Story idea from writing prompt on r/WritingPrompts from u/Diablo165, thanks for the idea.
I woke up to the soft sound of snoring. I knew I didn't wake my self up with it, because once I shook off the irritation and grogginess of being awaken, the sound was still there. I fumbled around on my night stand to try and turn the light on. I must've knocked something off because the snoring stopped and I heard a groan. Strangely enough I thought it sounded just like my brother. What was he doing in my room again? I don't remember, but I definitely felt like he needed to be punished.
I peered over the side of my bed and saw what seemed to be a brother shaped figure, so I slowly stood on my bed and jumped off sticking my leg out to get the sweetest, most painful dropkick I could attempt with my feeble body and inexperienced mind. I must've erred somewhere along the way because I ended up driving my head into the person on the ground. Just as effective, I think, just more painful for me.
"What the hell?!" the body yelled. He instantly turned around and grabbed me. My little brother had gotten much stronger and much bigger. He punched me in the stomach and pushed me into the bed frame. My head smacked the wood, but that was no big deal. My head was hardened from years of fighting between brothers and friends. I barely felt it. I waited on the floor for a second until I saw where my brother was going. He looked to be reaching for the light. That was not going to happen, not if I could stop it. I did one of those ninja jumps and kicked my feet out at my brother while simultaneously pulling them under me and pushing my upper body with my arms to regain my footing and strike a powerful blow. It didn't turn out nearly as I hoped, but I did kick my brother and I was able to stand up afterward.
I jumped for the light and flicked it on. The previously dark surroundings was illuminated. A pile of clothes was stuck in the corner. Posters and video game paraphernalia lay strewn on the walls and stored in between bookshelves--of which there were two--giving the room a very musky and manly feeling.
"What are you doing, man?! How did you get in my bed without waking me up?" my brother said, only this definitely was not my brothers room.
"What do you mean, your bed? You were sleeping on my floor. Go back to your room, Philip!" I said, turning around to see what he could possible want from me. My eyes caught who I thought had been my brother. It wasn't him. It was an incredible site. I never thought I would lay eyes on something so amazing. It was me. It was my exact likeness. I swear I was looking in a mirror.
"Philip? I'm not Philip, you idiot, stop playing games and go back to your room, I'm trying to sleep," I said (well, not me, but the other me). He had been rubbing his eyes and had not yet seen the truth. But he finally pulled his hand away and got in a good look. He realized he was also staring at me. And I was staring at me.
He was me, or was I him? I can't actually remember which one was me and which one was him. From what I could gather, after that initial meeting we had the same memories, the same attitudes, the same everything. We would agree on all points of interest. I felt like I could finally talk to someone who completely understood me, but he was just the first of many.
There's nothing quite like having your own trove of copies to do your bidding and take care of all your individual responsibilities. I never had to do any chores. I never had to do anything. After the first 6 months or so of skipping school to play video games or wonder around the town to do whatever, I soon realized the value of schooling and spending time with friends. As my intelligence levels dropped I could just feel myself getting stupider as the days went on. That had to end.
Instead, me and the first (Or the original, again I can't remember which was which) set up a system of lesser copies making money while him and I would attend school on and off and relay studies to each other afterwards. It was a good system. The lesser copies of me could make all kinds of money and were able to sustain themselves and they brought in quite the income. It also helped they seemed to be completely subservient to me and the first.
"Beorn-B2," I called--we came up with a naming system of the little guys to keep them organized while still allowing them to still keep my name. The letter was the level of clone they were and the number was the copy number he was on that level--Beorn-B2 came running into my room, "Did you stock the garage with the product?"
"Yes, sir, I did. Can I get my payment now?"
"Sure, bud. It's in the back," B2 scampered into the back room to find a plate of food and some soda for him to drink. The cloning system had a strange function to it, sort of like a tier system. The first one was an exact copy, and that was either me or the other Beorn--I don't remember--but the rest were much stupider and less autonomous. We found out that clones could also make clones. It didn't take but 4 months of experiments to recreate the conditions that spawned the first one (it was this strange mix of rotten avocado, steamed asparagus, and a terrible pasta that my mom had tried the night the first one arrived, that combined with the mental stress of an upcoming dance I had asked Linay Crawfield to). I guess that combination of foods and stress opened up some sort of dimensional rift that popped out a clone. There wasn't any indication that the cloning was biological.
Anyway, the clones appeared to be tiered in some sense. The second two clones, they came from me and the first, seemed off. They were fine in almost every sense, but they didn't look quite exactly the same and their memories weren't as in tact. And the clones after them were even worse off.
In total by this age I had about 24 clones. They all lived in a house I made them build. It was on some land I was able to buy with the college savings my parents gave me. I even got the house hooked up with plumbing and a solar grid for electricity. All it took was 10 clones and then giving the A tier instructions to learn and build a house. They were autonomous enough to figure out the rest.
We were first able to make money by selling candy and other junk foods at schools around the city, but that wasn't bringing in income fast enough. We kept the small time stuff running while we could. However, we aged out of being able to pull it off. Kids just weren't buying it anymore. So we moved onto the online market and sold various nick-knacks and other home made items to women and girls across the country. I was bringing in about 500k a year from that game. The women loved it. They ate it up.
