A whiplash of dark blue lightning from the conductor burst into the veins of the human body, as if it had been stolen from the Gods themselves. The flesh rippled like subtle waves shimmering across a steady ocean. Dr Frankenstein pressed the button that would start the process of genetic manipulation. He injected the serum into the human body then waited as the flesh and bone of the creature convulsed, contorted and slowly formed into a new being. Bone formed from tissue, blood formed around the bones and through the veins that grew, like unnatural vine leaves creeping up the outside walls of a dead man’s house.
Dr Frankenstein went back to his notes and continued to scribble away at his thesis, laughing to himself and at his fellow scientists who had ridiculed him over the years. Soon he would have finished his project and created the first ‘supreme being’. A man of physical and intellectual perfection, with a brain created using the DNA from some of the greatest minds history had ever known.
In the background the computers fell silent and Dr Frankenstein moved towards the incubator to look at his creature. The molecular transformation was now complete and the body lay lifeless inside the casket. He now just had to bring it to life. Grabbing the defibrillators he placed the electric tags over the heart and placed two patches beside the brain. He turned on the electric current to a low amp and then started the computer programme. The software would download every bit of knowledge from the greatest works of science, art and language into the brain. Not only would this being look perfect, his intellect would be unsurpassed.
Dr Frankenstein watched in awe as the programme ran and the electrical currents pulsed through the creature’s brain and into its heart. He noticed the fingers slightly twitching, as if playing a piano recital. It would be another two days before the body would be fully energized and he could wake this man.
Dr Frankenstein walked across the yard to his cottage to see what his wife Mary was doing. Mary had been by his side since the beginning but had turned away from him as soon as his project had started to near completion. Her beliefs held her back from encouraging her husband in his pursuits. As she reminded him often “God has already sent his one and only perfect son, who are you to do God’s work?” But Michael was convinced that he was doing God’s work and believed his man would be able to help the world.
Mary was busy laying out the plates for lunch. Michael sat down, sensing the atmosphere. He got up to help Mary finish laying the table.
“He’s nearly finished Mary and so far all the tests have come back positive.” Mary laid down the last plate and sat down herself.
“He? I love you Michael but what you are creating cannot be called a ‘he’ in any normal sense. This creature you so stubbornly created, despite the warning from your own colleagues. Is an aberration of nature. Some kind of genetically modified animal, dare I say, beast.”
Michael looked crushed. He loved his wife very much and wished she could see the beauty of what he was doing.
“I understand that this man was not born in the natural way but I still feel he is God’s work, in as much a way that I, and we, are born of God, so surely what I produce is also from God. Dare I say inspired.” There was just a dash of smugness smudged across Michael’s face.
They both started to eat in silence while the rain outside the cottage fell in fist loads from an angry sky. Michael’s thoughts were on his creation and the computer programme downloading every sonnet, every syllable and every calculation into its brain. His creation would not exactly lift whole buildings but its beauty, grace and intellect may well lift the world and all its people.
“It’s always a tough call knowing whether you are doing God’s work, or the devils. Only time will tell,” said Mary.
Mary finished eating her dinner and got up to leave the table. Michael sat there chewing on her words. He remembered some of his earlier experiments at trying to modify the structure of his own brain to increase his own intelligence, but it only resulted in him spending six months in a psychiatric ward. And the efforts to remould his own molecular structure to make him appear taller also failed. It seemed the only way to do this kind of experiment right, was to start from scratch, and that’s what Michael did, literally. He had taken a sample of blood from his own arm and then injected his own semen into one of Mary’s eggs that he had unscrupulously taken from their failed attempts to induce a child of their own. This would literally mean that the man being born soon would be their son.
Two days had passed and Michael had dared not take a look into the laboratory. The machine and programme had stopped running. The storm outside had gone away and the sun offered a partial glance across the blankets of grass that were the endless fields outside his window. He reluctantly opened the door to the laboratory and walked over to the incubator. He slowly pulled back the glass casing and a light smoke escaped from the casing revealing the face of a young man.
His forehead was smooth. His skin was white, almost too white, like a gypsum alabaster God statue, and his eyes shockingly blue and wide open. They just stared ahead at the ceiling not blinking. His hair was blonde. Michael felt sick. He moved closer to the man’s body and then touched its arm. It felt cold and wet like a snake. Still the creature did not blink but just kept staring ahead. Michael could see its chest rising and falling slowly. Its heart beat was faint but discernible above the server’s harmonic hum.
