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”Why did you do it?“ The officer leant forward, his hands clasped on the desk. He tried to look casual, more approachable than the norm but his eyes betrayed him. He was the same as the rest of them. They wanted me to confess, they wanted me to deny their fears. In a way, it was me; I’d given him the idea after all but then again if they’d given him the freedom he needed in the first place…
”He’s only human; you can’t keep pushing him.“
”You stole Government technology, not a human.“
I shook my head. ”Your definition must be different to mine. To me, he’s more human than you… you may have made him but you haven’t made him who he is today.“ My mind drew the face of the boy that I first met; dressed in scrub trousers and an oversized white t-shirt he looked so thin and timid, his feet bare and eyes wide. He looked so new, untouched by the real world; he was, essentially a child. He towered over me, easily reaching six feet in height, but he seemed so small as his dark eyes met mine and he opened his mouth. Get me out… There was something about him that made my heart thud faster as his mouth curled up into his crooked smile.
What would they do to him now…? I remembered how he had been covered in bruises and scars, how he’d shrugged it off. It’s nothing… I’d promised him he could leave that all behind, that he’d never have to go back to that sort of life. He will hate me now, he’ll think I lied; that I planned it all.
”You’re mum may lose her job over this you know; I mean, how would a lone teenage girl have stolen technology that was that closely guarded without help from her Government researcher mother? Come on Esme, you just confess then we’ll do all we can to stop her from being involved. “ Smiling smugly, he sat back in his chair. He thought he’d caught me.
He stood up. ”Take her to her cell, I don’t think she’s going to talk.“
On his command, two more officers came through the door and took me by my shoulders.
”Where is he now? Is he okay?“ I couldn’t change a thing but he needed to be safe in my mind, possibly the only place he could be safe perhaps.
”Experiment 2056 is being held in a secure research facility, not that you’ll ever seen it again.“
* * * * *
I stared at the peeling grey paint on the crumbling wall in front of me, the tiny window in the corner of the room let in the weak moonlight and it cast shadows around the room. Outside I could hear the buzz of the busy city as it went about its business.
Finn was out there somewhere, was he thinking of me? Or would they make him forget? Would he just be Experiment 2056 again? The shy, robotic guy I met in the corridor of a Government building, or would he be Finn, the guy that saw the world he’d been isolated from and finally learnt to laugh? The guy that wouldn’t hurt any one, even the people that took him back to his hell; he just went limp, hiding away in the comfort of his mind…
Hugging my legs to my chest, I buried my head in my knees. Ideas and thoughts ran through my head; trust me to get arrested, to mess it up and get us both locked up.
Get me out…
I will and this time you’ll never have to go back…
* * * * *
Panting, I ran through the streets, smiling madly as the adrenalin pumped through my body. As the breeze hit my face it made me feel alive. I owed a lot to that idiot that had left my door unlocked. Laughing loudly, I tightened my grip on the paper in my hand. My luck was definitely on the up… I looked at the crumpled sheet, the picture of a young man stared out from the page, his dark eyes sad and longing.
Experiment 2056. Location: Mochinleah Industrial Estate…
* * * * *
I stood up straight, my back pushed flat against the wall, as the guards stalked past. I held my breath, my heart in my mouth. I was so close; security like this isn’t used for no reason. Hang on Finn, just a little longer…
* * * * *
Standing on the tips of my toes I glanced through the slot in the door; my fingers crossed, hoping that this was the door. I’d been from one end of the corridor to the other without any sign of Finn; this had to be it. I fingered the key I held in my fist.
The room inside was dark; the only light came from a dim light bulb that hung from the centre of the ceiling. A single bed jutted out of a wall, the thin blanket fell haphazardly on the floor. I could see a foot shuffle out of the darkness.
”Finn…?“ I breathed, hardly daring to say. Slowly, a figure emerged from the shadows. He was sat in blue scrub trousers and his white t-shirt was streaked with what I knew was blood. Oh God… ”Please Finn, it’s me. I’m so sorry. I don’t know how they found us, I tried… please forgive me.“
There was silence; tears began to come to my eyes. I’d been right. He hated me…
”It wasn’t you. It was me, it was all my fault…“ his voice whispered. ”It was all my fault…“ Carefully he made his way across the tiny room toward the door. ”They had me bugged, they tracked the signal…“
”But, how? I mean, we changed your clothes… Oh.“
He nodded. ”My left wrist, quite deep as well.“ As he held up his wrist for me I could see a fresh white bandage covered in blood. I shuddered; he must’ve tried to dig it out himself. The thought of him inflicting such pain upon himself made me feel sick. They’d driven him to it. They’d let him taste freedom but then they’d stolen it away again. ”I’m sorry, Esme. I should’ve known they wouldn’t let me go. I’m Experiment 2056. I always will be; I can’t escape that. I am the first human to be made in a lab; the first fully functioning human to not have had to be born of egg and sperm. I’m completely un-natural, against everything thousand believe and yet you helped me leave the one place that people allow me to exist; you saw something in me that no one else has…“ he reached through the slot in the door, searching for my hand. I reached up and he held on tightly. ”Thank you, for everything. I don’t care what they do to me anymore. Physical pain doesn’t scare me anymore,“ he paused looking into my eyes, ”I just can’t lose you again. I know this may sound stupid and I don’t have anything to compare this too but I think I love you. They may have made me but you made me who I am today. Thank you…“ Tears began to roll down his cheeks.
