The Evolution Of Private Jackson

Flash Fiction

Image Credit: Filmer Kewanyama

Felix Jackson enjoyed a charge of adrenaline as he made his escape from the military asylum. The first slice of freedom since being cooped up in that freak tent. By the time the sirens sounded and the recovery teams dispatched, Felix reached the city limits.

A few drinks to spread the wings and pacify the nerves sent Felix to Kilroy’s Pub. Once the bartender eyeballed Felix, the man reacted as if Felix were a ghost from the dead instead of a straggler jonesing a cold one.

“Anything wrong?” Felix asked, noticing the bartender’s nervous and suspicious demeanor.

“You remind me of somebody I once knew. Spitting image of a soldier who used to drink here,” said the fidgeting bartender.

“No kidding. What gives?” Felix asked him.

“His entire company got wiped out. Last I heard, he didn’t make it.”

“Sorry about your friend,” Felix said, asking for a beer and a shot of whiskey.

Felix remained confused, but not frightened. Long-term memory scrubbed clean, short-term a blur. Head trauma takes time, and his memory would remain in fragments before returning in full blocks. So they told him.

Outside Kilroy’s, Felix spotted the fleet of black Hummers with tinted windows and matte finish that patrol the base. Felix guessed the trucks were out trolling for him.

When Felix started the opposite way, he heard the Hummers fire up. Once Felix broke into a sprint and ran off, the Hummers erupted and pursued. Felix dashed an alley where it spit him onto another sidewalk. The Hummers converged, but to no avail, as Felix managed to evade them.

Felix entered an Internet cafe and went online. He began with a web search using any keywords he could muster. Combat soldier, the base, the battle the bartender spoke about.

A slugline posted on a newspaper’s website. Felix opened the link. Local Soldier Killed During Combat Operations. Pictures of Felix in his army uniform and high school yearbook accompanied the headline.

An image of a young woman mourning at a funeral. Felix clicked the thumbnail, gazing into a blown up photo of his wife. Felix paused, waiting for his mind to load more memory of a woman and marriage he couldn’t fathom, much less remember.

Felix decided to visit the woman and straighten this mess out. Put an end to this cruel joke called a classified experiment. The nerve of the military and their monkey business. Who am I? Felix? A clone? Back from the dead? What right does anyone have to do this?

Outside the cafe, a platoon of special agents in dark camouflage hemmed the sidewalk to surround him. A pack of Hummers crowded the street, cornering a trapped Felix.

With strict orders to apprehend and not to harm, the agents fired their taser guns. The wires struck, shocking Felix as he crumpled to the ground, stiff and subdued.

Back in the control room, generals, scientists, and tech executives monitored the events. The brass made it clear, the next time a subject escapes the base, heads will roll.

In moments, the replicated Felix was on a stretcher and loaded into a military vehicle. The modified man felt the wheels beneath him as the caravan aimed for the military base, more genetic trials, and evolution of Felix Jackson.