It was a miracle, that any of this had even worked. I was young, and stupid…but it was the only way - at least in my mind it was. Isador was certain, however, that what we were doing was inherently good. The first experiment was, without a doubt, a complete failure. As men of science, we weren’t really expecting things to go completely to plan. Although, we had some…creative differences. Isador wanted to make something that knew how to take care of itself out in the wild. I, on the other hand, wanted something that would be an analogue. I didn’t want to use it yet, it was really just going to be a proof of concept. We made a lot of mistakes, and when it was finished we realized how veritably malformed and ruined it was. It was months of our lives gone. It could move, yes. It would drag its body around feebly, its legs too cumbersome for its own body. Isador insisted we let it go and live its life, and without my say in the matter, released it near the grounds that would soon become our homes.
A few acres were cleared out for us. There were rudimentary houses presumably for those who needed a place to stay while their family members were there.We hadn’t done any work yet, really. We were banking on a promise that had proven to be uncertain. Nonetheless we had funding. That was all that mattered, now.
“Do you really think that this is the time?” I remember saying to Isador. We were standing in front of a tank. Previously, the tanks we used were small, and could only hold something about the size of a squirrel. Now they were more than twice the size of an adult. Isador, with his hands held behind his back, nodded excitedly. We were both staring right at what might be our first success. It was our fourth try, however, and I have to admit I was a little burned out.
“Of course it is, David.” He said back to me. I guess I didn’t look too enthused about the creature that was floating before us. It was only a few hours before we would extract it and wake it up.
“I just hope we can get it under control in time for the panel.” Isador said.
I forgot about the panel. It was later today, and we were supposed to bring an example of our work. I couldn’t remember if it was supposed to be sentient or not. Although I did recall that I thoroughly did not want it to be.
“Uh oh.” I heard Isador say from the other side of the room.
“What?” I rushed over to join him as he was looking at a screen. On it, two flat lines.
“Nothing. Nothing at all.” He said, inspecting the data.
I looked back at the tank. “It’s fine.” I muttered. We worked too damn hard on this for it to not be ‘fine.’ A knock on the glass broke my train of thought. Behind us, the creature was stirring. It was too early - at least we thought it was. However, it was going to start breathing soon, and we couldn’t risk drowning it. Isador rushed to the tank and started to drain it. I remember the pure terror I felt when the fluid enveloping our creation took with it the creature’s face.
“Dear God.” I said, out loud. It wasn’t ready to stand up yet, that was clear. Its legs were rigid enough to hold it against the walls of the tank, but not to stand up. I heard it grumble and moan as it struggled to lift its arms. It was ghastly. Brown fur, still glistening with the synthetic embryonic fluid that it was submerged in, covering its entire body. It’s legs, bowed and stubby, searching for some decent footing. Claws sprouted from its extremities, clicking and clacking against the metal and glass. The fluid was drained completely, and the glass was lifted away, just enough for the creature to fall forward into my arms. I had thought that maybe its eyes had fallen out as well, but it was clear now that its face was so close to mine that they were just filled with blood. I didn’t know how to feel in that moment. It had seemed like everything had gone wrong. I could feel its warmth. I could feel it breathing. It was surviving, that much was sure, but I didn’t know how long it could do this. It was bigger than me, but I felt a sort of…kinship towards it. I couldn’t see much of it at this point, as its face was over my shoulder. I didn’t want to see its face - or rather, what was left of it.
“Dave? Is it alive? Do you know?” I heard Isador ask amidst my own internal chaos.
“Yes.” I managed to spit out. “We need to get it horizontal, I don’t know how long I can hold him.”
I said him. I had given it a name. I promised myself I wouldn’t use it until we knew he was going to work. I could feel my eyes get misty as Isador left the room to get a gourney. We were keeping this one.
He was friendly, much like a child. I remember sitting bedside reading him books and teaching him english. The panel went fine, although he vomited and passed out right after it had ended. I told him about how we thought he’d never be able to walk, or see, or even talk. He would nod his head and tell me how much he loved me. I couldn’t bear to watch him go under the knife. It was my job, yes, but…even though he was a monster I…I cared about him. I named him Luca. It was the first word he had ever learned. It was strange, hearing this animalistic, beastly voice articulate words and full sentences. For all I knew, he was sentient, and soon enough, he had learned how to walk. He could follow me around the lab and ask questions as I continued my work. I would sneak off to go and buy food for him outside of Timber Grove. I would show him the other creatures that would soon be his friends. I still regret telling him that. Most of them were failures. He always got excited about seeing a new one. I told him that they were human, and that he was too. I couldn’t let him outside. I knew what he was. I knew how I reacted when I had first seen him. I knew that others would be worse.
I couldn’t work with Isador anymore. He moved on to other projects too fast. I had no neglect Luca so we could stay afloat but - every one of these experiments was a failure. We couldn’t keep anything alive for much longer than a week. And those things that did stay alive never got to see my face. I never got to see them. Luca was taken away from me. I kept working, hoping that one day Isador would be finished with this obsession. I was stupid. He didn’t stop. And I could hear the tortured wails of our creations many rooms away. He stopped talking to me. I stopped talking to him. Within the next decade, we were shut down. There was one thing that he never told me. I found out the hard way. I was stupid. I should have known it was no coincidence. The drugs we had administered were the only things holding it back. And as soon as they were gone it started to take over. It would mutate and deform until all that was left was a monster. I didn’t know until it was too late. There was nothing I could do. I sit here now, the last patient. I learned the procedure. I did it myself. This is my fault. I had no drugs. I now lay claw on keyboard, hoping that someone will find this. I am the monster that did this to you. I am sorry. all the way back the joy of creation