Altered Ego

An Ayla-Torin Richardson Tale

Altered Ego

This is a story I wrote a long time ago. I actually put it up on Amazon but it never did sell. I'm considering taking it down so I can edit it. I'm currently writing the next book in what I hope will be a series but it's kind of on hold right now because I really need to figure out what I need to do to get this to become something that people will want to read. Can you help me out?

Legend has it the outcome of my creation was accidental. While my beginnings were, in theory, quite intentional, the results of such experiments were, as with many, completely unknown. Just because it worked on a lab rat doesn't mean it'll work on a lab human. It never does.

I wasn't supposed to surpass the minimal level of intelligence. Hell, I wasn't supposed to have any at all. All I was supposed to do was be a replacement in case of an accidental death. Basically, I'm a crash test dummy. Except that I'm totally living and I get to be put into a situation that often times can prove fatal and die instead of the person who is actually supposed to. I was bred for this. Since I was cloned, I'm the stand in for the original. No shit, right? So, when death comes for her, I step in. I breathe kill me, so I die. And then another replacement is pulled from storage. There are lots of us. But only one like me. That's the problem.

My name is Ayla-Torin Richardson and I'm here to tell you my story. Are you ready to hear it? I'd really love to see you try...

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‘She’s clearly autistic. Asperger’s, even. This is a problem, Dr. Lamont.’

‘What she ‘clearly is’ is a savant which means she already knows we made a mistake creating her and she probably knows how to undo it. The problem is that we don’t know that part yet and she’s probably not going to tell us that anytime soon, Dr. Melrose. That right there is far worse than your autism concern. What’s going to be a bigger problem than that is trying to get rid of the evidence that we clearly failed and that this was all on purpose. The government isn’t keeping us open to say ‘Oh, well! We tried, maybe next time!!’ That’ll work out great, don’t you think?’

His English accent was thick with frustration. This experiment was supposed to make him famous. Not if but when the news of its tremendous failure comes out it still would. Just for all the wrong reasons. Another completely different issue was starting to brew as well and if he didn’t nip it in the bud now, this whole thing was going to bring his whole career down along with it. But there’s no time to deal with that issue now. There were far more pressing matters at hand. First and foremost, he was going to go in and comfort her. He was wondering if the sweat dripping down his spine was going to show through his lab coat.

She hated that they were so ignorant. Well, maybe not the tall one so much. She thought maybe he was onto something but she wasn’t about to tell him that. Or anyone else for that matter. She probably shouldn’t be admitting it to herself. It was obvious, mistake as she was, he was growing awfully fond of her. Fondness involved trust. And if her inherited memories were any indication of what happened and what could transpire, than trust wasn’t going to save any living soul left standing.

They stood outside in the hallway mumbling to themselves some more. Should she feel guilty she could hear them clear as day through the sound proofed walls? Nah… They didn’t know she could and they’d probably never find out unless she told them. So not happening.

There was agitation in Dr. Lamont’s voice. He was angry. He was frustrated. He was trying to pretend he didn’t give a damn about her like that; she was a science experiment but could she really feel like that? Emotionally? Without the social growth children grow up with when they have parents? He felt it, though. And no doubt for her, so did she.

She was getting tired of sitting at the table. The chair was making her ass go numb and this stupid book was boring as all hell the fifth time around. Pushing the chair quietly so the doctors wouldn’t be distracted from their now heated conversation, she crawled into her bed, underneath the soft, downy covers and fell asleep just as fast as she could muster.

The humming came to her through her sleep. It had to be angels. At least that's what it sounded like, she really had nothing else to compare it to. Not that she dealt with angels often, or at all for that matter but if she had, she imagined that would be what they would sound like singing. And if they spoke, they would sound like him...

Rhythmic tapping of fingers further pulled her from slumber. Pale light through closed eyes lead her to believe that it was either night time and the lights had been lowered or someone had the decency to turn them off while she had slept and daylight was flowing through the now opened windows.

The fresh spring breeze danced fancily across her skin, causing her to stretch out of the fetal position she had been curled up in. It reminded her of the womb in which she grew, her so called surrogate mother had taken such wonderful care in growing her. Ayla recalled it all, with the exception of her actual conception, everything had been made into a memory: the very first few weeks growing, developing arms, legs, the ever growing lack of space as she grew, the contractions her mother endured, the eventual caesarian. She still hatred the doctor for ripping her out so abruptly, taking no care for her but even less so for her mother. He caused her enough pain and damage that he caused her death. But she had done her job so being no longer needed, who cared what happened to her? Ayla cared but then again, no one really cares for her either. She was just a replacement.

