A letter by Subject 025, as provided by A.W. Gifford
Photography by Eleanor Leonne Bennett
If you’re reading this, I must be dead. Of course, you’ve probably already figured that much out.
I want you to know that this was all your fault. No, I’m not saying that you were a mean father when I was a kid, nor abusive. But you just couldn’t leave well enough alone.
You need to do a better job of hiding things you don’t want people to find, and never tell a child that a room is off limits. That just about guarantees the child will snoop. And yes, that means I went into your study, and discovered the truth behind my existence.
Why you kept the news articles I found in the bottom drawer of your desk, I’ll never understand. Well … I do understand. An egomaniac will always keep news reports about him.
The articles were about your cloning experiments. The first one hailed you as a hero; the first man in history to clone a primate. How proud you must have been.
I learned about this monkey in school the other day, and how it suffered and died in agony, bleeding from its eyes and ears while wailing in misery. The other kids in the class accused me of being cruel to animals. No matter the effort I made telling them that I had nothing to do with the monkey, the taunts continued simply because I am your son.
The second article turned out to be more critical. You were trying to clone a human. You were trying to clone me. The report quoted you as saying you were devastated by the death of your four-year-old son and overcome with guilt for not watching more carefully while backing out of the garage.
The article concluded by saying that you failed, but I don’t think you failed. You were scared to report your success all because you were terrified of how a judgmental society might react.
I am no longer a creation of God. I’m nothing more than a creation of men in your lab, trying to play God.
You remember those headaches I get? You know, the really nasty ones?
How have I always described them?
That’s right. Like my head’s being crushed.
Did you ever stop to think that my headaches were a residual effect of the accident?
No, of course you haven’t.
I have a gun and I plan on using it, but please don’t bring me back again. I don’t want to know what a bullet taste like.
I guess your experiment failed after all, sixteen years after it began.
I have to go now … my eyes are starting to bleed.
Subject 025, son of Dr. Richard and Laura Newbury, brother of the late Adam New bury, penned the preceding letter upon learning what his father had done. Funeral services will be held at the First Methodist Church this Friday. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to the charity of your choosing in Adam’s name.
Many of A. W. Gifford’s story ideas come from the nightmares of his wife, Jennifer. Though she too is a writer of dark fiction, she will never write these stories herself, fearing that if she does, they will come true.
He is the editor of the dark fiction magazine Bête Noire and his work has appeared in numerous magazines, webzines and anthologies.
Though he grew up in the northern suburbs of Detroit, he currently resides outside of Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and daughter.
Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 16 year old internationally award winning photographer and artist who has won first places with National Geographic, The World Photography Organisation, Nature’s Best Photography, Papworth Trust, Mencap, The Woodland trust and Postal Heritage. Her photography has been published in the Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC News Website and on the cover of books and magazines in the United States and Canada. Her art is globally exhibited , having shown work in London, Paris, Indonesia, Los Angeles, Florida, Washington, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Germany, Japan, Australia and The Environmental Photographer of the Year Exhibition (2011) amongst many other locations.