Deep in the city lies a laboratory in which age defying makeup is produced from a very special ingredient other competitors have not thought of using. This laboratory uses the DNA from the wings of the butterfly to both create skin cream and genetically clone more butterflies using a mechanical coffin. This coffin clones butterflies by bathing them & covering them in this liquid which eventually dries up into a chrysalis.
“Hey, is anyone working overnight?” Asks Servino
“No, not that I know of. Why do you ask?” Replies the janitor.
“I hear the coffin activating.”
Both Servino and the janitor rush to the elevator for the 5th floor to see what is happening.
The floor was blanketed in thin fog, dead butterflies and broken glass viles; something happened, something bad. Nothing was stolen, but everything looked broken and smashed by a chair.
“Servino, you should look at this.” Called the janitor.
The janitor lead Servino to the coffin which leaked the chrysalis liquid, inside the coffin was ‘Jenni Lee’, was fully soaked in the chrysalis liquid.
“We have to get her out!” Yelled the janitor as he ran to grab an axe which hung near the emergency exit.
“Wait!” Called Servino “We can’t, she’s too deep in the chrysalis!”
“Then what do we do!”
“We wait, till she hatches.”
“Can we at least call the higher ups?”
“No no no no!” Immediately said Servino. “We cannot let the higher ups know.”
“If the higher ups know about this, they’ll take her away, maybe send her to the government and dissect her like an alien. We can’t risk it.”
“What the hell has Jenni Lee done for you that you’re willing to put your job on the line to protect?” Asked the janitor.
“I can’t tell you now. Are you going to help me, yes or no?”
“………..Alright!” Said the janitor with thin patience and worry, “But you’re going to have full responsibility if we get caught.”
Servino drove her chrysalis four miles to his home and hid her in his basement. He was to wait and expect the cocoon to hatch any minute now. A baby is made within nine months after fertilization, but no one is sure when insect cocoons hatch. The hatching could take place hours, days, years from now, Servino went by his daily life while checking up on Jenni Lee in suspended animation. It was a sight, as years passed, Servino aged while Jenni Lee stood the same, no change had occurred in the following years.
Red fingernails and strong arms tear through the orange and brown layers of the thinning chrysalis, Jenni Lee is reborn. Upstairs, Sorvino and his wife hear the ruckus in the basement and decide to see what is happening. Jenni Lee falls off, soaked in the liquid muck which preserved her age and youth.
“I see you’ve hatched.” Said an old voice.
“Who are you?” Asked Jenni Lee, half blind.
“Do you not remember Jenni Lee?”
Her eyes widened, “Sorvino, is that you?”
“Yes. I’m with my wife how are you?”
Jenni Lee faints and falls on the soft, cushiony strips of chrysalis shells.
Both Servino and his wife help her up and take her upstairs, “Take it easy, you haven’t moved your legs in a while.”
Later in the day she awakes in new clothes and in a soft bed surrounded by blue walls. Was she dreaming?
“My, what a beautiful young woman.” Said Sorvino’s wife as she sat on her rocking chair, reading a leatherette novel.
“Who are you?” Asked Jenny Lee
“I’m Juliette. Sorvino’s wife.”
Jenny Lee began to smile, “Your hair is thick and white while and your skin is not very wrinkly.”
“I guess that‘s a benefit for marrying a chemist. I’ll call Sorvino to fill you in, he seems to know what happened to you, more than I can comprehend.”
As Juliette left, Jenny Lee was happy for Sorvino.
“Hi Jenny, you haven’t aged a bit.”
“But you have Sorvino, where am I?”
“You’re no longer in the 60’s, Welcome to 1994.”
Then all questions were answered and all confusions were understood. Servino spend hours telling Jenni about the world around her, what changed and what still remains the same.
“You either were pushed into the Chrysalis Coffin or accidentally fell into the coffin, that I’m not sure of. By the time I found you, you were already deep in the early stages of metamorphosis & believe me, breaking the shell was out of the question. Your shell acted as your life support, breaking it would have killed you.”
“Then why did you take me here, to your home?” Asked Jenni Lee.”
“I owed you one.”
She remembered, they were both even steven.
“I’m just paying you back.” Smiled Sorvino
“So when and where did you meet the lucky lady?”
“Juliette? Oh, we met just after I quit working for ‘Mandymae’, at the right time at in the theater. We were watching some French movie, I forget the title. She’s such a sweet woman, she’s the light of my life, we’ve been married for twenty-eight years and counting, we even have a son about your age, but he’s at CSU, works as a professor.”