At first it was difficult to hide the fact that I had a small community of clones. They hid in crawl spaces, basements, friends homes--unknowingly to friends--and anywhere else they could effectively not be seen. Until we got the clone house, it was glorious, the golden age I would say. The first and I were best friends, and amazing business partners.
Around age 17 is when it started to change. I had a girl friend, like any other teenage boy at the time. It was very difficult to keep a relationship going without revealing the truth. With this girl though, I took the risk.
She was everything I wanted. And she even found what she wanted in me. It was my third love. Problem was, it was the first's third love too (He did have a different girl friend, but seeing as we were the same in every way I suppose it made sense we'd both have the first same love). Often we'd fight over her. Trick each other into abandoning plans with her and go in the others place.
I lost it when the first slept with her(Or did I sleep with her and he was mad? It's hard to tell when you're the same person). He was my best friend. I was his. He was me. I was him. I betrayed myself. It was the most horrible, strange, slightly confusing, and satisfying feeling I'd felt.
One night I decided to confront me (well, him, I don't remember if it was him or me).
"Beorn, I've had enough of this," I said.
"What do you mean?" He answered.
"I know what you did. I know you slept with her. How could you do that to me? How could you break my heart? You know I love her!"
"Of course I do! I'm you! And what are you talking about, you slept with her, not me! You betrayed me. You're the one that's breaking your own heart."
"Cut your crap, Beorn. Don't try and pull that, I'm you, you're me, bullshit. I'm smart enough to know what you are and I know exactly what happened. You conniving little half-wit clone. I knew I should've gotten rid of you when you showed up. I knew you weren't going to be worth it," I turned around with a tear in my eye and started to walk away when he tackled me to the ground.
What ensued afterward was an awkward meshing of fists, grapples, tugging, and pulling that resulted in several bruises and a lot of tears. It was quite pathetic actually. Two scrawny young men just rolling on the floor together. Not really interesting to talk about.
As he and I had tired out and were laying on the floor he stood up and began walking away.
"Where are you going?" I said.
"Does it matter? I love Linay! I love her with everything I've ever had! I can't get over how much I love her, but I can't stand the pain that we're putting each other through because of her. I'm much more you than clone! You know that? I've always been more you. Do you even remember which one of us is the extra?" He said with a sob in his throat.
"Why is that important? Of course I do. It's you. I was the one in the bed. Why would I sleep on the floor? That's ridiculous," I said in rebuttal, but honestly I couldn't remember. I never could tell which was which. It all seemed to blur at that point. Did I sleep on the floor? Would that make me a clone?
"I think it'd be best if I just left and took my guys with me, everyone you think is just a half-wit clone. We all deserve better than this."
Linay and I had been married for 2 years. It was a beautiful wedding. The remaining clones helped to set it up. I had about 10 left. Linay now knew of their existence, but didn't make too much of a fuss. At first she was surprised, but once she started reaping the benefits she instantly took them.
I hadn't made a new clone since I was 17. I also hadn't seen the first since then either. It was strange. I thought he was only kidding, or saying things in frustration, but he actually did leave. It left a small hole in my heart, the part reserved for loving yourself. I did learn to live with it though. And Linay filled that hole all too well.
I was browsing the internet while Linay was watching TV in the other room when I came across a local news article about a body that was found. It was burnt beyond recognition with the teeth pulled out, but I knew exactly who it was. It was Beorn-D3. My favorite D tier clone. He made the best waffles. I could tell it was him because around the C and D tier we began to tattoo the clones at the base of the spine above the hips with their Sub Title. And the body had been burnt except in a small place where the letters D3 could be seen.
I had no idea what happened to the guy, and honestly, I was more worried about not having those amazing waffles ever again. I called the clone house to make sure that D3 wasn't among them.
"Hello, this is the C. Lone residence, B. Juan speaking," said the voice that answered the line.
"Cut the shit, B1. We don't have time for that. Where's D3?" I said.
"He went out for ice cream with C4. Why?"
"I think he's dead. Get A2 on the phone."
"Dead? How is he dead? I just saw him leave this morning."
"Just get me A1, you idiot," there was some shuffling on the other end of the line and the same voice came back on.
"Hello, this is the C. Lone Residence, A. Juan speaking."
"What is with you guys and that stupid greeting? You know what doesn't matter. We don't have time. You need to go on lock down. D3 was killed and I don't know how or why, but you need to shut it all down and stay out of the light until I find out more. Do you understand?"
"Yes sir. The C. Lone Residence is now on lock down," after hearing that I hung up the phone and grabbed Linay.
"Babe, we have to go," I said pulling her arm and putting on my jacket.
"What do you mean? My show isn't done," She responded.
"Doesn't matter, you can finish it at the clone house. We have to go now."
"Why do we need to go? You're always so dramatic about these things. Is this for my birthday?"
"No, Linay. He's back."
"Of course you are, you just walked in."
"No! The other me, the clone one."
"At the house? You know I've met them all. There's like ten of them."
"This is ridiculous. Let's just go. I know he's back and he's here to get rid of all of us. He's here to get rid of me and to take you."
"How do you know that?"
"Because it's exactly what I would do if he had stayed and I left. It's exactly what I would do if he were the one with you. After all, he's more me than clone."
Photo by Anywhere and Somewhere