The Clone Chronicles
Copyright 2003-2016 Steve Williams
All rights Reserved
All rights Reserved
Although it is about nine hours, it seems that my head has only hit the pillow, when I hear crying. I wake, not knowing where I am or what is going on. AS the fog of sleep clears, I remember.
Pulling on my robe, I quickly move to Ian's room. His sobs quiet as I come through the door. He is sitting on the bed, which I notice is wet. Fortunately, it is wrapped in plastic, with only bedding on top, so the cleanup will be easy.
"I'm here," I say, going to him. I sit on the bed, pulling him close. "Were you scared?"
I need to figure out what to do until Jarod arrives. I stand, holding out my hand. He takes it and follows me to the bathroom. His steps are wobbly and uncertain, like a toddler. I warm up the shower and move him in. When I hand him the soap, he just looks at it. I make the motions of rubbing the soap, but he doesn't seem to understand.
The more I interact with this boy, the more confused I get. While he physically appears ten, he acts like an infant. He is barely vocal and seems unable to care for himself.
With no other option, I take the soap and proceed to wash him, including a shampoo. I had to rub my hand over his eyes a couple of times to get him to close his eyes. Drying him off, I get one of my sweatshirts to cover him.
Now that he is cleaned up, I find that he is a rather handsome boy. His hair is a sandy blond and his eyes are so blue they are almost violet. Many would call him scrawny, though that may be a result of whatever ordeal he has been through.
For now, I still have at least two problems. First, I'm sure he is hungry, but what should I feed him. I decide to go with creamed rice cereal, because it is easy to digest. Growing up with stomach problems, it has always been a favorite of mine. A Good comfort food. I never travel on my own without it. Second, I still don't know if he has a name. Making the cereal, I also pour two glasses of milk, his, half of a plastic glass, and sit with him at the table.
For a minute, he stares at the food, unmoving. I slowly reach out and pick up my spoon. He tries to mimic me, but lacks the coordination. I take his spoon and place it in his hand, making a fist around it. I then help him take a scoop of cereal and carefully place it in his mouth. Fortunately, he figures out swallowing, without much trouble. I also help him understand the dynamics of drinking from a glass. He only coughs once and dribbles just a little.
He reminds me of a case study from college where a boy, about this young man's age suffered from a traumatic brain injury and had to re-learn everything he knew. There is also an aspect of a very young child, trying for the first time, to feed themselves.
After placing the dishes in the sink, I look back at him. He is still sitting at the table, but he is squirming around. Having some experience with children, I can read the signs. With no other way to handle it, I take his hand and lead him to the bathroom. I get him sitting on the toilet, just in time. I am uncomfortable with some of the intimacies I have to take with the boy, but at this point I have little choice. Leaving the bathroom, we go to my bedroom, so I can dress.
"Do you have a name?" I ask.
He looks at me with a puzzled expression.
"I'm Steve." I say, pointing to myself. "Steve."
"Tefe," he tries.
"Tell you what. I will call you, Ian." I pick this name from an old science fiction TV show. I point to him, "Ian"
"EE-YAN" he stutters.
"Ian," I respond with a nod.
Over the next four hours, as we wait for Jarod, I go about getting supplies sorted and put away. I get a fire going to ward off the mountain forest chill. Twice, Ian wets himself. Both times I clean him up, trying to teach him how to do it himself.
Ian won't allow himself to be alone. In this, he reminds me of some young children who won't do anything alone, but I fear that it is much more complicated. In a way, this may be somewhat beneficial. Since I am unable to last a whole day, he follows me into the bathroom, watching as I relieve myself. I explain the toilet and show him how it flushes. A short time later, he surprises me.
"Toilet," he says starting to urinate again. I say "toilet" and pull him into the bathroom, but by then he is done.
"Toilet" he says flushing it.
Finally, I hear a car drive up. Looking out, I see that Jarod has arrived. I help Ian wash his hands then we go out to greet my friend. As I open the door, Ian sees Jarod and cowers behind me.
"I'm glad you're here, Jarod. This is getting spooky." I give up any pretense of civility. I do however, shake hands as Jarod enters the cabin.
"I'm calling him Ian, for lack of any other name." I explain.
"Ian," I say, gently pulling him around me. "This is Jarod. Jarod, this is Ian."
Kneeling down, Jarod holds out his hand. "Hello Ian."
Ian moves back behind me.
"Steve, just what in Sam Hill is going on here? Where did he come from?"
"As they say in the South, my friend, ‘Ya'll ain't gonna believe this!'"
I spend the next 30 minutes explaining everything that has happened since my arrival. I finish by leading Jarod to the cellar and showing him the tank. Ian stops at the door and seems to be afraid to enter the room.
