THE END OF THE ROAD
We’ve been travelling for weeks. We’ve traveled by car, we’ve traveled by plane, we’ve traveled by car again then by train and when I thought we were finally there, a vast desert was all I could see on the horizon. The road was never ending.
I didn’t know where we were going or why we were going there. I didn’t even know who was the person I traveled with. I didn’t know his name, but he thought he knew mine. I’m sure he knew where we were headed, but he never told me. The only thing I knew was that I was on a mission. I had to find and save my little sister, Yun.
I am so grateful this man got me out of the place where I was reborn. If the Mother’s family got to know about me somehow, well… that would radically slow down the search for my sister. I would have to wait a couple of months before I could run away and survive on my own. And what if I failed to run away? What if I would have to live with them until I was old enough to leave without anyone trying to stop me? I don’t even want to think how hard it would be to pretend to be someone who I am not. I could try to explain everything. I believe they are dying to unveil the truth behind the death of their beloved, but even if I tried explaining, I’m almost certain they wouldn’t understand… I owe so much to my savior.
One thing has been bugging me all the way to the unknown place – I don’t have the slightest idea how it happened, but the other baby wasn’t a part of my plan. The spell must have worked out wrong or… someone altered it by another spell, or worse… a curse. The other baby never had to be born. It is nothing else but an unwanted and unintended outcome of my reincarnation.
What if it had inherited some of my abilities? What if a part of myself is now trapped in its body? What if our minds are connected the way my and my sister’s minds are? What if it will reveal the truth behind my existence? What if it knows my whereabouts? What if-
The stream of my thoughts was interrupted by a sudden stop of the car.
I looked at my savior and he looked back at me. “We’re safe now, Nate,” he said and smiled peacefully. I looked at him with confusion in my eyes and thought to myself ‘Why he calls me Nate when my name is Huang?’
“Huang,” I muttered, but he probably didn’t hear me since he kept on calling me Nate.
“Now you’ll meet someone who will take care of you, Nate,” he told me on the way towards the strangely looking building with a big tower.
“I know you are not like the other children,” he said and looked very proud when he did.
This place was giving me the creeps. I have never seen anything like it before. It was so monstrous and… cold. I know it sounds weird given the outdoor temperature in this desert town, but the more I observed the building the less I was convinced my savior was taking me someplace safe.
There was a metal fencing surrounding the building and some odd looking and moving rain spouts. What was this place and why did he take me here?
He gently pushed the gate leading to the courtyard, took a deep breath and briskly walked towards the entrance door of the building. This was the moment I began to fear the person he was taking me to.
The door closed behind us and we found ourselves in a bright green room. There was a young woman sitting at the desk in front of us.
“Good afternoon, sir. May I help you?” she asked politely. I noticed her voice sounded different. I don’t know how to explain it, but it wasn’t a voice of a human being.
“Miss Jane. Lovely,” said my savior and smiled at the woman. “I would like to meet my brother. Thank you.”
“Very well, Mr. Simano. Take a seat, please,” said the young woman and motioned towards the bench by the entrance. While we sat on the bench and waited, she kept on staring at some flat object in front of her.
Then she looked at us for a moment and then back at that object again. I have no idea what that thing was, but it seemed to me as if she was communicating with it.
She looked at us a couple more times before she finally let us in. We walked through a corridor and entered another door.
A cold wave of fear washed over my body the moment we entered the room. There she was again. The same woman we talked to not a minute ago. How did she do this? Can she teleport? Is she a sorceress of some kind? This is crazy.
“Mr. Simano will see you now,” she said and the door behind our back opened. Just like that. It was closed and then it was opened. I’m beginning to fear the level of intelligence and abilities of these humans.
There are so many books… So many. This man must be very important. Or rich. Or both. Maybe he is the sorcerer and the women are his apprentices? I need to understand why did my savior bring me here…
Oh no! What if he knows about my abilities? That could be the reason why he brought me here… He knows… I’m sure he knows. What’s going to happen to me now?
“Gino? Is that really you?”
“Yes. This is really me. Nice to see you again, brother.”
“You’ve changed so much!”
“So have you, Claudio. What’s wrong with your eyes?”
“Nothing. What should be wrong with my eyes? Oh, you mean the glasses. Oh, well… That’s just a safety measure. I don’t bother taking them off anymore.”
“You know, I’m a scientist, not a doctor.”
