The Clone of Joshua Walker

Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

BY: DIMITRI MANGINIS

BEVERLY POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT

November 20, 2049- At approximately 14:43, an unmarked and unregistered, white 2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van pulled up alongside Joseph Walker, male, 12, white, and abducted him. CCTV footage from the traffic lights on Cabot St recorded the incident as one unidentified male ushered the boy closer to the vehicle from the driver’s seat while his partner, a second unidentified male, opened the left back door, grabbing Walker and pulling him inside. Witnesses Benjamin Hunt and Emma Delaney both described watching the events take place from the public bus stop across the street. In her witness statement Delaney said, “The second man grabbed the boy roughly with one hand, a pistol in the other.” Hunt corroborated this, adding, “The van was pulled over before the boy was even on the street. It seemed like they were waiting for him. Like they knew when and where he would be.”

After forcing Walker into the vehicle, the two men took off, speeding through multiple red lights as they headed South. CCTV lost them shortly after they left city limits. The van was later found burning in an alley two towns over. No evidence or leads could be obtained from the wreckage.

Officer Smith arrived on the scene at around 14:55, responding to the 911 call placed by Delaney. He promptly put out an Amber Alert to galvanize the community and notify law enforcement agencies in the surrounding areas. 

At the time of drafting this report, Walker remains missing although the investigation continues. 

ADELAIDE WALKER’S DIARY.COM

December 4, 2049- It’s been two weeks now. Two weeks since the fucking phone rang. Two weeks since I picked it up. Two weeks since they gave me the news. Two weeks since my world was shattered. Jonathan is trying to be strong for me. He tells me that the police are still searching. That they’ll find Joe. He’s a good husband, but he’s human. I can see right through his facade of optimism to the pitiful creature beneath. Oh, how gaunt he is! How lacking in energy and strength. I can only imagine how I appear to him. Haggard, grey, an absolute fucking mess. I’m afraid of what I’m becoming, but I can’t help it. Every day that I sit by the phone, waiting for a call that never comes, I can feel my hope fade a little more, feel another stone added to the walls I’m building around myself. Every day they grow higher, a barricade from the outside world. I know that soon I’ll be completely enclosed, and I’ve begun to worry about the true purpose of these fortifications. Are they protecting me from the outside world? Or confining me somewhere worse? It’s a thin line between sheltering and suffocating. 

I fear the latter is what I’m imposing upon Josh. I haven’t allowed him to leave the house since the incident. I don’t know if I ever will again. We live in a fucking mansion for heaven’s sake, he’ll be fine. He can have anything he wants. He just needs to stay inside. It might be selfish, but I cannot lose him too. He is the only reason I am still here. A mother should never have to lose a child. 

HEADLINE FROM E-NEWSPAPER CHAIN: YOUR LINK TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD 

COMMERCIAL CLONING: FROM PETS TO PEOPLE

December 26, 2050- After years of only sheep and cows, CopyCat Corp has confirmed their first human cloning trials as successful. While numerous leaks have surfaced about this classified project, circulating over the past few months, it was not until the early hours of today that the company finally issued their official statement to the press:

As of 3:47 am, our first human cloning trials have been declared successful. Our client, who prefers to remain anonymous at this time, has confirmed his satisfaction with our services. While at this time his clone remains under careful observation and monitorization, there is no reason to believe he suffers from any health complications. It is our hope that over the first few months of 2051, we will be able to provide this service of human cloning commercially.

Hours later, CopyCat Corp held a press conference at HQ where Dafne Driesch, the company’s CEO, made the following comment:

“The process of cloning is one that we here at CopyCat Corp do not take lightly. I, along with so many of my colleagues, understand the ethical dilemmas posed by the research and experimentation we conduct. Some have even gone so far as to label us gross abusers of scientific knowledge. To those who condemn us so, I respond: innovation and development are always frightening. The ideas of tomorrow are rarely accepted in the here and now. Fear holds us back. Fear is the enemy of progress. At CopyCat Corp we continuously challenge these twenty-first century fears, and we do not plan on stopping.”

