Edward Owen – Author

Ray Bradbury Challenge #35- Adoption Day

Adoption Day baby

“I assume the DNA has been tested and meets our agreed upon standards?” said the Man in the dark suit. “And all of them have had preliminary training?”

He spoke to a Doctor in a white lab coat and was accompanied by a Woman with a serious face and cold, dark eyes.

“Rest assured any one of them would be a perfect match to your criteria,” said the Doctor.

The Man exchanged a number of words with the Woman in a language the Doctor did not recognize.

“Very well. Can you please show us the three that have the nearest imprint date?”

The Doctor raised his eyebrows.

“That’s an unusual request. Most of our clients prefer to have as much time as possible before imprinting – ”

The Man cut the Doctor off with a wave of his hand.

“My – excuse me – our needs are no doubt a great deal different than most of your clients. Imprinting in the next week or two would be ideal. Will that be a problem?”

The Doctor consulted a list displayed on his tablet.

“We have three candidates that will all be imprinting within the next two weeks. Is gender a concern?”

“No, either will be fine,” the Man said. “How long before we can meet them?”

“It’s meal time at the moment.” The Doctor checked his tablet. “I can have them ready in an hour.”

“Thank you. We will return at that time.”

Without waiting for a response the Man and the Woman turned and walked out the door.

The Doctor shook his head and returned to his office.

*****

The Doctor sat behind a small table with a control panel and a microphone atop it in a large room. The Man and the Woman sat in chairs beside him.

“Please send in the final candidate,” the Doctor said into a microphone.

A door opened on the other side of the room and a boy entered. He was dressed only in a tank top and a pair of shorts.

“What is his age approximation?” said the Man.

“Physical approximation is seven years, five months,” said the Doctor. “Mental is fifteen years, two months. His scores are in the ninety eighth percentile across the board.”

The Man looked at the Woman who nodded.

“Congratulations, Doctor,” said the Man. “The program is producing impressive results. May we speak with him?”

“By all means.”

The Doctor motioned to the Boy to come forward.

“Do you know why you are here?” said the Man.

The Boy fixed his gaze on him.

“I am being considered for adoption,” he said.

“Yes. What is the square root of three hundred eighty-eight thousand one hundred twenty-nine?”

The Boy blinked once and said “Six hundred twenty-three.”

The Woman leaned over and whispered in the man’s ear.

“Name the parts of the body most susceptible to lethal trauma in descending order,” said the Man.

The Boy hesitated for a moment before speaking.

“Brain stem, heart, frontal lobe, esophagus, temple, aorta, carotid artery, femoral artery.”

The Man looked at the Woman who nodded in approval.

“Please demonstrate your physical training,” said the Man.

The Doctor pressed a button on the table and two large men entered the room. The Boy turned to face them. The first man pulled a knife from a sheath on his hip and lunged at the Boy who side stepped the attack. As the man passed him, the Boy delivered a vicious kick to his knee. The attacker fell to the floor writhing in pain. The knife clattered to the floor and the Boy retrieved it. The second man rushed forward wielding a sword. He swung at the Boy’s head. The Boy ducked under the blow and sliced the man’s arm with the knife opening a gash that bled immediately. The man ignored the wound and continued his attack. The Boy avoided each blow and countered with one of his own. After several minutes, the man fell to the floor, bleeding from numerous wounds.

The Boy tossed the knife to the floor and resumed his place in front of the Man and Woman. He was neither breathing hard nor sweating.

“How long can you hold your breath?” said the Man.

“In a resting state; eight minutes, thirty five seconds,” said the Boy. “While swimming fully submerged; five minutes, ten seconds.”

The Man leaned over and conversed with the Woman in hushed tones.

“Why did you not kill your attackers?” asked the Man

“It was not necessary,” said the Boy, “as they no longer posed a threat.”

“Thank you. We have no more questions.”

The Doctor nodded and the Boy trotted to the door and exited the room.

“We have decided,” said the Man. “We will take candidate number three.”

“Very well,” said the Doctor. “If you will follow me to my office we can finish with the paperwork.”

*****

The Man scrawled his signature across the bottom of the contract and sat back in his chair. The Boy stood near the Doctor with his hands behind his back.

“I would encourage you to spend every waking moment together,” said the Doctor. “He will be imprinting soon and it will be much stronger if you do.”

“I understand,” said the Man. “Who else on your staff knows of our arrangement?”

The Doctor gathered up the contract and placed it in a folder.

“Oh, your privacy has been well guarded. I am the only one who knows.”

The Man threw the pen at the Boy who caught it.

“The Doctor poses a threat to us. You will kill him.”

The Doctor’s eyes grew wide as the Boy plunged the pen into his neck. Blood shot from the wound and splattered across the Boy’s face and arms.

“Excellent. You may call us Mother and Father. Have you decided on a name?”

“Yes, I have chosen Gabriel.”

“Then Gabriel, let’s take you home.”

The Man retrieved the folder from the desk and the three of them strode out of the office.

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