(Warning, this content may be to much for someone to read. This is a short story to prove the point of a child being more then a clump of cells in the mothers womb. The content is meant to be rough, and forward. “X No More” has graphic content and is not for the faint of heart. Please keep this in mind before you read, Thank You!)
X NO MORE– by R.D. Jess
Today’s the day! Viewing day. Mine came later than most but my project manager says it’s nothing to worry about. Some X-Doe’s never have viewing days and they get along well. I’ve been looking forward to this day my whole life… I mean who doesn’t want to meet the people who made them. I’ve been thinking about them during the long days of development. As my hands form in front of me, I think about the people who will one day hold me in their arms. Are they kind, brave or maybe a little insane. Oh no, what if they’re insane! …No, no they can’t be. I wonder how much of them is in me. Will my eyes be like my mom’s? Will my hair be like my dad’s? It’s all so exciting, I can’t wait to see.
My project manager is Blake Bisley, but I call him Mr. B. Right now he is getting things ready for my transportation to the viewing zone. I’ve stared in the mirror for 15min, wondering if I look presentable. I’ve adjusted my hat 3 times to make my head look a little less awkward. I rolled my shorts to make my legs a little longer. This is the best it’s going to get for now. A knock at the door pulled my gaze away. I ran down the stairs to open the door. Mr. B was looking at a bunch of papers on a clipboard. He didn’t bother to look up as he said “You ready X-Doe 06-2422?” Not much of a greeting I know, but that is just Mr. B for you.
“Well Hello to you too Mr. B, Long day?” He looked up from his papers looking exhausted. He had dark bags under his eyes. He tried to force a smile, but it seemed so faint.
He uttered a “Hello” before turning towards the street. I watched hundreds of X-Does exiting their houses. All dressed up for a viewing with their parents.
I closed the door behind me and chased after him. “So, do you know anything about my parents Mr. B? I’ve been thinking about them lately and…”
“Let me stop you right there. I am going to warn you once again X-Doe 06-2422, don’t spend your time thinking of them just yet. Too many get their hopes up just to have it crumble. For now you are going to show up to the meeting and focus on your development. Once your nine months are up you can leave the slums and live with your parents. Then and only then will you bask in your fun loving parents.”
A second voice interrupted, “Blake you’re such a downer, why can’t you let the kid have a little fun daydreaming.” It was another project manager named Blair. She was walking with her current X-Doe to the viewing center.
“Yeah Mr. B, why can’t I daydream?”
Blake stared down Blair. “Why would you say that Blair? You know what’s been happening lately!”
“What’s been happening lately?” The two of them stared in my direction in silence. Like deer caught in headlights. I was starting to feel knots in my chest. “What’s been happening?” They exchanged looks for a few moments. Blakes face caved and he let out a sigh. “Parents haven’t been wanting their X-Does as of late…”
“What! Why wouldn’t they want their X-Does?” Mr. B pulled me along because I stopped walking.
“They have loads of reasons. For most it’s the inconvenience of having a child. They say a child would get in the way of their dreams, their career, freedom… you name it, they’ve said it. Others have financial concerns along with the fear of being a parent. I’ve also seen a rise in pressure from their families to get rid of the problem.”
“What do you mean by get rid of?”
Blake let out a long breath. “Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.”
“But I do want to know.”
Blair’s face softened, then she placed a hand on Blakes shoulder. “I got this.” She turned and looked at me. “They kill the X-Does they don’t want.”
I halted in the bustling street. “They What! That’s absurd. Who would kill their own child?”
Mr.B walked over to me. “I know, it makes no sense. They excuse their actions by saying X-Does are only a clump of cells. A poor attempt at covering their tracks. Don’t worry, that is only a possibility. No one is saying that is going to happen to you.” Mr.B tugged on my coat and smoothed it out. “I mean who wouldn’t fall in love with you.” He slapped my shoulder “You’re adorable! Now let’s show your parents how much you’ve grown.” We began to walk through the crowd of X-Doe’s and their project managers. Everyone’s face seemed nervous. Their eyes became darty the closer they approached the center.
We filed in lines as they processed our information. It was a long wait while my little heart pounded in my chest. I began to fidget with my cord hanging by my belly. Moving side to side as each number was called. I would have chewed my nails, but they haven’t developed yet. I needed to calm down. I tried to affirm what I could in my head. “It won’t happen to me. Parents protect their children. Mine aren’t cowards, they won’t run from their responsiblity; I can just feel it. I bet their a kind people, with a laugh that will light up a room. Over the loudspeaker my number was called. “X-Doe 06-2422 please head to room A31 for your viewing.”