Keep up with all the latest updates on Commercial Cloning with e-newspaper Chain: Your Link To The Outside World.

JONATHAN WALKER’S LETTER TO HIS PARENTS

December 26, 2050

Dear Mom and Dad,

I hope all is well with you. It’s been a while since I last sent you a letter; it really is so much easier to call or email, but I know that you prefer good ol’ fashioned snail mail, and I’m still not completely convinced that either of you check the email account I made for you which is why I’m writing this. I have a lot to catch you up on.

Ade called me at the office today. To be honest, I was caught off guard. Not once in our eighteen years of marriage has she called me here before. I guess she was always so busy. Between organizing her book clubs and fundraisers and having country club lunches with friends, she was quite the whirlwind. I miss that Ade. She was so confident, so much fun. And now. It’s hard to think about. She’s barely left our bed, let alone our house, in over a year. I wish things could go back to the way they were. I have since it first happened. I guess I’m naive to even imagine that could really happen. A mother should never have to lose a child. Nothing could ever be as it was.

Even though my secretary had informed me it was Ade calling, I still waited a few rings before picking up. Did this woman not torture my soul enough at home that she had to reach out to me here at work? This is supposed to be my bunker, my hideout from her and the rest of the world. I picked up the phone, feeling unjustifiably bitter, wondering what fresh tragedy my wife would regale me with, but to my surprise she sounded happy. This was not the voice of the woman I had left in bed this morning. Nor was it quite the Ade of the days before the incident, although it may have been her ghost, the phantom of a woman caught between mourning and moving on, between grieving and getting through it. 

I remember asking her if everything was okay and the bizarre, almost forgotten sound of her lilting laugh as she told me of course it was. I remember a brief silence followed that, quickly filled by Ade’s question, had I seen the news? I told her I had not. That today the paperwork just kept coming and coming; there was a mountain of it beside my desk comparable to Katahdin. I asked her why she wanted to know, and she replied that if I got a chance, I should look at it. We should have a serious discussion about it when I got home, and by the way, what time would that be. I said okay and that I’d be back around 10pm. I love you, she signed off, a dusty phrase I had not heard in a long time. Before I could say it back, the line clicked and disconnected, leaving me utterly perplexed. 

Curious about what had seemingly revived Ade from the grave, I pulled up Chain. When the page loaded, I was stunned. I must have started at the headline for several minutes, completely dumbfounded. Commercial Cloning? This couldn’t possibly be what Ade was referring to when she said, “We should have a serious discussion”, could it? Did she want to clone Josh? Did she think this would bring Joe back? Had she gone completely mad? Why couldn’t she just want a pet? A cat or a dog? We could even adopt if that was something she was interested in. I had given her this option six or so months after Joe went missing. I thought it might be good for her to have a project, something to care for, something to keep her physically busy and mentally off Joe. She had vehemently refused though. I remember her calling me a monster, telling me nothing could replace Joe. She wasn’t wrong. Nothing could replace Joe. Not even a clone of his younger brother. 

Writing this, I’m still not sure what to do, what to say to Ade, how to help her. It’s been over a year now; it may well be time to get on with our lives, but a clone isn’t the answer. No matter how much she wants it to be, no matter how much she loves it, it will never be Joe. I just don’t know what to do. 

I know this is a lot to take in and by the time you are reading this a decision will probably have already been made in regards to all the above, but still, I needed to share this with someone and get my thoughts in order. Honestly, writing this letter has helped me do just that. Maybe that’s why you are always yammering on about writing them. 

Anyway, if you insist on sending a letter back, I await it with bated breath. Preferably though, just call me like any normal human in 2050.

Love, 

Jonathan

EXCERPT FROM E-NEWSPAPER CHAIN: YOUR LINK TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD 

MISSING CHILD REPLACED: YOUR CL-OWN FAMILY?

February 1, 2051- On December 20, 2049, tragedy struck the wealthy Walker family when their 11 year old son Joseph was abducted. Now, over a year later, the couple has decided to commission a clone of their remaining child Joshua from CopyCat Corp in hopes to make their family, as Mrs. Adelaide Walker puts it, “whole again.” 

