Fiction

Serpent

By: Ramprasath Rengasamy    

I wondered if many years of experience in healthcare industry and excessive exposure to sick people, has confused my sensibilities. According to the world, mine was a forbidden relationship but according to me, world is nothing more than a huge ethnic group separated by continents and countries.

     As per the government, humans were not supposed to develop any kind of relationship with them. They are referred as hybrids. In some exceptional cases, those that can have a relationship with hybrids were prohibited to raise kids. The governments feared for possible pollution in human genes. I can understand that but that didn’t stop me. In my opinion, it was the government who started it all.

     Insurances have already given up on hybrids. This led the hybrids gradually move towards the deep-interior forests for better living conditions. It is in the wild; the peak chemical possibilities can occur as some of them were human-chameleons and some others were human-snakes and so on. Forests offered them a very native ecosystem with zero human influence.

     What initially was thought to be a fancy idea became a game-changer in human evolution on Earth.

     Initially, some humans began to opt for adding fancy genes to their child’s DNA at the time of conception. Favorable traits like changing skin color, developing colorful feathers dynamically and so on were extracted from other life forms through genes and were added to human genes at embryo level. The idea was to turn these new genes on/off depending on the individual’s choices using methylation at the later stages of development of the child.

     But things went out of control at some point. Not all strictly followed prescriptions and epigenetic pathways took these cases to a whole new level of hybrid life forms.

     But I was clear. According to me, love is love, life is life. So, I never cared what the governments said or warned. In fact, I even considered it, mistake of the government funded research programs. I mean, how can you not able to even speculate the results of your own ideas? I prepared my mind to get relocated to forest in case if I faced charges.

     Somehow the clever government smelled my intentions. One day when I was passing time drinking and chatting with Stuart in a pub, two policemen suddenly appeared and took custody of Stuart. He was handcuffed and taken to police station. I was called for a trial at the court. When I appeared for trial, I could immediately recognize Mr. Hudson who was in the Judge’s seat. The hospital that I work for has treated Hudson so many times in the last ten years.

     “Aren’t you aware that humans are prohibited to be in any kind of relationship with Stuart-like beings?” Hudson asked.

     “Why? What’s wrong with Stuart?” I asked.

     “He is a hybrid”   

     “How do you say that?”

     “His eye-lids open and close sideways. We also tested his DNA. His genes also have genes from snakes and a specific type of a worm”

     “It’s so funny” I said with a smile.

     “Can the court know what is being referred as so funny here?” Mr. Hudson asked. I clearly saw he was annoyed with my gestures.

     “I know you. You have been to our hospital many times in the past. You are suffering from Atavism. Your heart has only three chambers. Only reptiles have three-chambered hearts. Human hearts are typically four-chambered” I said.

     “So?”

     “Despite your three-chambered heart, when you are not seen as a hybrid, how come Stuart is seen as a hybrid?” I asked.

     “There is a difference between a trait reappearing in a species after a very long period of time and a species borrowing a trait from other species intentionally by means of genetic editing” Mr. Hudson said.

     “Oh, I think I know it better. Let us consider, a group of men and women, say hundred in number, isolate themselves and mate amongst themselves to create a generation. Now, this first-generation too maintains that isolation and leads to subsequent generations and this continues for a thousand years. What this means? Of their trillion genetic possibilities, only certain ones are likely to be passed on to future generations repeatedly. Right? That way, unexplained genetic potential may be present in their genes somewhere but only in dormant state. A thousand years later, one of them, leaves the ethnic group thus created, goes in search of a mate outside, and the sleeping genetic possibility wakes up. Now, for a thousand years the genetic potentials that has not been revealed, is it natural selection? Or mere a choice of the collective effort of the ethnic group that was created in isolation?” I asked.

     “I think you are trying to confuse the court.” Mr. Hudson said.

     “It’s fun to think about what this planet is all about to everyone who has been born, lived and died in these thousand years. It seems as if the ethnic group has postponed for a thousand years the wonders, miracles, shocks and surprises of the living beings in it. It’s like a pre-scripted show for a brief period of thousand years.” I said.

     “I sentence Stuart for a life-time imprisonment” Mr. Hudson said loudly as he signed some papers on his table.

     Stuart smiled at me before being escorted to the prison by police while I stared him helplessly.

     I returned to my room and cried the whole night. Tired of thinking and thinking I don’t remember when I fell asleep. I woke up startled, feeling like being carried away by someone forcibly. I felt like I was really immersed in something. It was like a thick rough skin or something wrapped around me. I squeezed my stomach and vomited twice as whatever held me moved up and down like a roller coaster. I fainted. I was in the dense forest at the top of a tree when I woke up again.

     That’s when I noticed that the thick rough skin that covered me was Stuart’s snake body. He had the image of a serpent all over him. It was enough to speculate that he must have escaped from prison as a serpent and had taken me into the forest.

     I thought a bit about returning to humans. That way, I wondered how many genetic possibilities will be put into dormancy. It was impossible to predict which facts in the massive order of the cosmos would be postponed for how long.

     While I was thinking, Stuart cut his own body and split it into five bodies. I recalled what the judge had said about the presence of a worm’s gene in Stuart’s gene.

     Having been lost in thought, I stretched my legs over Stuart. Now, he laid his body like a bed and laid me on it and held my body under the shadow of his five heads.

     It was as if the entire cosmos was traversing backwards to the moment of Big Bang.

     Stuart was supposed to have been born much earlier on this planet. From what has happened thus far, it looked to me like he gave his place to all those who didn’t deserve to be born on this planet and was born last.

Categories: Fiction

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