She wasn't sure when the typing had stopped but the sudden awareness of eyes on her was quickly becoming overbearing. A glance in the direction of the large, round oak table in the farthest corner of the room proved not only the identity of those eyes but the fact that they were on her. They were beautiful eyes. She certainly did not object to the depth of their grayness checking her out in any shape or form. She realized too often that she felt this for no other soul she had ever met, her own included. That soul made her feel human, the kind of human with a soul of its own. Which, of course, she was but no one had ever made her feel as such. She didn't really understand the reasoning behind her creation, no one minded speaking to her so how would she find out? She did, however, know that there had been others, other hers, and that somehow she herself was so drastically different from them that she had to be self contained for fear of contamination of what she was assuming was the more willing ones. She couldn't remember meeting any of them but she had been drugged so often before Dr. Lamonte came along all whole lot of her own personal memories was highly questionable. She figured she would never know. She wasn't sure if she cared, really. That was really sad. But, seriously, how would she even know that to compare?

He hadn't meant to stare but her very existence was just so lovely. At least in his mind. Her story was tragic, to say the least, but it made her more beautiful nonetheless. He felt like a lost, love struck puppy whenever he was near her. A school boy in the full on sailor suit and everything. She had never spoken to him, not a word, but the look in her eyes recently had shown him she trusted him. She knew he was here to help her. She spent his first few weeks here at the hospital's ICU struggling to overcome the years of drugs the other doctors kept giving her to keep her at bay. From what, he will probably never understand but that was not his place. He was here to take her life in the most humane way possible, like she was a dog being put to sleep. Earthworms get more respect than Incidentals do. But that wasn't all she was, was it? He could feel the lie the thought. She was more...

Shaking off where he could feel that going, Gregory Lamonte quickly gathered his witts, closed the document he was working on and shut down the computer. It was meant for her anyhow, and he was pretty sure she could find anything she wanted to on it, but just in case. He didn't want the security detail at the door telling the higher ups that they didn't see him taking precautions. Leaving the workstation, he neandered for a moment on what to do next and realized he was quite famished. Walking toward the makeshift kitchen he recently had installed for her, he wondered how she did so long without it and if she ever actually really used it. It was put in place after she pulled a very high stakes manhunt to find her before anyone realized her need for food and water was just as necessary as an Originals. This also caused things to change for the other Incidentals as well. The only difference still was that she was the only one to give them 'problems', which also proved the point that she was so much more than just a replacement or an understudy that can be trained.

He noticed her sit up in bed from the corner of his eye as he approached the kitchen. Looking in the fridge, he made a quick mental note of its inventory and continued to browse quickly through the cabinets. Coming up with a plan of action to cure his ever increasing hunger, he bent down to grab a pan from the cabinet closet to the sink.

'Are you hungry?', he asked without much thought but with a nervousness he hoped she didn't notice. He figured the answer would be silence but when he looked up, not only was she standing next to him, she was looking in the drawers for the needed utensils.

'Very', was all she said.

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Dr. Gavin Melrose was not new to controversy, just as it was not new to him. He had royally screwed up this last Incidental creation and he knew it. It was the worst that it had taken this long to try and demolish her, but what can you do? It had taken him this long to find someone willing to do it. But that was the problem, now wasn't it? He had this gut wrenching feeling that something was amiss and this was all going to go to hell in a pretty little hand basket. It would probably be made of the skin the Uppers took off of his still living body, his heart still beating in his chest. He could see it all now...

He couldn't remember the last time he had been home period, much less the last time he had enjoyed anytime he had scraped together alone and by himself. Both, of course, not by choice. He would much rather spend time enjoying another human in the midst of passion but since that seemed to be out of the question, he himself would have to do. Who really needed a boyfriend anyway? Who really had the time? He did. He just chose not to remind himself of that so he chose to do any kind of work the laboratory would give him just so he could distract himself from, well, himself.

Hitting the button for the penthouse when he got on the elevator in his building, Gavin wondered what his suite even looked like. He knew it sure felt empty whenever he was in it despite the fact he had spent thousands of dollars upgrading or acquiring the absolute best new technology money could buy. It still didn't make him feel any less lonely, just distracted. Always distracted, that's what he always felt. Even now as he walked off the elevator and tossed his keys into the catch bowl he emptied his pockets in, he didn't notice the mess of the living room and the slight breeze that flowed through the apartment as he walked into the kitchen. He didn't even bother turning on the main lights, the dim light over the stove was often left on for nights like this. What was the point of turning them on, there was nothing here he wanted to look at. It would all just remind him that he was alone. Grabbing a beer from the door of the fridge and popping it open, he felt, however, in this moment that something might be amiss. Taking a sip while he turned around and hitting the main light switch, he realized he might be right...

