[Original Novel] Brainchild, Part 5

Source

Previous parts: 1, 2, 3, 4

The picture began to grow clear. I asked.

He mulled that one over before answering.

My eyes widened. He paused, perhaps to torment me with the anticipation.

A tall tale. It had to be, knowing Dad. Yet there was no trace of deceit on his face. Just a thousand yard stare.

He inhaled through his teeth and winced. I interrupted him here.

He tensed up.

He met my gaze, and narrowed his eyes.

Now glued to my seat, I begged to know more.

I couldn’t understand a lot of it. But I could feel the emotional gravity, through senses only recently awakened in me. By this, I knew he was being truthful.

Whenever I’d asked teachers about it before, they’d just lied. I knew they were lying because they all gave different answers. , one said. But then, why not live on the water? , another said. But would it not eventually die off with no human hosts? They must think children are stupid, rather than simply inexperienced.

My curiosity now provoked, I felt insatiable. He sighed.

He declined to say more. Which frustrated me as I’d only just gotten a glimpse of something larger which I felt was the key to understanding why I’d been changing recently. But, satisfied that I knew as much as I needed and as much as he wanted me to know, Dad warned me to keep it to myself, then sent me to bed.

I awoke the next morning with still vivid memories of a bizarre nightmare. Of ionocraft controlled not by human pilots, but intelligent machines, who also performed every other menial task. Of injured soldiers regrowing arms and legs lost in war, perhaps adding a second set if they saw fit.

Changes upon changes, accumulating until the creatures undertaking all of this were no longer recognizably human. I recoiled from the idea, understanding to some degree why, in recognition of where that path was taking us, we’d refused to continue down it. But could I really justify…?

Besides which, I was now one of those deviants. Wasn’t I? I knew of nobody else in my class who could move things without touching them, much less fly. Skills I guessed would not be well received, should I reveal them. So, I lived in hiding. Surrounded by others who outwardly looked like me but who I found it increasingly difficult to relate to.

Somehow, word got around that I was sick. A deficiency of any kind, however slight, was reason enough to heap ridicule on someone. This was not discouraged but reinforced, to make clear to us the price of succumbing to weakness of any sort. The price of deviation from a singular ideal.

A girl with three bright red pigtails shrieked at me, laughing thereafter like a manic gibbon. I cringed. Never before had I been the focus of collective scorn like this. I felt very small and fearful, but knew better than to show it.

one of them shouted, hurling a rubber ball at my head. Reflexively, I stopped it mid-air. It hung in place for a moment as everyone present stared, jaws hanging open. Then it fell and bounced away. I began.

I didn’t get to finish. one of the girls feebly whispered, still stunned. Then, reinforced by the outraged cries of the rest, she screamed I don’t know what they might’ve done to me, had a teacher not seized me by the collar and frog marched me to the doctor’s office.

the kindly looking grey haired man inquired. I’d seen him only once before when I skinned my knee playing cloudball in second grade. I appreciated that he hadn’t made some remark about how much I’d grown since he last saw me, an irritating habit most grownups seem to share.

I affirmed that I’d swallowed the little grey pill as instructed. He stroked his chin, deep in thought. Then set about taking my blood pressure, measuring my cranium and administering tests similar to the ones I remembered from the hospital. As before, I deliberately restrained myself.

He didn’t clarify, but I could guess at his meaning. I recalled the boy from my hospital room, now contained in some unfamiliar form within that great metal sphere. , the doctor mentioned in passing. That perked my ears up. He made eye contact, surprised by my interest.

I post text here, often accompanied by images and sometimes video. People then clap or don't depending on whether they enjoy what I posted.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store