Short Story: An Introduction to Emotional Scarcity in an Induced Multiperson Organism

This story was published in 2016 with The Mad Scientists journal, http://madscientistjournal.org/2016/05/an-introduction-to-emotional-scarcity-in-an-induced-multiperson-organism/

As all rights have reverted, I figured I’d put it up for free. Please enjoy this look into the possible ramifications of cloning. A note on the title and tense / perspective. I originally wrote this story in third person. And then I saw the call for submissions from Mad Scientists’s Journal, which wanted first person accounts, as if a paper published in a peer reviewed journal for mad scientists. So I reworked it into first person, and created the title and bio for Dr. Mariposa. Below the bio information, I have also placed the original third person, if anyone is interested in comparing the two pieces. I found it expanded a bit, more info being added, and was honestly a better story for the first person treatment! Thanks!

I gripped the railing tightly, feeling knuckles crack as I looked at the scene of destruction below.  The catwalk swayed a bit as I looked, stared in horror, at broken machines, upturned desks, papers and books scattered. And the bodies; eleven of them, blood pooling, red smeared over everything, slowly drying to a dark brown.  It was hard to believe, my gaze flicking from face to face, all the same, features familiar to me.  A face that also adorned the man standing at my side.

“You…  you understand, right Melissa?”

I looked over at Dr. Zahia, the same face that lay forever unmoving below, copied eleven times, still living, twitching, in front of me. I watched him, that face twisting in emotions. Fear, doubt, loathing, worry, hope.  I reached out to touch his shoulder, comfort him, but stopped short, the large drying patch of blood reminding me that he had been part of that scene below.  And none of the blood was his. Or all of it.  

I swallowed a few times to find my voice.

 “No John, I don’t.  I… Let’s go over this again.  You had a flash of insight on the teleportation experiment, and came in on the weekend, without telling any of us.  It worked, and you, of course, tested it on yourself.”  I felt my eyes roll at that, and Dr. Zahia had the decency to look down in embarrassment.

“ And found that the teleporter we’ve all worked on for this last year was…”  I waved at the carnage below us. 

“A duplicator. Our attempts to destroy as we created was what stopped us. Abra kadabra.“

He paced away from me a few steps then turned back, the metal catwalk swaying slightly with his steps. 

“And I thought, my god. How much work could I accomplish as a team of a dozen?  It was glorious, we had a silent telepathy going, like worker ants building, calculating, creating together. And then…  the day was over, and it was time to go home.”

“I don’t…”

He turned again, walking towards the wall as he talked. I followed close behind him. 

“Who gets to be ME?  Who gets to live as John, and who has to find a new life. I wouldn’t SHARE. Could you, Melissa? Could you share your wife, your children, with a copy of you?” 

He stopped in front of the platform that joined the catwalk to the rest of the building, several doors behind him as he turned again, pointing at me.  I reached for my the lump of my wedding ring involuntarily, hanging from a gold chain around my neck, and rubbed though my labcoat, feeling the large ruby heart. 

“No, no I couldn’t.”   As the words came out of my mouth, I finally understood.  Yes, I could kill, even myself, to protect them.  

He smiled sadly at me and stepped aside, the door now in front of me.  “I know, that’s what you said the first time I asked you.”

“First time?”  I blinked in confusion, then looked at the door as the knob turned.  Realization came too late as I, the other I, flung the door open.  She held a broken copper pipe over her head.   I saw the glittering edges of the cracked joint as it whistled towards me, and then, I saw no more.

Dr. Melissa Mariposa has been a researcher for Everitech for nearly two decades, and is largely responsible for the creation of the Neural Recorder. Her recent death in a lab accident has been discovered to be a mistake, and we hope for a full and speedy recovery. She lives with her commonlaw wife of 10 years, Heather, and her children, Jacob, 5, and Stephanie M., 16, who is a member of the Everitech Junior Researcher League.


Alexander Hollins is a Junior Archivist in the Neural Recorder Archives, a natural talent at integrating with the recorded memories and providing transcripts of the events and details of laboratory accidents and sudden discoveries. He is married to a school teacher and has two children, Flint, 6, and James, 4.


Luke Spooner a.k.a. ‘Carrion House’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.

Two figures stood on a metal catwalk overlooking a scene of death and destruction.  Eleven bodies lay twisted among the wreckage of machinery. Identical in face and body to one of the two watchers, they lay as silent testament.  Their living twin shivered. 