While the exact details of the commercial cloning process are confidential, as are the time and date of Joshua’s operation and when the clone will be fully functioning and ready to enter society, be sure to keep up with all the latest updates on Commercial Cloning with e-newspaper Chain: Your Link To The Outside World.

ADELAIDE WALKER’S DIARY.COM

February 13, 2051- It’s official! Today Jonah Walker comes home!

JONAH WALKER’S JOURNAL ENTRY

March 15, 2051- Dear Diary Dear journal, I’m not exactly sure how to start this, but I guess this is as good a way as any. The doctor back at the lab told my parents it would be a good idea for me to keep a journal. She told them that because I was commissioned artificially aged, (I’m 14 by the way, the same age as my brother) I also had to be given something called AI. I’m still not quite sure what it means but I guess it is why I know things without having learned them. Mr. Walker Dad took the doctor’s word for it and said it was awesome, but Mrs. Walker Mom was a little more skeptical. I remember my first full day here at their home, she had me take a placement test for school. She said she just wanted to be sure. I was really nervous. I didn’t want to disappoint my the Walkers new family or be replaced by a newer, more advanced clone, but obviously it’s not like I had been studying. I was barely even made a month ago. The results from the test came back a couple days later, and Mom seemed happy. She said it was like I was a real 14 year old boy. But I don’t think knowing things is what makes something human, and neither did the doctor back at the lab. When she sent me home with the Walkers my new parents, she gave me the Moleskine notebook I’m writing in now. It is about the size of my hand, maybe a little bigger, with a soft, smooth yet sturdy cover like a grey breastplate protecting the delicate pages within. There are hundreds of them, crisp, blank, ready and waiting for my pen to sink into them, forever changing not only them, but me too. This notebook is the first thing I have ever owned, and I treasure it. When she gave it to me, she said I should keep a daily journal and record everything I saw, said, did and felt. She said right now my head was full of facts and that I had no memories, but writing everyday would help with this. By doing this, I would begin to create my own personality and become my own person. Mom doesn’t really like it when I write in my notebook, even though I told her the doctor told me to. She even tried to take it from me once but I knew what was coming and hid it before she got the chance. Now most of the time I write at night when she’s getting ready for bed. 

Yesterday I asked Josh if he kept a journal. He told me that he had one but it had been months since he wrote in it last. He’d been getting really bad headaches recently and could barely manage to do his schoolwork let alone extra writing. Josh is my brother by the way. He is the one I’m cloned after, and we get along really well. He’s helped me out a lot these past couple weeks since I got here. His real name is Joshua, but everyone calls him Josh, even our parents. I asked him if I could have a cool nickname too. I told him at the lab I was 3-Ch0 (they called me Echo) but since I got here everyone has been calling me Jonah (It’s a good name, I don’t mind it). He told me usually you didn’t come up with your own nickname, that other people gave it to you. I said maybe I could be called Joe. He got really serious all of the sudden and told me that he’d like that, but it had to be our secret. I could never tell our parents. I pinky promised him. Look at me, making all these new memories!

ADELAIDE WALKER’S DIARY.COM

March 15, 2051- This isn’t how I imagine it. No, not even close. The excitement of Jonah coming home with us was short lived. A fire that grew too big too fast and was quickly extinguished as a result. This clone isn’t my son. This clone isn’t Joe. I knew this all along, at least my brain did and constantly reminded me of the fact, but my heart, it was more fickle, harder to convince. How could I have been so naive as to listen to it? Now Jonah lives in Joe’s old room, filling it once again. He’s using Joe’s old clothes and toys and even brings back Josh’s toothy grin, an expression that, like a rare flower, has seldom been seen since his brother’s disappearance. These sights should bring me joy. To see Jonah and Josh joking, laughing and playing should make me happy, but I don’t feel even the slightest twinge. Instead, I’m bitter. I’ve started to grow to despise this clone already. This one who I hoped to call son. 

I have tried hugging him, kissing him, showering him in affection, even faked my love for him, but nothing works. Nothing can resurrect the feelings that were buried when Joe was taken. I think I’ve made a horrible mistake.

