The real Sevyn isn't just pretty but her soul is nice as well. She's leading us into the forest and turning around every once in a while to make sure everyone is OK. She's sweet and caring. She has the personality of a fucking Disney Princess. I lag behind just watching her for the most part. I want to be suspicious but it's hard to when she gives me this genuine smile.
“Are you doing OK, Jurnee?” she asks me, “I know this all is quite a shock to you. I couldn't imagine how I felt if I knew that clones existed.”
I don't answer her. The forest is damp and cold.
“It all makes sense,” Billy tells her, “I knew that there was a change after you got sick. I just couldn't put my finger on it.”
I roll my eyes as soon as he says it. It isn't just me. Billy has a huge smile. He trusted her. The annoying part was that he wasn't the only one that trusted her. Syx is standing next to this girl listening to every word she said as though she was some sort of preacher. Stoney followed close behind as well. I wonder if it was jealousy that was making me feel this kind of way. I had been the center of attention in these guys lives for so long on this island that I had become used to it.
“Why would my father...I mean Io Valentine do something so crazy?” Syx asks.
I worry about him. He wants a reasoning behind this. I don't think he will like it though. The others seem to have a sense of relief that they are finally getting clarity as to what's going on, on this island. Syx seems stressed. The island is hot but he's sweating profusely.
His entire life had been a lie.
Sevyn explains as best as she can, “The originals died at the age of 12 with their mother.”
“That's impossible...” Syx replies, “I remember things before I was 12.”
“We share the same memories at the moment we are cloned. The original's memory was transferred over.”
“What was his name?” Syx asks, “The original.”
She shrugs, “I don't know. Valentine never talks about Five clones before Syx. She tells us she thinks that Dr. Valentine killed them because they weren't up to his standards, but I don't think he is that cruel. After the death he became obsessed with cloning tissue. When he discovered this island in the tropics, he made sure it stayed hidden so he could experiment.”
Stoney laughs at the explanation.
“So what? This is the island of Dr. Moreau?”
He doesn't even notice how Syx's face just goes cold. It's like a slap to the face realizing that you are nothing more than an experiment. Billy laughs along with Stoney. Even Sevyn laughs. I'm not sure if she finds it actually funny or if she just has this fucking doll-baby personality where she thought it would be too mean not to laugh.
“Stoney...” I warn him.
“What? All this time I thought some supernatural shit was going on and we're just on an island full of some mad scientist's experiments.”
Stoney probably isn't meaning to be so blunt. He's completely right actually. Still this isn't working for Syx. Syx is just shaking his head. There is clearly something wrong with the way he is reacting to this. Stoney doesn't seem very interested.
“Why?” Syx asks.
“Syx does it matter at this point his motivation...” Billy asks.
“YES! It's all that matters. Why?” Syx asks.
He's louder. He's more aggressive. He turns to Sevyn.
She just shakes her head slowly. They stare at one another.
“You know why.”
Her answer is cold. It's distant. It's as though the two of them have this understating of who Io Valentine is. Syx doesn't ask her again. It's as though that answer makes him understand everything so much better. He just nods and cross his arms. He looks like he's about to cry. I lean over and try to touch his back but he pulls away from me aggressively.
He doesn't want to be touched.
“I'm fine,” he responds, “I'm fine.”
“Not much further to your camp,” she says, “We should rest up and walk the rest of the way in the morning.”
She's right. We've been walking for miles and the sun is going down. Sevyn is quick on her feet setting up a fire quicker than anyone I've ever seen before. She leans up against a tree. Syx is just sitting on a log staring at the flickers of the fire. I can tell that he's upset. I can tell that he's still trying to wrap his head around things here.
The fire is loud, crackling and lighting up the island. It makes me a little nervous. I look over at Sevyn at that moment.
“Are we being followed?” I ask, “Will they come after us?”
She gives me one of those kind smiles, “Possibly. I don't think they want to have an all out fight. They don't want to risk hurting you Jurnee.”
“Why are they avoiding hurting him?” Stoney asks.
“Dr. Valentine was building heirs. He was going to give all his money and all his income to the perfect heirs. Those heirs were me and Syx at one time. When I got sick it became Five and Syx. Something happened though. Something happened to make him regret this decision. He decided to change his will. He was willing to give all his money to Jurnee and Jolie Edwards.”