“Hello,” said Michael, and Michael stood back as if the creature was about to jump out at him. Slowly the man’s mouth started to move as if it wished to say something. Michael quickly grabbed the glass and straw and did his best to feed the man some water. It drank in greedily as if it needed something more real to kick start the final awakening. Suddenly it sat up and gasped and Michael took two steps back. The man tried to move his lips but no sound came out, just a faint rasp.
“Can you hear me?” said Michael.
The man turned to Michael, looking him directly in the eye.
“I need more water. I need meat.”
Michael fetched another glass of water and from the fridge some freshly prepared chicken with fresh fruits and vegetables. He handed the plate to the man and the man sat and took the plate. It started to eat hungrily from the plate with its hands and fingers. Michael was frozen to the spot. A mixture of raw sickness and excitement was running through his guts and veins. He couldn’t believe he was watching his creation sitting up and eating.
“I knew you would be hungry so I prepared the food.” The man looked at Michael.
“Who am I, and where am I?”
This caught Michael by surprise. He had been so consumed with creating his creature that he had forgotten to give it a name. He plucked one instantly from the back of his mind.
“Your name is Christtian. And you are in Oxford.” The man seemed to think about it for a while then looked outside the window as if to confirm his location.
“Oxford is in England. Home to a famous college called Christchurch. Christ was a great man but just a man nonetheless.” At this point a butterfly flew in from the window and landed on the table beside Christtian. Dr Frankenstein noted the butterfly with marvel, considering it a beautiful sign until Christtian slammed his hand down on top of the insect causing Michael to jump back.
“You can’t kill one of God’s beautiful creatures, surely you know that?”
Christtian wiped the remnants of the butterfly from off his hands onto a handkerchief and got up to wash his hands at the sink. Forgetting the man’s nakedness, Michael grabbed the clothes he had bought for him and placed them beside the sink.
“Please put some clothes on and I’ll show you your room. But you don’t go around killing things Christtian, surely you understand that?”
Christtian started to put the clothes on that Michael had bought for him. He took another glass of water while still thinking about Michael’s last question.
“You kill other human beings. Don’t you?”
“Well no not intentionally. Some die in accidents. Some people die in wars but we don’t go out of our way to kill people deliberately and that is the difference.”
Christtian stood there for a while as another butterfly floated around the window frame and landed on the edge of the window.
“What about the Jews?” Michael looked at this creature he had created and sweat was starting form on the back of his neck.
“The Jews were massacred by a mad man. Killed by one man’s false belief in a perfect race. He was very wrong in what he did.”
“But if they were not perfect beings then why allow them to exist? Surely it is ok to wipe out the things that are broken. The things that we deem not beautiful.”
Michael was now terrified by what he was hearing but knew he would be able to train his creature to understand empathy and compassion. The ability to judge between right or wrong was a difficult one to programme and most people’s sense of compassion and empathy was created out of one’s life experiences.
He could see why Christtian was acting like this and knew he would have to work hard over the next few months to shape his superman into a supreme being, not just a cold human being. He tapped Christtian on the shoulder and ushered him towards his room.
“It is not for us to make those decisions. We leave that up to God.”
Michael sat the man down on the bed, and Christtian lay down on the bed and started to yawn.
“Am I not a God?” asked Christtian.
Dr Frankenstein laughed.
“No you are not a god but in a way created by God.” Michael tucked Christtian into bed as if he were his own son. He felt a strong affection and sense of duty to this man as if he were a small child. He turned the light off and closed the door. Christtian stared ahead of him looking into the side table mirror. Michael closed the door. Christtian whispered to himself.
“Then why do I feel like a God?”
Michael went to his bedroom and immediately forgot about the butterfly and the questions. If there were problems he could fix them. He sat at his desk thinking about his colleagues wondering if he should present his creature straight away, or wait for a few months until he was ready. The world couldn’t wait a few months or maybe Dr Frankenstein couldn’t wait. The wars in Africa and the Middle East were increasing and with food shortages and energy prices spiralling through the roof, Great Britain, if not the world, needed some kind of miracle, and Michael thought Christtian might be it.
He nervously picked up the receiver of his phone, and called Professor Sykes. Sykes worked at the DNA research lab at Oxford Hereditary Genetics. He had pioneered research into mitochondrial DNA sampling and was considered a genius in his area. Michael’s hand was shaking with excitement as the telephone rang.
“Hello. Professor Sykes speaking.”
“Hi Professor. It’s Michael. Dr Frankenstein. You remember me.”
“Of course I do, a great scientist, but didn’t you have a few health problems along the way? All this nonsense about cloning human beings.”
