First part found here.
So, heya. It’s me- your little old narrator, bringing you up to speed on what happened since the last part of the story. At this point, Skyla, the clone, was still dead. 9836-A, the monstrosity, was still out of his cage and the Doc had spent the six weeks since Skyla’s death freezing old Jessica out- she didn’t even know Skyla had died. Jessica was still researching Skyla’s language and hoping that the Doc would decide to let her work with the clone again. You may have noticed that the Doc looks pretty bad in all this but- well, he was not so bad as he seems or, at least he wasn’t once he figured some big stuff out. Unfortunately, that still didn’t happen for a while- therefore, you’ll have to bear with him as he was then. So, to get back to the story, you really oughtta start out with some current events-“A ninth murder victim was found in the city’s impoverished west ward last night as officials still refuse to comment on allegations that the investigation into a string of brutal slayings in the last month and a half has been mishandled,” squawked the small radio that sat on the desk at which Doctor Dennis Mears was working. “Preliminary findings suggest that this latest death is connected to the previous murders, despite the arrest of several suspects in the killings. A copycat killer has not been ruled out. Critic’s claim that Commissioner Darvin’s Office has been slow to respond to the murders because of the ethnicity of the victims. The Mayor’s Office has been quick to downplay the allegations of racism and is stressing that the best way city residents can aid the police effort to stop this summer’s rampage is to remain calm and observe the voluntary 10 p.m. citywide curf-” Doc Mears clicked off the radio and continued his calculations.A perfect body lay, gently breathing, on a gurney before the doctor as he measured vital signs for what might have been the thousandth time in the subject’s short life. He knew all that there was to know about that particular body, which was to be expected, since he’d created it. Rechecking some test or other and adding yet another detail to his notes, he awaited the change in breathing and the soft flutter of eyelashes, that meant that his subject was about to regain consciousness. This time he was ready for her- she was already in restraints, a syringe of sedative waited at the Doc’s right hand and two attendants armed with tranquilizer guns waited outside in the corridor ready to rush in at the first indication of a disturbance.
The clone that was Skyla as much as it was not Skyla awoke. She saw Doc Mears and made to get up, but the restraints on her wrists and ankles kept her from it.
“No! Open!” she demanded, pulling harshly at them and startling the Doc with her English. “Open! Skyla open!”
Doc Mears jotted this development down in his records, picked up Happy Mister Syringe and walked over to his creation.
“Denny, thank you for making time for me.” Jessica Kelly offered her cheek for a kiss. Dennis lingered close, taking time to smell her hair. She was wearing that awful fragrance he liked- working any leg up she could use.
“I always have time for you, Kel,” he said smoothly, reveling in having the upper hand for the moment.
“Well, it’s seemed as though Skyla’s taking all your time lately. I understand how hectic it must be,” Jessica pretended. He’d been dodging her for weeks and she knew perfectly well why- he was sitting on an anthropological goldmine and keeping her on the outside. Skyla had some or maybe all of her DNA donor’s memories- memories from Ireland sometime in the first century- 2,000 years before the present. All Denny could see was the biogenetic implications, which were- okay staggering- but this woman needed to be studied. Her memories needed to be recorded, her linguistic inconsistencies explored, and she needed care- someone to protect her from-
“Kel, Sweetheart, we both know what this is about. Why don’t you just make your pitch and I’ll consider you among the candidates to work with her.”
“Candidates?” she exclaimed. “You brought me in on this in the first place!”
“Well, the troubles you had identifying her language gave me pause. I called in some other anthropologists and several linguists for a more accurate assessment. We’ve learned a great deal.”
“You do know how easily I can see through your shit, right?”
“All right, one other anthropologist.”
“You don’t know him.”
“Of course I don’t, but humor me.”
“Leakey,” he answered, giving what was probably the only other anthropological name he knew.
“Louis or Richard?”
“The late Louis Leakey, or did you clone him so he could help you with your work? Oh God, Denny! You didn’t clone Louis Leakey?”
“No. Believe it or not, I do keep my promises. I promised you I wouldn’t clone anyone else and I didn’t,” he defended.
“So there’s nobody else working with her?”
“Would you believe Jane Goodall?”
“Good Lord! You have her strapped down in that laboratory again, trying to handle this yourself because you don’t want to trust me? Dennis that’s despicable.”
“I thought I could make enough progress with her myself- I’m good with animals and small children- she should have been right up my alley.”
“Animals hate you and you make babies cry.”
“Just the one baby. I’m sure she was colicky.”
“Right. So when can I get in to see her?”
“Well actually, today would be good,” Dennis admitted.
“Hello, Skyla. It’s Jess. Do you remember me, Sweetie?” Jessica asked the clone as she entered the lab. Denny hadn’t taken her advice- the place was still cold and unwelcoming. Skyla was, as Jessica had expected, again strapped to a gurney and this time she was gagged, as well. Had her aggression towards Denny progressed to biting? Lord knew Jessica could sympathize with that urge.
