The Clone Chronicles
Copyright 2003-2016 Steve Williams
All rights Reserved
All rights Reserved
Excuses, Manipulations, Rationalizations and outright Lies. Such is the nature of my life. To the people I see daily, this is the paisley fabric upon which their lives are built. As I drove up into the mountains, the occasional clouds leave patches of grey that are as dark as my spirit feels at this time.
One year ago, I lost my mother. Something many people have done. Three months ago, a friend from my childhood was executed in prison. Again, something beyond my control. Three weeks ago… I killed a young man. Not through any action or inaction of my own. Not by my hand. I killed him, only in my mind, by failing to get through to him or seeing how desperate he really was.
As a professional counselor, I have always thought of myself as level-headed. My current crop of clients however, has tested that belief to its limits. Unfaithful cops, a pyromaniac firefighter, (yes...Really), and at least three folks whose criminal records are longer than their life histories have pushed me to a breaking point. When I snapped at a young client for only trying to protect his self-image, I knew it was time for a break. Little did I know that things would only get worse.
Escaping to the mountains seemed like a good idea even this morning. Yet, in spite of the natural beauty of the area, there is a bit of a dark undercurrent. A forest fire two years ago has left dark patches where the new growth has only just begun. Some people would see this as a type of sign. If I were that way I might consider turning around and heading home for fear of what is coming (if only I knew).
I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Steve, and I am a forty something single man. At 5'10" I tell people I am short for my 235 pounds. My closest confidants are men in the law enforcement and medical communities. That is how I get 95% of my clients.
In dealing with my clients over the past weeks, I frequently referred to a sign I have in my office.
_CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS!_
With my own temper getting short some friends got me to take some personal time. After some thought I called my cousins and got the keys to a family cabin tucked away in the Uintah Mountains of north-eastern Utah.
As I drive, I wonder how the cabin might have changed in the more than 20 years since my last visit. When last here, it was for my Grand Aunt's eightieth birthday and was followed by almost a week of painting and cleaning up the grounds.
It is mid-afternoon when I arrive at the cabin. To call it a cabin, is to call a mobile home a shed. Two floors, five bedrooms, two ½ baths, and garage and two storage buildings. The lake is too small for a power boat, but there is a canoe that has been there since my childhood. I wonder if it has ever been replaced.
As I arrive, I take the time to look around. Beside one of the sheds is a nice, new canoe that will hold two adults but probably holds six or seven of my nieces and nephews at a time. Unlocking the shed, I find a float tube and a pontoon boat and all the accessories and even fishing equipment. The lake is on private property so no license is required to fish for the trout and catfish with which the lake is stocked.
As I continue my survey of the property I see that one of our neighbors has not been fortunate. Their cabin was apparently lost in the fire. The scar is an ugly reminder of just how alone one is out here. Fire response time is a minimum of thirty minutes since the nearest town is 15 miles away and has only a volunteer Fire Department.
Twilight can come early in these mountain as the higher mountains to the west create shadows. As the shadows begin to lengthen, I realize it is 6 PM. Within the darkness there are small shafts of sunlight that help show the beauty of the trees and wild-flowers. I see the tracks of deer and other creatures on the grounds. Inhaling deeply I feel the fresh air filling my given himlungs and beginning to infuse my soul with its cleanliness. My tensions start to fade and I decide that I made a good choice in coming here.
I take the next 30 minutes to move my gear into the house and get comfortable. For me comfortable means walking around in sweats and slippers. I start a light supper, actually a TV dinner, and begin to explore the house just to make sure everything is okay. As I wander around, removing the covers from the furniture, I wonder how long it has been since anyone stayed here. The surprising thing for me is the lack of deep dust on the floors, yet it seems to be on everything else. If I just yank a cover off, it leaves a cloud of dust in the air. The cabin looks good, until I find the door leading to a cellar that I don't remember from my childhood.
Going slowly down the stairs, the dark, mustiness of the cellar brings visions of dungeons in the stories I used to read as a child. The oppression enfolds me like a smothering blanket. For some unknown reason, I feel like I don't should not be here. There are several rooms downstairs of which I was unaware. They all seem dark and uninviting, yet at the same time they are furnished comfortably with soft beds and light colored dressers. As I explore these new rooms, I find one decorated as a nursery. Strange to put a nursery in a cellar.
There is a crib, disassembled and leaned against a wall. Other baby furniture is pushed to the side making room for what looks like a large box, covered by a charcoal gray sheet. Pulling back the sheet, I get the surprise of my life.
Under the sheet is a tank, something like a large, long fish tank. Inside, underwater is the body of a young boy, about nine or ten-year's old. Although normally a relatively unflappable person, I am in a panic. My pulse quickens as my heart pounds in my chest. I know that I have done nothing wrong. I wonder though, what the local sheriff will say. I ponder my options while I gain control of my heartbeat.
