📅 Published on August 12, 2021


Written by Kyle Harrison
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 10.00/10. From 2 votes.
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“Imagine you were alive in the 1980s, and you were told that computers would soon control everything related to life.  From shopping to dating, to even supercomputers in the palm of your hand or an international invisible network that connected you to literally anyone on earth.

“If you were alive back then and I told you over the next ten to fifteen years, the world would dramatically change and be influenced by technology, you probably would have considered all those ideas to be science fiction.

“But then it became reality.  We don’t even bat an eye at using online connections and having information travel faster than ever across the globe.  This has become normal.

“We are at a similar point in history for genetic engineering.

“While the process of editing organisms has been used throughout history, the idea of editing live cells in a precise manner is relatively new.

“Crispr basically is a GPS system rather than using an old trail map.

“In 2015 scientists used it to attack HIV and eliminate more than 50% of the virus in rats.  Just imagine what that can do in a few decades.

“Since 2016 we’ve been using it to attempt to fight and eradicate different types of cancers.

The limits of Crispr are basically just the limits of what humans deem to be possible.  Eventually this revolutionary technology could eliminate all disease, even death.”

Coming to the seminar today had been spur of the moment.  I was supposed to be finishing up some paperwork for a college English course.  But with a speaker as charismatic as Adrian Yorke coming to talk to students about genetic modification, it was hard to stay away.

Everything he said sounded so amazing, so unreal.  But with a few key examples, he had me convinced that helping the scientific community to expand their research on Crispr was for the benefit of all humanity.

“It sounds dangerous, though.  What if there are unintended side effects?”  My girlfriend asked.  She was right, and Adrian did admit that a lot of the work they were pushing for wasn’t entirely tested.

“In science, there are certain risks that have to be taken.  Advancement only happens when we realize that we can’t hold back progress.  That’s why I appeal to younger minds; even if there are some unintended consequences, we can still reverse it with time.”

“That’s putting a lot of trust in the lab,”  I told him.

But there was one other kicker to his sales pitch.  The offer of money.

“We really need this right now.  It would keep us afloat until I find work!”  I told Melody.

Adrian sent me a dozen more emails that explained how the process worked and that anything I wasn’t comfortable with I could reject.  The clinical trial would last six weeks where I was away from family and friends in a control group of similar patients.

There was one thing that did make me second guess the whole process…being cut off from Mel.

No cell phone.  No internet.

“We want to have the time spent here being used solely for the development of new therapies and experiments.  Social interaction will be at a minimum.  Distractions as well.  Along with privacy concerns, you can understand why we are doing this,”  Adrian explained.

I had come this far.  I knew it would be childish of me to back out now.

The facility was state of the art, the accommodations bordering on Hollywood resorts.  The staff answered a lot of our questions as they took our first vitals, and before I knew it, the first therapy session had begun.

It surprised me how unceremoniously everything was being done.  We were hooked up on machines that weren’t much different than anything else out there.  But as I understood it, the genomes being placed inside our body would be gradually altering basic properties of our very DNA.

“You won’t even notice the things that occur.  One day you may wake up and realize that you no longer need eyeglasses.  Or perhaps you might not be allergic to something anymore,”  the head nurse explained.

“So this is what progress feels like, huh?”  a fellow patient named Clint asked.  I smiled nervously and watched TV as treatment began.

It was about the same for the first week.  We had treatments only twice a day.  Sometimes in separate rooms just because Professor Adrian said that some of the modifications worked better in smaller test groups.  It was actually surprising to me how dull the process was.

I kept thinking, is this really going to make a difference to me in the long run?

But I shouldn’t have been so eager for changes.

The first sign of trouble came from Clint as well.  One day we were getting ready for a session when he told the nurse he was having a severe reaction to something.

“Look at this rash,”  he said, pulling his scrubs up.  He was right.  Half of his chest was burning red, clearly inflamed.  It looked like portions of his skin were peeling off.