”Kiss me.“ I let go of his hand and reached through the slot to stroke his face. ”I love you too, to me you are the most human of all. Kiss me.“
Slowly, tentatively, he brushed his lips against mine. You can’t stay here, I thought, as selfish as it may be I need you.
Finally, his lips left mine. ”You’ve got to go. They’ll come and take you away again and I can’t let you be locked up.“
I thought back to the last time they stole him away from me; lights had flashed wildly, sirens blared and we stood alone together, shoulder to shoulder; then they ripped him away…
He stroked my hair. ”Love you Esme.“
Before he could finish the sentence I had unlocked his cell door and we were running hand in hand.
* * * * *
”Do you think they’ll have lost our trail?“ I panted, clutching my stomach in agony. ”You’re not being tracked anymore right?“ I squeezed his hand and smiled. ”You’re free; you’re finally free.“
He half smiled back at me as he absentmindedly picked at the bandage around his wrist. ”Yeah, but for how long this time? They may not be able to track me but they can still see me. They have people everywhere, they won’t stop until they get me back.“
I shook my head. ”We can change how you look, we can… we can run. We can stay away.“
”No. The whole point of being free is being who you want to be, going where you want to go and being with who you want to be with. They told me what’s going to happen to me. They hadn’t re-issued a tracking device because there is no need to track something that can’t run away.“
I furrowed my brow, what could he mean? We had already run away, this was freedom, unless he meant- ”No! I mean, they, you, they were, no-“ I stammered. ”But they made you.“ I whispered at last.
He nodded. ”And they can take me away just as quickly. I’ve outlived my purpose; I can die now and no one will care…“
”I’d care, I love you.“ I brushed his lips softly with mine, as he ran his fingers through my hair. ”You’re the only thing that matters now. We need to set you free from this cage.“
* * * * *
”I’m still not sure about this, what if you’re wrong? I don’t want to doubt you but I feel like I’m walking into the lions den…“ Finn mumbled, pulling his beanie hat down to cover his ears. ”How do you know that I wasn’t authorised anyway?“ he pulled my brother’s hooded sweater over his head. My dad’s jeans hung loosely on his hips, threatening to fall at any minute.
I handed him one of my belts and watched him as he threaded it through the belt loops. ”I’ve seen your file. How do you think I knew where you were? I found it on an official’s desk.“ I unfolded the crumpled sheet from my pocket. ”Here, see?“
The picture of a young man stared out from the page, his dark eyes sad and longing. ”That’s me?“
I nodded. ”Yeah, I know. Keep reading, look here.“ I pointed to the paragraph under the picture. ”It says that the section of the Government that made you did so illegally. They can be shut down if we can prove you were made. This is your way out.“
”I don’t know. I just don’t know. I don’t want to have to do anything, Emma; I don’t want to have to let them do anything to me anymore. That’s what I’m running from. I don’t want to…“ he turned away so he was looking out of the window. I leant against the doorpost, not wanting to say anything. He held his wrist tightly as he thought. ”There’s too much to live for…“ He faced me again and wrapped his arms around my waist.
I smiled. ”We’ll be fine.“ Burying my face in his chest, I smiled faintly. Was that another promise I might not be able to keep…?
* * * * *
”Oi, love. Try and calm ‘im down will ya?“ shouted the guard from the corridor.
”Yes sir, sorry sir.“ Sitting down next to Finn, I watched his body shake uncontrollably, his shoulders up by his ears. Tears rolled down his cheeks. ”Please, Finn, breathe. You’ve got to calm down please…“ I pulled him close to me, letting him bury into my shoulder. I hated seeing him like this, it hurt to think that it was my fault. It had been my idea to fight back, to close them down and make them pay. He’d said he didn’t think it was a good idea, he wanted me to leave it but I hadn’t listened. I’d carried on regardless. ”I’m so sorry, I didn’t know. I thought they’d believe us straight off. I didn’t think they’d do this.“ I stroked his hair carefully, trying to soothe him as his sobs shook us both. ”I’m sorry…“ I whispered again.
