Fiction Fragment Friday
This weeks story came from a concept that got stuck in my head. As I wrote it I got near the end and realized that I hadn’t actually told a story just given a prose monologue explaining a situation. With that in mind I went back over it and added elements to build up to a new ending. I admit it isn’t much story and is mostly world and character building. Maybe I’ll return to the world in a future Fiction Fragment Friday and give the aftermath from the perspective of the person being replaced.
Every morning I wake up and do my best to follow a consistent routine. The universe doesn’t always allow this to happen, but most mornings I can achieve some semblance of it. If I can get a shower and coffee, I am always grateful. In my life you learn to really appreciate this simple pleasure because it is not always available. On this morning I was lucky enough to have warm water, good coffee, and food to make a satisfying breakfast. It was a strong start to a day.
After taking my time to recharge I move on to the next part of my routine. The details of this are different, but it is almost always part of my day. I need to see what is going on in the world today however I can. Sometimes it is looking through a newspaper, sometimes it is watching the news, but this morning it was looking through the internet on my phone. Having a working phone was also a good way to start the day because I could look over my e-mails and calendar. Determining what my day was supposed to look like could be more important than knowing what is going on in the world.
Finally, I needed to find out how this world was different. Since I was a teenager every night when I go to sleep, I wake up in an alternate reality. I’m not really sure if alternate is the right term for it since at this point, I don’t know if I would even know my original reality. Since most worlds are just slightly different and I frequently don’t ever know what is different, so it is possible I don’t jump realities every single night. It is also possible that it started a lot earlier than I think it did. Maybe I have always switched worlds every night.
On that morning I had no problem figuring out what made this world different but have no idea where it initially diverged. In this world cloning has been embraced and they have brought back hundreds of historical figures. Scientists, musicians, and anyone of note that they could get viable DNA for. They don’t seem to have a way to artificially age the clones, so they must age at a normal human rate. These clones are groomed from birth to surpass the potential that the originals had shown. I can’t help but wonder if they clone them in staggered batches so they will always have these individuals at a peak age.
This change is drastic enough that technology differences can be seen. Genetics technology have allowed for cures to many diseases prior to birth. Those rich enough can tweak the genes of their children to increase potential physically and mentally. They seem to be getting closer to artificial aging because they can grow cloned organs in a matter of months for transplant. This shift in resources though comes at the cost of other technology that I’m familiar with. It certainly will be an interesting world to explore.
Once I figure out what this version of me does for a living, I call in sick to work. It is difficult to not stand out around people who know me in worlds this different from what I think of as my own. I only have one day here, and I want to make the most of it. That means seeing a few movies filmed with younger versions of the stars that look like they did when the original movies were made. I also buy tickets to a concert that night of a band that died when I was too young to see them. It looks like the new version has recorded four albums that the original never did. I hope they still play plenty of the classics that I know.
I can’t help but wonder what happens to the version of me that used to live here. Do they come back when I leave? Are they buried inside my own mind suppressed until I leave? I do know that I inhabit their body and not my original. This is obvious by changing facial hair, physique, and scars from world to world. I know that every version of me can’t be doing this because each new world I jump into the version of me there has an established life. You can’t hold a stable life if you are a new person every day.
I have been to post-apocalyptic universes, but always ones that I am still alive in. I wonder how many worlds could be out there that I have never seen because I don’t have a version of myself to inhabit. It is one of the many questions I have that I can never talk to anyone about. It is a very lonely life never having real friends and having to avoid the significant others of my alternates. It just wouldn’t be right since I don’t know them. Those worlds are the ones where it is hardest not to negatively impact my alternate’s life on my day taking a joy ride in their body.
It is not all bad though. Days like this one are the ones I look forward to the most. I get to enjoy new entertainment and find food that I can’t get in every world. The best part is not having to see anyone who knows me so I can just be myself and not pretend. Of course, that leads to the question of who I really am since I play a role almost every day. I’m not sure if I have ever developed a sense of self. I shook my head to clear my thoughts as they were getting far too deep for a fun day.
I stepped out into the world really looking forward to my day. That was when I made my mistake. I looked to the left to make sure the road was clear and stepped out. The car coming from the right hit me hard tossing my body up and into the windshield. My body rolled off and hit the street coming to a stop. Every part of it hurt and my mind was frantically trying to figure out what had happened. My vision was blurry, but I could just barely see the driver getting out of the car. That was when I realized my mistake. In this world cars in the United States drive on the left side of the street and I didn’t think to check for it.
The world starts to fade from my senses, and I realize I’m losing consciousness. The moment I do I will leave this world and my alternate will be left dealing with the consequences of my stupidity. If he survives. My fun day slips away from me, and it is all my own fault. I silently apologize to myself on my way out.