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Thursday, September 01, 2005
Shadow Self

Copyright 2005 Jeff Vickers

The sun broke over the rugged mountain horizon, tinting the sky a strong straw orange. At the foot of the mountain, a black BMW pulls into a parking space, guarded only by a sign reading "RESERVED: JAMES HURST." A man gets out of the car, dressed sharply in a jacket and tie, brandishing a briefcase, shades, and a smirk. As he reaches the door to Hastings Genetic Research Inc., his attempt to open the door is a failure. He is perplexed for a moment, then drops his briefcase down and searches for his keys. The moment they emerge, a janitor reaches the front door with his mop and bucket, gets his keys out and opens the door.

"Forgot your keys again, Mr. Hurst?" remarked the janitor, with a light snicker under his breath. James simply picked up his briefcase, and awkwardly brushed past the janitor into the offices. He quickly glanced at an office directory just passed reception, and put his finger by the listing "JAMES HURST, OFFICE 301", and proceeded to his left and the elevator.

A loud, electronic bell sounds, and the elevator doors slide open. James gets in the elevator, alone, and presses three. As horrible elevator music plays, James stares out into space. The elevator melts into darkness, and James is now staring into nothingness. Two red dots grow in the darkness, until two glowing red eyes are staring back at him. Another electronic bell sounds, and James finds himself suddenly back in the elevator, the doors now opening.

James slowly makes his way off the lift, and gawks first left, then right. After a moment, he turns back left, and nearly runs over a young, attractive secretary. "Mr. Hurst, oh, you're in early. Can I get you a coffee?" Hearing the word coffee caused some cog to start in James' head. "Yeah, coffee would be great. I didn't sleep well last night. Alicia, isn't it?"

"Yes Mr. Hurst. It must have been an odd night. C'mon, let's get you that coffee." James promptly followed Alicia into the kitchenette, and there she quickly poured him a cup. "One sugar or two?"

"Black" requested James. No sooner after getting the coffee, James guzzled the whole cup in one long chug. Once he finished, the kitchenette faded away, being replace by a genetics laboratory. James looked around the lab, which looked to be wallpapered with biohazard logos. Another man, in a white lab coat, stands over a covered cadaver with a syringe filled with a liquid bearing a yellow hue.

"What are you doing?" shouted James towards the unknown man in the lab. Unphased, the unknown man pulled the cadaver's arm out from under the sheet, and injected the liquid into his arm. James ran up to him, grasping both the man's arms. The needle on the syringe broke off, just before all the liquid could be injected, and the nearly empty syringe dropped to the floor, and the liquid residue immediately started burning the floor.

The unknown man, however, stood upright, and glared deeply into James' eyes. "You... your kind... will not get in my way anymore." James could not look away from the fierce, piercing glare. He could even see his own face staring back at him, but something seemed odd. James moved his head, but the reflection staring back at him stood still. James became paralyzed with fear, as the unknown man's eyes became completely black, and red irises grew out from their centres.

Alicia shook James softly, and she whispered to him "hey, those experiments are getting to you, aren't they. Good thing it's Friday, you have the weekend coming up to recover." Alicia gave James a soft smile, and left the kitchenette.

James poured himself another coffee, and promptly made his way out of the kitchen, and down the hall. He reached office 301, which read "CLONING LAB". James promptly entered the lab, the same one where he saw the unknown man. James continued on to the washroom, where there was a large basin sink and antibacterial soap. James scrubbed hard, and then quickly leaned close to the mirror to check his face. In each eye, the still image of the unknown man reflected back. James took no notice, and proceeded back to the laboratory.

James reached the lone cadaver in the lab; he removed the clean white sheet from the head and torso, and folded it down towards its legs. James stared right into the face of the body. James' lifeless body was staring back at him. "See James, I told you that your kind would no longer get in my way." Standing over James is the unknown man, holding another syringe, with a green hue of liquid in it.

"Bottoms up" the man remarked, as he injected the green liquid.

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