Murdock, Ian – A Short Story

WARNING: This story contains mentions of suicide (in conversation and thoughts). 

This is my submission for the July Short Story Challenge. The Theme is “I open at the close” meaning stories must begin and end with the same sentence. Here you go:


When I open my eyes again, I see Dr. Holt, my transfer specialist.

I see him more often than I see my own parents. They don’t visit me often after an… incident. But Dr. Holt is always there. He’s responsible for the cloning division G-N and that includes me. Murdock, Ian. Number of Transfers: Not enough.

I sigh. Every time I do it I wish it’s the last time. But it never is. I have the sneaking suspicion Dr. Holt is taking more DNA from me every time to make new clones. I used to believe they would run out of new ones at the rate I keep using them up. But they seem to have developed new methods because whenever I die, I always wake up again.

“Glad to have you back, Ian”, Dr. Holt says but he sounds neither enthusiastic nor pleased. Just tired. Maybe he is even as tired as I am of this game. Maybe I can convince him to stop.

“Just let me die”, I say my voice barely more than a croak. It takes a while for the new body to reboot after a transfer. I know the procedure by now. Feeling weak, headaches, croaky voice. I get the whole package. And it sucks. But not as much as living my miserable life with my constantly disappointed parents in a world I don’t belong to.

I wonder if the clones they transfer my memories and personality to know what is going to happen to them. Dr. Holt never tells me what their life is like before they step in to revive me. Can they refuse to do it? But even if one of my clones is rebellious enough they will just grab the next one. I wish they would just let me die in peace.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Ian”, Dr. Holt says with a sigh, “Your parents haven’t revoked the transfer agreement…”

I huff angrily. My parents. They still believe that someday I’m going to wake up happy, like they always wanted me to be. But their expectations only pull me down further. Deep inside I know they are never going to accept my decision of wanting to end my life. The sheer endless supply of clones is making my everyday suicides completely pointless. But just dying stopped being the point long ago. I refuse to walk around and pretend to be happy just because they want me to be their perfect son. This way I can at least annoy them as much as possible while waiting for the day they will finally let me die.

I reach up to my forehead and cautiously touch it. Of course, I can’t feel the bullet hole, this body is not the one I shot. But I still remember pointing the gun at my head, hoping today was the day. Bullets are my favorite method. Painless and messy. Maybe if my parents get sick of having to organize a clean up every time, they will finally stop reviving me. I am already thinking about how to do it next time. Razor? Bridge? Rope?

“Please, not again, Ian”, Dr. Holt says. He knows me too well. I only stare at him and don’t reply. He sighs.

“Your parents will be here soon. Get some rest.”
Finally, he leaves and I am alone. I close my eyes and concentrate on my breathing. Inhale. Exhale. This body doesn’t feel different than all the others I had before. It’s like they are slapping me with copy-paste over and over again. I feel tired. I have the theory that a piece of my soul gets left behind with every transfer. One day all that will be left of me is an emotionless husk. Maybe then they will have mercy.

Sometimes I wonder if I should just give up, stop trying. But I still have hope that they will run out of clones someday. And if today is that day, how could I miss it? While I still have this hope, I will always try again.

I grab the glass of water on my nightstand and smash it, picking up a fragment and turning it against the light. It sparkles. Maybe this time.

When I open my eyes again, I see Dr. Holt, my transfer specialist.

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9 thoughts on “Murdock, Ian – A Short Story

  1. Wow! So mind-blowing. Love that dark science-turned-wrong by people that think they are doing right angle. And like so many “treatments” for mental illness, it doesn’t actually address real issue — the *mental* aspect, the thought processes. Kind of takes the “slap a new drug on it” tactic a bit further — “slap a new body on it”! Absolutely loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow! Very creative and haunting. This was a very interesting and dark take on cloning and everlasting life. I can only imagine how trapped and frustrated he feels with everything. To want to be done but trapped in a world you don’t want to be in…scary.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m reading through the story of the month submissions. I really love this story. So creative and such a dark process. I think so many of us think of ever lasting life as a cool idea, just replace the body when it wears out, but to not have a choice, to want to be done… Very interesting take.

    Liked by 1 person

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