Fifteen year old Nancy Bellarmine has found a set of medical files on a girl who looks like her and has the same DNA as her, but died before Nancy was even born.
Part 1 was Feb 15, Part 2 was Feb 22. See the pattern?
I wake up suddenly, my heart pounding in my chest. I’m soaked in sweat and my breath is coming in ragged gasps. I have a death-grip on the front of my nightgown. As the panic subsides I realize I’m sitting in bed. I pull my knees up to my chest, hug them and start crying.
I’m not human.
But if I’m not human then what the heck am I?
All those files; they’re about her, but they’re also about me. I can feel it. The pictures of her look exactly like me. But that makes sense, I have the same DNA as she does. Does that mean my insides are just as screwed up? Does that mean I only look human?
What about my life? What about my memories and all the stuff that makes me an individual? What about Nancy Bellarmine? Do I even exist?
The written documents raised a lot more questions than they answered. They’re reports on me – on her – but so much of it is in long Greek words that aren’t in the online dictionary and the few that are involve medical disorders. I have no idea what it really says except for one word.
It’s like in those superhero movies; I’m a mutant, the next step in human evolution or something like that. And that means people are going to hate me. I just wish the whole thing came with super powers like it does in the movies. What happens if I go all flesh-eating zombie on people, or break out in green skin and warts?
I wish I hadn’t looked at those files.
A shiver grabs my back and shakes it. A sense of coldness soaks through my spine and then my entire body. When my teeth start chattering I realize it’s time to do something about it.
The shower is warm and wet, more water sluicing down my body but this time in a good way. The aroma of the body wash is soothing and the action of scrubbing down my skin with the loofah is scraping away the alien and leaving nothing but the old Nancy, the one who isn’t scared and alone and ashamed. I take the time to wash my hair too, as much to extend the warmth and comfort of the shower as for general cleanliness.
When I finally shut the water off Mom’s banging on the bathroom door.
“Nancy honey, are you all right? It’s two o’clock in the morning.”
What can I say to her? No Mom, I’m not all right. I’m a mutant monster; any second now I’m going to sprout tentacles and tear you apart. I grab the edge of the sink and make up a half-lie.
“I’m fine, Mom. I just had a bad dream and woke up all sweaty and disgusting.”
“Do you need to talk about it?”
This time it’s a complete lie.
“No, I’m okay. I’ll be all right.”
I take my time drying off, doing a careful inspection as I go. Nothing seems to be missing and there’s no extra body parts sticking out. It’s not until I take the towel off my head and start the quick-brush of my hair that I notice it’s about two inches longer than when I went to bed.
I am such a freak.