ENCRYPTED EMAIL FROM DR. ZIKAS TO MR. & MRS. WALKER

APRIL 30, 2051

RE: URGENT: JOSEPH WALKER CHECK UP RESULTS 

Mr. & Mrs. Walker,

It is with my sincerest of apologies that I inform you your son Joshua Walker’s MRI results came back positive for a spinal tumor. Further testing is required although it is fairly certain from its size, shape and other characteristics, that the tumor is cancerous. I have tried calling both emergency numbers on file but was unable to get through to either of you which is why I have sent this email. It is encrypted to ensure maximum confidentiality. While spinal tumors are not hereditary, certain individuals are more genetically prone to them. Since Joshua’s clone shares identical genes, I would find it advisable to bring both of them into the hospital immediately to start urgent treatment.

If you have any questions be sure to call or write me back at this address.

Regards,

Dr. Zikas, MD

ADELAIDE WALKER’S DIARY.COM

April 30, 2051- This can’t be fucking happening.

ADELAIDE WALKER’S DIARY.COM

May 2, 2051- “DON’T FUCKING CALL HIM THAT!” That’s what I yelled at my own son yesterday. I couldn’t help it. It was early morning, and we were all packed in Jonathan’s car headed into the city, to Mass General to be specific. “Packed” might be a poor choice of words. Jonathan was driving us and his company Range Rover is much more luxurious than my Mercedes. We all had plenty of space to stretch out on the hour or so drive in. I was in the front next to Jonathan, nervously clicking through the radio options on the digital screen between us. I knew I was going to choose Coffee House Hits, but I took my time combing through the channels anyway. It was nice to be in control of something. For a change. I let myself become lost in thought for a minute. I was scared. Frustrated. Resentful. Angry. My life was not supposed to turn out like this. One of my sons was gone, missing for well over a year. The other one, I had just discovered, had cancer. All that was left was a clone. Nothing but a clone. How could I ever have been so naive as to believe that it could even begin to fill the void left by my Joe. And now, Josh was sick, and the clone was right as rain. What sort of upside world was I living in? 

“Josh, do you think we’ll be there soon?” I heard the clone whisper to Josh in the back seat. 

“Yeah, I think so. Shouldn’t be too much longer.”

“Good. Cause I gotta pee. Real bad.” How vulgar the clone was.

“Haha,” Josh laughed. “Me too. And this drive is making my head feel worse.” My gaze flitted up towards the rearview mirror where I could see Josh rubbing his temples. My poor boy.

“Here. Lie down across the seats and put your head in my lap. I can massage you, Josh.” 

“It’s ok. I got it. Thanks though, Joe.” Josh spoke those words seemingly without thinking. As soon as they escaped his mouth he looked up; from his expression I could tell he hoped I had not heard. But I had.

“DON’T FUCKING CALL HIM THAT!” I exploded. “HE’S NOT JOE! HE’S NOT! HE’LL NEVER BE!” Josh looked stunned, his countenance pale, mouth slightly ajar. The clone just looked surprised. Then, I began to cry. Jonathan began to say something, trying to console me I think, but I cut him off. 

“Just keep driving.”

 The rest of the car ride was passed in silence. 

JONAH WALKER’S JOURNAL

May 13, 2051- Dear journal, these past couple weeks have been crazy hectic. I’ve barely had any time to write at all. Josh and I have been spending a lot of time in the hospital. The first couple days I slept there, but now I’ve been going back home for the nights. I asked one of the nice nurses why, and she told me that they had wanted to monitor me to make sure I wasn’t sick like my brother. I asked her what was wrong with him, and she said my brother had something called Cancel. I nodded my head confidently like I understood, but I’m still not quite sure what that means or what it is. I’m just glad I don’t have it. It seems like a real pain in the butt. It’s already started to cancel a lot of things like homeschooling and family dinners. I think it’s even cancelling Josh’s hair. Last time I saw him he was missing big clumps of it. He looked like an action figure that a dog had gotten to, gnawing and slobbering all over its head and pulling out big patches of hair out with its teeth. He seemed really thin too or maybe I’m just getting fat. I’ve been alone at the house for the past few nights, cause Mom and Dad are staying at the hospital with Josh, and I’ve been eating a lot of junk food. I just found out that McDonald’s delivers so I’ve been getting that almost every night.

