. It has to breathe. It doesn’t mean it’s alive.”

They were silent for a long time after that, all of them watching the nameless, nearly brainless boy.

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The Past

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