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Breakfast was made and eaten rather quietly. Gregory hadn't known what it was that he had expected but her mere company was more than he could ever expect from anyone. He admired her mannerisms - the way she sat straight, the way she held her utensils and chewed her food. Truly, his proper Irish upbringing was to blame, or his ever proper English mother who was always on his case about being a gentleman. Either way, he truly was inspired by the way she held herself throughout the meal, despite the fact that neither spoke nor held any type of eye contact with him whatsoever. He might be okay with this considering he knew better than to poke the bear but, in the end, he really wanted to. He watched her finish her last bite of the blueberry waffles they had made and set her utensils down on top of her plate and was again in awe at just how beautiful she was...

'Hopefully breakfast suited your standards?'. The words fell from his lips before he knew they were spoken. He had only just caught them when she stopped chewing and looked him deeply in his eyes... How had he never noticed how much like chocolate her brown eyes reminded him? Surely her full lips were just as sweet even if her heart were bitter. Could one be accepted while the other denied?

'Quite,' he had almost missed her answer. He really must pull himself together. He was losing his mind in ways he could never imagine a person. She was just so mesmerizing. She was just another person, though! How could a human do this to another?

'I'm glad. It's a concern of mine that you are well fed.' He fiddled with his cloth napkin, noticing how below his standards it fell.

'Why?' she questioned. Will she ever only speak in such short phrases? Why did it make him nervous that she did? Did he have an answer for this question?

'I don't know. Maybe because everyone needs to eat to live and I want to make sure they aren't denying you the right to proper food intake of any sort. Maybe because you were denied food for so long that I'm worried you wouldn't want it if you were given it, I've never seen you eat up until now.'

Silence. Again. Always. Why was he letting her do this to him? What was she doing to him?

'If you're here to figure out how to get rid of me, it shouldn't worry you at all whether or not I eat or am taken care of properly.' She stated such a sad truth so sweetly, like it didn't affect her at all. Maybe it didn't, maybe she had accepted the fact. She seemed to know all about why he was here, she probably has known for quite some time. Enough time, in fact, to do nothing else but get used to the truth. It hurt him anyway still.

He didn't know what to say nor did he know what to do. He shouldn't have stayed so late but he couldn't make himself leave. She was all he thought about. She shouldn't be. He had other things to do than be here or think about her...

'Do you want the truth?'

'How do I know it's the truth?'

'I have a feeling you would be able to tell', she was speaking to him!!

'Sure, I guess', the way she rolled her eyes at him was beyond sexy and far greater than anything his heart could control. It was already ready to pump out of his chest.

'I need you to be healthy when I figure out a way to get you out of here.'

The look in her eyes showed she knew for sure that he was telling the truth. He took that look for gospel, even if he wasn't sure it was the truth or not.

'No, officer. I don't know who would do this,' Gavin was getting tired of answering questions. Particularly this one, which had been asked more times than was really necessary. How many times were they going to ask the same damn thing? Was the answer going to change? Somewhere along the lines, maybe he wished it would. Maybe they'd be able to get to finding this person and get him or her into custody. That right there would ease a lot of pressure.

'And the last time you were home, you didn't notice anything out of the ordinary?' The officer, a tall, very muscular, Hispanic male, knew he was asking useless questions and seemed to be getting annoyed hearing himself ask them over again. He really wasn't bad to look at. A fully tattooed left arm took some of the frustration out of hearing him speak the same words over again. Was it the third or fourth time he asked that question? Who cared, really now? Gavin was beginning to wonder where under his short sleeves that tattoo ended. Was it strange that he was this curious? He wasn't attracted to men. But this one's artwork had him wondering if his arms could do more than just look beautiful...

'Dr. Melrose? Do you have an answer to my question?' the officer pushed impatiently.

'I'm sorry. What was the question?' Gavin had lost track of where he was. Further thoughts of what could be under that uniform had distracted him more than it should have.

God, don't tell me you're so lonely that you're going to fall for the first gorgeous creature that pays you their undivided attention. He's getting paid to sit here and talk to you.

'I take it you're not home enough to really notice any changes in the environment. The doorman, Mr. Forest, says you rarely come home and when you do you leave just as quickly as you come. Did you notice anything out of place the last time you went home and maybe you just forgot about it?'

