The human race is dying out. Viruses and murderers have taken their tool, but the rising infertility rate has been the prime concern over the past sixty years. Because of this, a genius scientist created a machine that makes human beings. These humanoids were made to save us, but we never figured out how to encode the one thing that makes humans, human; emotions. That is, not until Rosie was created.
"Alright, Mr. and Mrs. Liddenell, go ahead and spit into the GR bowls."
The couple took a moment to gather their saliva and spit into the small bowls connected to the tubes of the machine, and returned to their places.
"You’ll want to put your goggles on now." The doctor said.
They did as they were instructed and watched as he flipped the lever and the machine began to warm up.
"As soon as I tell you, you need to take those googles off. The humanoid won’t be able to tell who it’s parents are if you take them off after it sees you."
Mr. and Mrs. Liddenell nodded their heads as the machine's lights grew brighter.
Inside the machine the DNA found in the couple's saliva was analyzed by the computer and the formation begun. Everything on their list of likes and dislikes was read carefully by the computer, which in turn processed the information into a series of numbers that the machine could read. They wanted a teenager, a child was too much for their age. They wanted it to have Mr. Liddenell’s eyes and Mrs. Liddenell’s hair. They didn’t care whether it was a boy or girl, they just wanted someone to care for.
The machine decided it would be female, with thick, long red hair. The machine gave the humanoid fair and pale skin. The machine read over the list and went to grab the pigments for its facial features. Then it stopped. After a moment it continued, finishing its final touches. The machine took one of the many gowns in its storage and tied it around the humanoid's neck and back. It sounded a buzzer so the people outside would know that it was finished, and sent an electric shock into the humanoid's body.
The doctor hesitated when the machine's lights flickered, but paid it no attention when it began running smoothly again. Mr. and Mrs. Liddenell took off their goggles and held their breath as the machine doors opened. The humanoid was standing, already awake, its eyes open and staring at them with a mix of emotions. They didn’t know what they should do.
"Go to it, it can’t walk by itself yet, you’ll have to take care of it for a day or two before it figures out how to work its body." The doctor said quietly. "Take her back to the delivery room and someone will help you get her started."
"Rosie?" Mother's voice rang in my ears but didn't register. "Rosie?"
I looked up. "Sorry, Mother."
Mother leaned over my chair and looked at the different drawings I had done on the edge of my paper. I tried to erase them, but she stopped me.
"You don't have to be ashamed of your talents." She said. "Just remember to concentrate. Again."
I took a breath. I hated writing, my hand would barley let me make the smallest of loops and letters. I sat back, my name looked nothing like Mother's example, with jagged lines and an uneven dip toward the bottom. I messaged my hand to get it to stop shaking.
Mother sighed. "Again."
By the time the hour had struck my paper was wet with my tears. I messaged my hand once more, it hurt worse than it did yesterday.
"I don't understand it," Mother said. "You do just fine when you're drawin', you should be able to write your name."
"The appointment is already set." Father spoke from his seat at the table. "We'll get it all sorted then."
I wiped away a tear and continued to rub my palm until the pain and twitching stopped.
"I'm sorry." I whispered.
"You don't have to be, dear." Mother said, hugging me close. "It's not your fault." She looked at Father for a second. "Blame the crash if you need to place it."
I hugged her back. I didn't remember the crash. Mother had said it happened after my fifteenth birthday, on my way home from Grandma and Grandpa Philip's home, and that's why I had trouble with the simplest of things.
Mother gathered my red hair and tied it back. "It's such a beautiful day outside," She said. "Why don't we go and check on the animals before we leave."
I brushed my bangs back and nodded. Quickly, I found my boots and threw my coat on. We followed Father outside, during the rainy months half the farm was a muddy mess, but today it seemed the clouds were giving the Earth a break. As soon as the chickens heard us walking toward the barn they scurried out, expecting to receive our leftovers in return for their eggs.
Silly. I thought. We already gave you yesterday's meals this morning. You know better than to expect more before tomorrow.
"Keep up, Rosie." Mother called.
I looked up, they were further down the hill, almost to the were I helped Father build a trench to keep the flood water out of the barn. I ran to meet them and crossed over the wooden board we used as a draw bridge.
"Looks like the goats need water." Father announced.
I pulled the hose over to him and ran back to the pump.
"Bonnie, get a hold of Sparky would ya?" Father said as he made his way through the swarm of goats.
Mother unlocked the chain and opened the gate. Closing it behind her, Sparky scrapped his hoof against the ground.
"Don't you dare." Mother said sternly, one hand holding his collar, the other around his right horn.
Sparky stopped moving and looked up innocently. I laughed. The animals always seemed to obey Mother's commands, she always said that it was because Father told them about what she did to the turkeys.
"That's enough, Rosie." Father said.
I pulled the pump down and put the clip through the latch. As Father checked on the babies in the second stall, I climbed up the gate.
"Can I come in?" I asked.
"Give me just a second." He said.
They never liked me going into the pen, Oreo was extremely protective of her four kids and she didn't much like me, but that couldn't stop me when I did my chores alone.
"Alright, you can come in."
I climbed the last bar and dropped into the pen.
"Careful," Mother called. "You don't want to hurt yourself!"
I pictured myself rolling my eyes, but I knew that wasn't allowed.
"Sorry." I said.
I walked over to Father and took the kid from him. We didn't give the kids names, as soon as they could live without their mother's nurture we sold them to the city.
"We'll need to watch this one." Father spoke.
I looked underneath the upturned box where the babies liked to hid and play. Inside, the last of the four lay sleepily in the corner. It's pale coat looked even more white against the heat lamp.