“What happened?” Stoney asks.
“What makes a man do the things he does?” Sevyn asks.
“A woman,” Billy responds.
Sevyn and Billy smile at one another. I don't like it. I shake my head at that moment. Billy hasn't been giving me any attention since Sevyn revealed her true identity. It's almost as though I don't exist. Right now he's sitting close to her. He's on the same side of the tree as her. All I see is teeth. Billy's beautiful face is giving Sevyn this look as though she's the only one on this island. He's looking at her as though they'd never been apart or something.
It annoys me.
I find myself lashing out a little bit.
“Bullshit. One of you tried to kill me.”
“Four. We are all clones but we don't all think alike. Four did feel jealousy towards you. Five's plan was to inherit Dr. Valentine's money and come to this island and save us. We'd be living like kings. When Four found out the will changed he became bitter. His personality was his biggest flaw.”
“Why should I believe you?” I ask, “You people are switching in and out like it's nothing. How can we believe anything that you say?”
“She's telling the truth.”
The voice comes from Syx. He looks down at the ground. He's staring at the ground. I guess he makes a point. The real Syx promised he would never hurt me and he never actually did. His clone had come out and try to hurt me instead.
“The others are flawed,” she explains, “One and Two had physical flaws. Three and Four were improvements but they had personality flaws. Five and Syx were supposed to be the perfect specimens but Five started to develop the same sociopathic tendencies as her predecessors. That's why I was created. Sevyn.”
“And Eight?” I ask.
“Your sister's clone.”
“Dr. Valentine didn't create her did he?” I ask.
She shakes her head.
It's clear now at that moment. It's clear that my sister is really dead. I turn away at that moment and try my hardest not to cry. A part of me really wished she had survived.
“We did. When the plane crashed the plan was that your sister and you would survive. Your sister did survive the crash. She was recovered and died during the cloning process. You were pulled out of the water as well and supposed to be brought back but before Two had the chance to bring you back your friends came. We were going to make a clone of you. When your clones leave this island and inherit the money we'd have everything.”
The clones were sticking together. I almost felt bad for them before now. But then I realize that the same thing that Dr. Valentine did they had done to my sister. I don't know how much to blame Sevyn for it. She is avoiding eye contact. They killed my sister to make a clone of her.
“Leave the island?” Stoney asks, “There's a way to leave the island?”
“Valentine probably knows Sevyn stole the map to the island. He is going to come here.”
“He comes here often?”
“Enough. To do more experiments and check on us,” Sevyn explains.
Syx rolls his eyes, “How considerate. Checking on his fucking experiments.... that he leaves stranded on an island.”
There is silence.
Billy crosses his arms, “Why not just leave with him?”
“He won't let us.”
“Easier said than done. When he comes he brings guards with him. They are armed. Those guns we have are out of bullets. We tried to fight back before. That's how Two lost his eye.”
“Damn...” Stoney says.
It's clear that Sevyn is trying to make us feel bad. I think it's working, honestly...even on myself. Regardless of if they were born in a lab or not these experiments existed. I knew Syx. I knew the emotion behind him. Right now he was upset. He was angry. This wasn't some experiment. This was a person with real emotions. I feel them. I'm angry at Valentine. I could only imagine just how desperate these clones have to be to get off of this island. Would they crash a plane risking the lives of humans? I believe they would.
These clones would do anything to get off of this island.
“Will he come for us?” I ask.
“Any day now. He'll come. We will be punished but he'll come for you.”
“Oh thank God,” Stoney says.
It comes out of nowhere.
“What the fuck are you happy about?” Syx asks him.
“Don't you get it. We're saved!”
Billy's eye light up when Stoney says that. The two of them jump up at that moment. They are jumping around within a matter of seconds. I think Stoney has broken out into tears at that moment. I'm a little bit shocked. This whole time I thought we were stranded but Valentine knew exactly where we were and he was going to come save us. A part of me wants to be happy with them but then I think of the clones. I shouldn't care about them...but for some reason I do.
Valentine won't let them leave...”