“It started all of a sudden last night.  You don’t think the genetic treatment is causing this, do you?”

“We’ll start running a few tests to get an answer,”  the nurse told him.

But I could tell Clint was getting fidgety fast.  He didn’t like being told that they didn’t know why his body was reacting this way.

That night as I lay down, I felt a pain in my back and had to turn on my side.  It felt like my bones were sticking out of my own skin.  It made me worry a little.  Was I experiencing some kind of reaction to the treatment too?

I got up and found Clint’s quarters, getting his attention as I tapped on the door.

“You think you might be having something happen to you too, huh?”  he asked as I pulled my gown up in the back, and he told me, “It looks pretty strange.  Almost like a calcium deposit.  Your skin is brittle and tough at the same time.  This has got to be some kind of crazy coding mistake from the treatment!”  he exclaimed.

“But a change in our makeup like this shouldn’t happen so suddenly.  Professor Adrian told us it could be months before we saw anything of an improvement.”

“Not sure what we are experiencing is an upgrade, mate,”  Clint said as he looked around the hallways suspiciously.  Afraid we were being watched.

“Listen, I think that there’s more to this modification than Adrian is letting us know.  They could be testing all sorts of stuff with Crispr right under our noses.  We all signed those NDAs; who is to say they haven’t turned us into cesspools of genetic testing material?”  he snapped.

“That’s just sounding paranoid…”  I warned him.

“Maybe so.  But we should at least be allowed to view our medical charts from the time we started.  Blood cultures, enzymes, stuff like that.  It could provide us clues to what is changing in our genetic makeup…”

“They wouldn’t be deliberately trying to screw up our bodies,”  I told him.

“Oh, yeah?  And why not?  I bet they could get away with a lot in this lab, and we wouldn’t be the wiser.  You’ll see, mate; I’m gonna get to the bottom of this.”

The next day after our morning sessions, Clint said that he needed to speak to Adrian directly, and I figured it had something to do with the conversation from the night before.  But that was the last I saw of him.  For the next week, he didn’t show up for any of the treatments, and when I asked, the head nurse only said, “Patient 330 chose to opt-out of the clinical trial.”

It was suspicious, to say the least.  But I couldn’t see much to do other than wait and keep an eye on my health.

Over the next few days, though, I started to notice other patients were missing from trials.  One by one, the group was dwindling.

My symptoms were also getting worse.  Instead of just back muscle pain, I was experiencing bone pain as well, as if the skeletal structure of my body was changing…

sometimes I couldn’t sleep at all the pain would be so great.  I would look down at my hands and realized they were being reshaped to resemble a webbed creature.  My entire body, mutating and being restructured the way they saw fit.

It was driving me insane.  And I had to get out.

I decided to try and see if I could opt out as well; if this was going to get worse, I didn’t want to have any part of it.

“You do realize that the agreement you made for compensation details that you stay the entire six weeks?”  Adrian asked when I approached him.

“I don’t care about the money.  I just want to go home,”  I decided firmly.

“Very well…go to your quarters and gather your things.  I’ll send someone for you when we have made arrangements for transportation,”  he huffed.

Half an hour later, I was in my room with everything packed when a nurse and two orderlies entered, one of whom was pushing a wheelchair.

“Oh, I don’t think I will need that,”  I said.  Then I saw the look on their faces.  Their friendly demeanor had vanished.

One of the orderlies blocked the door as another one got a syringe and lunged for me.  I tried to fight back, but my body was already too weak from all of the experiments they had run on me.

“Try to relax.  This will go much smoother,”  one of the nurses whispered as I fell into a deep sleep.

* * * * * *

When I woke up, I was no longer in the bright, inviting facility I recognized.  I was in a dark room strapped to a table alongside several other people that I realized were the patients who had disappeared.

“What are you planning?”  I asked as Adrian entered the room.  I suddenly realized that all of the fears and paranoia Clint had worried about were real.

“You have to understand that we are not trying to hurt any of you,”  Adrian said softly as he prepared the next treatment.

