The Clone Chronicles
Copyright 2003-2016 Steve Williams
All rights Reserved
All rights Reserved
I don't remember going to sleep. All too soon, the summer sun is shining through the window. I thumb the intercom to listen in on the boys. I hear nothing, so I rise and go to peek in. They are both still sleeping, so I leave them, grab a quick shower and get dressed.
Now the boys are awake, and I go in to greet them. They are still in bed, but jump as I knock and enter. Ian smiles when he sees me. I wave him over for a hug.
"How's my boy this morning?" I ask the question without even thinking, but it feels right.
Alex pipes up, "We were just going to get dressed. I think Ian had an accident."
"Alex, I can get Ian dressed if you want some time alone. You don't need to be responsible for him," I respond.
"My dad said I was supposed to help him become a normal boy. My dad doesn't help me get dressed, very often.'
Hearing a chuckle, I look and see Gordon in the doorway. Alex blushes then goes to give his dad a hug.
"Does he know?" I ask Gordon.
"Now might be a good time to fill in the blanks." He joins us all on the bed.
"Alex," I begin, "do you know what a clone is?"
"They talk about them in movies. Aren't they a replica of someone?"
"That's right. In theory, clones are an exact replica of another living creature. It was talked about in the movies, then some scientists cloned a sheep. Several years ago, another group claimed to have cloned three baby girls."
"So what's the big deal?"
"Alex!" Gordon Snaps.
"Gordon, it's okay." I calm him and turn back to Alex. "Alex, we believe that Ian is a clone."
Alex turns to look at Ian.
"But he's not a baby."
"No, he isn't. We think someone has found a way to take clones and make them grow."
"Kind of like growing while in hyper sleep," Gordon interjects.
"Dad - everyone knows you don't grow in hyper sleep." Alex's sarcasm breaks the tension.
"The rest of it is that we think Ian was brought out of his tank too soon. That's why he has trouble and why we want you here to help. But he is still my responsibility. Even you deserve some time to yourself. Tell you what, why doesn't your dad help you here, while I help Ian in the bathroom?"
Flopping over onto his dad, Alex responds. "Okay, I guess."
"Gee, thanks son."
Gordon's glum act is quickly followed by an attack of tickling. I grab Ian and head for the bathroom, grabbing some clothes on the way. Finding that he had more than a little accident, I take him over to the shower to wash him off. When he's dry, I point to the toilet. He shakes his head, so I get him dressed.
I don't want to use the overnights during the day, so I put him in plain white undershorts and a tee shirt, jeans, polo shirt and sneakers, for the day. As I finish tying his shoes, the intercom chimes.
"Yes," I say, depressing the button."
"Sir, this is Rich. When would you like breakfast?"
I glance at my watch. "How about eight, is that good for you?"
"Eight is just fine."
"I would appreciate it if you joined us this morning."
"I've already eaten."
"Well then, I would like you here for a meeting at nine o'clock."
"Very well. I'll be there."
Depressing another button, I buzz Marty's room.
"Marty, it's Steve. Would you be able to join us for breakfast at eight?"
"I can do that."
"Then I want a meeting at nine to discuss Ian's training and such."
"Sounds good. I'll be to both."
Releasing the button, I realize I'm still in the bathroom. I quickly take Ian into the boys' room and let Alex use the bathroom. I then go to the living room to wait for breakfast. Promptly at eight, Rich pushes the cart into the dining room. Marty is right on his heels.
Breakfast is a wonderful, even fun, affair. Ham, eggs, hash browns, toast, orange juice, milk and hot chocolate. In what I think will soon be normal, Alex and Ian do their own thing during the meal. I realize that through Ian's eyes, everything is new. Food is to be tasted, tested and examined each time. Ian is embarking on the greatest journey of all and I get to witness each new discovery.
When the meal is finished and cleaned up, we send the boys off to their room. Rich joins the rest of us at the table and I begin.
"I want to start by thanking all of you for helping in this matter. When I found Ian in the tank, I had no idea what was going to happen. I thought it was a murder scene. Then it got really weird when he woke up.
"I believe Ian looks at me as his father. What I want now, is to discuss how to work with him, educate him and train him. I don't want to overload him, so, if you all agree, I would like to try the following."
"Breakfast at 8; lunch at 12:30; dinner at 6; and snacks as needed." I pause for a moment, thinking.
"Marty, what type of exams do you need to perform?"
"Steve, to be honest, I'm as much in the dark as you are. I've read the material from the other doctor, except for the blood test results. I would like to give him another exam and compare notes. I also want more blood for genetic testing. After that, all I need to do is track his progress.
"Can you do an exam right after this?"
"If you want." Turning to Gordon he continues. "Would Alex be willing to help Ian through this?"
Gordon agrees and I also concur.
