By Ring Sakura
Society is getting harder and harder each year.
We are clones. After the new century, humans all moved to Mars, and made a clone of themselves, which are us. People like us, we all will take The Test: if we get a high mark, we will go to space and have a job; if we didn’t, then our bodies will be contributed to science for researching purposes.
I’ve never gotten a good mark ever in my life. The Test was getting really close, and all the teachers came and comforted me, “Mark, just take your time and have some good food. There’s no point of trying anymore.”
My deskmate, Sarah, was always angry at them for saying this. “Why do they treat you so unfairly? C’mon, let’s go.”
We decided to go to the library to study together. On the way, Sarah looked so concerned.
“Mark, you gotta pay more attention in class,” she sighed, “If I only see your organs and a frozen corpse the next time I see you, I think I’ll cry.”
I took a moment and imagined myself as the pile of organs I was going to become. Well, I’d cry too.
“But I trust you, you will go the space and get a good job,” she said.
Sarah helped me with my studies. A lot of the times, I really just can’t stay focused for long. She thought I was lazy, that I just didn’t care. Every single time my mind drifted off the questions, she slapped her manga in front of me and yelled, “Do you still want to marry me in the future or not?!”
It’s not until soon later on that we both found out that my mark had nothing to do with my laziness. It’s the problem with genes; or let’s just say I’m stupid. I was really upset, and Sarah comforted me once again.
“Don’t panic! It’s not your fault. Your original self probably suck at studying as well.”
“My original self is probably still single.”
“Do you still want to marry me in the future or not?”
“Then think of a way, think of a way to make yourself survive this.”
It may sound weird, but Sarah and I fell in love at a pretty young age.
Well, our parents didn’t care. They were just surprised how I, the poor, useless guy, had stolen Sarah’s heart. Even though we were all clones of people, Sarah was “born” in a pretty rich family. Her original self was probably very rich as well on Mars.
I imagined my original self on Mars. Probably some guy who only wears the same t-shirt and the same pair of jeans. He’d sit in front of his computer all day long with his instant noodles and mountain dew and not move an inch.
So in the warm sunshine, marks for The Test are out. Not so excited like everyone else, I dragged myself to my school to check my mark. Somehow, just somehow, I saw my name under the “passed” list. I thought I was dreaming that I had to check over and over again. It was real.
I saw Sarah behind me as I turned. Her smile was just as bright as the sunshine. I couldn’t help myself and hugged her immediately, “I passed, Sarah!”
“Congrats,” her voice sounded plain, but she still hugged back.
“I got the job to deliver mail in space! Where are you going?”
“Oh, I’m going to half-island.”
“Half-island, where is that?”
Then we took a class photo for us graduates. Everyone was cheering, other than Sarah, her smile covered by some sort of shadow.
Then, as the cicadas sang, we took the rocket ships and then we were sent to space.
I was a delivery man in the Scorpius–Centaurus Association area.
Sometimes, I would call Sarah, and just talk about our daily routines. Well, you know, long distance relationships are always like that; even a simple breath from her can be a long story. I told her that I went to a lot of different planets, and that every single one of them looked so busy. Meanwhile, as I drove around the universe, I truly appreciated my easy life.
She said, “After summer, I went to half-island. People are very nice here. All the clothing, food, travelling style, they are all so luxurious; unlike how we had always imagined it.”
She also said that after three more months her organs will be recycled.
I remember that summer when we left each other, the school held a graduation party for us. Every single classmate who saw me congratulated me for my test result. Then, I always answer modestly, “No, I just got a job, and it’s not even that good.” We exchanged our new contacts. If we wanted to meet any of us at the party, we can travel to them with the speed of light. I was pretty drunk. Dizzy, I asked where that “half-island” was.
They answered, “Half-island? Isn’t that the biggest organ recycling factory in our town?”
I rushed to Sarah’s house as fast as I could. Her house looked so different. Instead of the beautiful furnitures and decorations I would usually see, this house was now spacious. All the servants were the lady herself, sitting there alone beside the window.
“They told me. You didn’t make it.”
“Control your emotions. What did I say when I trained you? Gosh. You will understand.”
“I feel dead, that’s all I feel, Sarah.”
I walked over and sat beside her. Catching my breath, I asked, “What happened?”
“No, my original me on Mars is sick, close to death. She needs me.”
“Sarah, I will go for you.”
“Haha, nice joke there! We’re not even the same sex, how are you going to explain to that me on Mars? ‘Oh ho ho, congratulations, your clone has developed male identities on earth! Surprise!’”
A slight pause, she bit her lips, “They are always so nice to us, remember? If there were no them, there would be no us.”
There came the silence. I could do nothing but stared at the ground. I remember that I had once read on a book: when God created people, He didn’t create our bodies, but rather people’s destiny. God will not open a door after He closed a window.
That afternoon, we remained silent. Later, she gave me a bell and made me kiss it, “if you ever miss me, just kiss this bell.”
“But where’s my bell for you?”
She suddenly leaned over and kissed me.
“There’s only one kiss from me. Always remember me.”
Her recycling will be performed in 3 months. She told me that it won’t be painful, like our teacher told us. If I was a hero, I should drive my spaceship into Earth, and bring Sarah away from the Earth. And if anyone tried to stop me, I’d throw my packages at them. Then, we’d run out of this galaxy.
But I’m not a hero, nor am I the guillotine.
Unfortunately, I was chosen to bring her to Mars.
I opened the door of my new spaceship. Inside, there was an ice coffin, and she was lying in it. Silent and beautiful. Her body looked perfectly fine. Yet I know, her organs inside were all gone by now. I poked the bell she gave me and it made a sound almost like her voice.
There was no use in crying in space. All the tears stayed on my eyelashes.
I drove, and drove, and drove further. I didn’t know how long I was going to spend; even the space’s night was getting darker and more twisted.
I woke up in the middle of a black hole. How lucky, I thought, you get to study the truth of black holes.
I’ve heard from my teachers before, saying that there’s nothing in the black hole. In fact, there was a city in them, or in this one at least. A strange one. No seasons, no humans. Only a small, old school. The school was close to a bus station, and under the shadows of the trees rolled a basketball. It was my school, and my basketball. They were just parts of my most beautiful memories. The black hole reformed my time and space, eventually built this city.
I settled down with Sarah’s coffin, trying to find a way to escape this black hole by looking around. In some small alleys and corners, I saw Sarah’s memories.
She’s probably still alive, I thought.
Finally, I gave up tracing the way out. If the Sleeping Beauty wasn’t going to wake up, there had to be a prince to accompany her. I leaned towards the coffin, then my eyelids became heavier and heavier.
I accidentally had a dream about my past.
When I was twelve years old, my marks have already dropped down. I became deskmates with Sarah.
When I was thirteen years old, I ran through all these hallways. “If you are not figuring out this problem, you are not going home!”
When I was fourteen years old, the sky was as blue as it could ever be. Sarah was worried about my future. “Whatever, take this as my sympathy,” under the blazing sun, she kissed me on my cheek.
When I was sixteen years old, it was raining outside.
“Why are you helping me?”
“Then what do you want me to say? ‘ I love you’?”
“I love you.”
When I was eighteen, we suddenly grew up. Why? Why did this all happen? Why can’t time just freeze at when we were eighteen years old?
I lost my way in space, and you lost your soul to fate. You told me that I’d understand, and you were right. Now I do understand. You must be curious about why I slacked off the day I took you here. I checked your result for The Test. You got a really good grade. The one who failed was some guy called Mark.