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Genome (standard:science fiction, 64427 words)
Author: Phillip JacksonAdded: Jul 11 2004Views/Reads: 2458/2606Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A body in a derelict house, experiments into genetics and human cloning, Government coverups and blue chip corporate deceit. Where's the connection? One man, Bernie Torme. Far from being the usual hero, Bernie Torme is thrown forcibly into a world totall
 



GENOME 

Prologue 

The rain started just as she pulled up outside the house. An icy rain.
The low drone of the car engine slowed to nothing, the door to the 
driver’s side opened and she stepped out. One hand on the open door, 
the other holding an umbrella. She shivered, closed the door, and 
quickly opened the umbrella above her head. Shoving her free hand 
firmly into her pocket and pulling her coat tight to keep out the 
biting cold night, she then readied herself to make a move. 

In the darkness the house showed no signs of habitation. The narrow road
that she’d just traversed was little more than a mud track and she 
hastened to guess that its upkeep, or lack of, was due clearly in 
relation to its use. In fact, as she got closer to the house nothing in 
its appearance changed her assumption of its derelictness and the very 
fact that it stood alone without a neighbour gave it a sense of some 
sort of ominous history in itself. In a word, it was desolate. 

The trees that hugged the side of the house were, in contrast, thriving.
Not0obscuring, but encapsulating the essence of the scene as the 
untamed branches crept around like a gigantic pair of hands. 

She stood for a second in the cold rain and stared up at the house,
taking in the view now before her. It was a two-storied brick and stone 
building, a long since deserted farmhouse with rotten wooden shutters 
covering both upstairs and downstairs windows. One of the upstairs 
shutters hung precariously on a single hinge, waiting to fall. Closer 
inspection would’ve shown that the hinges were actually rusted tight 
together. It was a long time since they’d been opened to allow entry to 
the light of day. Slate tiles were missing from the roof to reveal bare 
rafters. The remnants of a chimney leaned dangerously close to collapse 
and adding to the feeling that she was lost somewhere in a picture 
quite unreal, a squeaking pippestrelle flew from behind the house 
swooping low over her head. It all seemed too cliché to be true. 

She’d left the lights of the car purposely on full beam and by the angle
that it was parked the headlamps lit up a narrow pathway that ran from 
the muddy road to the front of the house. Apart from that the only 
other light came from the half crescent moon above, which was minimal 
due to the thick heavy rain clouds that filled the sky. 

The stone pathway leading up to the door of the house was overgrown with
weeds. It was greasy from the rain and moss grew encroachingly around 
the edges. She knew that she’d have to be careful with her footing and 
felt relieved by her choice to wear a pair of flat-soled shoes on this 
occasion. 

Surrounding the grounds was nothing but open fields and sparse
woodlands. The long and gangly branches of the trees that were dotted 
here and there looked painfully twisted to deformity whilst the tall 
grass of the meadows seemed to be whispering a message as the wind 
skirted through its long and rough blades. In a strange way the vast 
openness of the landscape made her feel totally vulnerable and not just 
to the elements. She had a strong and unsettling feeling that she was 
being watched, that peering eyes were following her every move. 

The rain was now coming down in earnest and the noise of the water
lashing down on the top of her umbrella sounded as if amplified a 
hundredfold. Every movement and step she took along the path seemed to 
emanate a sound of warning. She paid no heed to the signs though and 
carried on. As she did so she glanced around just momentarily. If the 
house had ever had any form of boundary from the rest of the 
countryside it was now lost. There was no gate or fencing, no hedgerows 
or markers. 

Finally she reached the front door of the house and with slight
hesitation and some trepidation she stepped forward and tried the knob. 
It wobbled like a loose tooth but the door wouldn’t budge. The door 
itself was just as decrepit as the rest of the house and looked like 
the times that it had seen better days were long gone. Clearly it would 
be ready to drop from the softest of kicks, but she didn’t want to do 
that. 



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