Mr.B grabbed my hand. “Let’s go 06-2422. I’m sure your family would be glad to see you.”
We headed down a long cold hallway with doors on either side. I watched an x-Doe being dragged from a room in a full blown panic attack. Blake pointed to the right. “Over here is your room.” We entered a room with one seat in the middle of the room. To the side was a tall desk and a stool. On the wall next to the desk was a panel with buttons and levers. Mr. B stretched out his hand to the chair. “Sit there as I pull up the screen.” He walked over to the desk and flipped through his papers again. Finding what he was looking for he pointed at the paper for a moment as he looked at the panel. He flipped a few levers and pushed a button.
On the wall in front of me a room appeared. I didn’t notice it before but the wall was like my skin. Only thin enough to see into a room. The room had a tall bed and a small rolly table full of screens. On the tall bed a woman sat slumped. A man stood next to her with a hand on her shoulder. I asked “Are they..?”
“Yes, they are your parents.” Mr.B responded.
I slid to the front of my seat. “Wow, look at them!”
Mr. B left his desk and moved his stool to the corner. “06-2422, you will not be able to hear them since your ears aren’t fully developed yet. They will not be able to hear you, so just sit back and watch.”
On the screen a lady walked in with a file and sat by the computer. I could not hear what was being said, but I soaked in every minute of it. Both of my parents had black hair, so I began to imagine myself with black hair. Their heads nodded from time to time. I turned to Mr.B “Do you hear what they are saying?”
“Could you tell me what they are saying?” He stood blank faced. “Please, Mr. B”
He hurumfed and leaned against the wall. “Right now they are just talking about family history and any possible health problems.”
My eyes grew wide. “Does she have health problems?”
“No, she is perfectly fine.” He opened his mouth to continue speaking but froze. His face turned to shock.
“What’s wrong, what are they saying?” His mouth moved without words as he worked himself to speak. He cleared his throat “They’re descusing an abortion… They might get rid of you.”
I Jumped up. “NO! You can’t do that to me. I’m your son!” I ran to the screen and pressed my hand on the image. As if I could reach out and touch them. At that moment my mom flinched and looked down at her stomach.
Her mouth moved then my fathers. Mr.B spoke “She said, she thought she felt you move. They’re telling her it’s too early to feel the baby’s movements.” He stood up, “Wait! Your Mothers telling them that she’s rethinking the abortion thing… You might be fine!”
“Really! Yes, oh thank you.” My head slumped on the screen, pressing into the flesh.
“Hold on kid, your father doesn’t sound like he’s on your side. He’s telling your mother they have to go through with it. They still need to finish school and he’s concerned about what their family’s would say.” I watched my parents’ mouths move. Tears fell from my mothers face and my father’s eyes pierced the tension.
I wished beyond hope she would fight for me. I couldn’t help whisper, “Fight for me, I need you. Fight for me… please don’t back out on me.” I looked back at Mr. B. “Please, tell me what they’re saying.” His face became flushed and his eyes began to plead.
He cleared his throat, “Please don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answers to.”
My heart began to race and a fighting spirit rose in me. I walked over to Mr. B and tugged on his coat. “It’s my life on the line, don’t hide from me what might be my fate. I deserve to know, there’s no sugar coating it now.”
He walked past me to the screen in a trance. “I’ve worked here my whole life 06-2422. I know more than anybody the value of these children. I know before they do, the genetics, the personality and skills of every child. So when they started to call you X-Doe’s instead of children I was confused. That confusion didn’t last long. I began to hear people say that you are all just a clump of cells.” He turned to look at me with tears in his eyes. A gentle smile crossed his face. “You’re not just a clump of cells. You’re going to be quite the man.” His face fell and he turned back to watch the people through the screen. “That is, if they don’t back out on their responsibility. Your father is trying to sooth your mother, explaining that you are not a real living being. So, it won’t hurt anyone to get rid of you.” His face froze and I turned my attention to the people on the other side.
My mother nodded her head, and my fathers face seemed to ease up. Whatever tension was held there once before was gone. He hugged her and the nurse turned to her desk and started to fill out some stuff. I knew what was decided. I ran to the screen, “NO, NO! Don’t listen to him. How dare you father! At what point am I going to be human enough for you? I might not look like much now, but you looked this way at one point too!” I began to pound the screen. “When, tell me when will I become life in your eyes.” I smacked my chest, “I have a heart that beats just like yours does. Just because I don’t look like you doesn’t mean I am less!” my voice cracked and tears began to fall. “I’m not just a clump. Please don’t do this.”
