Maria piloted the floating vehicle toward the landing pad on the backside of her parent’s house. The transport didn’t jolt when she touched the landing gear to the pad. “We’re home, Maria,” she said, grinning, as she looked at the passenger seat.
Her identical clone sat with her hands on her lap and stared blankly through the windscreen.
Maria touched the open button and the door on her side slid back. “Crap,” she said. She closed her eyes and breathed in, then let it out slowly. Her matching clone moved a hand and touched the door button. The door on that side slid back and she stood out of the transport. “I have to adjust your basic programming,” Maria said as she tapped her wristband. Both doors of the transport slid forward and locked.
Maria walked down the sidewalk and her clone followed. She opened the door and went inside. “Mom,” she called. “I’m home.”
“In the kitchen,” a voice called.
Maria checked behind her and nodded as she saw her clone walking through the door. Next, she wends her way to the kitchen.
“Did you have a productive day during education time frame?” Her mother looked up from the tablet she held.
“Yes,” Maria said. “In fact, thanks to my assistant,” Maria turned and waved towards her clone,”I’ve brought my grades up from the double B to a triple A.”
Maria’s mother flinched and dropped her tablet. “Get that creepy thing out of here. It’s not right. Besides, you promised.”
“Sheesh, Mom,” Maria said. “It’s not creepy. It’s a clone. Made from my cells, which you hand a hand in making.”
“I don’t care,” her mother said, stepping away from her daughter and the clone. “It’s just wrong.”
“I’ve had it several months now,” Maria said. “You should be used to it.”
“Get it out!” Maria’s mother’s lips thinned and her eyes narrowed. A rigid finger pointed at the nearest door.
“Fine,” Maria said and rolled her eyes. “I’ll be in my room studying.” Maria glanced at her clone, then walked out of the kitchen and to her bedroom.
Directing the clone to the closet, Maria reached up and turned off the neural transmitter behind her ear. “That should do it. Now to crack a book as grand-dad says.”
The sound of rain splattering on her window made Maria look up from her reading pad. “The time is twenty-fifteen,” the mechanical voice said over the speakers. “A weather advisory is in effect. A thunderstorm that exceeds the damper’s capabilities has arrived. Residents are advised to keep indoors until the weather passes.”
“Five hours of studying,” Maria said. “I can’t believe it’s been that long.” She stretched her arms over her head and let out a groan. Her stomach grumbled. “Of course I’m hungry. It’s been five hours.” Standing from the desk, she moved to the bedroom door.
The windows let in a bright, instant light. Maria’s eyes went wide, and she inhaled sharply.
The house shook. Maria’s hand darted out to grab the desk. “Whoa.” Then the lights went out.
“Maria?” A deeper voice called from her door. “Are you all right?”
“Yes, daddy,” Maria answered. “Just a little shaken, is all.”
The low lights of the emergency system kicked in exaggerating the shadows in the room.
“Daddy?” Maria’s voice came again.
Maria turned to look at her closet.
Her father stepped into the room and stood next to his daughter. He leaned towards the closet and turned an ear.
“Daddy? It’s dark in here,” Maria’s voice called again. “Where am I? What’s happening?” The closet door slid open.