Please Note: This story deals with very dark and disturbing themes. Do not read it if you're squeamish. This is part 6 of the story. Part 1 of the story is online here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-truth-about-lions-and... and part 2 is online here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-truth-about-lions-and... Part 3 is online here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-truth-about-lions-and.... Part 4 is online here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-truth-about-lions-and... and part 5 is here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-truth-about-lions-and... Part six is here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-%E2%80%9C-truth-about...
He was having a bad dream when the plane hit the air pocket. They fell two hundred feet in only a few seconds, and he awoke with a gargled scream and a bit of drool spat up on his shirt. He wasn’t the only one, there were startled shouts and gasps throughout the cabin. The lights flickered. For a moment - just a moment - he didn’t know where he was, then he remembered the family vacation en rout to starting a new life for themselves in Hawaii.
The plane settled out, but his heart was beating a mile a minute. As he mopped the spit off his shirt with a coctail napkin, he realized he was drenched in sweat, but he couldn’t remember why. He caught just the tiniest, thinnest wisp of his dream - something about an airport - and then it was gone forever. ‘How can an airport be frightening?’ he wondered. For no reason he was ever able to figure out, he immediately yanked out his wallet and checked his driver’s license. He didn’t know why it was so important to him to see his name confirmed in writing, but it was. He didn’t know that it wasn’t really his name. All this happened in less than a minute.
He heard a sort of restrained silence to his right, and instantly recognized it as his beloved. He turned to look at her, their eyes met, and they laughed in relief and embarrassment. The sudden drop had been a start for both of them. To her right, on the window, their son hadn’t even woken up.
“That boy can sleep through anything,” his wife said.
“Just as well. Gives me more time with you,” he said. He took her hand in his, and interlaced her chocolate-brown fingers with his own white ones. They looked in to each other’s eyes with very real love, and he kissed her. She kissed him back with the familiarity that comes of decades spent with the one you care for, your soul mate. Neither of them would ever suspect it was the first time they’d ever kissed, or indeed spoken to each other.
They slouched down in their seats, and he rested his head on her shoulder, and buzzed the stewardess for a blanket. Life was wide open ahead of them, happily ever after.
Back in the office, back in the airport, the nine spoke as one.
“That is not his child?” they inquired.
“No,” the same nine spoke, but in nine feminine voices this time, “He never procreated, here or elsewhere, but his paternal instinct was strong. We reasoned that it was the only larger calling we could manipulate to justify his abandoning his responsibilities to this place. His spouse was killed and eaten within two days of arrival in the terminal. The child is likewise not related to either of them.”
“Excellent, A good call,” the same nine bodies spoke, again in men’s voices. “You have arranged for their re-integration in to society?”
“Indeed,” the nine spoke in women’s voices, “They have been given false memories of their lives together, bad memories that will bond them and prevent them from going back to revisit their old homes and discovering the inherent falsehood of their thoughts.”
“We trust,” the male chorus sang in a language unknown to humanity, “That you have arranged false identities for them as well?”
“Of course,” the female chorus replied.
Then eighteen voices coming from nine bodies sang out as one, “Let the second stage of the experiment commence!”
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