Together, we examine the tank. The IV's I found, lead into a machine, as do the tubes coming from the tank. I point out to Jarod that the fluid appears cleaner than last night.
"It can't be" says Jarod, scratching his head. "This isn't yet possible!" He visibly pales as I watch.
"What is it? You're turning whiter than usual, even for you."
"I need to try to examine the boy. Is there somewhere to do it?"
"Let's try the room that he slept in."
I lead Jarod upstairs to Ian's room. At this point, Ian is almost a leech. I have to carry him due to his not wanting to let go of me. His fear is a physical presence. I grab the bag of clothes on the way up. Jarod's son, Jeffery, is about the same size as Ian. As we enter the room, the sun is now shining through the open curtains, filling the room with light.
I bring Ian over to the bed, and pull my shirt off him. He does not struggle at all and shows no signs of embarrassment at being naked. He resists only slightly as Jarod begins to examine him. At Jarod's suggestion, I touch Ian in several spots. He doesn't flinch, but withdraws when Jarod reaches out. With both of us talking quietly to him, and me holding his hand, we get through. It is however, the longest, most intense examination I have ever seen anyone receive.
Finally, Jarod indicates that all he has left is to take some blood. He brings out a needle and three tubes for the samples. I take the alcohol wipe and sponge his arm while Jarod gets everything else ready. As we do this, we are still talking to Ian, telling him what is happening.
I pull Ian up on my lap and hold him tight while Jarod puts the needle in his arm. I have no concern over Ian's lungs as his scream probably scares off all wildlife within 10 miles. When it's over, I hold him tight, rocking him and telling him he did very well. Jarod puts on some painkiller and a Band-Aid.
I decide to try and put Ian down for a nap. Getting some underpants and an undershirt from the bag, I help him dress then lay him down on the bed. He rolls onto his side, almost in a fetal position. I rub my hands over his eyes a few times to get them closed, then rub his back for a few minutes till he falls asleep. Jarod and I move into the living room.
"Okay Jarod, now that you've lost more hair and showed me your Casper impersonation, what is going on here?"
"We better sit down." Matching action to words, Jarod almost falls into a chair.
"Steve, I know you like sci-fi, but now it appears real. I think the boy is a clone."
Although I had thought about this when I called Jarod, I wasn't sure until now. The confirmation is still shocking.
"That's about what I suspected, when I found he was alive. But, the last reports I heard said that clones were born like babies. Ian is what, nine years old?"
"Why do you call him Ian?"
"I needed to call him something and he reminds me of the boy Ian in an old TV series episode. He is the son of a ship's counselor."
"I should have guessed. For your information, Ian is probably ten or ten ½, based on his physical characteristics. The key is the tank downstairs."
"I think I need a drink. How about you?"
Getting up I go to the fridge and get two sodas, the strongest thing I have.
"Okay, Jarod. Help me understand."
"Well, I'm not sure I have it all figured. The fluid in the tank is, for lack of a better description, a type of amniotic fluid."
He waves off my questions.
"Let me get through this Steve, then we'll analyze together. I believe Ian was carried and delivered in the normal fashion, this based on his having a navel, indicating an umbilical cord sometime.
"The tank, being amniotic fluid kept him warm, comfortable and eliminated waste. The IV's are like a new umbilicus, filtering his blood and bringing in nutrients. The IV's and the tubes from the tank, go into some compartment where, if opened, I believe we would find the vitamins and other nutrients needed to grow.
"There are also wires going to the tank. I believe that the electrical field may also have some way of passing information to his brain. I think you woke him early or he might be more vocal. From my examination, I think he has the potential to be very bright, energetic and athletic. You just cut his development short. Sort of like a premature baby."
Jarod stops and takes a long but halfhearted swig of his soda. I ponder these words.
"Why?" I say simply.
"Which of the dozen or so whys do you want? Why here, Isolation. As for his age and looks, it could be for parents who want a perfect child. I don't even want to think of worse options. Consider, the possibilities of a ten-year old, with no governmental paper trail. Conceivably even genetically engineered." Now it is my turn to pale.
"If I'm reading you right, I think my vacation just went out the window."
"That my friend may just be the understatement of the century. I think we need to arrange some security and get the two of you out of here. I'm going to call a man named Bill. I trust him with my life." Jarod says this picking up his cell phone.
"I'm also going to call a couple of other contacts, so that you and Ian stay together. I think it would be best and safest for both of you."
"Do you really think there is a danger?"
"I want Bill to make that call. It's very likely but I don't want to worry yet. We need more information."
Dialing, Jarod moves off. I go check Ian, who seems to be sleeping peacefully.
After about ten minutes, Jarod returns."Bill is concerned. He is calling in some favors and will arrive here in about three hours. He wants you to pack a small bag, for the 2 of you. He will have someone take your truck away and clean the house."