“I know, of course.”
“So, who is this little boy and… what exactly are you doing here?”
“Would you mind if we sat down, Claudio? I didn’t bring my doctor’s bag…”
“At least your sense of humor is still the same. Sure, take a seat.”
I already don’t like this man. He looks at me in a very strange way. He stares at me so intently as if he knew my secret… What if he can read my mind? What if he can see right through me? I don’t like him at all.
“This boy is the reason why I’m here, Claudio. He is a prodigy.”
“A prodigy you say? What can he do?”
“I… uh… well… I haven’t seen it with my own eyes, but-”
“But? You know, Gino. Even though I am your brother it doesn’t mean I have time to waste. Experts from around the world await for months an appointment in my office.”
“Claudio, I understand. I really do, but… I didn’t travel this far to be laughed at. Please… just listen to what I have to say.”
“Very well. However, first you have to tell me how did you come by the boy. Do his parents know about this? I want to hear the truth, Gino.”
“Come on, don’t tell me you have kidnapped another child!”
“Are you completely out of your mind? What were you thinking?”
I looked up at my savior’s face and he looked… defeated. He put me down on the floor without even looking at me… as if I had suddenly became a burden to him. I didn’t understand.
“His mother died at childbirth.”
“That’s… sad,” said my savior’s brother and looked down at me. There was no real sympathy in his eyes. “Father?”
“I don’t believe you, Gino.”
“Nobody knows about the boy. I need you to trust me.”
“I’m sorry, Gino, but I can’t. You’re not a trustworthy person. We both know that.”
When he said those words, my savior’s shoulders dropped down. For a moment there I thought he might start crying. He looked really hurt. I genuinely felt sorry for him.
“There’s… There’s something about his DNA. It’s not a double helix.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“This boy is… different. His DNA has three strands.”
“Triple helix? Impossible!”
“No, my brother. You’re mistaken. I told you before, he’s a prodigy.”
“I won’t believe it until I see it with my own eyes,” said my savior’s brother, stood up from the chair, briskly walked to the other side of the room, opened a hidden cabinet in the wall and took out some weird looking object… a weapon?
Then he pointed it at me and the next moment a bright green beam of light came out of that thing and made me feel dizzy…
“What are you doing to him?! Stop it!”
“Nothing will happen to him if you told the truth!”
“Hmm… Different indeed.”
“Can you tell me what was this about?”
“Life and death. That’s what it was about.”
“If his DNA was like mine and yours, he wouldn’t have survived…”
“Can you please stop asking me that?”
“Oh… So, are you saying that you have spontaneously put him at the risk of dying just to find out if I was lying? That’s mad! That’s absolutely mad!”
“I know. But ain’t it fun?”
“And I thought I was the crazy one,” said my savior and shook his head.
“So what are we going to do now?” asked him his brother.
“We? What are we going to do now? I’m sorry, but what does ‘we’ have to do with this?”
“I hope you don’t think I will help you for free, do you?”
“You’re my brother plus you already have everything you’ve ever desired…”
“Well… Not anymore,” said the brother of my savior, pulled his glasses off to the tip of his nose and looked down at me. His eyes were twinkling with an irrepressible luck.
Then he pushed the glasses back to the bridge of his nose and turned at my savior. “Look, Gino. Let’s not forget who is the DNA engineer here. As you know very well, I am the more successful of the two of us so-”
“Exactly! And that’s why you should step aside and let me have at least one slice of your cake.”
“I also happen to be a specialist on the extra-terrestrial life and its forms.”
“That’s really very impressive, Claudio, but he’s not an alien!”
“Of course he isn’t. But he’s not from this world either.”
“Well, I cannot deny that.”
“Listen, it’s really pointless to discuss this any further. Either we’ll share it, or none of us gets to eat the cake, capish?”
I didn’t completely understand everything they talked about, but one thing I knew. I couldn’t trust my savior anymore. This place and the people he took me to didn’t make me feel good. I was scared.
“You’re dismissed for today, Jane. You can retire to your room. Thank you.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Come, Gino, let me show you around.”
“I can see your human clone research has brought some impressive results, brother.”
“Thank you, Gino. I appreciate your praise.”
“May I ask how many Janes there are in this facility?”
“Area 52 Test Labs is a renowned research and development center, not just any… facility.”
