Told from multiple points of view, 5 Clones is an epistolary tale which takes place at a time when California and Texas are seceding from the United States amidst growing environmental and political disasters. Dan, a former pot farmer from Colorado, is driving across the New Federal Union (NFU) to California to sell his five clones which were created in a Federal lab to be loyal low intelligence farm hands for him. Along the way he picks up a beautiful, mysterious woman named Mary. When she is suddenly shot at an NFU checkpoint in Reno, it becomes obvious that she is being hunted by a deadly assassin whose weapon of choice is autonomous military attack drones. As Mary and Dan attempt to covertly enter California, one of Dan’s clones, who was never considered to be capable of speech, starts waking him up in the middle of the night to tell him strange fables.

Interwoven between these two plot lines are letters from a young woman to her daughter Sarah Joy describing what life was like during Calexit, when she met and fell in love with Sarah Joy’s father, a Mexican anti-racist skinhead who fights against the bigotry and hate that have become popularized by the new government.

Meanwhile, emails intercepted between an NFU scientist and his best friend in California suggest that Dr. Abraha Tadese has made a revolutionary discovery in his Adelphi laboratory, one that he wishes he could bring back to California. However, Dr. Tadese mysteriously disappears when his lab is completely flooded with water in a matter of seconds drowning more than 600 people.

All three stories converge in a final showdown of clones vs. drones in an abandoned children’s museum in Stockton, the heart of California. Dr. Tadese’s discovery of a new technology will change everything for our characters and for their entire world.

Ed recently won the prestigious Kelly J. Abbott Short Story Contest with his short story, “I won’t tell…” which is also Chapter 18 in 5 Clones. Click to read the chapter free.