I was taken. Taken from people that looked so familiar but I do not recall ever actually seeing them. There was a strong man pulling me away from a middle aged woman screaming my name. I felt so small in the large, what seemed to be living room. The walls were tan with square, wide windows. The woman fell to her knees and slammed her fist on the ground. A boy, possibly 14 or so stood to the side of the woman. He looked as if he had something to say but stood still and stayed silent. Before I could say anything it was over. -Jane 2035
I finish writing and put the date at the top of the paper, close my journal and toss my head back onto my pillow. Spreading my fingers I grip my silky sheets. I feel comfort in realizing it was just a nightmare. Stretching out, I continue with my normal routine. Practically crawling out of bed, I make my way to my bathroom. The lights burn my eyes as I take out my makeup bag and force my daily anxiety pill down my throat. My mind keeps replaying my nightmare over and over and I notice my heart is racing fast once again.
“Jane!” My mother shouts from the kitchen. “The eggs are done”. I close my journal, quickly get dressed and make my way down stairs.
I sit diagonally across from my younger sister Bailey, at our square kitchen table. Her long blonde, stick straight hair is tied back into three pigtails that are braided together. Often people are surprised that she is my sister because we look nothing alike. Gently stabbing my fork into the scrambled eggs and tomato slices, my nightmare continues to replay in my head. Something in the way the boy and woman looked at me made me feel connected.
“Is something wrong with the food?” My mother asks. I guess it’s a mother’s intuition to notice when their child isn’t feeling normal. Similar to my younger sister, my mother and I look nothing alike. She has a golden touch to her blonde hair, a wide smile and her eyes are chocolate brown. The glow on her skin makes her look young and happy and she always keeps herself looking tighty and fresh with a small amount of make up.
I notice my sister’s plate is almost cleared off completely and I come back to reality. “No, not at all.”
“Then why aren't you eating?”
“I’m just not feeling the best, thanks for breakfast”. I start to get up, wipe my face with the olive green cloth, and push the heavy wooden chair back with my feet.
“Jane you have to finish-”.
“I have to go get ready before I’m late for class mom, love you”. I swing my backpack over my shoulder, grab my keys and then stop. I turn around to look at her and see the exact face I was expecting. Tilting her head slightly down she locks her eyes on me as if she is going to release fire. As always she then begins curling her lips tightly together causing her face to seem more narrow. I reach for the green apple sitting in the the bamboo bowl on the ledge where I grabbed my keys from. She shook her head lightly and relaxed her face. Grinning because I just won the mini war I wink and walk out the door.
Lilly, my best friend, is already waiting on the sidewalk as I pull up. Her strawberry red hair stands out as she wears one of her favorite white and yellow sunflower dresses. I try to imagine myself in anything remotely that bright and cringe to myself. We exchange hello’s as she gets in and turns up the music for our normal routine before school with the windows down and our sunglasses on.
She turns the music down halfway. “It’s not fair that we get the chance to live in California but still forced to go to school on such beautiful days. It should be illegal.”
I laugh and sarcastically ask, “What? You don’t enjoy taking endless notes on government projects?”.
“There will never come a day I do.”
We step into class right as the bell rings. Classically conditioned, everyone takes their seats and we all pull out our notebooks to prepare for our everyday notes. Mr. Kane, my government and politics teacher starts the clip from an interview between yet another scientist and a reporter. As soon as the lights are switched off, I instantly feel my desk become a soft pillow. My top and bottom eyelids feel like magnets but I manage to keep them open and follow the interview slightly. Mr. Kane is always rattling about conspiracies on what the government is testing and forces us to follow them too. They range from aliens, DNA cloning, to the real story of historic events and religion . Adding to the rest of my doodles I sketch spaceships until class is over. Luckily, the day has finally come to an end and I am able to get fresh air and make my way home.
After dinner and a few episodes of Dexter, few meaning six, I force myself up to my bedroom. Before diving into my bed, I release my curly mane, change into a grey, sublime, oversized t-shirt, leggings, fuzzy socks and clear my face of make-up. While laying out my anxiety medicine I question myself if I even have anxiety issues. Looking down at my burned hands I try to imagine the car crush I was in when I was younger. I supposedly had severe brain damage that made me lose my memory from my entire past including the crash itself. After being in and out of the hospital I was put on multiple medication. Growing up so confused of who even my parents were, they decided anxiety medicine would cure all my nightmares, all of the crying, and make me feel safe around them considering I didn’t know who they were. I unscrew the white cap and look into the half empty bottle. Not only does my appearance not match my mother, sister, or father’s but I’ve never seen anything similar between us. Although I have noticed the countless differences between my family and I, I have accepted that feeling is only a reflection of not remembering my past. The doctors told my parents that I’ll never be capable of remembering. Without out a second thought I drop every last remaining pill in the toilet. As I watch the blue oval pills swirl around I realize I am grinning slightly.
