Shot In The Dark : (Part 18 of 18)
Shot In The Dark : (Part 18 of 18) postapocalyptic stories

ferp2 Old, well, old-ish.
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Shot In The Dark : (Part 18 of 18)

It had been such a long night that Silja had no problem at all settling Anneka down for her mid-morning nap.

What with Finny having stayed the night, and having two children to care for that morning. Silja gently closed the door to Anneka's room, she was ready for an hour or so of peace.

Maybe not peace but at least time to think.

Inwardly, Silja felt apprehensive, Joe was now in possession of the files, more importantly, HER file.

Good sense and paranoid doubt were having a good old Icelandic slanging match inside her head but were interrupted by Kirsten calling from the kitchen.

Silja sighed, "Eg kem!" Then switched her conscious mind back to English as she headed for the kitchen.

Kirsten was already seated when Silja entered. The kitchen smelled of fresh bread, and the teapot stood ready for action in the middle of the table.

Kirsten smiled, Silja nodded her greeting but immediately her attention was snatched away from Kirsten to the file which lay open on the table.

Silja's heart leapt to her mouth and her eyes widened, she made her way to sit opposite Kirsten.

Kirsten's voice was soft, "No, sit next to me." She indicated the place at the table to her side, which was already set for Silja.

The file was set midway between the two places, uppermost was a photograph.

"No mistaking who this is." Kirsten smiled as Silja took her place. "It's in the eyes. Eyes never change."

Silja felt the lump in her throat rising. The bright blue eyes gazed back defiantly from under a mass of tousled blonde locks, jaw set.

She remembered the man in the white coat behind the camera telling her to smile, say cheese or something. The eight-year-old Silja stared back at her. Resistive.

Kirsten poured tea, sat quietly. Waited. When the first big tear landed with a splat on the tabletop, she pushed the box of tissues closer to Silja. Then she waited some more.

Eventually, Silja looked up and sought Kirsten's face.

Kirsten put her arm around Silja's shoulder while her hand closed over the teenager's.

Kirsten fought against the tears that were welling up inside of her but manage to keep them at bay with swallows and a strong blink.

She had already read the file a good few times, and was fully prepared for any reaction Silja's might have.

"Take your time. Have a good read, then we can decide what to do."

"You read it?"

Kirsten nodded. "I did."

Silja looked at the dossier, picked up a sheet from it, looked at it then back to Kirsten.

"I think you should." Kirsten squeezed Silja's shoulder encouragingly.

It was all there.

Silja read and re-read the dossier. Some of it was incomprehensible, scientific jargon and terms of reference, diagrams that meant nothing to a lay-person.

But beyond these, every detail of Silja's life as seen by other, heartless, ambitious eyes spoke back at her from the pages.

Pages of typed script, pages of handwritten, barely decipherable notes. Silja read it all.

How they had impregnated her mother a number of times to try and get a viable foetus from which to extract DNA.

How the pregnancies aborted too soon, and how finally her mother had weakened and died.

How after her mother died the decision was taken not to wait for Silja to reach childbearing age, but instead to take her brain stem, which would lead to her death.

An unavoidable consequence but deemed necessary because there was not enough time left. The Benefactors needed results.

She read the cold, calculated nature by which Doctor Phillips deemed it acceptable to put aside any civilised rationale in order to fulfil her ambitions.

To override any ethical or civilised consideration to reach her goal. In short, ordinary people did not matter anymore.

She read a final report. In another hand, another style. It told how a Doctor Malansky had killed Doctor Phillips.

How he had put Silja's body into a cloning refractor and had, therefore, encoded Silja's DNA into the LifeNet system,

albeit using an incorrect method which meant that the data was in the system but lost to any possible means of retrieval.

Malansky had shot himself.

Silja remembered Malansky. How he seemed far less zealous than Phillips. Of course, he scared her, but not anywhere as much as Phillips had.

Thus, Silja had been coughed out of LifeNet many many years later, just another clone to all intents. Created in a teenager's body.

Just another clone that no one would or should give any mind to.

Except this one could remember fully everything of her previous life. One moment she was eight, the next moment, sixteen.

Silja put down the pages and picked up the photograph again.

"How do you feel?" Kirsten asked quietly when she was sure Silja had finished.

Silja paused, looking at herself as she was. Finally, she took a slow deep breath.

"I.... feel... Whole?"

Kirsten saw the meaning in the way Silja looked back at her

"I thought it best, you should know everything." Kirsten paused a moment. "No one will ever know, but I thought you should know. Everything.

Because you should not have to go through life with questions about who you are, where you came from."

Silja nodded. She did feel some relief. A different view of what she could remember. No longer just a child's view.

Kirsten took a firm but gentle hold on Silja's hand. "And now?"

Kirsten knew what she wanted to do with the dossier, but it was not her decision. That decision could only come from one person.

Kirsten kept any emotion from her face except unconditional support.

In the long silence that followed, feeling the warm, soft, confiding hand on hers, Silja knew the one good decision. She decided to place her trust in Kirsten, in Joe for that matter.

She would trust them never to utter a word to anyone about what was in the dossier. Now Silja knew everything, there was no need for its existence.

She looked at Kirsten, the certainty clear in her eyes.

"We burn it."

Kirsten nodded her agreement with a warm smile.

"Except this." Silja pulled the photograph out of the file.

Kirsten hugged Silja tightly "Yep. She's cute!"

In the yard, Kirsten and Silja held hands as the flames devoured the dossier.

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