Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sunday Scribblings - Two Peas in the Pod

A short dark tale I have written set in the not too distant future.

She lay back wearily against the pillows watching the young woman who was looking out of the window. As she clattered the plastic blind shut and turned away from the window flicking her glossy brown hair over her shoulders, the old lady in the bed quickly closed her eyes. The girl walked over and gently kissed her sunken cheek and walked out the hospital room quietly closing the door behind her. The old lady's eyes snapped open. Her body was deteriorating, but so far her mind was still razor sharp, in fact, sharper than she ever let on, you found out more that way. Play it slightly dim and people soon forgot about discretion when they discussed your case at your bedside. Often when she was left in peace and quiet, as she was now, the words that kept running through her mind like a mantra were ' just like two peas in a pod, just like two peas in a pod'.

Her earliest memory, a visit from some overseas friends of her parents, if she remembered rightly. Sophia and her standing together, holding hands in identical pink frilly dresses, the adults seemed to be walking around them and discussing them, then smiling down at them as if trying to make them feel at ease. One of them said soemthing like 'It's incredible, exactly identical, two peas in pod'. The phrase that followed Sophia and her throughout their lives. Those were the happy years, before they went to school. Their parents, professionals, were scientists, human biologists. Calm but busy people who dealt with them capably and calmly, but expected them to behave themselves all the time. Their work impeded on their home lives, other scientists constantly visiting, as they passed through the country, always being introduced to the girls. As school age approached, they realised that they would be going to a boarding school, a very select one, apparently, as their parents were involved in important work for the government. They accepted it with equilibrium, they were well behaved children.

School had been an old stately home in the country surrounded by acres of park. The children were aged from five to eighteen. There did seem to be an above average number of twins there, which amused both of them. Life was regulated, not a minute of the day was not preplanned, a high academic standard was expected, and was achieved. The strict regime was interspersed with visits by various professionals and observers, as they grew older these visitors would send for some of the children, individually or in pairs and ask them numerous questions, as in an oral examination. They got used to the school where the staff were always fair and reasoned, but never emotional or loving. Most holidays they stayed on at school, if their parents were involved in projects and too busy to deal with them. She learned not to mind, she had Sophia and Sophia had her, they were complete together, and faced life that way.

Her mind returned to the one holiday in particular that she remembered. They were at home with their parents for once. She was looking through a pile of photographs she had found in a box. She had queried her mother about one of the photos, an image of her mother leaving a large modern building with one small baby in her arms. She asked if it was Sophia or her and her mother said it had been Sophia. She then asked where she was and was told that she had followed later. If only she thought to ask more questions during her childhood, but that was not the way she had been brought up and she would not have been told the truth.

Life continued, they became teenagers and remained at the same school. There was a smaller number of children in the senior school and the academic side was even more difficult and the rules and regulations were more stringent. Sometimes one of the pupils would silently leave, even sometimes one of a set of twins. She had never seen them actually leave with their cases packed, but they would be missing from class and their room would be empty. They progressed and were in their final year at the school, Sophia had a sharp analytical mind and was going to an institute of science in Europe to study. Her leanings were more towards the arts, especially painting but in that last year she did not feel so inspired and found it harder and harder to make herself paint. Then it happened, she had been standing in the bedroom combing her long brown hair, when she realised she couldn 't hear the radio very well and her image was blurred in the mirror, the last thing she remembered was falling towards the ground.

The door opened the pretty young woman returned this time accompanied by two doctors in white coats, a middle aged man and woman also entered the room. She quickly shut her eyes. One of the doctors began to speak, 'It happens every time they life a normal life and suddenly at a certain point premature aging rapidly sets in. We hope with our next generation, who are babies now, we will have the means to overcome this defect, I am hoping that Sophia,' and he turned to smile at the pretty young woman, 'will be helping in the research with this in the future.' 'You should be proud of your daughter,' he added smiling at the middle age couple,'she is obviously, following in your footsteps.'

Later, long after they had left a tear crept down the cheek of the old lady, she knew she had the final proof, this conversation together with snatches of many others and the photograph of the baby in her mother's arms leaving a building. Sophia, was the child born to the parents, she was just a scientifically grown child, a clone of her sister.


PEA said...

Reading this story reminds you what modern science is doing with the cloning and such...the emotional part of it is never mentioned. Loved this story, thanks for sharing it:-)

AnnieElf said...

Very, very dark indeed. Cloning will only lead us down a long and slippery slope. The end result won't be pretty. Excellent story to convey the message.

paris parfait said...

Ooh, such a dark, disturbing ending! Well-written story.

Beth said...

Great story Daisy,,I love sci-fi. I saw a scary movie about cloning a few months ago,,I think it was called "the Island" but not sure. There was a whole factory of clones being made for their organs and fertility. They would all get excited when a contest was held every week about who would get to go live on the "Island",of course they were actually getting harvested but they didn't know it. Two of the clones got smart to what was going on. Its a pretty good b-rated movie,,if you like sci-fi.
Your a great write Ms. Daisy!!!

Going For Greatness said...

This was a great read, Daisy! Yes a dark story but it's a peek into the world of cloning and perhaps something that just may happen if society takes that route too far......
Thanks for a great story!

Alice said...

Great story on a chilling theme, Daisy. Another reminder that sometimes humans are far too clever for their own good.

snappy said...

Clever story Daisy.What sparked it off?Its very 1984 with testtube grown people and normal births outlawed as Unnatural.
Sadly it has already happened as in babys being conceived to donate bone marrow etc to a sick sibling.
Eugenics gone mad?Would you feel happy if you knew you were brought into the world for some spare parts?The scientists and doctors allowed couples to select embryos for implantation with the right genetic stuff.
Dolly the sheep aged unnaturally and developed health problems from defective genes unravveling.She was one in 10,000 attempts.
I like your writing.You have many talents Daisy..

Kali said...

Hi Daisy ~ regarding your question on who Mary Engelbreit is, on my blog; she is a wonderful illustrator and if you want to know more you can go and check out her website here:

Nicole said...

Hello Miss.... Thankyou for sharing your wonderful story. You truly are a talented Miss! xox Nicole.

GoGo said...

I liked how the story unfolded, very dark.