“We’ve told you when we got started that all of this being done is for the benefits of science.  There is literally a universe of possibilities in front of us, and we can’t let risk of loss cloud our judgment.  We need to speed up the process.  We need to push boundaries.”

“But we can’t do that in a traditional lab.  It has to be in a place without concern for ethical consequences, or the political spectrum.  The world out there fears the change that we want to implement.  But the future is coming regardless of what you or anyone else believes.”

He injected the first patient with the super serum and explained, “This is precisely like the treatments you have had so far, multiplied ten times.  It will cause drastic changes in your body that will change the entire human species.”

I watched as the poor man struggled and moaned, trying to escape.

His skin started to bubble the way a soup does when it reaches boiling point.

Then his muscles began to expand, ripping his bonds and shrieking like a banshee.

The second patient was far worse.  Her skin melted off and her bones pushed through what remained of her muscular structure.  She was a writhing mass of organs, hardly even worthy of being called a human anymore.

I was next.

I tried begging for him to stop, but my words might as well have been to a deaf man.

“There will be mistakes along the way.  Errors in the code.  But every time we have a failure, it just means we can catalog the data.  Keep the research going…”  Adrian said as he injected my arm with the serum.

I closed my eyes and tried to fight it.  But it was like trying to stop myself from breathing.

Something was changing inside me on the molecular level.  My body felt like it was burning up.  My spine was beginning to break.

My arms and legs bent backwards, and I screamed to the heavens as nurses rushed to hold me down.

More medicine knocked me out, and I woke up in a cage.

I couldn’t close my jaw.  I couldn’t even articulate sounds properly.

I looked toward the other patients, also locked in cages like animals, and realized that this was exactly what we are now.  We’ve been turned into monsters.

“This won’t be permanent, you understand…in ten to fifteen years, we will find a way to reverse the process.  Just look at the progress you have made, though, when we aren’t forced to limit our understanding!”  Professor Adrian exclaimed as he checked our vitals.

I wanted to rip his throat out.  I wanted to destroy him and this entire facility.

Those thoughts of anger, rage and fear became my daily meals as we were experimented on.  Each day losing more of our connection to humanity.  I think I lasted the longest, keeping some part of my sanity as the others transformed into beasts before my eyes.

I finally used that fear and anguish to fight back, to use these mutations that the doctors had given us and attack.  I burst through the cage and clawed all the personnel, their attempts to knock me out now as futile as ants attacking an ape.  I was mad, but also terrified.  If I failed to escape now, I knew I would never get another chance.

I ran through the halls, naked and like an animal.  Maybe that is what I am now?  I caught a glimpse of my broken body in the mirror, my hair disheveled and my muscles threatening to atrophy.  My lungs were outside my body and my legs bent backward like a dog.

I screamed again.

Then I saw the man responsible for all of this.  He and at least a dozen other men guarded the exits.

“You can’t leave.  The world out there has no place for you.  You will be feared.  Hunted.  We can still fix you and discover even more about the human body in the process,”  Adrian said.  He sounded so calm, so sure of himself.

A distant memory of Melody flickered across my mind and I made the choice, using my mutating body as a battering ram to escape.

I ran for hours, in the dark and amid the foliage.  Eating fruits and berries like a mutt.  Sleeping on the ground.

Eventually I found refuge in a small cottage, the residents not home.  And I found a way to send a message not only to Melody, but to the rest of the world.

This is that message.  I can feel my body breaking down now on a molecular level, some sort of time-activated decomposing gene that Adrian put inside me to kill me if I were to escape.  It won’t be long now, and I’ll be gone.

He’ll come to collect my corpse and use it to further his mad research.

I send this as a warning to others who also are daring to tamper with the natural order.  Our species is not ready.  My fear is that we may never be, and perhaps most frightening, I’m not sure we can be stopped.

God save us all.

For we have become gods now.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 2 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Kyle Harrison
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Kyle Harrison

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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