Once again I wake up, swing my legs off my bed and slowly, rubbing my eyes walk to my wooden desk. In the corner of my bedroom with my pink polyester blanket wrapped around me, I sit hunched over my journal, writing as much as I can remember from my dream. It was almost the same exact nightmare as the night before. After the man, large in height, muscular in size, with a dark business suit on dragged me out of the house I was placed in the back of a black SUV. Another man was already in the driver's seat ready at the wheel. The driver turns around and says, “she is a kid not a baby-”
The business man pulls out a metal bottle and begins to shake it, “Just drive. She is the one in the files.”
“Lab G or lab C5?”
“C5.” He hands me the bottle. “Drink this.” Although it was just a dream I could taste the sweetness of the liquid. Before I could finish recognizing the drink I find myself laying in my bed staring at my ceiling. Squeezing my eyes shut, I wish to fall right back to the spot I left off in my dream but instead tuck my journal away, get ready and head to school.
For the first time this whole school year drool doesn’t drip out of my mouth in Mr. Kane’s classroom. Instead I find myself somewhat curious in our new project that we have to present to the class. The topic is our choice as long as it correlates to one of the daily interview’s or as most people would say, one of Mr. Kanes conspiracy lessons. To save some time I call dibs on our most recent clip only because I have quit a few ideas that could be interesting and easy. He gives us class time mainly so people can figure out what topics they are going to do but I get started right away. Starting with watching the clip again, this time actually awake. The clip is explained between, Judith A. Johnson, specialist in life science and Erin D. Williams a specialist in bioethics science. The talk was about a case study that happen in 2020, my years as a toddler, that happen in South Korea. The case was about a couple of scientist that had success creating human embryos using cloning methods and in isolating human stem cells from cloned embryos. Stuck in a deep focus, I write the company's information and every other interesting thing that was said.
“Are you on some type of speed drug?” Lilly ask as she leans over across the row, wide eyes, looking at me and back at my full second page of notes.
“No, I just find this one interesting and I want to get a head start.” I say. She looks at me as if she is waiting for me to start laughing and turn it into a joke. We just sit there until she awkwardly turns her head with a confused expression. The bell breaks me from my zone and I pack up my laptop and papers. As I walk outside I practically go blind from the sun for a half second. All the way home I think of ways I can make my topic feel more real and not just another weird conspiracy lesson that bores the whole class. Instantly I think an idea as I pull into my driveway. Instead of using just the clip as a source I decide I should try to interview a real person for information.
Walking through my front door I throw my backpack onto the leather bench that sits under the big gold rimmed mirror hanging on the wall in the entrance way. Staring into the mirror I stare at my dark curly hair, my green eyes, and then look down at my hands, and then back up to suddenly see my dad pop up behind me. Goosebumps rise to the surface of my skin as my heart jumps.
Redirecting my fear with an aggressive tone I ask my dad,“Why did you scare me like that?”
He says, “I didn’t mean too, I’m sorry hunny. I just came to see what you were staring at so carefully.”
Without thinking I ask, “why don’t I look anything like anyone in this family?”
He suspiciously turns away from the mirror and looks at the floor, “that’s crazy, of course you do.”
“No dad, I really don’t”
His phone rings and he slightly curls his lips as if he is deciding to finish our talk or if he should take the call, he then reaches into his pocket and choses to answer the phone. Feeling not as important I head for my room.
Sitting on my bed, I realize I have nothing else to do but get started on looking for the source I need for my project. I pull out my laptop and type ‘Human cloning’ in the search bar. Thousands of links to choose from and I struggle to even decide which to click on. I notice the state of California in one of the titles and immediately click on it. The link sends me to a website that seems to be set up by a government company called Human Fertilization. Enlightened, I notice the building is just on the other side of town from where I live, 2556 E. Oscar st, Lakewood, CA. Noticing they have a phone number below the address, I pick up my phone and dial it. With a sweet tone a woman answers. Immediately I tell her about my school project and ask if I can make an appointment with someone who has knowledge of genetics and the process of developing a baby. She puts me on hold and a few minutes go by until I hear her voice again. The appointment went through for tomorrow. Thanking the woman, I then hang up. I write down the address on a lime green sticky note and with slight hesitation I text Lilly asking her to come along with me tomorrow to check it out. Considering how late it is she will be asleep and I will have to wait to find out tomorrow. My jaw draws open as I begin to yawn and I reach for the light switch.
Before I know it, I find myself drifting into my dreams. Two older ladies lean over me, they both have white bird beak mask over their faces, one begins to speak. Smiling with her eyes she says, “Hello sweetie.” They are brighter than I have ever seen, and the yellow streak going across the blue in her eyes make me feel instant comfort.
“Where’s mama?” I respond in what seems to be my younger self.
The same woman, covered in a white coat says, “Everything is going to be okay. Mama said she will come back to see you once you finish drinking this juice and after I finish giving you just a little poke.”
“I want my mommy.” I start to feel frightened as if this dream is real.
