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#BookbedFictory 017: ‘Paranoia’

by Jessica E Larsen
This year’s Fictory is for a cause. We donate P100 to a chosen beneficiary for every fic submitted this July. Participate here if you can. Enjoy this one!

Prompt: As a joke, you take a DNA test to find out where your ancestors are from. The results have just come back: you’re not related to anyone on the planet.

Do you know that feeling when something is wrong? Like you’re in some sort of danger? That’s what I felt the moment I walked up to the woman behind the reception desk. She gave me a polite, strained smile. She looked tired. Probably bored of doing the same thing for years.

I lay my arms on the desk. “I’m here for the DNA test result.”

“Rico Garcia, am I right?” she said as she tapped on the keyboard of the computer in front of her.

I nodded. Weird, am I that memorable? I swear I didn’t meet her when I took the test.

“I’ll go get it. Please have a seat over there.” She motioned to the waiting room and told me she would be back in a minute. My heart hammered against my chest as I sat down on one of the most comfy chairs. Should I make a run for it? But why should I? I have done nothing wrong. I’m here only because weeks ago my best friend took a DNA test to find out where his ancestors were from and it looked fun.

I was a satisfied adopted kid of Spanish parents. They loved me and I treasured them. My biological parents are Filipino, and I’d meet them a few times a year. At thirty-one, I was a contented CEO of La Natural, a Spanish magazine about nature, which my parents owned. I had a girlfriend and life was great. I had nothing to ask for. This test should only be for fun, but I couldn’t completely discard what my guts were telling me.

I pulled out my phone. Answered some urgent messages and browsed through my social media accounts. I also watched some funny videos, but nothing calmed my nerves. I closed my phone, rocked my knees and opened it again to check the time.

I glanced at the ugly arts hanging on the walls. I took a picture of it and sent it to my girlfriend with a caption, “I swear these paintings aren’t made by humans.”

She replied, “You’re full of craziness.”

I smiled and texted back, “And you fell in love with me because of it.”

“That’s what you want to believe.”

My smile widened. “Okay, so why did you fall for me?”

“Are we seriously going to have this conversation now?”

“Por favor hermosa, indulge me. I’m bored over here sitting with,” I looked at the couple of others in the room minding their own business, “many others who don’t care about me.”

She replied with a laughing emoji followed by, “I loved you for your charm that doesn’t seem to belong in this world.”

Another text came before I could reply. “Sorry, mi amado, I have to go in to the meeting now.”

I sighed and closed the phone. The seconds ticked by and once again the paranoia smiled down at me. Damn. I felt cold and hot, then it was as though the room had expanded a hundred times more. The door that was about six feet away looked like a mile now.

The oxygen seems to had run out too. The air seemed distorted. I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt suffocated. I stood up from my seat and stepped forward. After a few steps toward the waiting room’s door, I saw the receptionist stepp out with a man wearing a lab coat and two other suspicious men. Either I’m going insane or these two suspicious men looked so much like the Men in Black agents.

The receptionist waited for me outside the door, while the man in the lab coat walked with Men in Black out of the building. I breathe a sigh of relief. So it got nothing to do with me. Maybe my girlfriend was right. I should stop watching thriller films and series, it was damaging my brain.

“Here you go, Mr. Garcia,” the receptionist said as she handed me the envelope with the test result. I thought I heard her whisper “good luck” when I turned to leave, but I was too eager to go to mind it.

I sat in my car and took a long deep breath and slowly exhaled to calm myself. I needed to get it together. What the hell could go wrong? Nothing. It’s just a DNA test. I opened the envelope and scanned the document. This time it was no longer a paranoia, I frowned at the words percents under “Ethnicity Estimate.”

The percents were 0-1% at every region of the world but 98.9% on “Uncertain.” I tucked the document and drove away from there. Who cares about that stupid result? Forget it, but then I glanced at the rear-view mirror and that’s when I saw that the same tinted car had been at my back since I drove out of the main road.

I parked on the side of the road and pulled out my phone. The car stopped close to me and the Men in Black stepped out of the tinted car.

Shit! I messaged my girlfriend—”Te amo, hermosa”—and drove out of there while the men ran back to their car.

There’s no way I’ll let them get to me without a witness. ☁️

Jessica E Larsen is a romance author and blogs most of her short fictions. She enjoys eating noodles with chopsticks and watches action anime.

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