“You understand, right Melissa?”

Melissa reached a hand towards her companion’s shoulder, then at the last moment pulled away, the blood on his labcoat, darkening as it dried, reminding her that he had been part of this carnage.  “No John, I don’t.  You finished the teleporter you promised us, and discovered it was a duplicator as well. And…”

“And I thought, my god. How much work could I accomplish as a team of a dozen?  It was glorious, we had a silent telepathy going, like worker ants building, calculating, creating together. And then…  the day was over, and it was time to go home.”

“I don’t…”

He walked away, heading for the door that led to the catwalk they stood on. She followed close behind hanging on his every word.

“Who gets to be ME?  Who gets to live as John, and who has to find a new life. I wouldn’t SHARE. Could you, Melissa? Could you share your wife, your children, with a copy of you?” 

She shuddered, fingering her wedding ring. “No, no I couldn’t.”

John nodded slowly. “I know, that’s what you said earlier.”

“Earlier? You haven’t asked me that before.” 

He reached out and, instead of turning the knob to the door in front of them, knocked once.The knob turned on its own, and opened. Melissa looked past him to see herself, bloody pipe raised over her head, before it came down and she saw no more.

Flash Fiction : Wrong Bottle

I couldn’t help it. This dumb brick joke of a pop culture reference got stuck in my head.

“What do you mean, NO! I’m your master. You can’t say NO!”

Her face grew redder as her pitch and volume rose into the scream, but still failed to approach the shining crimson of the much more relaxed face she was screaming at. He rolled his eyes and drew a long pull from the massive goblet in his hands, the dozen twisty curly straws each somehow filling with a different color liquid before all combining where the mass of straws were held bundled together by his ruby lips.

Catherine stopped for a moment, puzzled by the fact that she could clearly see him roll his eyes, even though she couldn’t actually SEE his eyes behind the massive, chromed shades he wore. This situation quickly reversed as he set down the comically large glass on a table that hadn’t been there a minute ago, sat up a bit straighter on the fluffy divan that had filled her small apartment living room, and lifted the shades to his forehead. The burning embers of his eyes smoldered in boredom, a mild quirk of his lips betraying the amusement he tried to hide behind the nonchalant demeanor that had been his only attitude since appearing in a puff of smoke.

Continue reading “Flash Fiction : Wrong Bottle”

FASH ATTACK! A real life fan fic pastiche.

Once again, a few wonderful people on twitter have inspired me with insanity.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Content warning, violence, blood, death.

Bobby felt the warmth on his cheek before he heard the screams. Almost in slow motion, he turned to his partner as his hand came up to feel the warm, wet spot that had appeared on his face. He watched the scene, Timmy slapping frantically at the clucking, pecking, swirling mass of white and red that clung to his head.  It was surreal, watching his friend get pecked to death, blood turning the white parts of Timmy’s Flag tshirt redder than the stripes.  He looked down at his fingers. Red with blood, ‘Timmy’s blood’, he realized to himself.

The screams stopped, but the clucking and slicing never did, the rooster riding the body to the ground and continuing to savage the already mangled flesh.

“What in the… FUCK! IT’S THE FASH!”

The world sped back up to normal speed as the bite of pain cut into his upper arm from behind.  Bobby’s fingers went limp, and the metal gas can fell from his grip. It clanged off the rocky ground, the gas inside sloshing noisily as it fell over. He spun, nearly tripping over the can as he jumped back, the head of a spear, ‘A SPEAR FOR CHRISSAKES?!’, whizzed past his face, slicing the cheek that had been free from blood.  In reflex, he pulled the pistol from belt, aiming it one handed, the other arm still limp and usesless.

“Stay… stay back!” 


The woman who had stabbed him narrowed her eyes and curled her lip in a sneer, nostrils flaring around a ring that glittered as dark and dangerous as the edges of the spear she kept pointed at his eyes.  She dropped into a crouch, twirling the spear point in a small circle, ready to strike.

“Look, I don’t want to hurt anyone. We were just delivering a message to Fisher.”

The circling point stopped for a moment.  “Fisher?” 

“Yeah, Fisher.  Urving Fisher, the author? He lives here right?”

He felt his grip loosening, the gun dropping, as she started laughing at him, deep, booming, and dripping with ridicule. He stepped back again, tightening his grip and raising the gun slightly.

