The Clone Chronicles
Copyright 2003-2016 Steve Williams
All rights Reserved
All rights Reserved
"Dad! Wake up."
I'm half out of bed before I realize that Ian is standing at my bedside, laughing. My heart is pounding, but breathing a sigh of relief that nothing is wrong, I fall back, grabbing Ian on the way down. I start to tickle him but wind up just holding him until he turns his face to mine.
"Good morning dad." he says simply. Then he kisses me. No hesitation. No embarrassment. Just a boy giving his dad a kiss. Something that has gone on for centuries but is today becoming a lost emotional bond between father and son. Can I keep this bond with Ian? Will I be able to remain a loving, supportive father? Or will I, like so many other men fall victim to the idea that if I show love for my son I am somehow less a man? Will I think that I am somehow warping Ian's psyche by being affectionate?
"Dad, I'm hungry." Ian says breaking away.
As we climb off the bed I notice Ian is still in his sweats.
"Why don't you go get dressed for school and I'll see if Rich has breakfast ready." As I say this, I realize just how comfortable I've become with others taking care of me.
As Ian runs off to his room I check the clock and contact Rich.
"Rich, have you started cooking yet?" I ask over the intercom.
"No. I'm just getting the pans ready. Is there a problem?"
"Yes," I respond. "I'm getting too lazy and complacent. Will you just bring everything to the main kitchen as is? I think it's my turn to cook."
"As you wish," he responds.
"And I'll be cooking for everybody today, so don't hold back." I finish, clicking off.
Getting washed up and dressed I head for the kitchen, realizing on the way that this will be the first time I've spent any time there. When Ian bounds up the hall to catch me I send him back to get Gordon and Alex.
I arrive at the kitchen just as Rich pushes a cart full of food in the door. With only minimal help I prepare a breakfast of ham-steaks, eggs, fried potatoes and toast with juice and milk. Rich insists on serving since it is his job so we take the food in together. We do however make Ian ask for what he wants. During the meal we are informed that Bill will be arriving shortly with some new information. Out of either a need to do something, or simply as a delaying tactic, I help Rich with the dishes as Gordon takes the boys for class. When Bill arrives, Marty and I meet him in the den.
"Is it good news or bad?" I ask after minimal amenities.
"Basically it's just general news and information." Bill begins, opening a folder.
"First, our newspaper ad had an interesting result. A couple in the mid-west called to say they had adopted a nine-year old boy who bears a strong resemblance to Ian."
He pauses while handing me a picture. The boy is a bit smaller than Ian with a slightly darker complexion, perhaps from a tan. I pass the picture to Marty as Bill continues.
"The adoption was two years ago. Six months ago the boy was hit by a car and killed while riding his bike. Because his injuries were so severe, he was cremated. The lawyer had died about a year earlier and we haven't been able to locate any records.
"During the 18 months they had him, the boy had several bouts of the flu, even when it wasn't flu season. Whether that means anything or not, we don't know. Nor is there any DNA left from him for a comparison."
As Bill switches folders, Rich quietly enters with a tray of juice and water and leaves before Bill resumes.
"We've started a think-tank group to analyze the information we hope to collect from Ian." He pauses at my raised eyebrow. "Only what you and your people submit, Steve. Connie is heading up the group and they have some interesting ideas.
"The dominant theory right now is that Ian, and perhaps this other boy are products of genetic engineering. Maybe someone is trying to create the perfect child. Another is that if the child starts the way they want, they can mold him into a politician, soldier, or anyone they want to create. The group thinks that if connected, the other boy's flu might indicate that someone is trying to create a natural carrier for biological weapons."
As Bill stops, the silence is such that I think I hear Marty's heartbeat, as well as my own. The ticking of the clock is the only indication that time is still moving forward. As these implications fully sink-in, my mouth feels like I am chewing cotton.
"What about any danger or threats toward Ian? Is he still safe?" I ask when I find my voice.
"Again we're only guessing but we think any threat to him is minimal. The only possible links we had are dead and there is no indication anyone is looking. With the newspaper stories, we think that will end anyone else looking."
I invite Bill to stay for lunch and we spend the rest of the time going over the finer details of his information. As a last surprise before lunch, Bill hands me a video tape and another folder.
"Jarod also helped us take the liberty of doing some remodeling in your house. We created a room for Ian and put in an alarm system. The temporary codes and passwords are in a sealed envelope in the packet. You'll need to change both when you get home."
"Do I want to know who's monitoring?" I query.
"Just a normal security company. Any alarms however, will also signal my office and someone will call you."
Opening the folder, I look at the pictures of Ian's room. Earth-tones, wood furniture and a few toys. Probably the most organized it will be for a few years.
"The fact that you have an office at home is also an advantage," Bill continues.