“That was a long time ago Professor and my thesis was highly regarded within most scientific circles, even if it was ahead of its time.”
“I suppose it’s all in the past now, or in our genes as I would say.” They enjoyed a professorial joke with each other.
“What can I do for you anyway?”
“I never did end that research on cloning human beings. In fact I scrapped it and decided to make one from scratch. I used a mixture of stem cells from my own sperm and grew the egg in a dish and using an energy pulse replicator I was able to speed up the.”
“What on earth are you talking about? Energy pulse replicator I’ve never heard of such a thing. Now I know you had a problem before Michael but I would be careful about who you talk to this about. Just stop this work and find yourself a respectable teaching post.”
“No. You’re not listening. I’ve already done it. I have created him.”
“Created him. What have you created?”
“The perfect being. He is alive and well, and I have had a conversation already.”
“A conversation. Are you insane? Don’t call me again.”
Michael sat by his desk wondering if he had said the wrong thing. Memories of the time that he had been removed from his post resurfaced in his mind. He threw the phone across the floor angrily. Clearly the professor was unable to understand the enormity of his project. He headed off to his bed feeling dejected hoping the problem would clear by tomorrow. He kissed his wife Mary who was now fast asleep, and turned off the bedside light.
At about four ‘o’clock in the morning a loud bang was heard. Michael turned the light on and sat up and so did his wife Mary. Before they had a time to speak to each other their bedroom door was kicked in. Men dressed in black civilian clothes and balaclavas rushed in pointing guns at Mary and Michael. Michael tried to protest but his hands were tied behind his back and he was kicked onto his knees. His mouth was gagged with masking tape, as they did the same to Mary.
One of the men then threw a rope around the wooden beams and started to form a knot. Michael couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He struggled but the men who held him were too strong. He tried to scream but it was useless. A man brought a chair in the room which added to the absurdity of the situation but Michael thought he could handle a bit of torture.
They then grabbed his wife and forced her into the chair and placed the noose around her neck. That’s when Michael collapsed.
Christtian was bundled into the back of a van. He questioned what was happening but did not feel any fear. Fear was something he had yet to learn. There was some bewilderment as he was led into the van but the men seemed less aggressive. They spoke to him in moderate tones and suggested that he would not be harmed. So he sat in the back of the van oblivious to the horrors that his creator was going through. After what seemed like a few hours the van came to a halt and the door was open. Two smartly dressed men were standing there. It was Professor Sykes and another man who both introduced themselves.
“Hello Christtian. We have heard a lot about you. My name is Professor Sykes I worked with Michael many years ago. He was a great man. This gentleman is James Westminster, he’s a politician you know.”
“What happened to Michael?” said Christtian.
“Oh, he’ll be fine. He told us about you and we thought we would have a more suitable job for such a man as yourself.”
Christtian and the two men walked into the building. It was no ordinary building. It must have been a stately home of some sort. The turrets that sat on top of the roof seemed to almost touch the clouds. Christtian could read the motto under the family crest as he entered through the large oak double doors, ‘Ignus Aurum Probat’
Christtian knew his latin. ‘Fire proves gold but calamity proves strong men.’
They showed him into a study with its walls bursting with red and green leather bound library books. Paintings of what appeared to be powerful men lined the walls, and he recognised all of them; Stalin, Mao and Hitler alongside Churchill and Lincoln.
“Would you like a drink Christtian? How about a whiskey?”
Christtian smiled and agreed. The politician sat in the other chair while a butler took their orders. Armed men stood outside the room. Christtian could feel the sense of power as strong as he could feel the heat from the flames that burned within the open hearth fire.
“We think you would make a great politician Christtian. The world needs a leader like you. People need a man they can aspire to be and someone to give them hope. What do you think?”
Christtian looked at the Professor and around the room. The noble paintings, its stately presence, and the flames from the fire crackling louder, and louder, and that heat that seemed to call him towards it, as if it was his home. He stood up looking at the painting of these once great men.
“I like this place. I like it very much. What do we do about the Jews?” said Christtian to the two men that sat across from him.
“Ah God’s sacrificial lambs. We’re not too sure about that. What’s your view?”
Christtian kept looking back at the flames as if it willed him to another place in time. A history long ago forgotten. Maybe he did have a soul that he had lost to someone a long time ago. Not that it mattered anymore, because Christtian considered himself a God. He stood up to address the two men who looked up at this future leader.
“Let’s not repeat the mistake we made in Egypt all those years ago.”
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