Jenni Smiled, seeing how Servino had grown up into a respectable senior, aging gracefully.
“Now, tell me. Did you fall into the coffin by mistake, or were you shoved in?”
“I..I” Jenni hesitated, “I can’t remember, it’s a blur, but I do remember something.”
“Take your time. In due time we’ll get a revelation.”
“I hid you in my basement, I tell ya, day in day out I was in fear. In my view I was harboring a best friend in suspended animation, the government’s view was I was harboring a stolen weapon.”
“The government was aware of you being encased and covered in a chrysalis, they wanted you to be their tool for destruction. They wanted you to scare the reds, they believed that you are a superhuman entity. I read the top secret papers on that stuff. Luckily, the Berlin wall tore down and all is well.”
“But I don’t have butterfly powers.”
Servino hesitated to speak some more, “They don’t know that, but your X-Ray’s say otherwise.” Servino opened his brown envelope and placed the transparent X-Ray sheet on the light.
The X-Ray’s were too much for Jenni, she asked to put them away.
“I can’t believe it either.” Said Sorvino “You may not or may grow wings. Wings, not feathery angel wings but butterfly wings. Does your back hurt?”
Sorvino rose from the rocking chair. “Anyhow, it’s still best if you stay with us, the government may still be looking for you, but then what’s the point of them wanting you if the Gulf War ended two years ago.”
“What’s the Gulf War?”
“You missed 25 years of life, lots of things happened while you were asleep.”
Jenni slept in the bed, squirming and moving around as she dreams a flashback. Her dream cannot be controlled, it’s almost like watching a disturbing movie of a grainy, blurred quality. She can’t close her eyes or move her head away, she is watching herself be pushed in by a silhouette. The light shun on the silhouette, she saw the person who pushed her into the coffin in plain sight.
“It was my suitor, Faliccio Tucci.” Said Jenni in a petrified voice.
“Are you sure? He was a best friend and I don’t think he’d…”
“….It was him. I now remember the hand knitted sweater, the green and white stitching, his vein coveted hands. Do you know anyone else who had veiny hands?” Asked Jenni Lee
“Well. Was there a particular reason why he did this?”
“He’s always had it for me after I broke up with him years ago. I left him for ‘Xavier’. I could tell he stalked me day in and day out, it was no secret. Eventually I was planning on finding him and telling him to knock it off, but seems like he got to me before I did to him.”
Servino sat on his coffee table, silent, unable to produce words to express the shock he’s feeling.
Later that night Jenni stood in front of her mirror, thinking about herself. Suddenly, her body begins to fade out and turn into millions of small rainbow butterflies, flapping their wings and eventually dispersing. The butterflies fly out the window and lead their way into a retirement home, forty states away from where Servino’s home was. The butterflies regrouped into the shape of a human and formed into Jenni. She stood in front of a man in a paralyzed state, with wires stuck in every part of his body. The closer Jenni examined the body, the sooner she understood this was Faliccio, the man responsible for missing half her lifetime in frozen confinement. His face was wrinkly, but recognizable, his hair thick and white but his hands remained as the vein embellished relics that they’ve always been. She could pull the cords out of the life support machine and leave it at that, but that may be a blessing to him. Jenni closed her face near his ear and whispered something to him, then dispersed into millions of glowing rainbow butterflies.
The next day Jenni packed up all of her things onto Servino’s station wagon and was ready to leave.
“I packed three days worth of lunch, hope you enjoy it.” Said Juliette.
“Now remember.” said Servino “Do not trust anyone, do not stop anyplace where the military may be active. It’s the Go-Go 90’s, you can do what you want. And here.” Servino handed Jenni a black cell phone with a thin LED screen. “The calls cannot be tracked, call me when you experience any changes or need any help. Please be safe.”
“Oh hun.” Called Juliette as she handed her a paper. “If you ever run out of food to eat and you make it to Idaho, here’s directions to an aunt of mine’s house, she’ll prepare you a nice bowl of soup.”
Jenni giggled. “All this food, I’ll get fat.”
Jenni gave her last hugs and farewells, then drove away from the home and into the big world ahead of her.
As she drove alone in a deserted dirt road, her skin felt dusty, she wiped her arm with a small tissue from her coat pocket and saw that the tissue collected this rainbow colored dust from her arm. She was inside a chrysalis coffin for two and a half decades, a coffin intended to force butterflies into metamorphosis. A change was imminent? A change she was unsure about, she both feared and felt excited for what was about to come.