The door swung open and men began to pour in. They were covered in black. One spoke with a deep voice, “It’s time to go 06-2422.”
I glanced at Mr. B who was walking back to the desk. Head hung low as he rubbed the back of his neck. “Mr. B, you can’t let this happen to me!” He flipped off the screen and began to pack up papers.
“Please, I… I’m scared. Can you come with me?”
He lifted his head and froze. The men grabbed my arms as I struggled to stay. Mr. B turned his face to me. Sorrow weighed on this man’s face. The dark bags made more sense to me now. How many X-Doe’s did he watch get dragged off. Pleading, crying and finally asking to not be alone as their parents kill them. His voice squeaked and cracked as he spoke. “I can’t watch another one be brutally ripped apart. I wish I could be there for you, but… I can’t.” He walked over and patted my shoulder. “You deserve a name, if you will let me… I think a great name for you is Ethan, which means enduring strength. You are such a brave lad.” He knelt down and kissed my forehead. He turned away and walked back to his desk.
Flopping on to his stool and resting his elbows on the desk. His hands grabbed his head. The men began to pull me away. He was going to let them take me away to my death. I knew what he said, but I couldn’t help crying out. My “please” came out with a whimper. “Please… Don’t leave me alone. Don’t let them kill me!”
As they pulled me through the door I heard a soft whisper from Mr. B. “Lord have mercy on us all.”
They dragged me through the hallway. At first I was hysterical. It felt like they were tearing me limb from limb as they dragged me. I don’t know when this happened but it was like I gave up. Something snapped in me, I felt numb. I walked with the men to my pending doom. Thinking about why this was happening to me. Am I not enough, my parents never wanted me. I’m worthless. What a stupid clumps of cells I am. Waiting day after day to meet the people who were going to sentence me to death. The men opened a door at the end of the hallway. They placed me in a seat and left. I heard the door close, and the latch lock. I was all alone in the bare room. There was a small hole on the wall where a shiny claw-like thing came through. Scared by the contraption I ran to the door, dread pumping through my body. I shouted “Help, help…someone please help me!” It grabbed my foot and pulled. It was the most terrifying thing. My screams filled the room, but I never heard them. I grabbed the door knob with all my strength. Pain overwhelmed me. I was too afraid to let go, but the pain won in the end. I fell to the floor and it dragged me across the ground. The hole on the wall seemed more terrifying the closer it got. “Haaaa!” I flipped over to grab onto the floor. Regretting my choice to let go of the knob. I didn’t want to die. I scrambled for anything and everything. It lifted me into the air. One moment fear overwhelmed me, the next was pain. Sharp, mortifying pain as my leg was ripped clean off. I dropped to the ground and rolled over in time to watch my leg be pulled through the hole. I laid screaming for a moment. “Why? Why won’t someone help me?!” The pain lessened when I saw the great shiny claw again. Fear took its place. I scrambled to get away. Heat flushed my face, feelling absolute panic coarse through my veins. My face scrunched under the strain. My eyes widened when I felt the clamp grab my other foot. “No, no,no,no…Aaaah!” I slid across the warm blood. Moving faster to my demise on the slick ground. Then Snap! My second leg was ripped clean off.
Tears ran faster this time. I heaved in pain, but was determined to crawl away as fast as I could. Knowing the claw would return. I pulled myself slowly through the sticky red ground. I struggled to catch my breath through the crying. I felt the cold claw once again. I pulled myself across the ground. I held on tight to the edge of the chair, but that did not save me. My arm was next to go.I slumped in anguish. Why, why was this happening? The claw returned and I had nowhere to run. The floor was too slippery to drag myself across. I just cried as fear and pain claimed what was left of me. Who deserved such a brutal death? Being ripped limb from limb? And for what, the comfort of my parents? My arm ripped clean off, adding to the warm mess under me. I could only wait for its return. I felt so numb, how could they ever justify doing this to another human being? That must be why they call me a clump of cells. That way they feel better about ripping me apart. Ironic since they are made from the same clump as me. The claw closed around my head. I didn’t know what to do. I just cried and cried. I longed for comfort, to be held in my mom’s arms. I sought comfort from a clump of cells… the only difference is they lived longer than me. Therefore they have the right to murder me. The claw pressed on my head. I wanted to pull at it, but I couldn’t. All I had was pain, fear and confusion. “Mom?…Help!” The head popped and darkness fell. If there is no justice for me, then at what point do cells earn the right to have rights? They don’t.