It’s fun to be here at the house all alone, but it is also lonely and scary sometimes. I wish Josh was feeling better so he could come back, and we could play together. The night before we both went to the hospital he told me that I’m his best friend. I told him that he was my only friend and that meant he was my best friend too. I also miss Mom and Dad. Well, Mom more than Dad. Him I’ve been seeing most days, he’s the one who drives me back and forth between the hospital and home. I guess the hospital might be Josh’s new home. It feels like he’s been there forever, and when I asked Dad, he said that it would probably still be awhile before he could come home. I wanted to talk to Mom about it too, maybe even give her a hug to make her feel better, but Dad told me that wasn’t a good idea. He said that she needed to be left alone for a little, given some space. That she is having a really, really hard time with Josh and his Cancel. I could tell that Dad is too. So am I. 

I started working on a welcome home poster for Josh. It’s taking a lot more time than I thought it would. Drawing, coloring, outlining, detailing, all take a lot more effort than I thought when I started, but it’s good. It keeps me busy during the nights I’m home alone and after my talk with Dad I guess I have a bunch more time to keep working on it and make sure it’s perfect. I’ve also been doing a lot of exploring. When browsing through the photos app on the sleek silver desktop in Dad’s den (his login password was password) I stumbled on this folder called Joe. I thought it might be about me and the secret nickname I had with Josh so I clicked on it, but when it opened it was just a lot of pictures of this kid who looks a lot like Josh. If it hadn’t been for a freckle on his left cheek, I could have been convinced that it was in fact my brother when he was younger, but I know him (he’s my best friend after all), and he doesn’t have a face freckle like that! There were also a bunch of pictures of the mystery Joe kid with Josh, also with Mom and Dad, which is more proof of him being someone else. I’m still not really sure who it could be, maybe an old best friend? I don’t know. It’s bothering me a little but I’m scared to ask Mr. & Mrs. Walker my parents after the whole secret nickname conversation with Josh. I guess I’ll have to wait and ask him when he comes home. 

That reminds me, I should get back to work on my poster! 

EXCERPT FROM E-NEWSPAPER CHAIN: YOUR LINK TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD

OBITUARIES: MONTH OF MAY

Joshua R. Walker, 14, passed away during the night of May 31, 2051 at Massachusetts General Hospital following a month battling a cancerous spinal tumor.

Joshua was born in Beverly, MA on March 27, 2038 to parents Jonathan and Adelaide Walker. His memory will be forever cherished by them and all those who knew him.

Joshua is survived by his parents Jonathan and Adelaide Walker of Beverly and his clone Jonah Walker of Beverly.

The family requests that all flowers and notes are sent to their residence. No funeral arrangements have been made yet.

ADELAIDE WALKER’S DIARY.COM

June 2, 2051- The clone has to go. He’s not Joe. He’s not Josh. He’s not even a real human. I can’t fucking stand him. When I first imagined having one, I saw it as a way to make my family whole again, to try and fill the void left by Joe’s absence. Now Josh is gone too, and the hole is bigger, deeper and darker than before. Every time I look at the clone, all I see is a living, walking, talking reminder of everything I’ve lost. I’ve tried to love it, but I can’t. I know Jonathan feels this way too. Tomorrow I’ll call Copycat Corp and see if they’ll take the clone back. If not, I’ll have to look into putting it up for adoption. I’m not sure how that works at its age, but it can’t stay here. 

BEVERLY POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT

June 4, 2051-At exactly 22:01, Beverly Police Department received a 911 call from a Mrs. Walker who claimed the clone of her recently deceased child Joshua Walker, Jonah, male, 14, white, had run away.

Officer Smith was instantly dispatched to the Walker’s residence to assess the situation, arriving approximately 10 minutes later. Upon taking statements from the mother and father, both described as “oddly calm”, Smith radioed back to the precinct to alert both local and surrounding law enforcement about the runaway child and to assist in the search. After questioning Mr. and Mrs. Walker further, Smith decided the situation did not warrant the issuing of an Amber Alert. There is no reason to believe the child is in any danger or suicidal. 