“Now that I made that clear, what was your question again?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Very well then, come this way.”
“I must admit I had no idea you worked in such a place. This is a scientist’s dream!”
“If you are interested, you could work here too, brother.”
“Oh, come on. We both know you’re the scientist and I’m the doctor playing at one. Tell me honestly, what is it that I could actually do in this facility? I mean renowned research and development center.”
“Well, you could start as a test subject for instance.”
“What? A test subject? Seriously?”
“Do you rather want to mop up the floors?”
“No… Of course not. Well, depends what pays more… actually.”
“What’s behind these doors?”
“Take a look.”
“Oh my… who or… what is that?”
“Subject nineteen? A test subject?”
“More or less. Yes.”
“I’m not sure I want to accept your job offer now.”
“You have kidnapped a toddler, Gino. Do you think you have any other choice?”
“What happened to him?”
“He doesn’t look good.”
“No offense to you brother, but if you met an alien who is used to seeing only individuals of his own kind, I’m sure you wouldn’t look good to him either.”
“So this is an alien?”
“So what is it then?”
“It’s a crossbreed.”
“You heard me well. It’s a crossbreed.”
“A crossbreed between?”
“Human and alien.”
“Do I look like I’m joking? Thought so. Come on, let’s move on. Let me show you the cloning department.”
“So this is where all the Janes have been bred?”
“Gino, clones are not bred, they are made.”
“Anyway, yes. This is the place.”
“How long does it take to make a Jane?”
“Many different factors… but I don’t want to bore you with that now. Come, let me show you something more interesting.”
“What’s more interesting than a clone science?”
“You’ll see. Follow me.”
“Where are we now?”
“The Archive. This is where all the top secret information, projects and nearly forty years of my science research are kept safe. Nobody but me can access it.”
“What happens with the Archive when you die?”
“That won’t happen, I assure you.”
“Nonsense. We all die, brother.”
“Let’s not forget who is the doctor here. You’re fifty-five now, so that leaves you with, if you’re lucky, around twenty-something more years of life.”
“Not if I clone myself in time, Mr. professor. Then I’ll live on forever.”
“Impressive. You truly are impressive, Claudio. I’m left without words.”
“Where are you, father?”
“Come look at this, Gino.”
“What… what is this?”
“This is the genetic information of Antonio Bartolomeo Simano. Our father.”
“I know what the name of our father is, Claudio. But… how?”
“Remember that time I asked our parents for a strand of hair each?”
“Of course I do. How could I forget? Who else would ask for his parents’ hair as his sixteenth birthday’s gift. Wait… Did you-”
“No, I didn’t make their clones, Gino. But I could. With the information I have extracted from the roots of their hair I could easily make their clones, yes.”
“Who else is in this archive of yours?”
“I’m sorry, brother, but that’s top secret.”
“Am I there?”
“Maybe? That’s not an answer.”
“It is for me.”
“What is this?”
“What is what?”
“The machine. What does it do?”
“This is a Brain Enhancing Machine, model BEM02. You can change anyone’s personality by a simple electric induction of a new data into their brain or make anyone supersmart or superstupid. You can do anything, really.”
“I think I might take that job offer after all. Just promise me you will never do to me anything you wouldn’t do to yourself.”
When the two shook their hands I knew I was doomed. They would lock me in one of those chambers I would never be able to escape from. What did they do to that poor creature? I had the feeling that whatever they were planning on doing with me, it wasn’t going to be anything good.
“Come, Gino, you’re a part of my team now. I must show you the restricted area in the basement. Wait. Maybe it’s better if we leave the boy here.”
Yes, yes, please do! Leave me alone! I promise I won’t run away! Why would I even think of such a thing?
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Claudio.”
“Hmm, right. You’re right. Let’s just take him down with us. After all, he’s just a little boy, he doesn’t understand…”
So in the end, the two decided to take me with them. We walked into a room in the wall, the door closed and when it opened again we found ourselves somewhere else. How that happened I don’t know, but there were no windows so I figured we must have gone underground. I was really impressed by their system of transportation.
We stood in front of a big green door. My savior’s brother took a step forward and then something like a small board came out of the wall, he touched it and then the door opened revealing a room with…
… I couldn’t believe my eyes. In all my past lifetime I have encountered only one of them and for a very short time, but now there they were in all their innocence.
Captured by the humans and put under the sleeping spell. The Sky people.