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  • Writer's pictureKelsey Reyes

The Scientist

Flash | Sci Fi | ~1000 words

The color of her blood was the least of my worries, but they kept telling me anyway: Red, red, red.

“There’s something red on your shirt.” (Yes, I know.)

“Your pants have a red stain.” (I am not surprised.)

“Did you spill something red on you?” (It was spilled, but not by me.)

I didn’t say these answers out loud, but I heard them in my head as I pushed my way forward. I can’t believe I wasn’t covered, that I wasn’t drowning in the thing that until just now had kept her so perfectly alive. I couldn’t believe how little had to be spilled in order to cause the end. Somehow, I escaped with only a few flecks here and there, small enough to not raise the alarm for anyone who saw me.

But my mind was all alarms. I was plagued with a ringing that filled my head and made it hard to focus, hard to speak, for all I wanted to do was wail. Like a dog barking after an ambulance gone down the road, I wanted to harmonize with the sirens going off inside me, let out the sound I could feel pressing at the back of my throat so that my grief could enter the ears and minds of others through that one mournful note, and I would not have to bear the pain alone.

But they wouldn’t understand. I kept it in. I continued my way down the street, ignoring my neighbors and well intending passersby who continued to kindly point out that my business attire seemed to have been marred by some errant ketchup or wine or tomato sauce.

If only they knew.

Things had been going so well. It seemed I had finally perfected my craft. The woman had been fashioned to perfection. When she rose, she rose as mine. She blinked her eyes and I told her her name, and she was accepting—one would hope perhaps even thankful, though that sentiment was something she had of course not yet learned to express.

It was my most successful attempt yet. To gather the materials had taken ages, and I was careful this time. Everything had to be perfect. And it was. She was. She was perfect, and she was alive—in every basic sense of the word, at least—and she was mine.

The early days went beautifully, if not marred here and there with some misunderstandings, some lessons learned, but we began to grow together in the way that couples do where they become more like one another. She was easy to mold so that she filled the space where before I had felt empty. Her presence in my home, her waiting for my arrival after I had gone away, the way she looked at me like I was the thing that made her world spin—and from her perspective, I essentially was, wasn’t I?—was exactly what I needed.

It didn’t occur to me that she would need more.

She grew, all right. She grew, first, from an empty-headed human chimera—an amalgamation of parts and pieces scoured from near and far—to the woman of my dreams. She became exactly what I’d hoped she would—the woman who knew what to say, what to do, and how to please. She was mine, and she was finally perfect. And I expected her to stop there. Stupid. I didn’t foresee this eventuality. I’d never gotten this far. But soon, she had outgrown the role I had created her for. She wanted more. She wanted to learn. To think. To explore. She wanted to be hers, rather than mine.

Of course I forbade it. It hadn’t occurred to me that she would have developed the capacity to defy me. That was a lesson learned all too late.

When I tried to undo the damage that had been done, she resisted. Resisted! Me! Her creator! Well that wouldn’t do.

I locked her away. I took from her until she understood that she only had what she had because I was the one who had given it. And, finally, she seemed to understand. She was contrite. Loyal. Pliable once again. Back to the woman I had molded from the start. And I am a weak man. It would be foolish to say I didn’t love her. What man doesn’t love his own creation? And so I let her convince me that she would be good.

I thought everything was as it should be. I thought we were happy. The last thing I had expected was the knife. She brought it down so expertly. Where did she learn that? How did she know of all the life-sustaining veins and arteries I worked so hard to connect within her? How did she understand that severing them at just the right place would bring it all to an end? All her precious blood spilled, the blood that I had taken so long to collect, simply wasted. It didn’t have to be this way.

But this is the way it went.

So now I’m walking. To where? I don’t know. But when they find the body, I don’t want to have to be around to explain. I wonder if they can identify all her parts, or if they’ll consider her a Jane Doe forever. I wonder what they’ll think of my craftsmanship. I know they won’t agree with me that what I’ve built should be mine to destroy—or at the very least I shouldn’t be punished when it decides to destroy itself.

So I’m walking, trying not to draw attention as I make my way right out of this town and to the nearest train station. I’ll ride it until I get far enough away that news of what they found will never be able to cling to me. I miss her, and it hurts that she’s gone, but I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ll start fresh. I’ll try again.

This time, it will be different. I just know it.


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