Once the child has been confirmed as missing for 24 hours, the media will be alerted and a report will be filed in the Massachusetts Missing Kids database.

JONAH WALKER’S DIARY

November 20, 2051- Dear journal, I learned a new word today, carrion. It refers to the decaying flesh of dead animals. That’s what the dictionary says anyway. I think it relates to something much bigger. At a certain point, life itself is carrion. It’s a rotting thing. A festering thing. All one can hope to do is salvage what they can and make the best of it. That’s what I did about six months ago.

Josh My brother, my best friend, had just died. I was heartbroken. I still am. I remember when my Dad Mr. Walker told me what had happened. I didn’t believe him. It was my first experience with death, and I just didn’t understand. It took seeing Josh’s limp, lifeless body the next day for me to really get it. I remember screaming. And crying. There was certainly a lot of both. Sometimes when I think about it I still cry.

I spent the next day alone in my bedroom. Mom and Dad Mr. & Mrs. Walker were out for most of it. Doing what, I’m not sure. Maybe making funeral arrangements. It must have been around midnight when I finally left my stronghold of solitude in search of comfort. I needed to be held by my parents Mr. & Mrs. Walker, told that it would all be okay, that we were a family and we would make it through this. 

I remember all the lights were on when I opened my door and stepped into the hallway. They were bright and harsh. I had to squint as I crept down the corridor towards Mom and Dad’s Mr. & Mrs. Walker’s bedroom, my footsteps muffled by the carpeted floor. From the crack under their door I could see nothing but darkness. Their light was off so I assumed they were sleeping. I almost knocked anyway. My hand a fist extending towards the door, hovering mere inches away from it. At the last second I caught myself. They’re tired too, I reminded myself, they need their rest. I sighed, letting my hand drop back down to my side and slumping down against the wall next to the door. It was cool to the touch, a welcome relief from the sticky heat of the summer night. I pushed myself up closer against it, and that’s when I heard them. Hushed voices coming from my parents Mr. & Mrs. Walker’s room. Intrigued and surprised to hear them awake, I turned my head, pressing it against the wall. That’s when I heard it. That’s when I heard it all. I had always known I was different. I knew I was a clone, but the way Mom Mrs. Walker was whispering about me to Dad Mr. Walker made me feel like I wasn’t even human. “A fucking fake.” Maybe the doctors at the lab had it right calling me Echo. Maybe that’s all I was. A reverberation. A shadow of what a human really was. I remember I began to cry, tears blazing boiling trails down my cheeks, quietly cascading onto the carpet below, and even as I watched these diamond droplets fall, disappearing into the flooring, I realized I too needed to disappear. 

I knew my parents the Walkers wouldn’t care. They wouldn’t call the cops once they discovered my empty room. At least, not until they were sure I was long gone. If anything, they would be grateful. After all, by running away, I would be solving their problem for them. So that’s what I did.

I took nothing with me. I just got up, walked down the stairs and ran. It was humid out, the water in the air clinging to me like so many tiny hands trying to weigh me down and pull me back, but I kept on going. I vividly remember the noises that night. The chirping choir of peepers, the low buzz, hum and whir of insects, all keeping time with the metronome of my thudding footsteps. Eventually, this soundtrack was drowned out by the sound of my own labored breathing, and I was forced to stop. I remember slowing to a walk and shaking my head to clear it. It was only at this time that I realized I had not taken my surroundings into account since I had started to run. Now, I had no way of knowing where I was. A sign in front of me said Main Street, but I had no way of knowing of which town or city. It wasn’t Beverly, of this I was sure. The houses were bigger here and further apart. They were all wooden too. I continued on a little longer. The sun was just beginning to rise, stretching its fingertips up over the horizon, reaching out like King Midas to bathe everything it touched in a soft, gold light. It was peaceful, but I knew I needed shelter. I doubted that anybody was looking for me. I doubted that anyone even knew I was missing yet. Still, I thought it would be best to keep to myself. For the time being at least.