Skyla looked at her warily. Jessica didn’t blame her. Jessica had tried to make her believe she was going to be treated well, but then she’d disappeared and Skyla was back in chains. “Let’s try this again, all right? Let me take the cuffs off and we’ll get you comfortable so we can start.”
“Dennis, I have a couple of questions for you,” Jessica sternly told Dennis across his desk two hours later.
“I don’t really have any more information about her language than when you last saw her, Kel. All she does is scream at me,” he told her.
“You really haven’t had any luck with her have you? She’s exactly where she was when I stopped with her.”
“I’m no you,” Denny replied.
“Very true. Listen, I’ve made some really good progress with her today- it helps to have some guidance,” she said, holding up a tome on introductory West Saxon, the language she thought closest to Skyla’s. “My theory is panning out. She seems to be speaking a dialect I can decipher.”
“So, what’s your real question?”
“I think you need to get her outside.”
“It’s out of the question. She’s shown too much of a tendency towards violence.”
“Only to you. What if I took her out, just for a few minutes- showed her some grass and trees- some things she’d recognize?”
“I’m sorry, Kel. I can’t take the chance she’d run.”
“Can I at least make her room less sterile? She might just be an experiment to you, but she’s not actually a lab rat”
“All right, but nothing she might use as a weapon or a means of escape, got it?”
In a dank and crumbling duplex across town from where Jessica and Dennis argued Skyla’s future, an abomination paced, waiting for the darked time- the hunting time. It took so long- the waiting, but he had to- had to or they’d be too quick- they’d be too many for him to catch. The place- his place once he’d pushed through a few mans and they’d scattered leaving him the place- his place- his place nosed bad- shit- he knew that word easy. The airs- winds- them- they came through in the darked time, but not in the light- in the light the winds didn’t come and the shit nosed bad.
He’d found things in his place- white and dry and little things- they tasted bad- meds bad and then he slept. The Little Man and the Big Mans and the Nosed-Good-Not-Letting-Him-Push-Through-Woman came for him. They scolded him and tranqed him and pushed him down and then he waked and they leaved- left- they left him. Dream- he hadn’t dreamed for so long- he forgot how dreams lied to him. Then he waked and knew they were lies again. He didn’t taste the white and dry and little things more- he didn’t want the dream-lies again.
When the darked time came again, he hunted and there were too many of them then and they- the too many- they made a light place- bright place. He fled- still hungry and it was bad. Then he found a good darked place- there were some to hunt there- they were still and small, but they were warm and nosed so good, so he took them- took them back to his place where the winds came and made the shit nose get little and they whimpered as he pushed them down to eat and their itchy was in the way- itchy hairs- fur- fur was in the way. Still, they satisfied for a time.
Abeag- the forever ring- Skyla they called her this time- Skyla watched the wee men and women in the box that Jess, her handmaiden, had brought her. They spoke the new language and they wore the new garments like the ones around her, but they were just the same as men and women have been each time. They were merely smaller. Jess told Skyla how the magic went- camera and satellite and electricity- Skyla didn’t need to know- she wouldn’t be there that long.
She had found the one she was to defend against- she had faced the beast and was defeated- but she knew him now. She would find him and take him with her the next time. She’d never lost before- she didn’t remember losing before- but there was much she had forgotten- she remembered that there was much that she’d forgotten. The loss- the missing-ness of those forgotten things gaped inside her like her gut had been torn out- and she knew how that felt- her gut had been torn out when she bested the Groc of the Peat- the orange-haired slobbering thing that had killed her that once.
Jess was gone to her day’s slumber and the evening meal was done. Skyla watched the wee ones in the box until she saw the beast- the one she was to take with her- in the box- ravaging and fleeing- the coward! They were all cowards- every beast she’d ever seen- cowards down to the bone. She tried to get into the box- not to save the wee men and women- Jess had told her that they were not there- they were like drawings of the true men and women held in the box. Skyla tried to get into the box to find the path to the satellite and then to the camera and to the place the beast had been. The box crackled and flamed like lightening- that path was blocked to her. Then she would take the other- the path she’d taken to him before- she pushed through her chamber door to the outside.
Something big was coming- crashing through the bits of his place. He stood to face it- push through it. It was she- the Nosed-Good-Not-Letting-Him-Push-Through-Woman, but he hadn’t tasted the white and dry and little things more. Why was this dream-lie there in his place? She pushed him down and he wanted to nose her and taste her and take her with him, but she pushed down strong and she pushed down strong again and then there were too many again. They- the too many- they made a light place- bright place again, but he couldn’t flee. The Nosed-Good-Not-Letting-Him-Push-Through-Woman pushed him down strong again and he was done. The Big Mans were there again and the Little Man behind them and the tranqs went in and it was done.