“Well, where is he?”

“Sonny boy, you’ve made two mistakes in coming here.  One, someone sucks at GoogleFu.  No, you have the wrong place. Two… ”  She pointed the spear tip at the pistol in his hand. “You shouldn’t threaten someone with a pistol when you left the safety on.”

Confusion flared to panic as he looked down at the gun, thumbing the safety back and forth, trying to remember which side meant what. Then a dark shadow swopped through his vision, and he stared down at his hand, missing the gun, half his thumb, and all of his pointer finger. It didn’t hurt until AFTER the blood starting pouring. 

“Go ahead, pick it up with your other hand.”  The spearwoman stepped forward, back leg over front, staying in her crouched stance. “C’mon, pick it up so I can legally run you through!”

Bobby’s mind gibbered, his hand throbbed, his arm hung limp, and his cheek burned.  He felt a warmth spreading across the tops of his legs, and thinking she’d gutted him without him feeling it, he looked down in alarm at his darkening jeans.

“Did you really just piss yourself? They just don’t make Fash like they used to.”   She stepped forward again.  “Ah well, maybe they’ll let me put your head on a pole as a warning to the others. ”

Bobby closed his eyes, ready to die.  He found his lips moving, his voice escaping as a gasp. “Heavenly Father, I commend my soul to your hands, may my sacrifice be a torch held by the “

The impromptu prayer ended with a grunt of pain as the breath was driven out of him, and he felt himself lifted and tossed from an impact into his side.  Keeping his eyes clenched tight, he felt the ground slamming into his right side, his left, his back, his knees, as he rolled and tumbled from the blow.

“BAAAAAHHHH!!”

He came to a stop, and after a deep breath, opened his eyes.  He was a good twenty feet away, laying next to the house. Putting his bloody palm against the door, he struggled to his feet, to see the spearwoman yelling at a goat that pawed the ground next to where he had just been standing.  She stood with the spear butt in the ground, pointing with her other hand.  “Damnit Havoc, I did NOT cry you and slip the goats of war.”

The door opened behind him.  A figure peered out, leather hat tucked over her brow, trowel and rake in her leather gloved hands.  “Shep? What the hell is, WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU!?”

Operating on instinct, he pushed the door the rest of the way open, and shoved the newcomer out.  She swore, stumbling and windmilling arms as he slammed the door, fumbling with the deadbolt, pain shooting through him as he squeezed with the stump of his thumb.  The gloved woman’s voice came muffled through the door.  “FUCK DAMN SHIT. DUDE!  If you bleed on the carpet, I’m going to gut you and compost you!”

Glancing around, he ran into the house, looking for something, anything.  KITCHEN!  He burst in, looking for a knife block, pushing aside cans labeled in other languages, bags of candy, and assorted produce.

TAP. TAP. TAP. 

He stopped, and looked up at a small window in the corner of the kitchen.  The spearwoman grinned evily in at her, tapping on the glass with the spear.

“Mistake three, Fash.  You’re in the kitchen.  With Sergei.”

“THE FUCK LADY! Who the FUCK is Ser”

His lips clamped shut, drawing blood from his tounge, and fire ripped into his back. With a clatter, a small butcher knife fell out of him onto the tile.  He turned, slowly, to see a cat standing next to a magnetic bar rack, holding the knives he had been looking for. The cat looked sideways at him, out of the one eye it had.  “MRRROOOWWW?” 

Bobby watched, abstractedly, the adrenaline burnt away, his abused body giving up, as the cat perched up on his back legs, reaching with front paws towards the rack.  Glittering arcs ended against his body, some hitting him handle first, some not thrown hard enough to pierce, but a few slid inches into him, rivulets of red running together, pooling in his socks.

‘Fuck. I hate walking in wet socks.’  With that final, pedestrian thought, Bobby’s eyes closed for the last time.

Twitter feeds…

Started in my head by @emccoy_writer on twitter, saying that twitter feeds on typos.

“Jak by numble, kack be qick, jacj jump iver teh candelstick.”

Jack hummed to himself, swaying in the glow of monitors.
“Jack, buddy? You okay down there?”

Benny looked down into the lowered floor of the NOC from the raised walkway surrounding it, server trees blinking behind him.

Jack nodded lazily. “Feeding of teh fede!”

