The following is a work of “fiction”.
I stood outside the hotel, gun in my hand. The clouds above were threatening rain, casting their shadows over what should have been a sunny late-August afternoon. This was the last part of my self-imposed mission, but it was also the hardest.
Taylor Swift had to die.
I remember the beginning of all this. Human cloning had made a huge leap forward. All you needed for a clone of your own was a pile of money and stem cells. The Hollywood elite were the first to pony up, having an excess of funds and aborted fetuses.
Hollywood reaped the benefits of having celebrity clones, using them for personal appearances, stunt doubles, or photo shoots. None took it as far as Taylor Swift.
Taylor’s record studio had fifteen clones commissioned. I’m no scientist, but that’s a lot of money and dead babies. They made the announcement as soon as the clones hatched from their pods: Taylor Swift’s clones were putting on a massive world tour.
And I was there.
My daughter was a fan and begged to go. How could I say no? I bought two tickets and agreed to take her, letting my wife stay home. We waited for her to come on stage, the audience electric for the clone of their beloved pop music idol. The music started, the stage was lit, and the audience screamed. I have to admit to feeling a little excited myself.
But the concert wasn’t what anyone was expecting. Taylor leapt from the stage like an animal, landing among her fans, killing them one at a time. I saw her tear the throat off a teenage girl with her teeth, feasting on the bloody meat underneath.
I did the only thing my body allowed: I ran. I picked up my seven year old daughter and pumped my legs toward the exit with the others, screams of terror behind me. I turned around once to see if it was safe, and I saw the twisted face of the Taylor Swift clone, drenched in the blood of the many victims at its feet.
I ran to my Ford Taurus, the carnage still unfolding in the XL Center. I threw my daughter unceremoniously in the back and started the car. I drove the streets of Hartford, dodging the other panicking drivers who had just left the center. A woman jumped into the street, and I hit her with my car, bouncing her over the hood. My daughter screamed in the back, and I concentrated on getting to the highway and eventually home.
The story was on every news channel when I finally got home to a relieved wife, and it had continued being the top story on every channel and broadcast for days. They had an autopsied body of one of the dead clones, killed by police, and the reports said the cloned DNA didn’t mix right with an especially strong strain of HPV that was imbedded in Taylor Swift’s genes. They hadn’t done enough research to start cloning on the level they had cloned, but it was rushed through the process in order to start making money from it. President Trump’s White House was being blamed for the oversight in regulations.
The cloning programs were shut down, but it was already too late. The Taylor Swift clones were multiplying. It was believed they were raping men in order to obtain their sperm, spawning like insects. What had started as fifteen clones was soon over a hundred, and nobody had any answers on how to stop it. Before long, the clones’ numbers had passed into the thousands across the world, and the speculation was that the reign of man was coming to its end.
My family and I tried to make our way north after we heard that Canada wasn’t boasting the casualties America was. We got separated before we even got through New York State. We were surrounded on all sides by Taylor Swift clones, and I made them drive on without me, thinking I’d distract them as they chased me through the woods. I was able to get away, just barely, but my family was gone. I had no way to find them. The cell towers had already come down at that point, and the clones seemed to have a penchant for destroying utility infrastructure.
I traveled with a partner for some time, basically just existing with no direction. I knew I should have found my family, but I was one of the few who knew something the others didn’t. “I was in New York City,” Miguel had told me, sitting across our small campfire. “Ben Affleck was killed, run down by a pickup truck. Then something really weird happened.”
I listened, barely breathing.
“Both of his clones dropped dead on the spot.”
I stared at Miguel. “They just dropped?” I asked.
“Like someone pulled their plugs,” Miguel replied. “You know what that means, right?”
I did. It meant there was a way to stop our death and destruction against the army of demented Taylor Swift clones. We had to find the original and kill her. Miguel had an idea on where she was, and I followed him, collecting a cache of weapons to defend ourselves. The clones were hard to kill, but a headshot took them down quickly. Handguns were a must to have, as they can be used and reloaded quickly.
