Flash fiction – 496 words
“If you can’t fix it with duct tape, you’re not using enough duct tape,” I say. “That was Dad’s mantra.”
She’s silent as she watches me taping her hands together. It’s difficult to speak when you have tape over your mouth.
I push her against the pine tree and she flinches. The rough bark pulls out a few strands of long blonde hair and holds onto them, like a tourist taking mementos from the beach.
“Stay there a sec,” I say, holding up my finger. I toss the empty duct tape roll onto the soft pine needle carpet and look down to find my dropped torch.
Of course, as soon as I look away, she tries to run. She only gets a couple of steps before tripping on an exposed root and sprawling awkwardly on her front.
I turn her over. Blood trickles from her nose and a thin red line trails across her now-exposed kneecap through a rip in her jeans.
“Look just like designer jeans, now,” I say, pulling her to her feet.
Her green eyes blink in the torchlight, reminding me of a cat I once had. He didn’t much like me either. He ran away too.
I shove her between the shoulder blades. “Walk.”
This time, it’s only two hours before the searchlights start to dance through the forest. Last time it took almost five. The first time it took a full day before they noticed. Not that it’ll make any difference. It won’t change anything. I won’t stop.
I can see the hope blazoned across her face when she hears the baying hounds, the running feet, and the impatient voices carried up the hill like crispy leaves on the cold autumn wind.
“They won’t look for long,” I say. “They never do. They’ll find the last one and think she’s you.”
Like the others, at first she won’t eat anything, even though I’m a pretty good cook. When I was a kid, I often had to cook when Mum didn’t come home from work. I was on my own a lot.
I tell her everything. Like the others, she listens. Well, she’s a captive audience, isn’t she? But she doesn’t believe me. I don’t blame her. I didn’t believe it at first. She thinks I’m crazy even though she can see the truth, right in front of her own green cat’s eyes.
She watches me eat. It’s been five days and I can see she’s hungry. I understand, though. This is a lot to take in.
“You should eat,” I say, pointing the fork at her.
I’ll have to put her with the others soon so I can get the next one.
Even when she sees them, I know she won’t want to accept it. None of them do. Well, none yet. Maybe this will be the one.
Maybe this will be the clone that chooses to live, chooses to stay, chooses to help me rescue more.