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Daily Science Fiction :: Grandma Heloise by KT Wagner
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Grandma Heloise

KT Wagner loves reading and writing speculative fiction. Several of her short stories are published and she is working on a sci-fi horror novel. She puts pen to paper in Maple Ridge, B.C., organizes Golden Ears Writers, and attended SFU's Southbank program in 2013 and The Writers' Studio (TWS) in 2015. KT can be found online at northernlightsgothic.com and @KT_Wagner on Twitter.
Grandma's glow-in-the-dark geraniums were harmless and kind of cute. However, the family nominated me to speak to her after she cloned her dead cat, Gerald, three times. Grandma raised me after my parents were killed in a car crash, and I'd always been her favorite grandchild.
Except for the foil over the basement windows, her white clapboard farmhouse was straight out of my foggy childhood memories. I half-expected Grandma to greet me on the porch, a plate of chocolate chip cookies in one hand and a pitcher of lemonade in the other. Of course, Grandma never baked a cookie in her life, and she preferred test tubes and centrifuges to rolling pins and flour sifters.
I reached across the Formica kitchen table and grasped her bird-claw hand. "The neighbors will notice. Do you want to spend the rest of your golden years in the slammer?"
She poured another shot of whiskey into her tea and sipped it. "Now Sarah, dear. You shouldn't let your cousins push you around. I know they bullied you into coming out here." She cackled a little in her endearing way. "Scared I'll turn them back into toads."
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes.
Three identical black and white cats folded themselves around my ankles and rubbed their noses against my shoes. I pushed them away. "Three the same?"
"Gerald is such a dear. More seemed better." Grandma smiled. The cats sprang. One landed on her shoulder; the other two crowded her lap.
I sighed, loudly, several times. "Seriously? I'm taking at least two with me. I'll find them good homes. I brought a cat carrier."
Grandma changed the subject. "How's school?" She leaned forward, beady eyes narrowed. "Meet anyone nice?"
Oh no, no, no. Cold sweat dampened my armpits. "I know you mean well, Grandma, but--"
"There's a lovely young man who just started part-time at the grocery mart. I thought of you and brought him a soda. He's a little odd, but I can tweak--"
I raced down the rickety basement stairs, leaping over the last few.
A soda can sat next to the DNA extractor. I skidded across the concrete and grabbed it, pivoted and scanned the lab while clutching it to my chest.
"Sweetie..." Grandma's voice floated down the steps. "If you'd like a soda there are cold ones in the fridge upstairs."
I blew out the breath I'd been holding.
Back in the kitchen, I tried again. "Grandma, why don't you focus on gene-splicing or something? Give the cloning a rest. Help me placate the cousins."
The gullies crisscrossing her face deepened, and she fixed me with an icy stare. "I think it's time you stopped calling me that."
Her penchant for changing the subject exasperated me. I scooped up a cat and headed for the door. "And don't go cloning the grocery boy. I don't need you to make me a man."
She blocked my path. "Such an ungrateful daughter. You weren't like this the last time."
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, February 7th, 2017


A Google search for another story turned up a do-it-yourself biohacking article and the resulting hyperlink vortex introduced me to the world of green fluorescent protein and basement genetic engineering. I inherited my love of gardening from my grandmother, and wondered how she'd have felt about creating glow-in-the-dark geraniums. "Grandma Heloise" spooled out from there.

- KT Wagner

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