There was a knock on the door. ”Excuse me miss, the Prime Minister will see you now.“
* * * * *
I stared out of the car window as we drove, my hand resting on Finn’s leg and his hand resting on mine. He hadn’t said anything since we had left the Prime Minister’s office, not even to me. I knew he wouldn’t forgive me easily for what I had done. After all, I’d completely ignored what he wanted. I’d gone against him. I’d potentially put him in danger again. I looked up at his face, so pale and worried. ”You don’t know how sorry I am Finn. I don’t want forgiveness unless you mean it. I just want you to speak to me. Please Finn…“
”It’d okay. I’m fine. I over reacted I just wish you’d stop treating me like a child. I’ve had years of people acting like I’m something on the bottom of their shoe, I’ve never been an equal to anyone, but the minute I finally have the chance to be a human, a real human, my opinion doesn’t mean as much to anyone as everyone else’s. I was hoping I could be your equal.“ He smiled cheekily. ”I may not be experience but I ain’t thick, Esme.“ He stretched casually but I knew he was still tense. He caught my glance and smiled. ”Honestly, it’s going to be fine. Just you wait, ten more minutes and I’ll be free.“
I nodded and smiled. ”Yeah.“
* * * * *
Finn stood, a gun centred at his chest, his hands on his head.
”You’re a fool, Experiment 2056. Why did you come back, we told you what would happen if you ran away again and yet you’ve willingly returned. What’s going on? Your second chance has been used up.“ Smirking, the man ran his fingers through his hair. ”You’re gonna die. Right. Now.“
He swallowed nervously, it took all my strength not to run over and stop him. This was too dangerous, the gun was too close, one false move and he died. ”No, you don’t get it. I’m back because she’s not what I want. She doesn’t want to spend time with me; she wants to get famous by saving the freak. It’s fake. I realise now you weren’t depriving me of anything, you were shielding me from everything. Please, all I want is a second chance at a second chance.“
The man laughed. ”I don’t think so.“ He swung his fist and it connected with Finn’s nose, sending a fountain of blood spurting forward. Finn fell to his knees, his hands covering his face. I gasped, I was ready to cry out in frustration, but the man next to me slapped his hand across my mouth holding a finger to his to warn me to stay silent.
He was right; Finn had said this would happen. He’d agreed from the start. We needed to act soon though, if we didn’t there wouldn’t be anyone to save. I looked up at the cadet and tilted my head slightly.
He nodded. Now.
Suddenly, there were soldiers everywhere. The man with the gun was surrounded, there were twenty guns pointed at his head. There was no escape.
Finn smiled, blood still pouring from his nose as he got to his feet. ”What goes around comes around, I suppose. It’s over. Put the gun down.“
”Never. I’ve got orders to follow, kid. No hard feelings, right?“
Then he pulled the trigger.
The sound of the gunshot rang out loud and clear, echoing loudly. Everything slowed down. Finn folded in upon himself, blood soaking his shirt. I screamed and ran toward him, my eyes filling with tears.
S***, this wasn’t meant to happen. This wasn’t the plan!
I fell to my knees next to his limp body; he lay on his back in a pool of red. His chest rose and fell as he struggled to breathe. I held his hand tightly, as his eyes fluttered open.
”I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.,” he repeated weakly. ”I shouldn’t have gotten you involved. I wasn’t meant to get out; I was made to die inside.“
I shook my head, practically speechless. He was giving up. ”No.“ I looked up, catching the eye of a soldier. ”Someone call an ambulance!“
Tenderly, I cradled his hand, a thousand thoughts circling my mind. He couldn’t die; this whole fight had been for him. So that he could have a future, a future of freedom. He couldn’t die. Not after everything we’d been through.
”It’s going to be okay,” he whispered as the sirens of an ambulance grew louder. ”Remember, you weren’t meant to meet me, so you can’t miss me. It wasn’t meant to be.“
”But we were getting you out. We were going to make this work. I love you Finn. I can’t forget you; I can’t forget what we’ve done together. We’ve pretty much changed the world.“
He smiled weakly. ”I love you too Esme.“ he said closing his eyes, his hand going limp.
No. ”Wake up…“ I stroked his cheeks, memorizing his face. This can’t be goodbye, I thought, tears streaming down my face, this can’t be the end.
* * * * *
Watching the dying sun disappear, I sat alone on the hillside; the breeze gently rippled the grass beneath me, the trees swaying slightly. It was perfect.
He’d love it.
I looked down at the little pot that I held between my legs. I wiped away the tears that were threatening to overspill. I missed him so much. I’d know for such a small space of time and yet I’d known him forever. I clasped the little locket at my neck, there would always be a part of him with me, I’d made sure of that but it was time to let him see the world.
I carefully prised open the little pot, and swallowed back the grief. Sniffing, I picked up a handful of the ashes, watching as the sun shone off them making them glint wonderful colours.
”Love you Finn.“
I threw the tiny grains into the breeze, letting them fly and dance as they went.
He was finally going to see the world.
I smiled and continued to throw handful after handful until the pot was empty. I fell back so I was lying in the grass, the sky a beautiful orange.