My Son, Part 4

This story started as a Flash Fiction Challenge over at Chuck Wendig’s blog, (terribleminds). The original challenge was to write an unfinished story that ended with a cliffhanger.

Since its creation, it has grown into a cooperative story between myself and another writer, Rob Sadler (andablankpage). We will be writing alternating chapters, each around 1000 words.

Blast the comments section so Rob and I know where this story goes. The plan is to really make this a collaboration between the two of us and our fans. Shout out what you want to see.

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4:

Robert’s eyes widened. I could see the purple reflection on his eyes, but not on his glasses. Without turning from the pillar of purple, he asked. “What do you mean. Meet him?”

“I mean exactly what I said: Meet him. Say hello. Ask him about his collection of toy race cars.”

“Toys, eh?”

“He is eight years old after all.”

Robert shuffled towards the pillar and extended a hand towards it. I grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back. “Remember, we don’t know how this works. Just say hello.”

“Okay… Hello, Arthur.”

The boy’s eyes snapped open and he yawned. His gaze shifted towards Robert and Robert started speaking slowly.

“Well, I helped fund this endeavor.”

Arthur rotated himself so he was aligned with Robert and moved to the edge of the purple field.

“I, uh. I drive an Audi S3.”

Robert took a step back.

“I need my car. I’m afraid you can’t have it.”

I shook my head. I knew what was going to happen next. Robert’s irises started to turn purple. It was barely noticeable, but I had to intervene. “Arthur!” I said firmly. “Release my friend.”

Arthur’s brow furrowed and his lip protruded. The bulbs overhead dimmed, but only in a concentric circle around the pillar. The outermost bulbs still shone brilliantly. I crossed my arms over my chest and waited for Arthur to cede my friend. Arthur had never forced my hand, but I would do what had to be done. I still needed Robert.

The purple brilliance in Robert’s eyes flared briefly, but before I could say anything they returned to their original blue-grey color.

I turned my full attention towards Arthur. “We’ll talk about this later. Time for a nap.”

I pressed the button, returned the lever to its original position and Arthur descended into the hole in the floor.

Robert gasped, his hands were trembling, forehead damp with perspiration. “What the hell was that?” His voice rising to a shrill falsetto.


I placed my hands on his shoulders. “Calm down, man.”

“Calm down? Calm down? I will be anything but calm. Dirty little freak.”

I spun him to face me. “Shut your damn mouth.” I hissed. “Come with me.” He started to protest, but I interrupted. “Now!”

* * *

“I can hear her when I try to sleep.”

“Emily?”

“Yeah. She just sat there in the crib, playing with toys.”

The psychiatrist wrote something in the open folder on her lap. I tried to see what she wrote, but she lifted the end of the folder, hiding its contents and raised her eyebrows. “This is making you uncomfortable?”

“The writing or the super baby?”

“Either one you want to talk about.”

“I can tell you all about the incident.”

“If you want to go over it again you can, but I saw the broadcast with everyone else.”

I shuffled in my seat. In the last six months I’d seen eight different mental health professionals. They all suggested I was reliving a traumatic experience. Seven of them diagnosed me with post-traumatic stress disorder. This one would likely do the same unless I leveled with her.

“Yesterday, Emily received a visit from Martin.”

The clinician didn’t try to interrupt me so I continued.

“She told him about her brother, Arthur.”

“So there are three of them now?”

“See, that’s the thing… There are at least six of them.”

“Six?” She made another notation in her folder. “Please continue.”

“From what I can tell, Emily and Arthur are brother and sister. There are a set of triplets somewhere, but Martin can’t find them yet.”

“So, you dreamed this?”

“No! I keep trying to tell you – I hear Emily.”

“You ‘hear’ her?”

“Yeah. When I try to sleep, I can hear what she hears.”

“Interesting.” She made yet another notation. “Tell me more.”

* * *

Robert paced back and forth in Lab 4-C. When we reached the lab, he ordered everyone inside to leave. “Can you control Arthur?”

“He’s a kid. I can’t control a regular eight-year-old, let alone a super-kid.”

“What happens if he tries to pull the same crap Martin is doing?”

“Well…” I hesitated for just a moment. Robert seemed to sense this and his pacing stopped. He glared at me. I’d seen that look many times before. I didn’t have the heart to tell him he was hardly the most menacing.

“I’m not gonna like this, am I?”

“Well…”

“That’s a deep subject.”

I smiled at his lame pun. Before continuing, I took a deep breath. “We used genetic modification to block his body from producing a specific enzyme. Without weekly enzyme replacement therapy, He’ll die within a few days.”

Robert stared at me, mouth slightly agape. I didn’t think his eyes could get and wider.

“You.” He stuttered. “You, what?”

I grasped my hands behind my back and leaned towards him slightly. I didn’t want to appear defensive. “Arthur needs a synthetic enzyme to process protein. It’s not a naturally occurring enzyme. We make it here in Lab 4-C.”

Robert glanced around the lab.

“The enzyme has a half life of only two weeks, so it can’t be stockpiled or stolen.”

“So we really are the only source of this enzyme?”

“Not only that, but I’m the only one who knows the entire chemical formulation. It’s not written down anywhere.”

“What if something happens to you?”

“There are three scientists. Each of these scientists know a portion of the formulation, but they never work together and they never have access to the finished enzyme.”

Robert seemed to calm down. “This is dangerous water we tread.”

“A poetic pattern retains inertia. It’s a dangerous world we live in.”

* * *

“What’s the matter, baby?”

I watched the mother caress the cheek of one of her triplets. Three identical boys born by cesarean section. Their eyes were a strange blue, bordering on purple. I walked over to the basin and recorded three sets of temperatures displayed on the monitors.

“They’re going to be fine. The first week is the most important. After that,” I smiled at the exhausted mother, “it’s all smooth sailing.”

She smiled. “My beautiful baby boys. I just know they’ll do wonderful things.”

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About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

3 responses to “My Son, Part 4

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