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“I forget my name sometimes because I’m never addressed by my name and it’s not how I identify myself.”
“How are you addressed?” I asked him.
“They call me Domain 1. Your mother was Domain 2. But she’s really not your mother.”
I say nothing as I watch him step around the dead men until he finds one with a similar girth to his own, then begins to strip him.
He says, “You can call me Mason. Your name Doan means DOmain ANimal.”
Mason begins to dress himself in the dead man’s clothing and I look around the vacant expansive lot, wondering why he’s not concerned about other men arriving, why he feels the need to be dressed in the man’s clothing. The lot is dark, dimly lit by one light at the top of a tall pole and the headlights of the vehicles. I can see clearly however, and through the darkness as far as my sight travels in all directions, I see no indication of buildings, people, equipment, or even security cameras up on the pole or the corners of the walls.
“What’s my real name?”
“That is your real name. You were created here.”
I look down at my hands which are mine, but not really mine, and I wonder how all this is possible. If I was created here, created to be this monster, how is it that I’m so connected to the outside world that all these things Mason tells me are so inconceivable. They should be familiar. Their assimilation of me into the real world must have been a great success, but even that world is vague and foreign to me now.
“You’re different than me. And from your mother.”
“What am I?”
“I’m not a scientist. These men,” he gestures to the men lying at our feet around us. I see my pools of blood and my severed hands and feet in a morbid display. I can only wonder how many more pieces of myself am I going to lose. “These men, they’re the scientists. They’re not soldiers, only scientists.”
“What am I?”
“You are the fetus of a wolf incubated, and as you grew, your DNA was under constant manipulation and experimentation, for the purpose of restructuring your physical form in order for you to be human. But you’re not human, you’re an animal. As your fetus grew you were physically human, but your mind was wolf. They had to culture you, teach you, manipulate you. I would say at this point 95% of your memories are false or altered. It is only now that you’ve been away from them, and I’ve been disclosing this information to you, that your 5% has come about.”
“So what am I? A werewolf or something?”
He laughs at me and it sounds absurd so I don’t blame him.
“No you can’t transform into a wolf. You’re a mutant, in a way. A contemporary Frankenstein’s monster, though pieced together in the brain as opposed to the body.”
I have so many questions it weakens me. I sit down in the passenger seat of a jeep, look up into the sky, then close my eyes. I feel human. Though maybe I don’t know the difference, since apparantly I’ve never been essentially human, so I just feel like me. “What are they going to do with Fay?” I ask without looking at him. A resolve settles over me, a deadened spirit stirs inside me, and I fight the urge within to give up. If I give up, who knows what will happen to Fay. If I give up, they’ll hunt me down and kill me. Therefore, I have two choices. One is to pursue her, and bring down this place in order to protect us. The other is suicide, and leaving it all behind. I choose Fay.
“She will spend her entire life here subjected to experiments. At this time she is being educated. They are waiting until she reaches 90 lbs, prior to the onset of puberty. They want the tests to incorporate how the hormonal changes in puberty may alter what she is and what she is capable of. The experiments will gradually become more and more severe as she gets older.”
There is a brief pause in the air around me. One moment of no breath, no thought, only the light hum of air against my skin. It feels like a breeze hovering about my face, not brushing against me, but a space of gentle movement between me and everything else. Sadness thickens within me. It condenses and hardens until it reaches a culminating solidity as if I am nothing but a clay sculpture covered by skin. Then it shatters and burns, and fury floods my veins.
I exit the jeep, pick up the axe, and I begin to hack at one of the men, slamming the axe down again and again into his body, breaking it into pieces. Blood streams off the axe, saturating my face and body. The vigor of the axe’s swing causes more and more blood to splatter. And when there is nothing left to that man to chop, I move onto the next. I holler and yell and swear. There is no thought, only rage, and these are not men to me. After the third man, my emotions tire me. I stop and look at the mess. I don’t understand. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I am.
I turn abruptly on him, holding the top of the axe head up to his chin, not the blade. It drips with blood down his chest and I am satisfied to see fear in his eyes. That was what I needed to see. I needed to know I had some kind of control in this situation. If he fears me, I have an element of control. I tell him to take me to Fay or I will tear him apart.