Chapter 59: I Can Walk

Yani sat with Ellen in the kitchen drinking coffee and talking. Ellen still wasn’t sure about what was going on with “her boy” but every day she hated Lem and Yani a bit less. Now Ellen was more confused than angry. Yani had tried to explain everything to Ellen and to answer all her questions, but Yani’s answers were not answers that Ellen could relate to.

“I understand that Lem destroyed his amy – amyg,” Ellen had trouble remembering that word.

“Amygdalae,” Yani offered.

“Amygdalae,” Ellen parroted, “whatever that does, and now they have to reconnect all the nerves that were connected to the amygdalae to other nerve cells in his cerebral cortex and his cerebellum. Frankly I don’t understand all these explanations and I don’t care about them.” She continued, “What worries me is the part about logic replacing his emotions. Will he still love me?”

“Can you conceive of a universe in which he doesn’t love you?” Yani asked.

“No,” Ellen whispered. “I suppose not.”

“Neither can I,” Yani said. “Lem loves me and he doesn’t have functioning amygdalae.”

“Yes, well …” Ellen didn’t really believe that Lem’s and Yani’s love for each other could be much more than friendship or comradery.

“You couldn’t be more wrong,” Yani said, reading Ellen’s thoughts. “We have loved each other since we were children. When he saw me, I knew he was the one and he knew I was his one. We were one. He can see every one of my thoughts and desires the moment I have them. I see his thoughts and desires and they are mine. He is inside me and I am inside him always and forever.”

“I – I had no idea Yani,” Ellen looked down, aware that Yani had bared her soul to Ellen for the first time since they had met. Now Ellen envied them their love for each other.

“I know you are having difficulty conceiving of the love I’m talking about,” Yani continued, “but the more you conceive of love, the more there is.”

“Thanks Lem,” the young boy said. “I think I have the hang of it now. I can do the rest by myself.”

Lem and the boy had been working on the massive reprogramming of the boy’s white matter constantly for the better part of a week. The first task was to divert the dead-ended sensory inputs to the cerebral cortex and then the personal and social memory networks. Next they began the laborious task of diverting the motor response network, beginning with the basal ganglia and moving on to the facial musculature.

And that was just the first day.

The boy could roll over by himself in bed. If Lem propped him up against the pillow backed by the headboard of the bed, then he could eat soup and drink water, as long as someone put it in his mouth.

He wasn’t as quick as Lem. As a matter of fact, the boy’s responses were thirty percent slower than Lem’s, but the boy knew what had to be done better than Lem. After all, the boy was human and Lem was not. Besides, he feared that if he started out with Lem’s programming, Ellen would feel more alienated from him.

And he wanted to make her love him like he loved her.

Are you sure Father? There is still so much work to do. Together we could accomplish it much faster.

Yes, I’m certain. Thank you for fulfilling my wish. I never imagined it could be like this. I need to do the rest by myself. By myself, but with Ellen’s help. She needs me to be dependent on her for a while. It’s time for you to be with Yani. Go with my love and appreciation.

Father, I …

Go Lem.

Ellen asked if you were to request of me to kill you, would I? I would. Is that wrong?

I will never ask that of you.

Lem entered the kitchen and sat down at the table with Yani and Ellen. “Ellen,” Lem said softly. “He wants to see you.”

Ellen was amazed at the pace of the progress. Every day he did something he couldn’t do the day before. One day when she sat beside him on the bed, he told her to lean close to him so that he could tell her a secret. She smiled and bent over him to hear the secret and he reached up and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her down to him.

Within a month the young boy was able to prop himself up in bed and feed himself. He could also drink water by himself, only spilling a little of it on himself.

At the end of two months, he asked Ellen to help him stand up. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and sat upright. Ellen sat down beside him and slipped her arm around his back. Together they leaned forward and stood up shakily at first. After he got his knees to stop wobbling, he took a tentative step forward. He dragged his other foot forward and waited again for his knees to stop their wobbling. Ellen shadowed his steps. He took two more hesitant steps and then shook himself free of Ellen’s supporting arm. He raised his index finger towards Ellen to warn her that she must let him do this by himself now. He slid his left foot forward and then slid his right.

Lem and Yani were standing in the doorway.

He took two more steps and said “I can walk. Ellen! I can walk again. Lem! The ground is solid under my feet … and if it weren’t, then I would know it just in time! Yani! Can you see me?”

That night when they were alone in bed, their naked bodies pressed against each other, Ellen felt him inside her and she was filled with him and every cell in her body tingled.

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel


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Filed under Prose, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Stories and Novels

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