A/N: Hi, so here's another short story. Going through a bit of a phase here. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it! - U
"So, you're sure this is going to work? Like, actually work? For real?"
"Of course, of course. Scepticism duly noted, though. Don't you trust me, man?"
"Uh, no, not really."
"Aw, Aaron, you're just kidding. I know you're kidding, because if you weren't kidding, you totally wouldn't be here."
I sigh. My cousin, Zeke, grins a manic grin at me, knowing what he just said is true. Genius, people call him. He's more than that, though. Genius doesn't begin to cover it.
"Aaron," he pats me on the back, "Thanks, I knew I could count on you to be my first subject."
I wince, "Dude, please don't call me your subject. It sounds like I'm some kind of lab rat."
"You kind of are, but don't sweat it. Just wait here while I charge her up."
Her, in this case, is Zeke's latest invention. A cloning machine. I know, it sounds like something out of some cheap sci-fi film, but this is the real deal. Or, so he assures me. All of his past inventions have worked, so I don't see why this shouldn't. But still, cloning someone sounds really unethical. I don't even know why I agreed when he called me up asking if I wanted to be the first person to try it out.
He's tried it out on other animals, as evidenced by the two identical brown mice scurrying around in a little cage that sits in the corner. I glance over at Zeke, where his tall frame is hunched over a computer, bony fingers tapping away furiously at the keyboard. I almost feel as though he should be wearing a white lab coat and speaking with a German accent, or something.
The computer in question is hooked up to the cloning machine: A steampunk-looking behemoth, with wires a thick as my arm that run down its length. It's in two cylindrical parts; one for me to step into and one for my, uh, clone to step out of.
"There!" he steps back and runs his hands through his hair. His eyes glint excitedly.
With a flourish, he swings the metal door of the first cylinder open. I hesitate.
"Go on, man! Get inside!" He grins like a madman.
I step up onto the raised dais on which the machine is mounted, then into the circular platform of the cloning chamber. As he shuts the door behind me, I am greeted with impenetrable darkness. The only thing I can hear is my breath. I think I regret my decision to try out the machine.
However, before I can call out to Zeke, I hear a gentle whirring, and lights flicker along the top and bottom of the chamber.
The whirring increases in volume, and there's also a slight whining noise as a thin, blue beam of light roves up and down my body, scanning me. I stay stock-still, barely even breathing.
I don't know how long I am standing there; the beam of light just mesmerises me. After I have been scanned, all the lights suddenly turn off, plunging me back into darkness, and the whirring slows down and eventually stops. I still don't move. Everything is so silent that I feel as though I'm dreaming.
All of a sudden, Zeke raps on the metal door, and I nearly jump out of my skin, I'm so surprised. "You still there, Aaron, buddy?" he calls out.
"Of course!" I yell, "get me out of here, Zeke!"
"Okay, okay. Jeez." He pushes a latch and the door slides open with a hiss. I blink at the light.
"Whoa, you look… weird. Are you okay?" He frowns.
"Yeah. Just dazed, I guess. Man, is it creepy in there."
"That's the spirit!" he claps me on the shoulder and turns around to the computer. "Dude, come and see this zany stuff!"
I peer over his shoulder to see the screen. It's filled with complicated figures and diagrams of DNA. Needless to say, I don't understand any of it.
"…Where your scan showed up, and this is where I can see what is…" he's rambling on, as he tends to do when he gets really absorbed in something only he understands. I have learned to tune it out.
"…And now, I can press the "clone" button!" He clicks the mouse with more relish than is usually associated with buttons.
There is a moment in which absolutely nothing happens, and I wonder if something's gone wrong, but then the machine starts rumbling, and the second cylinder on the dais starts spewing steam from the top.
Daunted, I take a step back, eyeing the chamber warily. More lights blink along the sides of it.
"Yes… yes… YES!" Zeke cackles maniacally, and this time I imagine lightning flashing ominously behind him.
The cylinder starts rattling, and then the steam, the lights, and rumbling, everything just ceases. Trembling with anticipation, Zeke sidles up to the door and pulls it open.
Out steps… me. Well, kind of. Staring back at me is a skinny teenage boy with tousled black hair and brown eyes. So basically, me. The boy wrinkles his nose when he sees me. "Is my hair really that messy?"
"Hey, alright…" I pat my hair; "No need to be rude about it."
He cracks a wide, lopsided smile. The same smile I see every time I look in the mirror. Suddenly, everything just seems so ridiculous, and I can't help laughing. Aaron 2.0 joins in, and then we're both just standing there, doubled over in laughter.
Zeke, who had been carefully watching this exchange, breathes a sigh of relief and says, "Well, that was a little anti-climatic, but still. It worked."
Our laughs subsiding, Aaron 2.0 and I both raise a quizzical eyebrow and turn to him. "Now what happens?" we ask in unison, then grin at each other again.
Yes, I could have a lot of fun with this, indeed.