• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 01
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The Replicator Bureau

We work together, undercover, unseen, incognito. We don't even recognise our own but we are undoubtedly many. How we came to exist is hard to say. Drop-outs from the system. Perhaps we recovered our senses as losers who remembered what we’d lost. Spokes in the system: reset and moulded to the status quo. We're now the mischievous ones with inside knowledge. Sinister clowns, pulling on emotion, watching with dispassion. Murderous undertakers who size up their clients in advance. No damage is observed by those who are selected. Our job is art. We don't make the rules and we aren't permitted to recall the selection process. We are perfectionists and no errors can ever occur. Nothing has ever gone wrong, never a blip, nor blink, no-one notices the changeovers.

Unobserved we're sent to the scene, where we retrieve the lost glove. Here our craft begins. Let duplication commence, with an eagle eye for detail. A file of evidence already compiled to exact the replica. An identical pair painstakingly created. We are not magicians but our knowledge is vast. Animal, mineral, vegetable, texture, aroma, prescribed and described down to the minutest particle. Even a stain: clandestine wine, grime from commute, a pet’s wet nose, if it evokes a memory it must be incorporated. Less than hours later, the technicalities of molecular science begin. DNA analysed, patterns programmed, the rebuilding of each owner is accomplished. We relish that part. The glove is the first and last part of the puzzle. Of course other collectors, add to our collection. Together we form the machinery that creates the perfect genetic match.


The Replicator Bureau

We were excited that first day, all giddy with awe. Training days and theory accomplished we were sent to the first scene. Yes, it was a steep learning curve but we were lucky to be chosen. The first time we saw it happen and it was remarkable. The target: female. Fifty-fifty probability: adult, child, anyone could be next. Hidden we watched. Before our eyes, it was over so fast. First her shadow disappeared, as if the sun blotted from the sky. Simultaneously her feet were sucked down, as if the ground below had opened up. An invisible mouth, not gnawing but engulfing. Ankles, knees, thighs, swallowed below ground. Skirt hems spread wide like Marilyn or more precisely Mary Poppins. Her corporate umbrella last, forced from her grip. Later we took that too, for the strand of hair and fingerprints. Then as if spurred by a sudden wave of consciousness she flailed. Most of her was gone, already subsumed, only her arm remained. Her gesture was almost imperceptible. A slight agitated hand wavering, as the hole that opened so readily, so eagerly, even hungrily, closed. Fingertips, French manicure, vanish. A last wriggle and her single empty glove flops alone, awaiting collection. No sign of owner, no indication of illease. Our job, so simple. To retrieve that last and only piece left of the person that once stood. We are the collectors. Replication comes later.