Rita Chen writes about a future where “perfect” artificially made children can be purchased
Mrs. Dorimer bared her teeth slightly, trying to achieve some semblance of a smile. “Is that so?”
Linda, or rather Mrs. Simon Dubont, wife of the President of Intergalactic Communications Incorporated, was an intelligent, frank – arrogant, Mrs. Dorimer thought cruelly – woman of forty. Mrs. Dubont continued speaking, aware of the barely concealed hostility in Mrs. Dorimer’s voice but honestly not caring, “Your child is looking ill.”
“Danny,” Mrs. Dorimer said resolutely, “is fine.”
Linda let a look of pity cross her face. “Mina,” she said in a softer voice, “I know this is hard for you to accept, but you can’t shy away from reality forever. Danny is getting sick and you need to deal with it. Just the other day my son, Todd, told me that Danny fainted during gym class. He also told me that Danny often looks pale. His skin-”
“That’s quite enough. Thank you, Linda,” Mrs. Dorimer cut in. “I appreciate your concern for Danny, but let me assure you that he is perfectly fine.” She paused briefly. “It’s only a small flu of some sort. All he needs is a little sleep and he’ll get better.”
“Mina-” Linda’s voice was now gentle, almost pleading. “It’s alright. I lost one too, you know. It’s not easy and I know you don’t want to believe that your child is going to die but Trillium children like ours, Mina, they-”
“-are just as capable as Natural children,” Mrs. Dorimer said flatly. “Don’t worry about Danny, Linda. It’s just a little bug. He’s recovered from worse. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” Giving Mrs. Dubont a polite but somewhat frosty nod, Mrs. Dorimer left.
She did not want the lady’s pity.
When she got home, Mrs. Dorimer opened the door slowly, careful not to make a lot of noise. “Danny?” she called softly.
“I’m in here, Mom,” Danny replied, his voice, thick from the phlegm that clogged his throat, floated from his bedroom.
“Honey?” Mrs. Dorimer said as she entered her son’s room. “How are you feeling? Do you need anything?”
Danny tried to smile but his expression came across as a grimace. “I’m okay, Mom. A little frustrated that I can’t get out of bed but that’s about it.” There was a pause before he said with forced cheerfulness, “Well, at least it’s not getting any worse.”
The middle-aged woman approached her son’s bed. “How’s your arm feeling? Are you still unable to move it?” She gently touched his right arm, noting with horror that his skin was wrinkled, its former whiteness mottled with brown patches.
The boy was silent before saying quietly, “I’m sorry, Mom.”
Mrs. Dorimer felt a sudden ominous chill run through her body at the tone of his voice. Quickly suppressing her feelings, she forced herself to say cheerfully, “Silly boy! What is there to be sorry about? You can still talk and-”
“-your mind is still with you. Plus, you still have your left arm! It’s-”
“Mom… I don’t have my left arm.”
“What?” The woman stopped in the middle of her nervous babble to stare at her son. “What did you say?”
“I’m sorry, Mom.” The teenager blinked rapidly but was unable to stop the wet teardrops that slid from the corner of his leaf green eyes. “I didn’t want to tell you but…”
“You can’t move your left arm now?” Mrs. Dorimer repeated somewhat stupidly.
Unable to speak from the sobs that wracked his thin body, Danny could only nod.
Mrs. Dorimer stared at her son in disbelief. Then she spun on her heel and quickly fled toward her own room, leaving Danny crying quietly on his bed. She couldn’t handle it. Not now, not another one. She had worked so hard to tend to Danny, making sure he had enough sunlight, enough food, enough exercise, and enough sleep. Her son was a model child, someone who received the praise of his teachers, the admiration of his classmates, and the adoration of everyone he met.
Danny was handsome with his red hair and tall figure, a striking contrast to her own brown eyes and stout body. Unlike his siblings before him, Danny was very athletic and Mrs. Dorimer had thought that he would last. He had appeared to be very robust, and she was proud of him for that.
After all, Trillium children were always being criticized and many people preferred Natural children. Natural children were noisy, selfish creatures who never stopped whining. When young, they would cry for a new video game or a new toy. When older, the wants graduated to things such as cars or designer jeans. The children were never satisfied and many were disrespectful to their parents. In addition, bringing Natural children into the world was said to be an agonizing experience for the mother. Mrs. Dorimer honestly couldn’t see any appeal in such children but Naturalists seemed to love these children for their very faults.
Trillium children, on the other hand, were a sharp contrast to Natural children. For one thing, they were brought into the world without the pain and difficulty Natural children required. Trillium children were named after their inventor, Wilfred Trillium, and were very easy to raise. They were always polite and obedient. Each child was beautiful with hair of various colours and leaf green eyes. Trillium children were easy to take care of. Just a little sunshine and a little food, and they bloomed. They required nothing but a little love and attention, and they were a Godsend, especially for people who couldn’t have children like herself.
Finally feeling as if she was in control of her emotions, Mrs. Dorimer called out-loud, “Candy!”
A few seconds later, a sturdy little robot rolled in on its wheels, its rounded hands outstretched. “Yes, Ma’am?”
“Get Danny a glass of water and help him drink from it, please,” Mrs. Dorimer instructed. “I’m afraid he isn’t able to drink on his own anymore.”
There was a brief pause and then Candy said with sympathy in her metallic voice, “I’m sorry, Ma’am.”
Mrs. Dorimer smiled, grateful for a friend during this difficult time. “It’s quite all right, Candy. I’m afraid there isn’t much we can do now.”
Candy seemed to bob her dome-like head in agreement. “Yes, Ma’am. I’ll go get Danny’s water now.
Doing a 180-degree turn, Candy rolled away from the room and into the kitchen.
Mrs. Dorimer watched silently as Candy left her room. What she said to the little electronic maid seemed to finally settle within her. There was nothing that she could do now.
You see, Trillium children were perfect in every trait except endurance. Whenever winter came, they wilted just like any other flower.
Rita Chen (BA 2004 Innis) works with Canadian institutions to help them reach their international student enrolment goals. She enjoys writing and her long-cherished dream is to one day publish a collection of poetry or a work of fiction.
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