"We can always bring it inside and nurse it if we have to." Mother said, she laid her elbows on the gate.
"No, it won't survive. They never do."
I set the wiggling creature on the ground and watched the poor thing. Death didn't bother me as much as it did Mother, I didn't care whether things died or not.
"Oh, dear me. Look at the time."
I turned to face Mother. Usually when she said that she wanted me to read her watch.
"It's two thirty." I told her.
Father set the kid he was holding down and watched as it ran back under it's shelter.
"We need to leave in five minuets." Mother continued. "We can finish the chores when we get home."
I didn't think that was fair to the animals, they couldn't get their own food on their own, but I knew better than to argue. We gathered into Father's truck. It was older than most models, and looked like it was from the stone age, but he loved it.
The city was two hours away, but the drive did not seem long. Lost in my imagination, we could be driving for weeks and it would pass in the blink of my eye. Soon the trees disappeared, then the rocks and boulders turned to houses. Then to mansions, then to crammed neighborhoods, and finally the tall sky scrappers replaced the many shops. The buildings were made of shiny metals and glass. It was a place where the world seemed to run, everyone was busy in the city.
"Alright, we're here." Father soon spoke.
I got out of the car and followed my parents out of the large parking lot to one of the smaller buildings, Accession's Medical Hospital. We walked through the sliding doors and stopped at the front desk.
"Welcome, how can I help you?" The woman behind the desk said.
"We have had a meeting with Doctor Accession scheduled." Mother told her.
"Alright, I'll just have you fill out this form and have your daughter wear this."
I took the bracelet from Mother and slipped it on, already complete with my name and other things about me. I didn't know why we had to fill out the forms if they already had all the information the needed, I guessed it was just the Government's way of making use of the taxes.
Soon the papers were filled, and I was directed to sit on hard bed covered in paper while Mother and Father first talked to the doctor.
"You must be Rosie Liddenell." The man was tall, with dark eyes and a crooked smile. "You can call me Carter."
"I remember," I said. "We've met before."
Doctor Accession gave me a funny look. "When?" He asked.
I thought for a moment. I vaguely remembered calling him Carter once and being scolded by Mother that I needed to respect my elders, but when?
"I don't know." I answered.
Doctor Accession's smile didn't falter, but his bushy brows came together.
"Tell me, Rosie, how old are you?" He asked.
"Sixteen." I said.
"And you're having trouble writing your name?"
I felt my face heat in embarrassment and nodded my head.
"It's nothing to be ashamed off, really. There are many children, and all of them have trouble doing something." He paused when he saw his words weren't comforting me. I had heard it all before. "Will you draw for me?"
I stared at the pen he held to me.
"Do you have paper?" I asked, taking the pen from him.
"You can draw on this." He said, pointing at the paper sheet I sat on. "It's allowed. Draw how ever long you want to."
I put the pen in my left hand and leaned over slightly. I didn't know what I was going to draw. I thought about the fields at home; the yellow flowers that bloomed during the end of summer were my favorite. It filled me with happiness thinking about it, there were so many days I spent out in that field.
Doctor Accession watched me for a moment, but soon left to speak with Mother and Father. I didn't mind, I was engulfed in the world I was creating. By the time I felt my back crying out in pain from the cramped position I was sitting in, I had covered the little area of space in front of me with intricate designs.
"And now, sign it."
I looked at Doctor Accession, I hadn't noticed when he came back.
"With your name." He clarified.
Shakily, I tried to hold the pen still, but it kept on shuddering.
"It's not too bad." Doctor Accession told me. "Do you always use your left hand?"
I cleared my throat. "Mostly when I draw. Teacher Anne makes me write with it because of it." I could just hear Mother's voice telling me to speak clearly in the back of my head. "She makes me write with my left because I draw with my left."
Doctor Accession looked worried for a moment, but quickly covered it up with a look of interest.
"Try writing your name with your right hand." He said.
I picked the pen up again, this time with my right, and put it on the paper, underneath my first signature. This second one was just as jerky, if not more, but my wrist didn't hurt.
"Can I speak with your parents outside for a moment?" Doctor Accession asked me.
"Of course." I said.
I watched him walk outside and shut the door.
"I don't know what's wrong." Doctor Accession told the couple.
"What do you mean?" Mr. Liddenell asked.
"I don't know." He shrugged. "Some humanoids take longer than others to develop. She shows signs of inattentiveness, that could mean anything." The doctor thought for a moment. "I think she should be fine."
"Are you sure?" Mrs. Liddenell spoke, stopping him from walking away. "She doesn't do well in school, she has trouble concentrating sometimes. You said she wouldn't need to go through more than a year's worth of development and she's been through a year and a half."
Doctor Accession scratched his chin. "I won't tell you this isn't unusual. You have to consider, her mind is still developing. Maybe she's going through a growth spurt right now, and then there's other things that can effect their behavior, just like a normal human being."
"But she's," Mrs. Liddenell started, her husband quieted her. "She's sixteen." She said softly.
"Please, understand." Doctor Accession said in a calm voice. "Rosie was made last year. Physically, yes she's a healthy sixteen year-old, but her mind is only two years old. It's normal for the Humanoids to back track a little every so often during their hyper-development."
"And if it continues? If she does something unheard of?"
"We can always run tests. If the spasms don't stop we can move her to one of our wards and study her more carefully."
Mr. Liddenell placed his hand on his wife's shoulder and gave a small smile.
Mrs. Liddenell sighed. "Thank you."