"We're also planning on having your cousin forget you used the cabin. We don't want it known you were here at any time. In a sense, you are going into a mini version of witness protection. Contact no one."
As I realize how my life has been turned upside down, I work with Jarod to get a few things packed. Perhaps it is fortunate that Ian doesn't have anything. Looking at him, just as a clone, I think about how much trauma he has been through, in his one day of life.
Before long everything is ready. We have even wiped off most of the surfaces. We took samples of the fluid and the IV solution. The wires do lead to a rather large computer, but we will leave it for others to worry about after they get the chance to check it out.
Knowing that Bill should arrive soon, I wake Ian and get him to the toilet. Finally, he gets to put on clothes. He is a little bigger than Jeffrey, so the clothes are snug in spots, but close enough that most people would write it off to a growth spurt or just older clothes.
Jarod and I spend the remaining time trying to teach Ian some new words. He seems to grasp them easily but with no indication of understanding. We see that it will take lots of work before he can approach normal.
We hear a car approaching and watch from inside as several vehicles pull up out front. Bill and several people get out and start unloading. Bill comes to the house and takes charge after Jarod introduces us.
"Jarod, Steve, here's the plan. As you can see, we have several families here. We want this to look like a family reunion. This will let us get your boy out less conspicuously. I would like you to leave first thing in the morning.
"I'm not going to tell you yet where you will end up. Jarod, do you think you need to go with them?"
"Although I can help Ian some, I think he would do better with a pediatrician. Specifically one with developmental expertise. We also don't yet know how he will react to women."
"Understood. After Steve leaves, we'll have you and an agent leave. The agent will drive Steve's truck. That's about all I can tell you at this point." Bill holds out his hand and I give him my keys. Another agent enters with a boy. Bill doesn't introduce them. The agent speaks a few words to the boy then leaves him with Ian and me. Bill takes the other men off to check the equipment.
The boy brings over a small bag. He holds it out to Ian with a smile. Ian looks at me unmoving. I point to the bag, then hold Ian's hand as together we reach out to take the bag.
"Thank you," I tell the boy, who nods and moves away.
Inside the bag is a child's treasure. A CD player with several kids CDs and batteries, some simple electronic games, flashcards with pictures and words, even some candy.
I wave the boy back over and ask him to try to play with "my son". Since names have not been shared, I don't give him Ian's name. I remind the boy that Ian doesn't talk, so he has to gesture what he wants and to keep it simple. Reaching into the bag, he pulls out a sponge ball. Taking Ian by the hand, he takes him over to a clear area and gets him to sit. I am amazed that he doesn't ask any questions and can only assume that he has been told something before arriving.
He sits across from and facing Ian. Then he rolls the ball to Ian. Ian gets the ball but sits there. The boy gets up and goes to Ian helping him roll the ball away. He then gets the ball and rolls it back to Ian. This time Ian gets the idea and rolls the ball back.
"Maybe we need a young boy to be where we send you."
Bill's comment startles me. So intent was I in watching the boys, I hadn't heard him come back.
"That would probably be good for his psycho-social development," adds Jarod. "Another boy might also help him with his toilet training. Someone his own age to watch and mimic." He looks at Bill, who nods.
Soon the time comes for dinner. I go to get Ian. As I pull him up off the floor, the other boy comes over and gives Ian a friendly one arm hug.
"You did really good," says the boy. Then he runs off.
Ian tries to follow the other boy, which surprises me. He whimpers as I hold him back.
"Ian, it's time to get some dinner. Let's go get cleaned up."
I lead Ian off to the bathroom. I realize it's fortunate that he hasn't had an accident with everything else going on. I get him ready then head to the kitchen.
Jarod is the only one there and I don't question this development. We decide on tuna sandwiches and chicken noodle soup. I also pour glasses of milk for everyone. I start to show Ian how to pick up and eat his sandwich when the boy, catching on, takes over showing and telling Ian how it and the soup are done. He also makes sure that Ian gets a good grip on his glass. Though only a day old, Ian has learned to grasp a glass and drink with only a little dribbling.
When our simple meal is over, we move into the den. Since Ian still doesn't want to be away from me, I try to bring him up onto my lap, as I'm sure he's tired and this may help him settle down. Jarod suggests a bathroom break before I do that. It is also time to try the dry pants.
Soon I am holding Ian on my lap, humming to him. He quickly starts nodding his head and falls asleep. I carry him to his bed and cover him. After some inconsequential chit-chat, Jarod and I then go to our separate rooms, where I am soon asleep.
Authors Note: Author's Note: Thanks to those who have provided feedback. I hope the ideas presented will become clear in future chapters. This is a thirteen year long work of love. Thanks for reading. firstname.lastname@example.org