The woman paused with a glass of purple liquid in her right hand. Sitting up, my feet dangle over the side of the tan, cushioned table. Her eyes start to water as she stares at the other lady in also a white coat. Looking around at the white tiled walls, I see my reflection in one of the six mirrored t.v’s in the room. Tilting my head back and forth I see a little girl in a camera recording. Pills, powder, and a variety of metal, sharp tools lay on the counter across the room. My eyes widen as I see a rectangular sign that says “Lab C5”.
“This doesn’t feel right Jess. She is already so old.” The blue eyed woman says.
“It’s not our choice, now let’s get working before she sees too much. The other woman says. Looking back at her yellow streaked eyes she places the cup to my mouth and tells me to drink it. She places her hand on my hand and moves her thumb across my burn scars as my view becomes blurry. Right before I black out completely I hear her whisper, “I’m so sorry.”
My mind awakens before my eyes open, right as my nightmare is about to come to an end. Rubbing the eye boogers off around my eyes I begin to write as much as I can before I forget. A picture of Lilly lights up my phone as it vibrates. Instantly, I remember what she was going to be responding too. Quickly, I finish the last parts of my dream, drop my pen and reach for my phone.
She said “ nvr heard of that place but I guess I will go with u.” Left to right my cheeks spread across my face completely as if my smile will tear my lips. The excitement seems to transformer into energy as I practically jump out of my cushioned chair.
Throwing her backpack into the back seat she ask, “What’s so special about this fertilization place? Are you pregnant or something?” She giggles.
Squinting my eyes I say, “No stupid, that’s not why I want to go.”
“Then why are we going?”
“It’s for our project.”
“Oh cool idea.” The car ride continues with nothing but music turned up slightly.
Staring at the green sticky note, I re-read the questions in my notebook.I I drop the sticky note, sit up straight, and quietly, under my breath say to myself, “I’ll be fine.” We pull up to the front of the tall, brick building. The condition looks as if it was built about 20 years ago. Looking at Lilly and back at the building. I unbuckle my seatbelt and start to get out of the car.
Grabbing my arm she pulls me back down. “Are you actually just pregnant?” She ask. I laugh, shake my head and get out of the car again.
“I think I want to do this alone Lilly. Is that okay?” I ask.
“Of course. I will be waiting right here if you need anything.”
I walk up to the entrance doors and stop. Tilting my head back I look up to see the massive building. I feel as if I should turn back just forget about this stupid idea. Instead I take a deep breath and walk inside.
“Hello dear. How can I help you?” The lady at the front desk ask. She has red, shoulder cut hair, dressed in a navy blue coat with a headset around her ears. Her pearl necklace looks just like the one my grandma gave me.
I say “I called yesterday. My name is Jane Johnson and I made an appointment with- ”
She cuts me off. “Right, I remember. Let me call her quick.” That is not what I was expecting the lady to look like when we spoke on the phone.
She hangs up the phone, “Okay, you are all set. Take the elevator to the fourth floor, room 434.
I smile and say “Thank you.”
Without looking up she says, “Yup, you’re welcome.”
Stepping into the elevator the lady at the front desk is looking at me strangely and I smile as the two doors shut. I put my finger over the number four but stop right before I press it. “C5.” on the bottom row next to 3 other option glowing in the same red color. Holding my breath I pause. I swallow hard. The red looks so tempting but I am supposed to go to the fourth floor. My conscious is arguing with itself. I press the “C5” button gently. I feel my feet tingle as the button lights up and the elevator starts going down. The first thing I see as I step out of the elevator is two, solid, metal doors that are about 7 feet in front of me. The small rectangular hallway has a picture of two people in lab coats holding an award. The picture looks odd as it is the only thing that is hanging on the purple lavendar walls. To the left of the door there is a pin code to open the door but luckily it has been left open a sliver due to the rug being in the way allowing me to get in. Gently opening the door I walk into an indoor balcony with glass windows all the way around that hangs over a laboratory with machines I have never seen. There is a stairway that leads down to the floor level and a large glass table that is placed in the center of the balcony. The room is mainly filled with machines, and desks that outline the back wall. The right side is occupied with about four blocks that look as if they are separate rooms. I walk up to the glass door and notice there is a group of people in white coats looking over some papers. My hands are shaking as I take in the unbelievable sight. I only imagined these types of places were in movies. A man notices me from below and yells something I couldn’t make out. I begin to run but the door I came in needs a passcode to open the door again. I turn around and a bald, shorter man with glasses is standing behind me.
Out of breath he ask me, “How did you get down here? Who are you? How did you get the passcode to come in?”
My words are lost but I manage to spit out a few. “My name is Jane and I-”
“But how did you get down here?” His eyes are as wide as they could be. People start coming out of the rooms and a few heading up the stairs to see what was going on.
My voice is trembling. “I’m sorry, I just got lost and-” I froze. There she was. The woman with the yellow streak in her blue eyes. I think to myself, could this be real? The woman from my nightmares. Standing at the top of the stairs. She was real.
She grins and says, “Nice to see you again Marley Johnson.”