“Hey!” the woman shouted. “Stop!”
But Clone 225 didn’t stop, not even for a second. She slammed into the doors at full speed and burst out of the stuffy building into the world. Alarms blared behind her, but she kept running. Adrenaline fueled her as she tore across the lab’s parking lot and then out of the gate.
Clone 225 ran until she couldn’t run anymore and then finally stopped. She had hopefully lost her potential pursuers in the crowd. The crowd. Clone 225 straightened up quickly. She was surrounded by people, so many people that she couldn’t have possibly counted them all. And they were real. They weren’t clones like she was.
“Wow,” she breathed.
Nobody paid any attention to her as they passed by which surprised Clone 225. Couldn’t they tell that she wasn’t like them? Didn’t her plain white jumpsuit give her away?
She continued to meander along the sidewalk, keeping to the side so that she wouldn’t run into anyone. After taking in some of the sights in front of her, she turned her gaze upwards. The buildings surrounding her were enormous. She couldn’t believe how massive they were! She had read in books that they were big, but she had never imagined that they would be so huge and tall. The tops of the buildings looked as if they were lost in the clouds.
But one thing was off about the sky. Where was the sun? She could see the gray, puffy clouds and the hints of a blue sky, but the sun was nowhere to be found. Why couldn’t she find it?
Clone 225 shook her head in confusion and lowered her gaze so that she could focus on the sights and sounds that were all around her. The cars on the road were a lot bigger and faster than she had imagined and there were just as many of them as there were people. How could there be so many people? In all her twenty-eight days, she had known a total of 52 people, including the clones. Now she couldn’t have counted everyone if she had tried.
Clone 225’s ears buzzed with the constant thrum of traffic and the bustling activity of the crowd surrounding her. She jumped in surprise when she heard a loud horn come from one of the passing vehicles, but her attention was quickly diverted by the new smells that swarmed her senses.
Clone 225 inhaled deeply and was greeted by a sweet aroma that she had never smelled before. It smelled odd, almost a watery sensation. It was a pleasant. Then she felt something on her hand that made her look down in surprise. It was a drop of water. Could it be rain?
Another drop fell then another until water was coming down in sheets from the sky. All around her, people sought shelter or hurried to get to their destination in order to escape the downpour, but Clone 225 just stood in the middle of the sidewalk with her hands spread out on either side and laughed. The rain felt amazing. Why were people upset about it?
Clone 225 became so distracted by the rain that she didn’t realize that she had walked into the road. Suddenly, the squeal of tires and the loud honking of a horn broke through her bliss and she turned in shock to see a car stop just inches before hitting her. She was too scared to even move.
Almost immediately, a man angrily got out of his vehicle and started toward her. “Are you crazy?” he shouted. “What on earth are you doing standing in the middle of the road?”
Clone 225 was at a loss for words so she just stared agape at the stranger.
“And your wet!” the man continued. “Have you ever heard of an umbrella?”
Clone 225 finally found her voice. “What’s an umbrella?” she asks timidly.
“What’s an umbrella? Are you really asking me that?” He ran a hand through his wet blonde hair and shook his head. “Are you okay?”
Clone 225 didn’t know how to respond. Was she okay? She knew that she was dying. Was something wrong with her that he could see and she couldn’t? “Um… I don’t know,” she replied.
The man sighed in frustration. “Look, just get in the car okay? I’ll get you to a hospital. I can’t leave you here to get hit by a car.”
Clone 225 vaguely remembered from a book that she had read that hospitals were places that people went when they got sick or needed surgery. She didn’t need a hospital. Why was he going to take her there?
“No, that’s okay,” she replied hurriedly. “I’ll be fine.”
She began to walk away, but he stopped her. “I can’t just let you walk home in the rain. At least let me drive you to your house.”
Clone 225 suddenly had an idea. Maybe he could show her around and explain to her where she could find the sun, moon, and the stars. She made a quick decision to just get in the car and explain her predicament to him later. He would understand.
“Okay,” she said.
She walked over to the green car and pulled the handle. The car door opened and she slid inside. The man got in after her and started the vehicle.
“Okay, where to?”
“Where to what?” Clone 225 asked.
The man took a deep breath to calm himself. “Your house,” he explained slowly.
“Oh right. About that…” she began.
The car was moving now. She had to tell him where she needed to go.
“I was wondering if you could do me a favor,” she began.
“And what is that?” the man asked in growing annoyance.
“Well, you see I’m new here and I was wondering if you could show me around. I could use a guide,” Clone 225 smiled.
The man was silent as he gripped the steering wheel tighter to make a right turn.
“I’m sure that it won’t…”
“No,” the man cut her off abruptly.
Clone 225 hadn’t expected that answer at all. She had thought that he would be pleased that she had chosen him to show her around, but instead he looked upset.
“Well,” she began hopefully. “Could you at least tell me where I can find flowers? Oh, and why can’t I see the sun? When do the stars appear in the sky? Is the moon really as beautiful as they say in books?”
“Okay, have you lived under a rock your entire life or what?” he snapped.
“Do people live under rocks?” Clone 225 asked in confusion. She had never found a book that said that they did, but what did she know?
The man smacked his forehead with his hand. “Look, I don’t know if this is some kind of prank that your pulling, but this is what I’m going to do.”
Clone 225 nodded.
“There’s a flower shop up the road. I’ll drop you off there, okay?”
“Okay!” Clone 225 agreed excitedly. “Do they have sunflowers there? They are my favorite!”
The man ran his fingers through his dirty blonde hair. “I don’t know. I’ve never been there. I’m not really into flowers.”
Clone 225 gasped. “But they’re so pretty! I love all the different colors that they have! But sunflowers are my favorite! Didn’t I already tell you that? Sorry!”
“Yeah, well, everyone likes different things,” he replied.
“So what do you like? Trees? Have you seen a mountain before? Maybe you like grass? What’s that like?”
The man couldn’t help but laugh. She seemed so genuine. He was beginning to think that she wasn’t trying to prank him after all.
Stay tuned for more updates! I’ll try to post at least two or three updates a week.