“Wait...not so fast,” Sevyn shuts them down.
“What? He's coming right? He's coming for us?” Billy asks.
Syx gets up at that moment, “Stop being a fucking idiot. You can't leave this island. You know too much about what he's doing here. You're collateral damage. Just like me. Expendable. Waste.”
“What? He can't just leave us here...” Stoney says, “We're REALLY human. We are fucking human.”
Stoney could care less right now about how that seems to Syx. I hate how blunt Stoney can be sometimes. Right now he isn't being very considerate.
Sevyn looks down when Stoney questions her.
“He doesn't give a fuck about you or anyone else. He's coming for Jolie and Jurnee...” Syx tells us, “Human...pft....”
Syx gets up at that moment. He storms off into the woods. I can tell he's mad as fuck. I can't help but to see how upset he was when he stormed off the way that he did. I think he was coming to the recognition that the person he thought was his father wasn't really his father.
“He's lying right?” Billy asks Sevyn.
Sevyn shakes her head, “He won't risk anyone leaving this island besides his heirs. He doesn't want the word to get out about what he's doing here.”
“What's going to happen to us?” Billy asks.
Sevyn shrugs, “The plan the other clones have was to wait until Valentine dies. As long as Valentine is alive he won't let anyone leave this island. But it's OK. That's what Five says. It's Ok if we don't leave because Eight and Nine will come back for us. Hopefully. That's what the plan is. I don't believe it's true. Eight is showing some personality flaws. They are hoping Nine is a better version.”
“Nine?” I ask.
“The plan is to clone you. Your clone will be Nine.”
The others continue talking but after hearing that the clones were planning on creating a duplicate of me to serve their purposes I just feel sick to my fucking stomach. I decide to get up and find Syx. I don't want to be around Stoney and Billy. They are panicking and trying to find a way to get off of this island.
The more I realize it the more I realize that it is hopeless. There is no way of getting off of this island. It was completely pointless to try and consider it.
We were stuck here.
We were stranded...
I find Syx walking in the darkness. He's just slowly walking. He doesn't even look back at me but has to realize it is me because he acknowledges me.
“I told you before that I was fine,” he says out of nowhere.
“I don't believe you. Are you mad at me or something?”
I walk close to Syx. He's so cute. He's so perfect. Looking at him now I should have known that he wasn't a regular person. I should have known that he was some perfected specimen in a lab. I wonder just how long it took Dr. Valentine to perfect this. It's crazy though that when he does create the perfect son he decides to throw out all his work and make me and my sister the beneficiaries of his will.
“None of this is your fault. I'm not mad at you. My dad... I mean Dr. Valentine fell in love with your mother. That's what you have to do with this. He used to say that he'd never fall in love again. Never say never I guess. It makes sense why he would throw it all away for love. It makes sense why he would throw me away for love.”
I want to tell him that isn't the case but it's exactly what is happening. Dr. Valentine changed his will. He could care less about his experiments. He was coming back here for Jolie and I. The kids of his new wife.
“You do?” he asks me.
I reach over to Syx and grab his hand. I hold his hand for a few seconds. We look at each other for a moment. We look at each other in the darkness and it feels like it's only the two of us here.
“Yeah. But I won't let that shit go down. I won't let him throw you away or keep you on this island. We'll figure something out. We'll get off of here when he comes. I'll never throw you away Syx. I promise you.”
“Why do you say things like that?” he asks.
He shrugs. His face softens up a little bit, “You say all the right things. They don't need to make a clone of you Jurnee. To me...you're already perfect.”
When he says that he leans into me. On this island he kisses me slowly. His tongue enters my mouth. He wraps his arms around me. He holds me for a few minutes as we stand there in the darkness. It feels so right. It feels perfect being there with him. My heart is skipping a beat. I pull back at that moment and just allow myself to reminisce about all of this.
I touch my lips. I can still feel his lips are pressed up against mine. Did Dr. Valentine design Syx to be the perfect kisser as well? I feel weak in my knees after the kiss. He stands the for a few seconds looking in my eyes.
There is a soul there. This isn't some design. There is a soul.
“Sorry. I know you chose Billy...”