I wanna come, alright, but not like that... Did I just think that?

'Um, no. I didn't notice anything out of place. And Mr. Forest is correct. I'm rarely ever home. Looks like I might have to change that,' Not that I want to. This is all out of need, unfortunately.

'Well, just to be on the safe side, I think we're looking towards having a guard put of you. Just in case. It looks like you're quite the big deal. I've read a few of your papers and they are mighty interesting. It wouldn't be too far fetched that whomever this was, was probably thinking, as famous as you are, that you have a little bit more invested into your penthouse than they thought you did. You said yourself, that you didn't put that much effort into buying anything too expensive for the apartment, correct?'

'Yes, everything was actually the hand me downs I gained while still in med school. I didn't see any point in buying new things.' With his head hung low, Gavin immediately felt like an idiot for saying that much. The cop didn't care what was happening to him. Why did he even feel like this?

'Well, we're going to figure this out, Dr. Melrose. Thank you for your time,' pushing his chair back and standing up, Gavin realized he had missed the officer's name completely.

'Thank you, as well, officer?' he asked getting up and extending his hand.

'Sanchez. Deputy Miguel Sanchez. My pleasure,' grasping Gavin's hand, the look in his eyes showed Gavin that he had felt something, too.

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Today had to be one of the longest days to happen yet. Although she knew that was physically impossible, even considering the time of year, Ayla had no doubt that it was due to her impatience about finding out what exactly it was that Dr. Lamont had meant by his recent statement. She knew that he was telling the truth, that much was impossible to deny. She had caught the drift that he was serious about getting her out of here but he couldn't do it alone, not even with her help. Who would help them if they couldn't escape alone. There were too many security threats against them as she was quite possibly the highest guarded specimen in this joint. She wasn't even sure, exactly, where this 'joint' was located. She knew she was created here, as were all the Incidentals but where was here? Her original was born in New York and raised in Connecticut. Here could possibly be in one of those two locations. But what if it wasn't? Gregory, of course, had to know where they were located. He mostly likely also knew the complex well. At least Ayla hoped. Is this what being scared felt like? She had no clue.

The door opened before Ayla heard it, which was unusual because of its weight. She must have been so distracted by her thoughts just then but was even more perplexed by the sight of Dr. Melrose walking through the door. He never looked well but right now he looked far worse for the wear. This feeling that had been holding her captive elevated slightly. Why was beyond her, really, but it did and she had no clue as what to do about it. With no other options coming to mind, she sat herself down at the table placed in the middle of the room, looking at anything but him while she waited to find out what it was that he could possibly want.

'It smells wonderful in here. I heard Dr. Lamont made you breakfast. I assume it was amazing, of course,' he stated, almost friendly. Making small talk was never his strong suit and now hadn't changed a thing. With the exception that now he seemed a bit nervous, almost agitated. He fiddled with a file in his hands before placing it on the table and sitting down. 'I'm not here to chit chat but I suppose you already know that'. Placing his head in his hands, he seemed to struggle how to move forward with this conversation.

'I caught on, yes.' The mere surprise in her simple answer showed on his face. He hadn't thought she would speak to him at all as she rarely, if ever, spoke to anyone. Period. Dr. Lamont must have had a break through during their meeting this morning. Could timing be any more amazing? There must be a full moon, or something coming along. Although, no one ever really believed in that anymore. Certainly not Gavin. Right?

'I, um, was wondering, if you're up to speaking to me some more, if I could ask you a few questions. Test along a few notes that were taken about what it is you can or cannot do. I doubt any of us really know for sure. Except for you, of course. You would know what it is you can do, after all, correct? You are, after all, within yourself. Um...' fiddling with the file again, he pulls a pen out of his shirt pocket and opens it, pulling out a blank pad of paper and what looked like a police report. Ayla could smell that it was recently printed out. Or at least in the last twenty four hours. She could also tell that the cop that took the report was highly interested in the doctor, and vice versa, even if either one of them didn't want to admit it out loud. This should be interesting. Really.

'Shoot.'

'What?' Gavin looked up so quickly, he should have given himself whiplash.

'I'm feeling generous. Let's find out what I can do,' crossing her arms on the table in front of her, she tried not to give away that she already knew what was about to go down.

science fiction
Jacqueline Courtney Rios
Jacqueline Courtney Rios
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Jacqueline Courtney Rios

A Type 1 Diabetic, epileptic in Stage 4 Kidney failure trying to raise an autistic teenage daughter all by herself (with a little help from her family).

See all posts by Jacqueline Courtney Rios