Chase, part ten: Angela

(Start with Part One)

Little boys always look so cute when they're asleep.

I watched the two of them sleeping while I waited for the blood test to finish. Little chests rising and falling. So adorable.

And one of them was my Jacob.

He didn’t look like me at all, of course. He’d swapped bodies a few times already. That’s why it’d been so hard to track him down.

There are ways to tell that a body has been swapped. You can’t access any memories, so meeting old friends or family is always awkward. They’d trained us in some techniques used by stage magicians to fake being able to read minds so we could pass as the original person. That’d only get you so far, though.

The chronic sickness was another way to know. No antibiotics would cure that.

Turns out the host bodies start making cells of the swapper’s blood type. Eventually the body is making two types of everything, incompatible with each other and fighting for resources. That’s what makes us sick, why we have to leave every body we swap into.

So if you test someone and find two blood types, you know the body has been swapped. I was a little proud of myself for figuring that out. No need to question every kid, no need to wait for them to get sick before moving in. Just a little blood, a quick test, and you knew. Cheap, easy, and objective.

The test finished. I checked both tubes looking for the telltale signs of two incompatible blood types.

There. I set the tubes back down, gazed back over at the boys, and started crying.

I’d found him. The one on the right, the one calling himself Marcus. That was my son.

Ron Toland @mindbat