Leech Brains
by S Shane Thomas

Listen to my narration here

“Begin Log Entry 2148.11.15, for Dr. Erin Jeffries,” fingers blurred over a keyboard, pulling images of double helix DNA strands on two separate screens. Long strawberry blond hair fell down petite shoulders under a white lab coat. Only her eyes and technical experience revealed her true age, one of Dr. Jeffries’s earliest successes, a treatment with Antarctic Krill, enabled elderly adult humans to revert to their young bodies. She found that renewed youth came along with renewed curiosity and a disregard for caution.

“I have isolated the leech’s genes responsible for multiple brains and inserted them into the human base strands.” She leaned over a holographic computer simulation of the hybrid and gasped in delight, “Beautiful.”

*****

“Ten months in the artificial womb and now my little creation is ready for the world,” Dr. Jeffries mused.

The nanny droid charged with the newborn’s upkeep only chirped in reply. While the bot showed capable of communicating advanced notions, it had found in the days prior that replies more than casual acknowledgement led the youthful Doctor on rants.

“He’s beautiful.” Dr. Jeffries cradled her little test subject, swaddled in blankets. She carefully rolled the baby on its side and inspected its thirty two brains. The boy’s head parted down the center, making the first pair. Along his spine thick bone bulged on both sides creating protective skulls for the fifteen pairs of brains running from just under his primary set to the small of his back. “Perfect, you’re just perfect!” She tickled the little babe on its belly and he cooed.

*****

“I missed you yesterday.” The boy, Roger, now six, looked up into Dr. Erin’s eyes as they walked together in the starship’s Earth Habitat.

“I missed you too Roger,” a thin hand stroked the brain casings between his neck and shoulder blades. Hardly a day went by that Dr. Jeffries had not made time for her special friend. “How are your studies progressing?”

“I miss the other children.”

“The other children are still learning their alphabet; you’re completing a third doctoral thesis.”

“I know they don’t learn as quickly, but I still like to play. Maybe I can join the youth soccer league?”

“That would be a wonderful idea!” Dr. Jeffries took her young charge by the hand. “I know firsthand that an educated mind still needs physical activity and social stimulation, especially in youth. Let’s walk to the sports complex and sign you up today.”

*****

Parents and droid chaperones crowded the bleachers. The youth soccer season had come to an end. Dr. Jeffries sat on the edge of her seat. She had never been much for sports, but watching Roger play was incredible. Not much for running or winning a scrimmage, the boy relied on strategy and impeccable aim all season to help his team make it all the way to the championships. With only seconds left in the fourth quarter Roger punted the ball high overhead from the opposite side of the field. It looked to everyone in the stands that it would simply sail over the top of the goal and end up out of bounds, but the ball arced and fell just under the top bar of the goal.

“We win!” Roger shrilled with delight. His team exchanged high fives.

“Leech boy!” shouted a kid from the other team.

“It’s not just leech cells he has, they gave him soccer cheater cells too!” said another opponent.

A single tear ran down Roger’s cheek. Dr. Jeffries jumped up, ready to scold the sore losers and comfort her little Roger. She stormed across the field with some parents, all ready to enforce good sportsmanship. As they approached Roger scrunched his face in concentration. The boys who teased him all made shocked expressions. Urine trickled down their legs soaking shorts and socks. Roger smiled sheepishly and the sodden boys began to cry.

Seeing the situation resolved and also the suspicious looks on the faces of the approaching parents, Dr. Erin quickly piped in “Boys, it isn’t nice to tease others because they are different, and Roger you know that revenge only makes enemies. Now who wants to celebrate a good game with ice cream?”

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