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Jarod sat on the bench in the park wondering if he would ever find his mother and feel his arms around him again. Would he find his father, sister and young clone again? He hoped that he could find all of them and then they would really be a family then. They had lost so much when he and his brother were taken and he hoped they could get it back. He glanced at the picture of his mother, father, sister and clone in his hand. The only one that was missing was Kyle and he wished that he were still alive.
A young man and older woman were walking in the park and the young man glanced around and looked in Jarod’s direction. He stopped and blinked at the man sitting on the bench.
“What is it son?”
“That’s Jarod. He’s the one that helped get me away from the kidnappers.”
“That’s Jarod? Wow he looks different.”
“You knew him?”
“I have never met him personally, but when me and your father used to work together I knew about him.”
“Can you tell me about Jarod? I never got to ask dad because I forgot. He seemed worried about leaving him with Lyle.”
“Lyle. Oh, I remember him. Not very nice guy.”
“You know of him?”
“I’ve heard rumors about him, but I’ve never seen him.”
“Jarod looks sad.”
“Let’s go visit him.”
They walked up to Jarod who was still sitting on the bench staring at pictures.
They startled him when they said his name. He looked up to find Nicolas and his mother standing in front of him.
“Nicolas. How are you doing?”
“Please sit down.” Jarod nodded to the seats beside him.
“Hi. You must be Nicolas’s mother, Michelle.”
“Hello Jarod. I’ve heard about you when you were still inside the Centre.”
“You worked with Sydney right?”
“Yes, but I never saw you in person. It’s nice to finally meet you and to thank you for saving our son.”
Michelle glanced at the photos on his lap. She recognized the young face that was staring at the camera. She thought that it was he.
“Why do you have a picture of yourself?”
“This is Jeremy he’s my brother.”
“But he looks like you. I mean exactly like you when you were that age.”
Jarod looked down at the photo and then back at Michelle. “That’s because he’s my clone.”
“They cloned you?”
“I’m sorry Jarod. What about the other people?”
“My mother, father and sister who I’m searching for.”
“I thought that they had died?”
“No, that’s what they told me in order to stop me from asking about them. I didn’t know until I escaped from the Centre that they weren’t dead. A little while after that I found out that I have a sister named Emily. I also had a brother named Kyle who was inside the Centre too. We did a couple of Sims together and we never knew that we were brothers. Lyle killed him because he was aiming for me and Kyle dove in front of me.”
“I’m so sorry Jarod.”
“It’s not your fault.”
“How do you know my father?”
“He was the one who trained me. He was my mentor.”
“Yes, you see Nicolas I’m what is called a pretender, a genius who can become anyone I want to be.”
“Why are you searching for your parents?”
“I was stolen from them when I was younger and I escaped five years ago.”
“Mom did you know about this?”
“I knew that he’s a pretender, but not that he was stolen from his parents.”
“How could they do that to a child?”
“Because they didn’t view me as a child. Before you can ask about Sydney. He was like a father to me the only father that I ever had, or remembered. He was nice towards me and protected me as best as he could.”
“So what do you do now?” Michelle asked.
“I go from place to place doing various pretends.”
“Why do you go from place to place?” Asked Nicolas
“Because the Centre still wants me back and they are trying to capture me. I can’t stay in one place for long because they might be looking for me.”
“Who’s trying to capture you?”
“Your father, my childhood friend Miss Parker, a computer tech Mr. Broots and sweepers.”
“My father is in on this?”
“Yes. I don’t blame him for it Nicholas. I know that he doesn’t have a say in whether he wants to do this or not. They killed his brother because he was helping Miss Parker’s mother get the children out of the Centre. I don’t blame Miss Parker or Mr. Broots either. I even helped Miss Parker with clues to her past and I helped Mr. Broots with the custody of his daughter.”
“How do you do that Jarod? Give so selfishly of yourself knowing that these people would capture you and take you back?”
“Because you can’t defy the Centre. If you do you die. Miss Parker was my friend when I was still in the Centre and then she left for boarding school and that’s the last time I saw her. Her mother was shot and killed when she was a child right in front of her, but that really wasn’t true. She faked her death and had a son named Ethan. He’s Miss Parker’s and my brother. I don’t blame Mr. Broots because he has Debbie to take care of. I don’t blame Sydney because he’s a victim of the Centre like I am, like Miss Parker and Broots is.”
“Amazing. If that happened to me then I don’t think I would be so forgiving.”
“I wasn’t at first. At first I was angry that Sydney allowed my Sims to get used the way that they were. I thought that he knew what they were being used for and I know now that he wasn’t at fault for that.”
“What are Sims and what were they used for?”
“Sims, or rather simulations are hypothetical situations that they gave me to figure out. I would tell them how to build a building to be stronger and they used that to use it for the opposite. They used my work to hurt and kill people. I did the sim that was used to clone me. His name was Gemini before my father and I rescued him. I was taken back to the Centre when Miss Parker got shot and I had to send the boy and my father away in the plane.”
“I’m so sorry Jarod.”
“It’s not your fault.”
“It’s not your fault either Jarod.” Michelle said.
“Yes, it was. I’m a genius I should have known what they were doing with my work.”
“You were just a child and didn’t know.”
“But I should have known when I was older.”
“You had no idea Jarod. It’s not your fault.”
Jarod looked away at that because he no longer blamed Sydney, but he still blamed himself.
“How did you know that I was kidnapped?”
“I saw the news and it had your picture.”
“How did you know what I looked like?”
“Because I was the one who had given Sydney the information about you. It’s my fault that Lyle took you. He took you because he wanted to capture me.”
“It’s not your fault Jarod. It was Lyle’s fault. I don’t blame you.”
There was a silence that was broken by Nicolas.
“Do you still keep in touch with my father?”
“Yes and I keep in touch with Miss Parker too.”
“Nicolas we better get going.”
“Goodbye Jarod it was nice seeing you.”
“I’m glad that you are okay Nicolas.”
“Thank You Jarod for my son’s life. It was nice finally meeting you face-to-face Jarod. I hope that you find your family because you deserve it. Stay safe Jarod.” Michelle said as she hugged him.
“Your Welcome and Thank You.”
Jarod watched as they walked away and then put the pictures back in his pocket. He too left to his latest lair.