Syx pulls away. I don't let him go far though. There is no way in hell I'm letting him go. I grab him and pull him close. I kiss him this time. I kiss him hard. He attempts to pull away this time though. This time he is turning me down.
“I chose Billy when I was confused about what you were, Syx,” I explain.
“Well now you know what I am.”
“What do you mean by that?”
Syx shakes his head, “I'm not human. I shouldn't kiss you. I shouldn't be feeling this way. Truthfully I should let you go be happy with Billy. He wasn't designed in a fucking lab. Billy can give you a real human experience. God knows why my personality is even the way it was. Maybe that was designed as well.”
He's beating himself up.
“Syx, c`mon. You can't think that your father designed you to have feelings for me?”
“Maybe it's just a flaw. Regardless. He's not my father Jurnee. Io Valentine is my creator.”
“I don't care Syx. I don't care how you got here. You're here now.”
Syx smiles at me. It's a half smile.
“Syx don't talk like that. I don't like that. This is not OK. I made a mistake choosing Billy, Syx. I want you...”
Syx shakes his head. He isn't having it.
“And I want you to be happy. With a human. With Billy.”
Syx walks away before I can say anything else to him. It's like he's just giving up. I want to slap myself for telling him that I chose Billy instead of him before. That was a mistake. Syx is where my heart has always been. I was just confused about what he was. Now that I knew what he was it didn't make me afraid. I know now that Syx wasn't the one who tried to kill me. I know now that Syx would never try to attack me like that.
Syx is my heart and I made the wrong choice.
The next morning, I try to pull Syx aside but he's busy talking with Sevyn. He's catching Sevyn up on how life was off of the island after she was switched out for Five. I give them space because it seems like a little bit of an emotional discussion. I notice Sevyn crying after a while realizing all the things that she missed when she came to the island. It's amazingly sad actually how that happens.
The two of them walk ahead and bond. Stoney follows close behind. I think he's trying to eavesdrop. A part of me thinks Stoney still doesn't completely trust them. I honestly think he has every reason to be a little bit hesitant of trusting Sevyn after all we been through, but I think deep down we all know that she's been telling us nothing but the truth.
I lag behind to see Billy.
“Hey...” I tell him.
He doesn't look me in my eyes. Only 24 hours ago he wouldn't stop looking at me in my eyes. Now things are different. Now things are weird.
“So Sevyn's back...” I explain.
He shrugs, “I guess she is.”
“How do you feel about it?”
He looks over at me. The awkwardness between us seems to get even more defined when our eyes finally connect after he'd been avoiding me. He seems like he's guilty for something. I can tell by the way his eyes contort a little bit.
“It's hard,” he explains.
Billy shrugs a little bit, “Remember how you felt when you thought Syx tried to kill you. Remember how you still defended him? Same thing with me man. When Five replaced Sevyn I used to defend her so much. I just thought she was going through something. She was completely different person than who I was used to. I loved Sevyn so much that it didn't matter to me. I allowed myself to be blinded and hide the fact that I really hated this new Sevyn. Now that I know that the person who came back wasn't actually Sevyn...”
“You feel relieved?”
“Is that crazy?” he asks me.
I look up the path. Sevyn and Syx are walking together. They are supposedly the perfect children. They are the prototypes. Looking at Syx now I can feel how amazing he makes me feel. I feel how much I hated trying to think of why his personality just did a 180 when he tried to kill me. Now that I know it wasn't him I feel so much better.
I shake my head, “No. All the love you felt came back. All the doubts you had go away. You love that person as though that person was still the same person. You realize you hadn't made a mistake and your feelings are back stronger than ever.”
He sighs a little bit.
“You took the words out of my mouth,” Billy explained, “I couldn't sleep last night trying to figure out how I would have this conversation with you. This thing that me and you had...it can't keep happening.”
“I completely agree,” I respond.
Billy seems surprised.
“C`mon. You couldn't even admit to knowing how things would be off of this island. You were just discovering a part of yourself that you never knew on this island. That's OK. No one's judging you on this island. But you really are in love with Sevyn. Still.”
Billy looks at me as though trying to really read under my expressions.
“Wait. So you aren't mad?”
“No. This island is an island for experimentation after all. You see what works and you see what doesn't.”