"Okay, Rich and Marty. I would like you to pick some meals, where you join us. I think it might help with Ian's social skills."
Both men nod agreement.
"As far as daily routine, I would like to do educational work in the morning, play and other therapy after lunch. Rich, would you be willing to do cookies or something with the boys?"
"I've never baked with kids before, might be fun.'
"I would recommend sugar cookies or thumb print cookies. The boys can be more involved."
At that moment, my PDA beeps. I open it and read the note that scrolls up the screen. I must pale, because the others all look at me."This is from the cabin. They have been working to remove the growth tank. They just found two pounds of Semtex underneath it. As I understand it, that would eliminate the whole cabin and the boathouse. It would probably create a new lagoon on the lake."
"I think the stakes just went up." Rich comments, getting up to leave.
"Let's go to work." I say, closing the meeting.
Rich leaves as the rest of us head to the boys' bedroom. The boys aren't there and I start to panic. Then, the bathroom door opens and the boys come out. Seeing us all there, Alex comments.
"Ian had to go."
Although I'm sure he didn't try to do this, his comment is like 'What, did you think we'd run off'. I notice Ian has different pants, but don't say anything. I'll deal with this later.
"Alex, would you like to help me give Ian an exam?" Marty asks. "Can you take him to the lab and help him undress to his underpants?"
The boys leave with Marty right behind them.
Gordon clears his throat. "Why don't you go take a real hot shower and relax? I'll go check the boys' room and start working up a lesson plan. I'll be in the classroom, if you need me."
"That's the best suggestion I've heard in several days."
Since I had a shower this morning, I fill the tub with very hot water. Since it is also a spa, I turn the bubbles on and let the water massage my whole body. I even doze off for a few minutes. After about thirty minutes, I get out and towel off. Opening the hamper, I see the jeans and undershorts that I put on Ian this morning. I guess I need to take a few more proactive steps.
Getting dressed, I go down to the exam area. Both boys are in their undershorts and Marty moves from one to the other. He seems to do something on Alex, then on Ian. Ian is much more relaxed than when Jarod checked him out.
While I am watching, Marty brings out the blood test equipment and two syringes. Although he remains quiet, I see tears spring into Ian's eyes. Marty takes some blood from Alex, then moves to Ian. I quickly snap on the intercom to monitor. As the needle goes in, Ian whimpers, but doesn't cry. I see that Alex is holding his hand. He does cry when he gets a shot. Marty explains that it is vitamins and some of the immunizations Ian needs. Then he tells the boys to get dressed and comes out to the room I'm in.
"As far as I can tell, everything is great. Physically, Ian seems to be the perfect ten-year-old boy. Just about average at 56 inches and close to average at 75 lbs. He needs some work on his muscle development. Eyesight and hearing both seem excellent. Physically he's even ahead of Alex, who is also in good shape for a youngster.
"He looks to have gained about two pounds since the other exam, but that is probably due to his having food in his stomach. I'm not worried about it, but I do think we need to get him exercising.""I was going to try and get him in the pool this afternoon." I respond "Alex got him into the tub, so it might be possible to get him swimming."
"That's a good plan, but we also need to do some weight training. His muscles are better formed than I expected, but I fear that they will atrophy if not used. I would also like to see him do some running or hiking."
"I've been thinking of walking around the island." I inform him. "I need to discuss it with Corey and Gordon. I also want to do some bug, bird and animal watching. Further, I hope to do some fishing. I was on vacation."
I see the boys are dressed, so I get them and take them down the hall to Gordon. Gordon is set up and ready.
"Steve, we're going to work on letters and numbers today. I'm going to start with basics and see how he responds. From my observations, I think he will do well."
"In here he's yours Gordon. My only suggestion would be to get him to the bathroom before he needs to change clothes again."
Gordon nods, and Alex takes Ian out to the bathroom.
"Hey Gordon, I just thought of something funny. In books, movies and television, you get the idea that no one ever has to use the bathroom. What's wrong with that picture?"
"That is a complaint I get from lots of parents. There are kids out there who spend too much time watching the tube, who go on hikes, then wet their pants, because facilities are spaced for adults, not, kids with smaller bladders. I think Ian is doing well, in that respect. I would be surprised if he isn't trained within the week.
"Gordon, I'm also worried about his toilet training. Are we pushing too hard?" I pause a moment. "I mean we're either taking or sending him to the toilet five or six times a day. Is that too much?"
"Like you just said, too many kids have accidents because they are taken to the bathroom on adults' schedules. I've been out in public and seen kids dancing because they have to go but mom or dad just aren't paying close enough attention to them. Kids go more often because their bladders are smaller. You can't change that just because you're uncomfortable. Deal with it."
"Well, I'm going to leave the boys with you and go see what I can find out. I'll check in later and you can buzz me, if needed."
