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|Genome (standard:science fiction, 64427 words)|
|Author: Phillip Jackson||Added: Jul 11 2004||Views/Reads: 2458/2606||Story 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. Click here to read the rest of this story (7220 more lines)
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