“I'm not like Dr. Valentine though. I'm not going to throw you away because it doesn't work as well,” Billy explains to me, “You taught me so much about myself.”
I nod. I lean in and give Billy a hug. There is no passive aggression or hidden agenda in the hug. I honestly am happy for him.
“You should tell her how you feel. You should remind her of how she once felt,” I explain to him.
Billy nods and smiles.
He is about to continue making small talk but we realize that we are walking up to the old camp. As we approach I notice the others have weapons on them. They have created spears. They have the spears just pointing at us at that moment.
“Don't fucking move!” Josephine screams.
They are scared. They have every reason to be. Sevyn is back. I notice Richie approach with the rest of the guys. The girls are armed but they stay behind. Aaron hands Richie a spear. Richie looks a little on edge. I can tell they are afraid. I can tell that they have every reason to be. A part of me realizes that they have nothing to do with this. Five brought us to this island specifically for me and Jolie. She brought us on this island to make clones of us. Everyone else was just collateral damage. All of those people who died were just collateral damage. Jessica was collateral damage to the clones. So seeing Sevyn and Syx here wasn't really the best thing that they needed.
“Give me a second,” Stoney says, “I'll go talk to them.”
“I'll come with you,” Billy says, “You guys stay here.
As Billy goes with Stoney to talk to them he whispers something in my ear. He tells me to watch out for them. A part of me knows he's telling me to protect Sevyn if anything goes south. I watch as Stoney and Billy approach the others to explain what is happening. Every once in a while Richie and the others look back at us. I notice the Maria, Josephine and Helen haven't taken their eyes off of us. They are still looking at us hard.
Sevyn crosses her arms, “I don't like how they are looking at us.”
She has a point. I can't hear the conversation between Billy, Stoney and the others. All I know is that it seems to be getting a little hot. The girls haven't taken their eyes off of us. They are specifically looking at Sevyn. No doubt they blame her for Jessica's death. A part of me wonders if I should have gone to talk to Richie too. I need to make it clear that Sevyn had nothing to do with this.
“I should go over there.”
Syx grabs me.
“I don't trust them with you,” he explains.
I don't think I'm the one they are after. If anything they will be upset with Syx and Sevyn. I am starting to think it was a mistake coming back here when I see Richie give Billy a hard shove. Billy attempts to shove him back but Stoney gets in between them and attempts to break things up. It's clear things are getting a little heated between them.
I should go over there. I should go help talk to them.
“I'll be right back,” I tell Syx.
“I don't want you involved in this,” Syx tells me, “If someone puts their hands on you I'll lose it yo and they'll really start wondering if I'm a human or not.”
Sevyn looks at how Syx is talking to me. By her expression I doubt she knew that her “brother” was gay. When she realizes he wants to protect me she nods.
“It is getting a little heated over there...” she backs him up.
“I should try,” I respond.
“It's pointless. Look. Richie is getting more aggressive. I know that guy. He's a hot head. This isn't going to work. Telling them we aren't human isn't going to work,” Syx explains.
“You are human,” I tell him.
Syx shakes his head.
“No. No I'm not.”
He looks so down and upset at that minute. I can't take this anymore. I start walking towards them. Just as I do I see Richie walking towards me. He looks pissed. Then I realize he isn't walking toward me at all. He's walking towards Syx and Sevyn.
“Move Jurnee...” Richie tells me, “These things have to die.”
He has a spear in his hand.
“He's human,” I tell Richie, “He's not a thing. I know he's not what you think he is but I've seen his heart Richie. Billy has seen Sevyn's heart. They aren't robots. They have blood running through their veins. Just like us. They breathe. Just like us. They love Richie. They love.”
“Love?” Richie sneers, “That’s impossible. They crashed us on this island. People died because of this shit. I'm going to make this right.”
“You're not doing shit,” I tell Richie, “You're not fucking touching him.”
Richie sucker punches me without me expecting it. I feel my jaw crack a little bit. I hit the ground hard. Richie starts to kick me. He kicks me over and over and over. His foot keeps stomping me out! I watch as Syx runs up to him at that moment.
“No!” I scream out.