Benny watched as one of the monitors jumped, auto refreshing with new tweets. The wires strung from monitor to monitor sparked and shone, and the ghostly images of letters flew to Jack, leaving afterimages in Benny’s eyes that kept making him think of Sesame Street.

Jack cackled as the alphabetic apparitions slurped into his skin, his eyes flashing for a moment. “TYPE A, TIPE B!, TYPO POSTIVE!”

Benny bit his lip, chewing apprehensively, as Jack swung around to gaze at monitor after monitor. He jumped suddenly when a hand touched his shoulder.

“Calm down Benny. Your shift is over. Simone is gonna watch him.” Benny turned to look at the speaker. Junie’s eyes were as concerned as his, he knew, but their glistening orbs held concern for him, not Jack.

“C’mon Benny. Coffee. You need it.”

Benny nodded at let them drag him gently towards the stairs, and down to Twitter headquarter’s commissary. They sat in silence for several minutes, Benny slowly sipping at his coffee. Finally, he found the strength to speak.

“He’s getting worse Junie. I thought he was playing a prank at first, laying the wires, pouring cups of … whatever that liquid is. Lighting candles. But…”

He looked them in the eyes. “Can you see them yet? The letters?” Junie nodded slowly.

“Just now, first time. I wasn’t sure I was imagining it, still not sure, but”

Benny cut them off. “R, Q, t, z, and a 1.”

Junie’s eyes widened, fear, paranoia, turning them rigid. “Fuck Benny. How did… yeah, that’s what I saw, but… I can hear the caps in your voice. And that when you said one, you said…”

Benny raise a hand. “Don’t try it. Don’t force it. Just… let me know if you can start hearing the misspellings like when HE talks.”

The sat, Benny sipping, Junie watching him intently. Neither noticed movement until the chair between them slid out from the table, a long leg swoopping over the back of it, Riker style.

“Hey Destiny.” They spoke in unison, not needing to look up. Only one Twitter employee sat like that.

“Hey. We gotta stop this.”

Benny looked up, desperation written across his face in more words than 140 characters could ever tell. His hand shook and bounced on the table, his wedding ring clunking against the stained Formica. TAP, TAP, TAP.

“How, he’s too powerful. Did you see what he did to…”

Benny cut off with a sob, ragged breath fighting in and out, tears wetting his cheeks.

“Yeah, we saw. Look, we have an idea. We’re deploying to prod in an hour.”

Junie looked up. “Deploying to prod on a Friday night? Are you insane?”

Destiny laughed, a harsh, humorless mirth, dry as dust. “Yep. I think we all are. But we’re deploying. QA is done with it. Hitting desktop, mobile browser, Apple and Android. Fuck, we even updated the Blackberry App for this. Forced update, nothing works on an App until you download it.”

Benny caught his breath at the news, air finally coming in and out naturally. “Blackberry? Jesus fuck. To do what?”

“Spellcheck…?!” They both turned to look at Junie, wonder on their face as they looked back and forth between the two. “Am I right Destiny?”

She nodded, taking Benny’s cup from his nerveless fingers, slugging the rest of it down. “Ugh. Dark roast. How you drink that shit. Yeah Junebug. Got it in one. Forced spellcheck. You hit submit, it comes up with fixed spelling and you have to hit submit again. We’ll take his power, wean him down, get him back to normal.”

Benny grinned a moment, then his face fell. “Won’t work.”

“WHY NOT?!”

Junie held up their hands. “Whoa, whoa D. He’s right. It’ll help, but… they can reedit typos in, right? We aren’t forcing the spellcheck?”

Destiny frowned, shaking her head negative. “No, we can’t do that. Might be legitimate. Might be vernacular, but no worries there. We tested. AAVE and dialect spelling doesn’t activate his power, just actual typos. We’ve built in AAVE spellcheck too, no worries there.”

Junie sighed. “Still won’t be complete.”

“Who the fuck is going to put purposeful typos in, not meaning the word to be correct, even if its a correct alternate spelling?”

Junie and Benny sighed and spoke in stereo. “Nazis.”

Junie explained as Destiny looked at them in surprise and disgust. “The alt right white power fucks. They misspell words on purpose to get around filters and bot detectors. They MEAN for it to be considered a wrong spelling, so it still counts for whatever spell Jack cast on the servers.”

Destiny’s jaw dropped.  “Fuck.  Is THAT why he fucking coddles and protects those bastards?”

“Pfft.  Naw. Nothing so sinister. He’s just a racist.”