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With Martin’s body, everything was nerve-wracking, to the point where Laverick felt he was going to have a breakdown.
Everything had to be perfect.
This was such complex work that he had to be switched on at all times.
If he felt himself flagging he put Martin back into the freezer as it was not worth the risk of ruining his son’s second chance at life.
Finally, after nine months – the irony of this timescale was certainly not lost on him – Martin was ready.
Laverick lifted his son out of the freezer and cradled him in his arms until he had defrosted.
Then he kissed him on the forehead, muttered a fervent prayer to a God he wasn’t even sure he believed in, closed his eyes and pressed the device against his son’s forehead.
The device beeped.
There was a beep from deep inside Martin’s skull.
The device beeped again.
The wait after this third beep was interminable, even though it only lasted a few seconds.
Then Martin’s eyelids flickered and Laverick was once more staring into the eyes of his beloved son.
The son he had buried.
The son he had dug up and spent ten years of his life bringing back to life.
The son he had killed for and would gladly die for.
‘Hello, little fella,’ Laverick said, tears of joy streaming down his cheeks and plopping onto the writhing child’s face. ‘Sorry, sorry,’ he said, wiping them away. ‘It’s just you have absolutely no idea how much this means to me.’
Laverick spent his every waking minute doting on his son.
He loved him more each passing day.
The work had been worth it, no doubt about it.
He’d have slaved away for three times as long in order to get this miraculous result.
Still, while Martin slept – handy due to the remote controls he’d himself devised and patented – he further tweaked and tested his research.
He was immensely proud of what he had done with Martin, but he wished he’d done a few more digital children first, in order to fully realise his knowledge.
Still, Martin was perfect in pretty much every way.
Laverick found that word of his work had spread far and wide.
He was no longer a freak – an outcast shunned by his peers – suddenly he was a god-like figure who had power over life and death.
He spent his days with Martin, but his nights were spent returning dead children to their grieving parents.
If he could make others feel the way he felt every time he held Martin, he was sure he’d be doing the world a huge favour.
After the intense revelations in the converted garage of Doctor Laverick, Nicol had performed regular internet searches to see if his one-time colleague had delivered on what he had convinced himself was an inevitability.
But he found nothing other than the obituary for Mrs Laverick, curiously dated a few days after his last, heated encounter with the ominous doctor.
He thought this highly suspicious, but since there was no reason for him to work with Laverick, he eventually forgot it, as he did his internet searches on the subject.
Nicol was idly surfing the web one lazy Sunday morning, coffee in hand, when, to his utter amazement, he saw a headline on his MSN news page: ‘Hero Doctor gives stillborn baby second chance at life.’
He spat his coffee out and his hand darted to the mouse to read more.
Clickbait or not, he had to read it.
It said in the article that the doctor responsible for the infant’s rebirth had wished to remain anonymous and had turned down every interview request.
Despite this, he’d known it was Laverick; the fact that the article mentioned bionic implants was merely icing on the cake.
‘Holy shit, he did it,’ Nicol said aloud, wiping coffee off the screen of his laptop. ‘The crazy bastard actually did it.’
He sunk into a stunned silence.
Laverick’s research could be worth a hell of a lot of money now, especially since it was proven to be valid.
He saw the proverbial pound signs before his eyes.
Despite his utter disbelief that the creepy doctor had managed the seemingly-impossible, he wanted to meet with him again.
So adamant was he in his belief that Laverick was the subject of the news article he’d read, he didn’t even bother with any further research, he just headed out to the scene of their last meeting.
He reasoned a man as obsessed as Laverick had been – hell, probably still was – would not have the time or energy to move to a new location, so he set off for the converted garage which had housed Martin Laverick’s frozen corpse.
To his dismay, the garage was no longer in Laverick’s hands.
A large, tomahawk-shaped sign outside advertised cheap MOTs. ‘No questions axed,’ the legend read.
Nicol turned the car round and headed for Laverick’s house.
When he saw that the house had sprouted a few extra extensions, jutting out at angles that were both aesthetically unpleasing and structurally unsound, he knew the doctor still lived there.
Only a man tight in the clutches of an obsession could fail to notice such glaring errors.
He sighed, composing himself for the argument he figured was to come, and got out of the car.
Slowly, he walked up the drive, trying to figure out what the hell he was going to say to the man whose dreams he had all but dashed, but who had, against all odds, managed to return life to the dead.
He knocked on the door and waited.
The door edged open to reveal the little boy he had thought would never breathe again.
There could be no doubt that it was the same kid.
He had Laverick’s nose and sunken eyes, but other than that his features were remarkably similar to those of the baby Nicol had seen emerge from the freezer.
He had absolutely no idea what to say to the kid, indeed his blood began to run cold and it felt as though his own tongue was trying to crawl down his throat and choke him.
‘Hello,’ the kid said.
Nicol put him at about three.
‘Is your daddy home, Martin?’ Nicol said.
The kid didn’t seem surprised that Nicol knew his name.
‘Who are you? Daddy isn’t expecting anyone today.’
Nicol debated whether to tell the truth or not.
While he wavered, the matter was taken out of his hands.
‘Martin? What are you doing? I’ve told you not to open the door unless we’re expecting someone,’ a familiar voice said.
The door opened further and Nicol was face to face with the man whose dreams he’d done his best to crush.
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