Luminous (part 6)

Posted: August 3, 2010 in Short Stories

* * *

Marcus sat in his car. Something was not right. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he knew his sister did not kill herself. She was just not the type; she was not hardwired that way. There was an outside factor that he just couldn’t quite see, and it bugged the shit out of him. He reviewed the evidence he had compiled.

His sister was twenty-four when she met Nathaniel Pearce.
Nathaniel was twenty-one at the time.
They met in a local bar, the very same bar he was in the first night he had tasted Luminous.
His sister had three friends.
Edward Christopher Moebius: a twenty-seven year old writer of poetry, very little published and living off his mother still.
Alyssa Von Harrington: she was a career waitress, sharp as a tack, but not much in personality. She prided herself in the fact that she needed no one to survive. She was twenty-five, a bit young to be so bitter.
Rebecca Anne Moran: or Becky, as she likes to be called. She was Rhyana’s best friend. She is twenty-seven, the same age as his sister. Becky and Rhyana were inseparable, until Nathaniel came into the picture. Slowly over their three year relationship, Nathaniel had pushed Becky into the shadows. It was very hard for Becky, as she suffered from a bad case of Co-dependency. She has never recovered from the separation.

All of them had a motive to hate Nathaniel, but none of them had any reason to want Rhyana dead. So what was he missing? He would have to revisit each of them. The answer was buried inside them, and he had to dig it out.

* * *

Becky placed a bouquet of flowers at Rhyana’s gravestone. Her tears smudged her black mascara. “I was here for you Rhy, why did you leave me? I don’t understand? We were… we are best friends. We grew up together, why did you leave me?” She sniffled.

“Hey Becky,”
Becky slowly turned around. Her eyes lit up when she saw who it was. “Marcus!” She ran and through her arms around him.
“Hey, hey… easy now”, said Marcus, as he reluctantly comforted her.
“Marcus, the last three years have been horrible. I have been so lonely. Me you and Rhy were always together, you know. Then you left, and it was bad for Rhy and I for a while, but we had each other…until Nate came along.”
“I’m sorry, Becky… we were young, we can not choose our parents…”
“I know.” She pulled herself away from him.
“Becky, can you tell me anything about Rhy, anything at all that would have brought her to this situation?”
Becky shook her head. “She wasn’t the type, you know. She loved life; all she ever wanted was to be smart, like you and Nate. When Luminous first hit the market three years ago, it was all she ever talked about, how it would open up her mind. She loved to talk about brains, you know.” She let out a nervous laugh.
“Yeah, I know. She was so obsessed with being smart that she really didn’t realize she was smart.” said Marcus.
“Yeah, I think that’s what attracted Nate to her. He’s a genius and all, but when it came to brain’s Rhyana was like a super-computer, you know. She could tell you anything and everything about the brain and thought process’ and synapses and she was like, well you know I think better at how to create Luminous than the scientists who invented it.”
Marcus’ eyes lit up. “Really, why do you think that?”
“Ah, well… when they were, um theorizing about Luminous and that one scientist guy, ah what’s his name… um, yeah Ephram Cohen wrote a paper about it. It wasn’t called Luminous back then, because Luminous is the street name for it now. It was called ah I can’t remember but he was the leading scientist guy when it came to virology. He said something about comparison of the genetic changes during adaptation of different PERVs on human cells. I remembered that part cause I thought perv was short for perverted… he he he. Anyway, he theorized that by introducing a mutated virus into the spinal fluid, the virus would take on a symbiotic state and mimic it’s host while feeding on it’s brain cells.”
“That does not sound very appealing, why would this interest my sister.”
“Well, dummy if you let me finish… what interested your sister was the fact that this type of mimicry could theoretically be transmuted, you know shared.”
“Wait a second… so the original intent of Ephram Cohen was NOT to create Luminous?”
“No. Your sister took his idea and introduced the idea of a transgenic bacterium that do something uh what did she say, oh yeah a transference of syndesis by pairing of two homologous chromosomes which occurs during meiosis to create a chromosomal crossover. She started rambling on about synaptonemal complexes and how the virus and the bacteria together could make her smart. Everyone heard her; it was all she talked about for years. Then, suddenly her ideas were made real three years ago. Oh yeah, now I remember, they called it Epiphany, but only the rich could take it, and it had a very high mortality rate. Ah, and there was no guarantee of what would be copied and transferred, or what the recipient would remember and retain after the transference. But the great thing about that was, donors got ten thousand dollars for one month… but you had to have some kind of smarts that they felt would qualify for duplication, and you could only donate once in your lifetime, otherwise some type of cerebral decomposing occurs. I think they said it liquefies your grey matter. They called it Epiphany. Wasn’t very practical, but everyone saw the potential. Hey, you know it’s like your sister could see the future.”
“More like someone stole her ideas. Three years ago, huh… isn’t that about the time Nathaniel came along?”
“You know, you’re right. You think he stole her ideas? Cause, everyone says he’s a genius, but… well to me he seems like a street punk.”
Marcus sighed. “If he stole her ideas, then someone stole her ideas from him. He is not exactly swimming in wealth.”
“Yeah, that’s what we all thought too.”
“We all,” Marcus turned up an eye at Becky.
“Yeah, Me, Ed and Alyssa… well it’s not like we don’t, um didn’t want Rhy happy, but we really questioned how someone like him would appear out of nowhere and then push us all away. Your sister was pretty much isolated by Nate. For the last year, she only had him in her life.”
“…and that is about the time the street version of Epiphany started circulating, right?”
“Yeah, Luminous… after Luminous had hit the streets for a few months; Epiphany was suddenly made available for the public and the death ratio was cut in half. I hear it’s still not as good as Luminous, cause not everyone retains the smarts they get from Epiphany, but there is no doubt that they learned a few tricks from studying Luminous.”
“You know, you must have heard her repeat this stuff a million times, didn’t it drive you crazy?”
“Not really, it kind of helped me during science and biology class in school. I don’t think I would have graduated if it weren’t for your sister rambling on about everything. She has never been wrong about that kind of stuff, you know.”
“Yeah,” Marcus gave Becky a hug. “Thanks Becky, you’ve been a great help. If you think of anything else, let me know.” He turned and walked away.
“Don’t be a stranger, Marcus.” She waved.

* * *

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