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Part of a science fiction collection I am working on at the moment. 

 

Run Along

By Ronald Cypress

 

The doctor told May Gardner that she and her daughter looked as if they are both doing well. She sat down next to May on the couch. May knew that the doctor was only being partially truthful. There was a look of concern on May’s face, and she knew that it had been there each time the doctor had come to see her during the past five years. The look came mostly because there was still so much doubt.

Alexia hopped up from where she had been playing on the floor and ran out of the living room.

The doctor commented on how much energy the girl had. She asked if May could remember being as energetic when she was that age.

May nodded but fought the temptation of reminiscing or thinking too much about what she had been like when she was Alexia’s age. Since the child had come along, May had tried to constantly push her past away.

The doctor opened her case and began going through the usual papers. The routine was getting ready to start. Both of them already knew what questions the doctor was about to ask, and they both knew the answers. The two knew what May would mention when asked if she had any concerns.

The doctor commented on how it had been raining so much that week. May turned her head and looked out living room window to see that it was a bright day. The women agreed that the sunshine was a nice break.

Alexia ran into the room with a small, blue box in her hand. The box was closed, and on top of it was the picture of a smiling parrot. Alexia wanted to know if her mom could help her open the box. May took the box and quickly worked the faulty latch that kept the box closed. The top popped open, and she handed it back to her daughter.

“Here you go, Alexia. Now run along and play somewhere else until we are done here.”

Alexia took the box and followed her mother’s instructions.

The doctor wanted to know if Alexia’s looks ever freaked her out. She pointed out that the girl was starting to look more and more like May. Eventually the girl would come to look exactly like her. May said that she didn’t mind. She had always known that the girl would be identical to her. But she wouldn’t be her.

The doctor asked about Alexia’s behavior. She wanted to know if the child was still behaving normally and how the last physical exam had gone. Everything had been just about the same as last time; everything was fine. May never had any notable physical ailments, and she knew that her daughter would be the same.

The doctor wanted to know about how May was doing. She asked if May’s mind was still all right with what they had done.

May didn’t give an answer.

Instead, she inquired about the other parents who had gone through the same procedure as her. She wanted to know how they were doing.

The doctor claimed that they were doing fine as far as she knew.

May wanted to know if they faced any scrutiny.

There was going to be scrutiny until the procedure became more frequent and the public had a better understanding of what they had done.   At the time, it was still unnatural.

May couldn’t say that she completely disagreed with those who viewed it as something that went against nature. She often questioned if what she had done was right. Alexia could easily end up having a tainted future simply because of who she was and how she had been conceived.

May told the doctor that she just kept telling herself that her intentions were honorable, and all she really wanted to do was protect the girl. That was her strongest ambition. Alexia had to be protected.

The doctor complimented May on how well she was doing raising the girl.

May began to ramble about men and father figures. The doctor smiled and nodded a few times as she listened to May express some concerns, but there was mostly relief that she was going to be there to make sure what had happened before didn’t happen again. She had mentioned it many times in the past, but May had to bring it up again: her father had been horrible man.

The doctor assured her that the past had no way of completely repeating, not if May continued to be such an outstanding parent.

May’s mind seemed to start drifting off as she began talking, her eyes looking past the doctor, about how hard things had been for her and how she always wished that she could go back and change things. She mentioned that she had wanted to be an astronaut when she was a young girl. The last time she had seriously thought about that being a possibility was when she was a teenager, strung out and begging to die young.

May insisted that she had been really smart when she was younger. The doctor could observe Alexia for the proof of that. The doctor believed it. May wondered if she would still be able to become an astronaut in the future. The doctor said it was still possible. She, herself, would probably never reach the goal, but she, the girl, could.

May began to talk about her brother, and she told a story about how he had once saved a woman from drowning in a lake shortly before taking his own life. May believed her brother had been an outstanding person, and she hoped that one day he, too, would be able to experience a future that didn’t exist at the moment. The doctor told May that they weren’t quite there yet.

The doctor asked if there was anything that May wanted to tell her so she could relay it to her colleagues.

The two heard Alexia’s voice coming from down the hall.

May said she just hoped the child stayed healthy and that they hadn’t pushed nature too far as some had suggested. The doctor promised her that the child would grow to be just as healthy as May was, if not healthier.

Alexia appeared at the entrance of the living room. She wanted to know if it was okay to come out.

The girl’s face brought temptation, but May quickly struck down the past. It wasn’t really there anymore, not for Alexia.

It was a whole new start and another chance.

Only one entity would remain the same.