"We installed dedicated, secure fiber-optic lines for phone and computer. I'll get you acquainted with them when you get home. Another set will be installed in your regular office later. With this system we will be able to share information on Ian without too many meetings, as well as pass on info from the governmental clients we might send you."
As I digest this information, I walk to the TV and slide the tape into its slot. Powering up the system, I start the tape. It is a video your of my house, focusing on the upgrades and security, but also to show Ian our home.
Our home - I realize with some dismay that I've never really thought of it as home. Only my house. Home was where I grew up, fought with my siblings and became the man I am now. I see the truth of the cliché that "HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS." As I ponder this, I think about different disasters over the years. Fires, floods, mud-slides and hurricanes. They destroyed buildings and mementos, but where the families survived they could rebuild a home because their hearts were spared the destruction.
I enjoy the new look of my office. The sterile metal desk has been replaced with one of a blond oak with a matching computer table. The mismatched, second-hand furniture is now new, soft earthy pastels. Wildlife pictures adorn the walls, after a few moments, I realize that these are pictures that I have taken in Utah's National Parks. A new door has been installed so that clients can enter directly from outside through a small anteroom. The basement has also been remodeled to include a compact workout room and den/library.
"When I get home, will you remind me to thank Jarod and everyone else for this?" I choke out.
"Steve," Bill starts then hesitates as if trying to pick the right words.
"Everyone involved has at least a slight understanding of the situation. Their help is as unconditional as the love Ian shows for you. Speaking of which..." He stops as a whirlwind named Ian bursts into the room.
"HI Dad." He stops as he realizes others are in the room. I wave him over for a hug.
"Ian, do you remember Bill?" I ask as I turn him around.
"Hi Bill." Ian responds a bit shyly.
"Hello Ian." Bill drops down to a knee to look at Ian. "You look much better than the last time I saw you."
Ian seems a bit subdued, perhaps remembering his awakening. The fear of those first couple of days could still be fresh in his mind.
Holding up the pictures, I break the tension. "Ian, look at these. This is your new bedroom at home."
As we look at the pictures, Ian snuggles next to me with an arm around my neck. We go through everything twice before I suggest we get ready for lunch. Without my saying anything, Ian runs up the hall and I hear the bathroom door close.
"Another new skill appears." I say, more to myself than Bill.
"Sounds like I've really been missing some quick changes."
"Bill, you don't know the half of it. Ian seems to be a different boy each day, with even mid-day changes thrown in just to confuse things. If he keeps up at this pace, I'll need a scorecard to keep track."
With a chuckle and the camaraderie of old friends, we head for lunch. Lunch fill, and interaction with everybody.
As lunch finishes, Gordon takes the boys out to ride Ian's bike. Bill gathers his gear preparing to leave.
"Steve," Bill starts then pauses. "It's time for you to start getting ready to leave here. You and Ian need to get to your lives back home."
Back Home. Again the thought leaves me speechless. I wonder about my clients, old and new. Marty comes in and tells me that he and Gordon will watch the boys while I start packing.
The rest of the afternoon seems to fly as I start sorting through the clothing I will pack and what I will wear. Before I realize it, Ian has crept into the room.
"Dad, it's time for dinner"
Whirling around, I look into the face of my son. Ian just stands there as if his statement means nothing at all. Just a boy telling his father that it is time to eat. Walking over to him, I put my arm around his shoulder and together we walk to the dining room.
As we gather, Gordon tells me that Ian fell again while riding. Although no real injury was done, it seems he has taken another jump forward.
For some strange reason dinner seems almost subdued. I know that the others will have been informed of the decision for us to leave but I also know it will be at least a day for us to get everything together.
When dinner finishes, I take Ian to his room and we start to go through his clothes.
"Ian," I pause to frame my words. "How would you feel about going home?"
"Home?" He questions with a look of misunderstanding on his face.
How do I explain home to a boy who has only known two places in his short life? The cabin and here at the island are not home.
"Remember the pictures we looked at earlier?" At his nod I continue. "That is our home. That is where we will live."
Ian looks toward the door and I know he is thinking about his friend.
"You will be able to see Alex and you will also meet other kids. We will go bike riding together and travel so you can learn and see lots of other things."
Again I see apprehension is Ian's face. As before, I don't know why, nor can I offer much in the way of comfort.
"Ian there is nothing to be afraid of. I know several of the kids in the neighborhood and I know they will all be your friends. Jarod has a boy named Jeffrey who is just your age and is waiting to meet you. Everything will be fine."
Ian seems to settle down a bit and we spend about 2 hours going through his clothes. We take the old ones and box them up separately for donation or return to Jarod. As things begin to get organized we stop and I take Ian to the den and spend nearly an hour reading to him. Tonight we hold the book together and he reads along with me. His reading skills have jumped more than I thought possible.
