This story is by Daniel Rivard and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
It was a Thursday afternoon when Zoey Ramirev picked up her mail on the way back from work. As she flipped through the short stack of letters, she froze upon seeing an envelope entitled “Dear Zoo”. The only person in the world who would dare ever call her such a name, is her younger sister Dr. Camina Ramirev, prodigy scientist in stem cell rebirth.
She got up and scrambled to the kitchen, mumbling to herself that it couldn’t be, it wasn’t possible. Just as she was getting better, learning to live without her sister, which was an unbearable life for the past months, this letter had to fall into her hands. Confused, also furious that it could be an awful prank, she grabbed a knife and drew up all the courage she could from her chest and proceeded to ripping the envelope open in one swift motion.
Inside was only a single page, hand written by no other person than her own and beloved Camina, with the same purple ink she would always use in personal letters they would share when they were appart. She started reading, tears started to roll down her cheeks, but something was wrong. This message was short and too casual for the first words she had heard from her sibling in such a long time. Zoey then remembered how Camina use to write her short letters, then with lemon juice and water she would sketch a hidden drawing. It was a little way to add suspense, which Zoey loved about her sister, who was full of surprises. She grabbed the note and threw it in the oven. After a few moments, she wasn’t astounded to see invisible ink appear on the back of the paper. As seconds went by, more and more writing all over the page started to appear, written in such a small font it was barely readable without magnification. She grabbed a magnifying glass and sat down with the letter filled with scribbles.
I’m guessing you are wondering what has happened to me, why you haven’t seen nor heard from me in the past few months. I cannot say where I’m writing this letter from, because I myself do not know where I am…
Do you remember the time I told you about the man in the black suit who came to talk to me at my lab, then offered me a job for the government? Well after a few weeks of thinking it over, I decided to take it. I wished to call and surprise you the next morning, but things went south quickly enough. The same man knocked on my door in the middle of the night which was extremely odd, he had a contract with him, which I signed…
I had to pack my belongings immediately into one small duffle bag then was assured I could come back home after a short while to collect the rest. I was told that my presence was needed as soon as possible in the new laboratory I was promised, in order to complete my research on the re-birth of the human brain with stem cell research, something that could change the world, giving a human the possibility to live for thousands of years through different bodies.
They took me to the airport where the man in black and I took a helicopter to an unknown location in the mountains, I am guessing for now it is in the wilderness of Wyoming or Colorado. The only chance I have to glimpse outside is when I have to present my weekly research to my boss, who is more like my captor, in his office through a tinted window. Although my well being here is very secretive and in complete isolation, deep inside underground laboratories, the work I have accomplished is incredible, beyond anything we’ve ever seen before. If only you could see what I’ve made. The world needs to know.
Upon proving to my boss, who shall remain nameless for my own safety and yours also, that my research had worked on animals, he gave me a recently diseased body from brain hemorrhaging, which I brought back to life. I know what you must be thinking, that I am tampering with nature and God’s creations, but the possibilities of my work here is endless.
I’ve been given a dead tissue sample of a brain dating back to the 18th century… you won’t believe whose mind I’m restoring Zoo… only our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln… Soon enough I’ll be able to have a conversation with a man who’s been dead for 150 years. Can you imagine his reaction when I show him all what we’ve accomplished since then, walking on the moon, the internet and so on? I can’t wait, nor can I wait to see you one day, lovely sister, if i’m ever permitted to leave this prison.
Finally I have to tell you, but you must swear to never speak a word of the contents of this letter to anyone, that I will be bringing back to life in new bodies, all of our deceased presidents. I do not know if or when I will be able to send you another letter, but if I don’t it’s because they’re planning on keeping me here for a long time, if not until they don’t need me anymore. I’m guessing I write to you with all this information, to let you know I’m okay, also doing good things for humanity, or at least I hope. Look inside your closet, inside your shoe-box of memories, is a hard-drive. On this disk, is all the research I had completed before accepting this job…Sell it, promise me to make my name immortal in the fields of science, it’s all I ever wanted. I’m scared they will bury me along with my name once I’ve given them what they want.
You have to remember Zoo, I will always love you.