The door creeps open and he greets me with that sympathetic smile. Like he cares for me in some way, but his compassion is transparent; a cloying mask that barely conceals his lack of emotion. He’s come to ask me more questions. The fact that I’m here at all is proof that the machine works.
“Do you remember Rose?” he asks. Of course I remember Rose. I am in love with her too. I just give him the nod. I should take him by surprise. Wrap my bed sheet around his neck until he no longer struggles, then make a run for it. But that would be useless. He will have changed the key code by now and being trapped in here, slowly starving to death, isn’t the best alternative.
“And our mother?” he says. “Do you remember her name?” I remember her reading to me every night before I went to sleep. How her kiss could heal a wound faster than any surgeon in the country. Even the ones deep down, like when Sally Baker told me she was going out with Tom Brody now, and she had never really liked me anyway. My mother… Our mother… kissed me on the forehead and told me that it would be okay. It was.
“Dawn,” I tell him. He takes a deep breath and pulls his lips in, before exhaling heavily through his nose.
“Do you remember everything?” he asks. I lift my head and stare into his eyes. “Right up to entering the machine?”
“Yes,” I say. “One of us walked in. Two of us walked out.”
“So you know what has to be done?”
I look down at the vents that will soon be letting in the gas. I haven’t been alive for long, I know that, but I have a lifetime of memories. I remember enough to know what has to be done.
“Yes, I know.”
I don’t want to die, but I know it’s safer this way, for both of us. If anyone ever found out, both of our lives would be destroyed.
“I’m going now,” he tells me. Tears form in my eyes. I swallow down the lump in my throat, grit my teeth, and hold his gaze as he backs out of the room. The gas begins to seep in through the vents, making me cough. My eyes are burning and I steady myself against the wall. He is watching me through the small glass window in the door and I can see sorrow in his eyes. Real sorrow. I stumble to the glass. I don’t want to die alone. He looks away and presses his right hand to the glass. I start to raise my hand to his, then stop. His sleeve has slid down, exposing the pale skin of his wrist, and there…
My tattoo! I have a tattoo on my right wrist. A yellow smiley face I had done in my college days. His wrist is bare.
“We’ve made a mistake!” I choke. The room is too bright, my head is spinning. I hold my wrist up to the glass, as I slide down the door. You need to look back. You need to see my tattoo. We’ve made a mistake.
I fall to the floor.
“I’m not the clone. You are.”
About the author: I’ve been obsessed with horror since I stole my dad’s vhs of Nightmare on Elm Street and watched it in secret. I’ve drawn, painted, and written about horror ever since. I live in Liverpool, UK. I have just turned 40 and was diagnosed with Asperger’s earlier this year (now I know why I lack social skills). I recently finished my first draft of an 80k manuscript, and have yet to have anything published.