It had been a normal sort of Sunday, so far. The sun had shone for most of the day. Lawns had been mown. Cars had been washed. Children had been yelled at. And Harry Slade had lain in his bed.
He’d lain there all morning.
The sun squeezed through the closed, but gappy, slats of the venetian blind that covered the window and poked Harry in his eyes. Poke, poke, poke. Harry did not stir. He kept his eyes shut tight. Even when the heat formed a bead of sweat on Harry’s forehead, he did not flinch or wriggle or move.
The blob of sweat wobbled slightly, edging closer to Harry’s eye socket as if preparing itself. Having built up a feeling of bravery, the bead of sweat plunged off the brow and rolled into Harry’s eye. A lesser man would have screwed up his face. Harry did not stir.
With barely a flicker, morning became afternoon and still Harry lay there.
Outside, the smell of Sunday roast being prepared filled the air. Chicken, lamb, beef, various gravies and vegetables all created the familiar scent of Sunday in a British street. Inside, the only smell was that of Harry.
And his sweat.
And whatever else it was that had stained the bed. It was yellowish and surrounded Harry giving him the kind of aura that even a new-age type would have a hard time enjoying.
From the corner of the room, where a small patch of mould had begun to grow, Harry watched himself slowly dying. The stench was something he’d not expected and he couldn’t work out if it was because of the chemicals dissolving the dying doppelgänger from the inside or if it had always been there.
He sniffed his own armpit. It seemed OK, sort of, but it was hard to tell over the reek of what was now a bubbling, hissing corpse on the bed.
A voice from behind the bedroom door caused Harry to flinch, “Christ, what a stink,” it said, “You ready? The others are waiting.”
“I’m not happy about this” said Harry pushing the door open slightly to face another version of himself.
The Harry behind the door gave a queer look, “You’d better come downstairs.”
Harry followed himself down the stairs leaving the stink of death behind. In the dining room four other Harrys sat listening intently to another who was pointing at a complex diagram on a whiteboard. They acknowledged Harry as he entered the room which made him a little uncomfortable.
On the table was the top half of another Harry attached by wires to a machine full of dials and flashing lights which was slowly generating the rest of his body.
“Nearly done?” asked Harry looking at the half man who suddenly opened his eyes.
“Nearly done,” said the nearly Harry, “Just be sure the original Harry is safe. If he dies this whole plan is for nothing.”
“Ahhhh, bollocks!” said Harry.