How Curious

They said it would revolutionize the world. Bring peace and reduce the risk of casualties. Set the world’s population back on the right track. Many laughed and waved off such a notion. There was a few that took a morbid interest in such studies. The studies of human genetics and longevity. It was risky, of course, as was all forms of science. It was a risk they were willing to take and in time the funding was raised. Now it was almost midnight, many of my colleagues had gone home. The only one remaining was the young, exuberant Dr. Jeremy Hoskins. He was a relatively fresh face in the field, but one of the founding members of the project. It was simple, they would take human DNA and simply tweak it a little. Enforce stronger genetics to create what most would call a superhuman. Their current subject was presumably male. They didn’t put much thought into gender, but wanted a base to work with, so to speak.

Jeremy was a bright young man of only thirty-two. He’d studied genetics and medicine for years. He originally intended to become a physician, but was sidetracked by the mere idea of prolonging human life. I watched my colleague as he sat hunched over a desk. A small lamp providing the only source of light. A notepad was open before him as he scribbled, furiously. I could faintly pick up the mutterings of what I assumed were equations. Always hard at work, Jeremy. You should take a break, go home and rest. You shouldn’t be here in this dim, stuffy room on a weekend. I mused on this for a moment more, standing in my vantage point just across the room. Rhythmic beeping became mere background noise now. The sterile scent of chemicals and cheap air fresheners filled the room. The smells were so stifling they caused a deep ache in my head. I opened my mouth to voice my complaint. Maybe Jeremy could so something about this. He was always there to lend a helping hand.

The mutterings continued for an hour more, then came the cry of frustration. The pen flew from the young man’s hand. The small instrument clinking against the large glass tank in the back of the room. Tubes coiled in a serpentine fashion around the cylinder. A faint blue glow highlighting machines connected to said tubes, working diligently to pump oxygen and morphine to the large form within. The subject wore only a pair of tattered clothing. Greyish skin covered in small wires and tubes fed into the veins and arteries. A computer kept constant readouts of their vitals. The night shift was always so boring for me and Jeremy. Nothing to entertain us but ourselves. It was quite depressing, really. Well depressing would be the word for it, I suppose. I’ve never been much good with words, you see. I was a being of action and impulse. My colleagues always did the talking for me. They said it was due to shyness or something called selective mutism. Whatever it was, I was never the main focus of attention in a room. Unless of course, Jeremy was there. Jeremy had a habit of engaging me in one sided conversation. Smiling and waving his hands about as he described things I could only struggle to understand.

I liked Jeremy, he was a brilliant young man, wise beyond his years. The others I could care less for. They always stared at me in disgust and anger. Speaking in hushed tones when they were in the room with only me to witness them. It was quite adorable really, thinking they could keep an upper hand above me. Because I was considered simple and lifeless. It was true I never really engaged much in conversation. A slight nod or twitch of a hand now and then to prove I was paying attention. There was that incessant beeping again! It seemed to be growing steadily louder and drew my attention away. Jeremy had noticed this as well and rose from his chair. Crossing the room in long, quick strides, he stopped before the large tank. Peering inside the murky depths, then checking the computer for answers.

“What seems to be the trouble today, Adam?”

I simply turned my head towards him, peering at him in a questioning manner. What was the problem? I grew curious and turned to the monitors, twitching my hand in response. “Seems the morphine’s losing it’s effect. You seem restless.” Jeremy, tapped a few keys and a quiet whirring sound filled the room. One of the tubes, attached to the being’s wrist ceased pumping fluids. Another twitch was the response as I watched him work. A short grunt escaped the being, alerting Jeremy to the issue. There was a term for what they called the creature. It had been tossed around for a short time, before they finally agreed upon it. Homunculus. Derived from the Latin term for “Little human” but the creature was far from little. It appeared almost as an adult with fully functioning limbs and sharp senses. It had started as a placeholder term, but the concept it was based on fit their project. Jeremy pressed a few more keys and a new liquid began to pump through the tangle of tubes. Another grunt as the numbers fell back down to a more steady level.

I turned to Jeremy with an approving glance. Jeremy always knew what to do. Unlike the others who stormed and fiddled with the settings and caused the being so much pain. They called it experimenting and stimuli. Fancy terms for causing as much pain as possible. How I hated our other colleagues. They didn’t have the same passion and drive as Jeremy. “Good work, Jeremy. As always” I intoned, pleasantly. Jeremy merely gazed my way and then returned to his desk. Scribbling started up again, but this time he seemed more at ease with himself. The night went on without much else, that was until the clock struck three in the morning. Jeremy had fallen asleep at his desk, which was the usual for these long nights. I simply let him be, relaxing in my own area and eventually falling into unconsciousness as well..

In the early hours of the morning, a small group of scientists entered the room. These would be our colleagues. Jeremy was wide awake and pacing the room to collect data. I opened my eyes and glanced around. I was greeted with immediate disdain, as was the normal day to day thing. I never knew exactly why they disliked me, but I suppose it would explain itself in due time. I was once again distracted by that infernal being. Deciding to put an end to it, I reached up and carefully pried off the wires attached to it’s chest. Glancing down, I unhooked everything else before slipping the tube from my wrist. It was becoming quite a nuisance to be quite honest. The medicine had long since stopped helping and it was feeling a little cramped. Long, bony limbs reached across to the small slip between the inside of the tank and the outer wall. The slot where all the wires and tubes fed through. A small button was located just through the slot, which was quickly pushed. The murky, sterile water was swiftly drained from the tank. Pausing to open my mouth, stretching my jaw muscles and taking in some much needed air. It was beginning to get rather difficult to hold my breath for too long.

Another irritating sound filled the room. This time in the form of a shrill alarm. The men in the room scrambled to the source, sheer terror etched onto their features. The pressures decompressing and regulating with the normal oxygen levels. My colleagues began to shout and scramble around, trying to keep the creature in place. But my focus was only on Jeremy. Good, charming, innocent Jeremy. I hated to have it end like this. But they should have listened. They had said it didn’t bode well to toy with God’s work. Man was never truly meant to live forever. Not a moment longer and the door popped open with a quick burst of air. The hysteria and confusion in the room only grew. I gazed on, looking quite serene despite my colleagues imminent demise. I really should have warned them, but who’s to say they would have listened to my insane ramblings. After all I’m just a simple creature who shouldn’t even exist. Only around to be their plaything and make them believe they were creating something remarkable. How arrogant mankind has become!

“I’m sorry, Jeremy.”