I was alone again after Miguel died. I’ll never forget his face as two Taylor Swift clones dragged him under the white van. I fired at them, but I hit nothing but pavement. Even after all the target practice, I still panicked when my fast friend’s life was on the line. The only saving grace was that his screams didn’t last long.
I never doubted Miguel’s intel, and I now stood outside the hotel where he believed Taylor Swift, the original Taylor Swift, to be hiding. I walked toward it purposely, holding the nine-millimeter in my right hand, extra clips on my belt. Two of her clones crawled down the side of the building like insects on steroids. Maybe they knew what I knew. Maybe they were protecting their queen and their entire species.
I stopped and aimed when they got to the sidewalk, squeezing the trigger, moving my arms, and squeezing it again. Both of the clones fell to the ground in a heap of flesh and bone, and I walked between them. The hotel was locked; but another bullet to the glass of the door rectified that problem, and I was inside.
“What have you done?!” some goatee and pointytail-having dipshit in a ragged suit asked. I knew from his appearance that she was here. I shot him in the leg, and he fell to the ground with a scream.
“Where’s Swift?” I asked.
“This isn’t her fault!” he shouted, spittle falling from his lips.
“This is her fault,” I said, aiming the barrel of my gun at his head. “Her and all the fucking Hollywood elitist bullshit that’s turned this country into a cesspool of celebrity gossip and magazines dedicated to hairstyles. You people saw an opportunity to make money, and you perverted nature and the very fabric of our existence to do it. Nobody ever stopped to consider one fucking consequence.”
Ponytail guy stared at me, a mixture of fear and anger on his face. “This won’t fix anything,” he said. I moved the barrel of my gun downward, putting a bullet in his other leg. “FUCK!”
“I’ll find her either way,” I said. “Save me some time. You know none of us have much longer anyway if you don’t believe this will end it.”
“She’s on the top floor,” ponytail guy said. “Room four-thirteen. She’s not alone, though. They’re up there with her.”
“Thank you,” I said, putting a bullet into his forehead. I didn’t like killing needlessly, but I couldn’t risk him alerting any of the clones. He had to have been sneaky to hide so close to them, and I couldn’t afford having someone like that knowing my next move.
I climbed the stairs to the fourth floor of the small hotel. It was full of Taylor Swift’s clones. It looked like I was right about their wanting to protect their queen. I put my gun in front of me as I walked, barking bullets with no warning, aiming for heir heads. They fell one by one as they tried to trample over each other. They may have had a chance if there was just one or two, but they were having trouble moving with such a huge crowd in the hall. It became ever harder for them when they had to climb over the corpses of the others. It wasn’t a smart move on their part, but their source DNA didn’t have much intelligence to being with.
I walked through the dead clones of Taylor Swift, putting a fresh clip in my gun in case there were more, but there weren’t. As long as that stayed true I’d only need one more bullet. I kicked open the door to room four-thirteen, and I walked inside. It was probably much smaller than what the pop star was used to, but hiding during an apocalypse of herself took a bigger priority than comfort. I never found out how Miguel knew where she’d be, and I’d unfortunately never have the chance to find out.
Taylor Swift was by the room’s one window, looking out toward the city. “I saw you coming,” she said. “I knew you were coming to kill me.”
“I don’t enjoy being the one who has to do this,” I said, “but it has to be done.”
Taylor turned from the window, looking me in the eyes, tears coming down her cheeks. “Will this really end it?” she asked. “Will the killing end with me?”
“Yes,” I said. It was a lie of course. The only “facts” I had to support the theory is a story of Ben Affleck’s clones dying after he was killed and the clones defending her. But it was the only chance I had, the only chance the human race had.
Taylor nodded. “I thought I’d be scared when it happened,” she said, turning back toward the window, “but I somehow feel relieved. Is that weird?”
“It’s perfectly normal,” I said, moving closer, pointing my gun at the back of her head, ready to paint the window with her brains.
“For what it’s worth,” Taylor said, putting her palm against the glass, “I’m sorry for all this. I really am.”
“I know,” I said, squeezing the trigger. “So am I.”