I spent a couple nights in barns, leaving early before the owners came to check up on their animals, sustaining myself on the various grains, seeds and pellets I found in them. It wasn’t much, it was barely anything, but it kept the worst pangs of hunger at bay. I remember berating myself for not having grabbed any money or food when I left home The Walkers house. Still, it’s not like I could do anything about it at the time. I finally found an abandoned building where I could sleep without fear of being discovered. I think it must have been a bookstore. When I first entered tomes were strewn all over the place. On the floor. Covering tables. Overflowing off shelves or in display cases. I spent most of my time there reading or attempting in vain, to organize the mess of volumes. Anything to keep my mind off of the burning sensation of hunger which was growing in my stomach. One which was fueled and stoked every hour until it had reached a raging inferno of pain. Unable to bear it anymore, I decided to venture out in search of a grocery store. I would beg. Plead with them. Steal if I was forced to. 

About five minutes into the walk, the police pulled me over. I can only imagine how I looked. Grimy. Dirty. In ripped clothes. Half-starved. I tried to explain myself but the two gruff officers weren’t having any of it. They took me to the Wenham Police Department, and I sat there for hours waiting until they were finally able to confirm that I was who I said. Jonah Walker. The clone of Joshua Walker. I saw my Dad Mr. Walker at the precinct. I suppose they called him down to ID me. We didn’t exchange greetings or anything. He didn’t even look me in my eyes. He just walked right past me following a large, burly police officer into a room. A couple minutes later the burly man exited the room in a huff and came over to me. 

“Do you want to go home with your father?” I remember him asking me. I shook my head in response and looked down at my feet. He patted me on the back, then returned to the room. Ten or so minutes later the door opened again, This time my Dad Mr. Walker stepped out.

“You understand you are relinquishing all parental rights and responsibilities, Mr. Walker?” I overheard the police officer say. I don’t think I was supposed to hear that. 

“Yes,” was the last word I ever heard my Dad Mr. Walker say.

So that’s how I became a Ward of the State. My foster family is fine. We don’t interact much except for “family dinner” each night. We eat, and they ask me how school went (I am going to Hamilton-Wenham Regional Highschool). That’s about it. Besides that, I spend most of my time in my room. Either doing homework for class or reading. Ever since those nights I spent those nights in the bookstore (I have confirmed that it used to be one by the name of Banbury Cross), reading has become a routine ritual for me. Currently, I’m mesmerized by the pages of My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. It’s about Sam Gribley, this kid who runs away from home and tries to make a living all by himself in the Catskill Mountains. Oh, how I envy Sam. I’m just about done with the novel, but I’m not too sad like I usually would be finishing a book I love. My foster parents told me it has two sequels so I’ll try to get my hands on those next. I’m hoping that they’re just as good as the first. And maybe that they’ll help me find what my next steps should be. 

EXCERPT FROM E-NEWSPAPER CHAIN: YOUR LINK TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD

Commercial Cloning Discontinued?

December 30, 2051- Coming barely a year after the company announced their first human cloning trials as a success, CopyCat Corp has been temporarily shut down by the Massachusetts State Government, a decision which, to no one’s surprise, was met with staunch opposition from CopyCat Corp CEO, Dafne Driesch. Driesch, who has been extremely vocal in her criticisms, claims that her company’s rights and basic freedoms are being infringed upon. Hours later, in an impromptu press conference, the Governor responded, citing several recent studies conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families (DCF), which found that even just in the space of a year, roughly 50% of all clones commissioned by CopyCat Corp are either abandoned or wind up in the foster care system due to negligence. Our own research suggests that the number is actually even higher due to a lack of reporting. The Governor concluded the conference conceding that while this phenomenon was not directly the fault of CopyCat Corp, the commercial production of clones was the catalyst to this unprecedented surge of unwanted clones. He also stressed the need for new legislation tackling the issue of human clones, their rights and their place in society, stating that until this was sorted CopyCat Corp would remain shut down, their services suspended.

Keep up with all the latest updates on Commercial Cloning with e-newspaper Chain: Your Link To The Outside World.

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