Because of my Law Enforcement contacts, I realize that things look very strange. Single man in cabin with body of unknown child? You do the math.
My family owns the cabin and I can't even say when the last person was here. Yet, here I am, a middle-aged man, in a cabin, with the nude body of a young boy. If I were looking at this circumstance from the other side, I would probably be thinking the things I am afraid that others will think. As I try to settle my nerves and think straight, I look around the cellar room. I see no evidence that this boy had been here. No clothes, shoes or anything that a boy might have.
Knowing that I need information to make a proper decision, I think about my options. With an understanding of forensics, I quickly go upstairs and grab a pair of gloves out of my first-aid kit. Slipping them on, I work up my courage then reach in the tank and touch the boy. The water is warm and a little slippery. As I touch his foot, it is warm. Then I see some air bubbles escape from his mouth. Even more shocking, his eyes open. I splash water around, as I pull my hand out and back away.
With my nerves on edge, I watch as the boy sits up in the tank. The water runs off his body. I carefully sniff my hand. There is a slight chemical smell. Then the boy starts coughing up water. He seems to be choking, so I move back and pull him from the tank. He does not struggle, as I lower his head to help the fluid flow from his lungs. Slowly his breathing gets easier.
I next notice two IV lines running into his leg. In pulling him out of the tank, the needles have already started coming out, so I pull them the rest of the way. There are some clean looking towels, under the tank, and I use them to stop his bleeding.
As he has stops coughing, he starts to cry. In listening to his sobs, he seems to be weeping only because he does not know what else to do. Talking softly to comfort him, I carry him upstairs to one of the bathrooms. Turning on the water and getting it to a warm temperature, I lay him in the tub and begin washing the goo off of him. AS I clean him up, he starts to calm down and I can see that he is relaxing. His breathing is easier.
"That should feel better," I say gently.
"Bet...tuur" he responds, surprising me again. There is a slight gurgle and slur to his words.
"Do you understand me?" I ask.
He looks at me, then grabs at his leg.
"Does that hurt?"
"Hur-urt." He echoes me without any feeling or indication of understanding.
Now that he is somewhat clean, I lift him out of the tub and take him to one of the small bedrooms. Laying him on the bed, I turn to go get the first aid kit. He begins to whimper again. I say that I will be right back. I still hear his sobs, as I go to my room and get the kit.
"I told you I would be back." I say, coming into the room. He quiets down again and I apply some antibiotic with a pain killer, so his leg feels better. I finish by putting on a couple of cartoon bandages, which he either doesn't recognize or doesn't understand.
He yawns, long and hard. Seeing his weariness, though frankly not really understanding, I grab a blanket and cover him up. He reaches out and takes my hand. I sit on the edge of the bed. Within a few minutes, he is sound asleep. Letting his hand down, I snug the covers over him and quietly leave the room.
My head is spinning. Looking at my watch, I see that I arrived only three hours ago. Still wondering what my best move might be, I decide to call my doctor friend, Jarod. In addition to sending me people who need counseling, he is also one of my best friends, and I send him people who need medical care. Pulling out my cell, I punch a speed dial. After a few rings, he answers.
"Jarod, it's Steve. Just listen," I begin. "I have a situation here at the cabin. I can't give you details over the phone, but I think it could become serious. All I can say, is that I have a patient here for you. I need you here as quickly and quietly as possible. Can you help?"
After only a few moments, he responds. "How do I get there?" One thing about Jarod, he is not one to let grass grow between his toes.
Giving him quick directions he tells me he can be here by late morning and asks if there is anything else he should bring.
"This might sound strange, but bring your bag, some antibiotics and vitamins." Hesitating, I add, "You might also bring some of Jeffrey's old clothing, inner and outer. And perhaps some bed-wetting pants the same size."
"Uh, O-kay. See you tomorrow."
As I hang up the phone, I am grateful for my friendship with Jarod. There are not many men who would drop everything and run to help someone with so little information. But we have been friends for many years and know that we would not ask something like this if it were not important.
Suddenly, I realize how tired I am, as well as sticky from whatever is in the tank. I also remember that my dinner is still in the microwave and I am quite hungry. Discarding the gloves, I wash my hands, re-heat my dinner and eat quickly. Then I head to the bathroom and take a very hot shower. As I prepare to lie down, I think about some other calls I will have to make in the morning. I do know some people who, if this is what I am beginning to suspect, will need to be brought on to the loop quickly. This definitely does not include the local Sheriff. While probably a very good man, something tells me that this just might be more than he can handle.
Not expecting to really sleep, I layed down on the bed. After the long trip and the events of the evening however, I quickly fall into a sleep of total physical and mental exhaustion.
Authors Note: This is my first story, ever. I would really like to hear your feedback on it: firstname.lastname@example.org