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G FOR Genuine




I’m nothing. They keep telling me that I’m unique, special, but I think different. I know different.

For too many years now years I have lived constantly on the run, always looking back for any signs of sweepers or any other Centre personnel. I know they will never let me go. It’s too dangerous for them to let the world learn about my existence. The repercussions would be too dangerous for them.

In fact, being exposed to the world, would be too dangerous for me as well, so I try to maintain a low profile. My social interactions never last more than two months. It’s a constant trip to a non existing place called home.

It’s hard trying to adjust to so many changes, even for a Pretender. I no longer know stability. When I was at Donoterase, despite being a prisoner there, things were different. I had things to do. They were hard on me, but at least I had a purpose. It wasn’t until I left that I understood what The Centre’s real intentions were.

My caretakers were very demanding, always wanting more and more. And I would do anything to make them happy or, at least, to avoid their fury. I knew what would happen if I failed. I learned at an early age that the anticipation of pain was far greater than the pain itself.

Mr. Raines was a master at it. I feared him. Everyone did. Except for two people. I only saw them once, but it was enough to enlighten my spirit.

First, came the lady. She spoke to me with a soft voice, told me she had to do something to help or else she couldn’t live with herself. I believed in her. She was the first person ever that made me feel special for the right reasons.

Sydney came next. He was going to be my educator. I didn’t pay that much attention at first. My educators and tutors changed every week. But his posture scared me a little at first.

My name is Sydney. I am going to take care of you for a little while,” he said and he really did. He took care of me. Unlike my previous caretakers, Sydney took a special interest in what I needed to better perform my tasks. He said he would help me – just like the lady did – and once again he was a man of his word.

I escaped The Centre leaving years of pain and suffering behind me. That was when my world really shattered.

My rescuer was the man I had been trained all my life to hate. The man who had killed my parents. Or so I was told. Jarod told me all about The Centre and the time he’d spent there. Somehow, I couldn’t avoid empathizing with him. I knew what he had been through; he knew it hadn’t been easy on me either. But my anger toward him remained.

What he showed me next changed everything. The information was undeniable and his eyes only spoke the truth. I was his clone. A duplicate. Not a real person. Jarod had always been their most prized possession and The Centre felt that a safeguard was necessary in case something went wrong.

Something did go wrong. We both escaped and now we both have to live on the run.

I live with Major Charles, my father (or perhaps my grandfather?). I’m sorry for the uncertainty, but family ties are very confusing when you’re a clone.

I don’t know who I am. A clone? A son? A brother? What am I?

I read a poem once. It went like this:

I am nothing.

I will never be more than nothing.

Apart from that I have in me the dreams of the world.

Let’s just hope it’s true.

Chapter End Notes:

The final poem is an excerpt of a larger poem called "Tabacaria" ("Tobbaco Shop") written by portuguese twentieth century poet Álvaro de Campos, one of Fernando Pessoa's many heteronyms. You can read the whole poem at

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