Gordon nods and I turn to walk out. The boys are coming back in and Alex gives me a thumbs-up. I tousle each boys' hair as they pass, then head up to my room. I pull out the pocket computer and write a message to Bill.
'ANY NEW DATA ON ORIGINS? WHAT IS CURRENT STATUS? ANY INFO BENEFICIAL. I ALSO NEED INFO FROM JAROD, IF POSSIBLE.'
Pulling out a book, I begin to read about another man's adventures. It takes about 30 minutes, before my unit beeps.
'WON'T XMIT DATA....RPT BEING SENT.' With a wry smile, I go back to my book.
I jump up, my book flying. My alarm clock is two small boys, both now laughing. Glancing at my watch, I see that I dozed off and that school is out for lunch. I grab both boys and start to tickle them.
"Wake me up will you."
After a minute of wrestling, I send the boys off to wash up for lunch. Gordon is in the door with a smirk on his face.
"It's good to see my other student is learning also." he quips.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I ask, looking injured.
"Remember our talks yesterday and today? You said he thinks of you as his father, but do you think of him as your son? You will clean him, bathe him, and feed him. I've even seen you give him a hug, but other than that, you seem afraid to touch him."
"Okay, I'm afraid. If I have to go into court, are they going to look at why I touch Ian? Will they be upset that I gave him a name? How do I justify any choice I make?"
"Steve, if things go the way I think they will, Ian should be yours with no questions asked. Treat him as if he really was your son. Build that bond and don't worry about the little things. If you make decisions based on what you believe is best, that's all anyone else can do. Right or wrong, it's what I do with Alex."
"But Alex is your son. No one questions that. That's not a distinction I enjoy. Anyone can look at Ian and know he's not my son."
"That's a cop-out and we both know it. If you had a client with an adopted child or a step-child, what would you tell them?"
"To treat the child like their own, as much as possible." I give a sigh. "You would not believe how many times I go through this same routine with clients."
"Yes, I would. I've done it myself and with parents. You know it's not uncommon. Like everyone else, you let your doubts override your common sense. Let's go eat. All this talk is making me hungry."
Lunch is, again, an adventure. I think Rich is making things, just to let Ian experience the variety of tastes and textures available in food. Toasted tuna sandwiches, deviled eggs, mushroom soup, sliced apples, punch and tapioca pudding. Ian looks a bit tentatively at the pudding, but since everyone else is eating, he does and seems to enjoy it. I notice that unlike most ten-year-olds, he eats what is put in front of him. Even though he doesn't yet speak, he shows no signs of picky eating.
As we stack dishes, Gordon suggests a quick toilet trip for Ian. Since most children need to go soon after eating, this is a good suggestion. I take him back to the toilet and within only a few minutes, he has gone. He is also getting the ability to pull up his pants, though snaps and zippers are still a struggle.
Now, it's play time, so I walk Ian back down to the 'school'. All we are going to do for now is play some catch, with the ball and with a Frisbee.Finding some balloons, I change plans and suggest that we go outside. Gordon agrees with a gleam in his eye. Using the intercom, I notify Corey, then it's out the door.
Gordon keeps the boys busy while I fill up about 20 balloons. Sneaking up on them all, I make Gordon the first target. Both boys squeal as the balloon explodes off of Gordon's back. Both also get splashed.
I come into view, with two buckets full of water bombs. I give one to Alex and Gordon and keep one for Ian and myself. We quickly separate and start a slow battle.
Gordon and Alex are wonderful. They wait while I show Ian how to throw a balloon. Alex even runs into the balloons, so Ian gets a hit. The funniest moment is when Corey walks onto the battlefield and is hit by everyone. He looks at us, then turns and walks away. He comes back with a hose, to get even. Having never experienced this, Ian goes through different emotions. Shock, joy, surprise, excitement. I don't know how he processes these, but he seems to enjoy it.
Running out of balloons, I suggest that we go ahead and hit the pool. I want to try and teach Ian how to swim, so he gets more exercise. Gordon and I each take a boy, head downstairs and get changed into swim suits.
"Okay guys, let's keep it easy today. I want Ian to get used to the pool before we start working on swimming."
We spend about an hour tossing sponge balls and a beach ball. With Alex's help, I work on getting Ian to hold his breath and dunk. This is difficult because he gets very nervous when the water goes over his head. Once he gets a mouthful of water, and comes up crying and coughing, but by the time we're done, he is staying down for several seconds.
Again, going into parent mode, which is getting easier, I take Ian and head for one bathroom, while Gordon takes Alex to another. As we shower, I talk to Ian, telling him stories from my childhood. He may not yet understand, but I want him to hear my voice in a relaxed, comforting tone.