Finally, as I see Ian not really paying attention, I send him off to his room to get ready and in bed. I say that I will be in shortly. After a moment of hesitation, he walks slowly down the hall. Waiting about 5 minutes I follow and find him just crawling between the sheets. His apparent depression lifts some as I enter and tuck him into bed.
Returning to the den, I find Gordon there reading. He glances at me but says nothing, perhaps waiting for me to begin. Instead, I pull out my journal and begin tonight's entries. As his writing skills develop, I hope to get Ian Journaling so that we both have a record of his progress. Again I find myself writing a letter:
Again I sit and write to you now believing that you will be reading this letter sooner rather than later. As we prepare to go home in the next couple of days, I am again amazed at the progress you are showing every day. The only thing I am uncertain about are your nightmares and your overall fear. Somehow I know that these will soon be gone and you will be the wonderful boy I already know that you are.
I wish I knew the source of your fears. Hopefully you will soon be able to tell me. I also hope that together we build enough happy memories for you to forget your nightmares and have pleasant dreams each night.
I note these same concerns in my journal before heading in for a long, hot shower. As the water cascades over me, I feel some of the tension leaving. I quickly dry, dress and get into bed, falling asleep within moments.
Before the echo of his scream has subsided, I am opening the door and flying over to Ian. His whole body is convulsing as he sobs and the sweat runs off his body like water after a swim. I almost fall onto his bed in my rush to bring him into my arms.
"Somebody tried to grab me!" he sputters.
"Ian, you're okay. Nobody is here." I hold him tightly as Gordon and Alex rush through the door. Alex tries to run forward but is stopped by his dad who also keeps him quiet.
"What did you see Ian?" I ask softly.
"Somebody was here trying to pull me out of the bed."
"Nobody was here, you just had a bad dream." I tell him. Gordon slips out and I hear the intercom activate.
"Why would somebody want me?" Ian asks.
As I think about my answer I realize again that Ian has somehow leapt forward in his grammar. His sentences make sense and are in line with the situation at hand.
"Ian, you are a very special boy. But I promise you that nobody here that is trying to hurt you.
Starting to calm down, Ian pulls away slightly and looks up at me. "Dad, somebody wants me. Probably the people who made me."
Gordon walks back in as Ian makes this statement and I hear his sharp intake of breath. Putting my hands on Ian's shoulders, I look straight into his eyes.
"Ian, right now I promise you are safe. Why don't you go take another shower to relax and then try to get back to sleep? Alex can even go with you." I nod at Gordon as I say this and Alex comes forward to lead Ian into the bathroom where the shower soon starts. Glancing at the bed, I quickly decide to change the sheets while Ian showers and Gordon comes over to help me.
"What the - just happened here?" I ask Gordon.
"I have no clue. The only thing I can think of is an adrenaline rush."
"Adrenaline rush! What's that got to do with anything?"
"It's back to the theory we discussed a few days ago. Look at how Ian has been learning. His first real jump in grammar was when he grabbed the rose. The thorns stuck him and pain usually causes a jump in adrenaline. There are stories out there of mothers lifting cars and other things just as implausible. Perhaps in Ian's brain, the sudden chemical change triggers the changes needed to complete the brain links for his speech. I'm more worried about how he knows somebody made him."
As Gordon makes that comment, it also hits me. As we walk out to the den, I come to a decision.
"Right now I can't even think straight. Let's table all this until tomorrow when I can focus. What did security say?"
They heard Ian scream but were waiting. There is nothing to say that anyone was near Ian's room when it happened. It had to be a nightmare."
"Is it a nightmare or is it repressed information coming out? But on that note, I'm going to get Ian settled and get back to bed."
I head over to the kitchen and grab two glasses of milk then move into Ian's room. Ian sits on the bed still in a towel as Alex, in his pajamas sits talking with him. Thanking Alex for his work I send him off to bed and sit down with Ian handing him a glass of milk. His breathing still seems a bit ragged, but he is quite a bit calmer. As we drink, I just wait to see if Ian says anything.
"Dad, are we really safe here?" He finally asks.
"I believe that whether we are here or at home we will be safe. I don't think that anybody can find you, even if they are looking for you. We have taken every step we can think of to make sure you are safe. Why do you think somebody is looking for you?"
"When I called you, I thought somebody was here trying to pull me out of bed. They wanted to hurt me." He stops and drinks his milk. Taking his glass I have him get fresh pajamas on and lie back into bed.
"I want you to think about riding your bike and going fishing. Think about hiking and swimming." I rub my hand over his chest as I talk and he is soon asleep. I sit by him for several minutes before finally taking the glasses to the kitchen and returning to my room. It is quite a while before I finally get back to sleep, but the remainder of the night passes quietly.
Authors Note: Thanks to those who have made comments and/or suggestions on my story. Since you are still reading, I hope you are enjoying this.