Saturday, March 7, 2009

Feeder in the Greed Machine: 3) Omnipresence

Feeder in the Greed Machine is a short science-fantasy story with an evil twist on cloning devices. The story comes in four parts, to be released on a weekly basis beginning Saturday, February 21, 2009.

This is Part 3. Click here for Part 1, Part 2 or Part 4

Williams woke in a quiet, dimly lit room. Wiping his hands over his eyes and face felt strange, somehow uncommon. He seemed to be sitting on a varnished wooden floor, and there were heavy velvet curtains letting only slits of light into the room. He was also wearing strange pants - dress pants, which he never liked to wear. And was he suddenly fatter? How long had he been under? Was this muscle atrophy? Had they been providing the correct nutrition? He looked up from between his knees, and made out two figures in front of him. Judge Horace and Mr. Cheeves, the prosecuting attorney, were staring back at him quietly, their mouths wide open in the dark room.

"My God, perfect," said Cheeves finally.

"It is?" said the Judge. "You think so? Looks to have gained a little ... weight, don't you think?"

"No, Horace, no! Look at the curls around the temple. Perfect!"

Williams rubbed his eyes again, and then sat up on his hands. "What's going on? Where am I?"

"You're in my chambers, my good man," said Horace, leaning forward. He shook his hand in front of Williams' face. "Can you see?" There was some jubilant look of pride or admiration on the Judge's face.

Williams backed away a little. "Yes, yes. I can see. How - how long has it been? Why have you woken me?"

The men looked at each other, and finally the Judge nodded quietly. "We - I mean, you - you weren't exactly ... woken."

"I feel awake," said Williams, sitting up. He opened and closed his fists. "I move, I can feel. I think. This doesn't really seem like a dream."

The judge and prosecutor fell back in their sofa and laughed out loudly together. "No, no, not a dream!" said the Judge.

"No," said Cheeves, leaning forward again. "But you weren't woken, you see. You were," he paused, looking to the Judge one more time. The Judge nodded graciously. "You were cloned."

"What?" said Williams, frowning. He lowered his head, trying to gather his memories.

"There's a machine," said the Judge, pointing to a small black object on the coffee table in front of him. "We cloned you. Right here, in my chambers!"

"I see," said Williams, slowly. "Where, um. Where is the body then?"

The two looked back at him. "Which body, good man?" said Cheeves.

"My body - that you cloned me from?"

Cheeves smiled widely. "Ah. You haven't even seen yourself yet, sir. Here," he said, fumbling in his wallet. He pulled a small mirror out and handed it to Williams.

The clone gazed for a long time into the small rectangle, checking along his face, turning at angles to examine the details. A smile grew very slowly across his face. "It worked!" he yelled finally, standing up. "It actually worked!"

Cheeves stood and came to William's side, taking his shoulder in arm. "Judge Horace ... meet Judge Horace!"

The original Judge Horace, laughing, stood up and came over, embracing himself - or rather, Williams - with glee. "It's amazing," he said, between breaths. "Amazing! You are just like me!"

"Let's do one of me," said Cheeves, grabbing the black device from the table.

Williams broke himself from the Judge's embrace and held onto the prosecutor's shoulder. "Wait! I - why don't we just wait this out for a while, Cheeves?"

"Why ever for, Horace the Second?" he smiled, and the Judge joined him, both men breaking into hearty laughter.

"I just - don't know what the implications of that may be," said Williams.

"Come now," said Cheeves, loosening himself from William's grip. "There's enough for everyone, my dear fellow. Horace has another Horace, why shouldn't I have my complimentary Cheeves?

I mean, let us not be selfish and greedy, eh?"

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