Ian is starting to understand some of the basics of getting clean, but he still lacks the coordination. As I work on his leg. I try to avoid the area where the IV lines were put in, but I can't find them. Then I look at his arm. Even the spot where blood was taken today, has no marks remaining. I will need to mention this to Marty.
After getting him dried off and both of us in robes, we go into his room. As I get his clothes out, I see that we will either need more clothes or I need to be doing laundry every day. As I begin to dress Ian, Alex comes in and says he will do it. I leave the boys alone and go get myself dressed.
After I'm dressed, I go back to the boys' room. They are still in underwear, too busy crawling around on the floor, playing. I get Ian dressed, then take him to the living room for some reading. I have always enjoyed reading, but I find it's even better with a young child on my lap. I remember times when my mother read to me, even after I became a good reader when I would read to her. These were enjoyable times for a young boy. By the time Alex and Gordon come in, Ian is nodding.I pass the book to Gordon, who pulls Alex, with halfhearted protests, up onto his lap, to continue the story. As I settle back in the recliner, I soon join Ian dozing. Gordon and Alex must both doze off, because we all yawn as Rich brings dinner in.
Tonight is Creamed Shrimp over Rice, one of my favorite dishes. There is also dinner salad, fresh spinach and fresh sliced peaches for dessert.
After dinner, we again work on Ian's toilet training. Based on his reactions, I believe that he understands what we are trying to accomplish. As with any child, I praise him when he performs properly. Although I know this training is necessary, if Ian is to develop properly, I still feel a little uncomfortable with this task. I never imagined teaching these skills to a ten-year-old.
I take Ian's hands, guiding them as we do up his pants. Again, he seems to know what is expected and tries very hard to do his part. When I turn on the water, he is quick to wash up. He's doing much better here. Standing behind him, I wrap my arms around him as encouragement, support and to my sudden realization, love.
Can it be true? Is it truly possible for my fear of contact with this boy, to be replaced so fully? Now, I don't want to let him go, for fear of losing this bond. In my mind's eye, I see him growing up, laughing, running and playing. In a few more years, I see all the girls chasing him. I only hope that we stay friends through everything.
My reverie is broken by Ian's squirming. I realize that he is done washing up and wants to move. Taking his shoulders, I spin him around. I kneel and look into his face, only now acknowledging how handsome he really is.
"Ian, I love you!" I declare, pulling him into a firm hug.
I take him by the hand and as I lead him to the living room, I point out items and tell him all the names. With the work he had during the day, he is able to start repeating some of the easier ones. Every time he says something right, I give him a hug. I see and can hear how he struggles but keeps trying.
We make it to the living room. I again pull him on my lap and start reading to him. As I read, he seems to relax, laying his head back against my shoulder. Across the room, I see Alex climb in his dad's lap as well. I have never in my life felt as good as in this moment.
"Steve," Gordon calls as I finish the book. "Why don't you do some homework with Ian? Use the flash cards."
I grab the pack of pictures and hold them up to Ian.
"Ball, fiss, twee," he repeats.
Some words are not too bad, considering. Words with more than one syllable are a bit harder. I work with him, helping him sound out some words. When he starts yawning out words, I decide it's time for bed. I walk him back through the boys' room to the bathroom. I help him undress, then give him the overnighters, which he starts to put on backwards, so I help him get them straight.As I try to get him to put on a shirt, he pushes it away. It takes a couple of tries, but he finally puts the shirt on and we walk out to the bed the boys share. As Alex goes in to get ready for bed, I put Ian down, then sit on the edge of the bed. I have him lay on his stomach and while Alex is changing, I rub his back, speaking softly.
"How do I tell you what you are starting to mean to me. You are my hope for the future. I love you more than I ever thought possible. I can't imagine my life without you. I promise all I can do to make your life as good as possible."
"Steve," Alex pipes up. "I think he's asleep."
Alex walks up to me and I turn to look at this little man as he continues.
"I'm sure he loves you Steve and I do too." He grabs me in a fast hug, then climbs in bed. I leave quickly so he doesn't see the tears on my face. I can't avoid Gordon at the door, smiling.
"I must say Steve, I've never seen him do that before. You must be making an impression on him."
"You should be very proud of him Gordon. I have never seen a ten-year-old so interested in helping others. Usually they tease kids with problems."
"Alex has a different perspective. I've had him helping me since he was about 6. Just last summer, we worked at a camp where all the kids had to spend days with different challenges. Blindness; hearing loss; taped up hands; all for the purpose of getting an idea how others feel."
"Sounds like a camp every kid should go to," I say with a yawn.
"Get some sleep. I'll check on the boys before I go to bed. See you tomorrow."
Going to my room, I get ready for bed, set the clock for 7:00, and soon I'm dreaming about new activities to try with Ian.
Authors Note: This is my first story, ever. If you are enjoying my story, I would like to hear your feedback on it: firstname.lastname@example.org