Daily Archives: March 19, 2007

Synergy Excerpt

During the next three weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from my upcoming release from Zumaya Otherworlds. This is to prepare you for my Virtual Book Launch, scheduled for 14-15 April.

The Disease

“Barcina’s xylopoïesis,” he said aloud. The words came out as a croak. They seemed to bounce around the room and repeat themselves endlessly. Once again, so as to never lose sight of his goal, he forced himself to review the problem. Maybe he’d come up with an idea on how to fix it.

Barcina’s xylopoïesis: an extremely rare disease, so rare that very little research had been done on it. Guilio Barcina had identified it and given it the name that was partly his and partly a description of the disease itself. Even though Laslo’s firm researched and fabricated drug therapies for genetic defects, he’d never heard of Barcina’s until he’d found out over two years ago, entirely by accident, that Zelimir would die from it.

Barcina’s xylopoïesis. The disease was dormant in his son’s body, ready to burst inside him, waiting for the right trigger. Laslo knew the symptoms by heart: first, incoordination of voluntary movements and aphasia, the loss of the ability to articulate ideas or comprehend spoken language; then, gangrene and blindness.
Laslo rubbed his eyes. Zelimir’s nerve endings would begin to die, starting with the toes. Their muscle cells would transform into wooden tissue then rot, forcing the surgeons to amputate. The mutation would creep up to the torso, where it would attack the major organs, shutting them down as it invaded them.

To extend his life expectancy, surgeons would excise the rotting parts, piece by piece, until all that was left of Zelimir was a trunk with a head. Death would come soon after, the pain excruciating, his son blind, unable to express what he felt.
Laslo shuddered with a loathing partly directed at himself. He and Jelena had given the grisly genetic disease to their son. Laslo wasn’t supposed to know it, of course, but how could he have acted differently? After his cousin called, saying that his own children were affected, Laslo had had his family’s DNA secretly tested. The chances that Zel would have Barcina’s had been astronomical; Laslo had been stunned when he’d seen the analysis results. He didn’t know what was worse: that his son had the disease or that he would have been diagnosed too late, simply because of MGRC’s genetic privacy laws.

Every day, Laslo came home and searched for the telltale signs. If his son tripped, or if he forgot a word, Laslo’s fear crept up his spine until it was almost unbearable. He found himself stalking his son, following him around the house, outside with his friends, back and forth from school.

©2007 M. D. Benoit

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