I lifted the covering of an object on my dressing table and found a replica of the upper half of my torso. I tried to remember where it had come from.
I recalled that I had common gadget that would duplicate simple objects and that one day I had pointed it at myself. It had created this duplicate, which I had put aside to deal with later and somehow had forgotten. As I looked at it again, it frightened me.
It was perfect in every way—it looked like human flesh (I couldn't bring myself to touch it), and I could see blue veins under the surface of the skin, which had a healthy, living glow. Worse, the half torso was solid; I knew that if I touched it, I would feel warmth and bones and would sense the organs underneath.
In the back of my mind I knew that this was incredible discovery—the ability to replicate entire body parts with a simple gadget, and that I should try to duplicate the effort. If I succeeded, I should announce the result to the world, or find a scientific team with which to work to explain it.
But all I felt was horror and fear and the need to get rid of the half torso—my half torso—as quickly as possible.
If I duplicated what had happened, I thought only that I would have two horrid half torsos to eliminate. If I failed, I would wonder how it had really come about, which was another dreadful thought.
I re-wrapped it and considered my options, a thought process hampered by my horror and terror.
I couldn't throw the half torso into a park district trash bin; someone would find it, it would be traced back to me, and I would be suspected of murder. I knew that no one would believe the only explanation I had—even I wasn't sure that I did.
I thought of burning it, but I couldn't do that unless I put it into a bag along with charcoals in a way and in a place that looked like I was having a barbecue. For some reason, I thought even this would look suspicious, and I also wondered about the smell of burning flesh and the possibility that human remains still could be found in the ashes, even if only charred bits of bone.
I was still pondering the problem, which seemed impossible, when I woke up. I realized then the illogic of a partial torso, which I also now knew to have been half or two-thirds size—how were the ends sealed off? How did the organs function, if they did? What kept it alive? Was it alive?
Now I also wonder if my fear was really of being caught, exposed, and punished, or if it was of destroying something that had been part of my being.