Today things changed. No exercise, the drones took us into the elevator instead. Before sleeping I was just thinking that it was a long time between the elevator. Was I wrong? Did something change? Do they know that I know?
The elevator went up. I could feel that. We were going up. For the third time. I was born on one floor, went up to another, than after a long time, move again up to another floor. Now we move up again. This is the third time.
This floor was different. On the other floors everything was white except the drones. The walls, the floor, our clothing, the beds, everything white. If you stared at something for too long your vision would start to swim from all the white.
The new floor has many colors. Blue. Orange. Grey. Brown. Low couches, soft chairs, paintings on the wall. I know what all these things are because I woke up knowing yesterday. The other clones are amazed. They stare at these items. They touch the like curious cats. Rub their cheeks on the soft fabric. One of them licks a painting.
I hear laughter. I see people. For the first time in this life I see people that don’t look like me. I remember other people, but I’ve never seen them before in this life. An old woman is laughing. Two young people with her smile indulgently. She finds the behavior of the other clones humorous. I feel ashamed for them. The women looks at me.
“What wrong with this one? Is she dumb?”
She doesn’t look like the people from my past life memories. She looks greasy, like her skin is soaked with something wet. I can almost see skin cells shedding off, falling around her like snowflakes. She seems both more and less real than anyone I’ve seen before. He skin looks loose and elastic like I could pull it right off her body if I wanted to.
The two young people with her assure her that we’re all the same physically. They’re dressed in green outfits that my memories say are vaguely like that of a doctor, but something else tells me that based on the way they’re acting they’re sales people. They want the other woman to like what they say very much. One is a man and one is a woman.
I want to talk to them like they are talking, I know how to do that now, but I know that would be a bad idea. If I’m going to escape it’s better that they don’t know. I shouldn’t stare at them either but I can’t stop myself. The laughing woman, who’s piled with purple cloth like she’s cocooned scowls at me.
“I don’t like the way that one is looking at me, make it stop.”
The man leads her away while the woman comes over to me and takes me by the arm. She wants to move me somewhere. I look around and realize that there are no drones here. Maybe they’re hiding somewhere.
I let her lead me to a chair and she sits me down facing the wall. She’s so much smaller than I am. Her grip is weak. I could pull away from her easily. She can’t even breathe right. I can’t help but stare at her too, even sitting down she’s barely taller than me. She frowns at me and murmurs something. She holds up something on her wrist.
“One of the new batch is acting strange, which one got bit by the snake?”
Her voice is weak and squeaky, she sounds like a little girl not an adult woman. Another voice comes from the technology on her wrist, a man’s voice but he also sounds feeble and unimpressive.
“Uh, just a second . . . 42561170 is the one that got the old toilet snake treatment. What do you mean acting strange, what’s it doing?
She holds her wrist against my chest and it chimes softly “What about 20256250? Anything anomalous in its record?”
“Uh, nope, 20256250 is clean. Why, what’s it doing?”
She stared back into my eyes “Nothing exactly, it just seems off to me. How many do we have in this batch? I think maybe we should just harvest this one now for non-custom.”
“We have plenty in this batch to cover our orders but you’ll have to put in a ticket for that one if you want to fridge it and I don’t think Gene’s going to accept your gut feeling as a reason to throw one away.”
The women look at me for a moment and smacked her with the back of her hand. It wasn’t hard, more startling than anything, but I couldn’t help but flinch back. She grabbed me by the ear and yanked, causing me to grunt in pain. She stood back with hands on her hips.
“Send in a couple drones to take this one to processing, I don’t . . .”
She gasped as I grabbed her wrist with my hand “No!”