It's too late. Syx and Richie start fighting at that moment. Syx jumps on top of him. Richie drops his spear. Syx starts punching him in his face overpowering him. Richie is desperate realizing he's getting his ass beat. The others are running over at this moment and Syx is starting to let up but just as he does Richie grabs the spear.
He shoves it upwards but Syx moves just in time before he gets impaled by it. Syx jumps off of him. Richie attempts to use the spear at that moment to drive it through Syx's heart but Syx dodges it. He grabs the top of the spear turns it around and swipes at Richie.
I'm shocked when I see Richie's throat tear a little bit.
It rips clear open.
“Oh fuck!” I hear Helen scream.
The others are yelling. Richie falls to the ground. He's bleeding out. I wonder if he's dying. Maria attempts to put pressure on his wound. The others are going for Syx though!
“It was an accident!” I'm screaming.
My voice isn't heard by anyone though. Joey attacks Syx with a spear. Syx takes the spear away and throws it on the ground and punches Joey. Maria and Josephine are running up after him with their spears. Luckily Billy and Stoney come from behind and grab the girls up, disarming them as best as they can. I realize Joey is getting back up.
I hear Billy scream when he realizes it too, “RUN! GET THEM OUT OF HERE!
I turn. I'm desperate. My heart is racing when I see Aaron grab at Sevyn. He's trying to manhandle her probably realizing that she's the weaker of the two. Sevyn hardly fights back. She just tries to push him a little bit. I help her grabbing Aaron and punching him a few times. I'd never bene a fighter and my fists hurt as soon as I hit his rib. Aaron fights back attempting to punch me but I manage to trip him on the ground! He hits the ground hard and I struggle to maintain my balance and not fall down with him.
“Let's go!” Syx says.
Syx grabs his sister and me.
The three of us run away. I look back and see Billy and Stoney trying to calm every one down even though it doesn't seem like it is working. Billy and Stoney are holding hard onto the girls for dear life as they bite scream and kick in an attempt to pursue the clones.
Syx, Sevyn and I run into the forest. We run so far that I keel over. I wasn't designed in a lab and I have the feeling that Syx and Sevyn have a lot better stamina than I do. When we stop we are at the edge of a waterfall.
We hear screams behind us.
“We can't stop,” Sevyn says, “They are coming for us.”
Syx shakes his head.
“There's nowhere to go,” Syx explains.
I'm confused when he says that. We can run straight. We aren't at some sort of dead end or something. We are at the edge of the waterfall but we have a path back into the woods. I'm confused at what Syx means until I look down and see the jagged rocks below. Syx is staring at the jagged rocks below. It's not a long fall but the rocks are so sharp. It's dangerous.
My voice is hoarse. It's dry. I'm hoping that I'm just imagining the look on Syx's face at this moment. I'm praying that this is just my imagination or something.
Then I hear Sevyn break out crying, “Oh my god Syx don't...”
Syx looks at me.
“What's the point?” Syx asks me, “I'm not human. The clones don't want me. The humans don't want me. What's the point? What's the point of living anymore?”
“No. Syx please. Please don't do this...”
Syx turns towards me. He faces me but he is backing up towards the edge of the cliff. My heart is racing. This isn't happening right now. This isn't fucking happening. This was Syx. My Syx. I try to move towards him but I don't rush him so he doesn't panic.
“Syx he's right. Don't,” Sevyn says.
She stands off to the side. Tears are rolling down her eyes. A part of me thinks she understands more than I do why he's doing this. I can't put myself in their shoes. My entire life wasn't a lie. The person who I thought was my father wasn't some inventor who wanted to throw me out like last week's trash.
“You aren't alone.”
“I don't belong anywhere,” I explain to him.
“You belong with me,” I respond desperately, “Please.”
“No. You're better off without me. You're better off,” he explains to himself, “I'm sorry. I can't live knowing what I am. I just can't. I just killed a human. I just took Richie's life.”
“It was self defense.”
“It doesn't make it right. I'm not a human and I just TOOK a human life,” he explains to me more slowly at this point.
“I love you,” Syx responds.
I run towards him. I run as fast as I can. It's pointless though. Syx jumps. He jumps over the cliff.
I stand there...looking at the body below...disfigured by the jagged rocks below...
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