Cell Life


Ever since he could remember, Tanner loved being outside. He enjoyed playing by the creek, climbing trees, running through the barn and purposely tripping only to land in a pile of hay. Naturally, he was Mother Nature’s child. He loved the sound and feel of rain, he loved wind storms, and large waves; there wasn’t one thing in nature Tanner Boyd was not fond of. Sometimes, however, he got a little too carried away and began acting as the nature. He would go toward his mother, and try to blow her off of her feet by pretending he was the wind, or he would zap his long fingers over her head and scream, “BOOM,” and say he was thunder and lightning. Now, it seems normal for a kid to be imaginative, but he started to become obsessive and would spend hours sitting in one spot in the forest, just staring at tree trunks. One time, his mother stepped outside to call him in for supper, but he wasn’t in their backyard garden. She wandered toward the forest and noticed him by the large pine tree. She called for him, “Tanner, time for supper!” He did not respond. She called for him again, this time louder, “Tanner! Let’s go!” He quickly flung his arms in the air, and swung his head toward her and screamed, “Psshhh.” He was pretending to be the tree. His mother was aggravated because the supper she cooked was getting cold, so she went to get him. Tanner walked home normally, but made nature sounds under his breath.

Tanner Boyd did not have many friends. He had some acquaintances that admired who he was, but they never wanted to get too close. During his time in the 7th grade, Tanner decided that he did not need to go to school any further after that year. He was advanced in science and never cared for money. He sometimes said, “I don’t need to finish school because I don’t need money to live, I can just live with my friends in the woods.” So many people were convinced that he was not coming back for his 8th grade year, even a few of the teachers, but his mom did not tolerate it. He was there for part of 6th grade, then unexpectedly disappeared. The entire community was looking for him. His mom, his peers at school, the trees were even rapidly moving.

About 5 months of time had passed, and Tanner was still not found. His mother had gone insane, and started smoking a lot of marijuana, but she still had some hope that he was out there. For the longest time, Tanner’s mother looked out of her window toward the forest, hoping to maybe see him pass by, but she never saw anything. She never wanted to go back into the forest either, she thought it was possessed and maybe it ate her child alive. One day, when Tanner’s mother was really high, she walked into her garden, stood in the center on the cobblestone pathway that splits the land of grass down the middle, and screamed toward the forest, “Do you have any type of this leaf?” The forest responded with wind brushing through it’s branches. Tanner’s mom stumbled back inside. She cried every night after that for 3 weeks.


Tanner and his mother lived in a small town in the south-western part of Nevada. They lived in a quaint home that had solar panels and a large yard. With just three main rooms on the ground floor, and four rooms upstairs, the Boyd home was Tanner’s kingdom. His mother, who is in her late 40’s, loved to cook. She had a major case of OCD and always kept her house exceptionally clean. She hated when Tanner would track dirt from the forest through house. Tanner would always reply back to her expressions with a, “It’s all natural, just like your organic cleaning stuff.”

Tanner loved to mess with his mom’s emotions like that. He would purposely make her anxious by stepping in large piles of mud and leaves, then vigorously walk toward the house. He sort of felt bad though, so he would run quickly on his tippy-toes from the doorway to his bedroom upstairs. In his bedroom, he would strip, take green, yellow, and orange Sharpies and draw a landscape on his stomach. Usually, the landscape would be of tall trees, large bushes, a bright sun, and chirping birds. His drawings were always so detailed. His mother rarely sees his stomach art, but when she does, she asks what he wants to be when he’s older. Tanner says, “I want to be someone who plays with plants.” His mother is not surprised, since he does spend every minute of his free time sitting in/wandering the forest.


About 7 months after Tanner’s disappearance, the local police heard word that a young boy was spotted walking from the south-western border of Nevada toward the Eastern border of California. Police officers immediately rushed over to Tanner’s mother’s house to inform her. She opened the door with droopy eyes, asking the officers why they were there. “We have news about your son, Mrs. Boyd.” Her eyes widened as she grabbed the one of the officer’s ties, and pulled him toward her. “Where is he? Did you find my son?”

“We currently have the state police on the way to the south-western border of Nevada. We believe that he’s trying to cross over into California.”

Tanner’s mother was confused. Why would my son want to go to California, there’s nothing there for him, she thought. “I’d like to be driven to where the police are going. I want to be there when they find my son.”

“As you wish, but there is no guarantee that we’ll find…” one of the officers said.

“I’d like to be there.” Tanner’s mother firmly spoke out.

The two officers escorted Tanner’s mother to their car. They turned on the siren and lights, and rushed over to the border of Nevada. When they arrived at their destination, other state police were already there surrounding the entrance to California. They waited patiently for Tanner to be noticed, but nothing was happening. About 3 hours passed, and still no sign of Tanner. The State Police Director ordered for the job to be postponed due to the amount of time they waited. Tanner’s mother was devastated and said nothing. As she turned toward the police car door, however, something came over her and she ran toward the Director with anger. She began hitting him and yelling, “You son of a Bitch! I just want my son back! Bring me my son back!” Other officers pulled her off and contained her fury, but the Director understood why she reacted like that and let it pass. He compromised with her and said that he would contact California’s State Police Director and have him order officers to be on the lookout for Tanner Boyd. She calmed down, got into the car, and cried until they left.


Tanner had this crush on a girl in school, her name was Tabitha. She loved arts & crafts, and riding her bike. Tabitha lived down the street from Tanner, but only Tanner knew that. He would sometimes watch her walk to the bus stop, right before he would run out into the road to get someones attention - no one ever noticed him when he did that.

Tanner thought Tabitha was a jewel. Her chestnut hair, green eyes, and golden skin created some of Tanner’s deepest lusts. He tried to ask her out one time, but he ran away before she even turned around. Tabitha was gracious, but she knew that she would never date someone like Tanner. She often said to her friends, “He’s too weird for me to like.” She knew who he was, but had no interest in him.

One time, Tanner was just staring at Tabitha in class. He sat in the back, and she sat in the front. She turned around to speak with her friend, and mid-conversation, she noticed him looking at her from the corner of her eye. She turned toward him and told him to stop, but he continued. When she turned back around toward the front of the class, Tanner yelled, “Why won’t you talk to me?” Tabitha felt embarrassed and kept her head down. He yelled again, “Why won’t you talk to me?” She wanted to tell him that he was an odd child, but she decided not too.


California’s State Police Director reported back that they found Tanner 2 months later. The park rangers of Sequoia National Park called in about a young male wondering the grounds by himself. When Tanner’s mother heard where he was, she immediately knew why he wanted to go to California. He crossed the border, walked through Inyo, and reached Tulare County, where the park sits. Sequoia National Park is home to the largest tree in the country - The General Sherman. When the State Police arrived at the park, they found him sitting in front of the tree, staring at it. An officer tapped on his shoulder and said, “Son, do you know how much trouble you're in?”

“I just wanted another friend, sorry I caused so much trouble.”

Tanner followed the police officer to his car. They drove back to the border of California, where Nevada’s State Police Director and Tanner’s mother were eagerly waiting. As soon as Tanner’s mother had sight of a California state police car, she began jumping with joy and relief. Tanner got out of the car and ran toward his mom. She cried, and held him for thirty minutes in one spot on the road. Tanner apologized again; his mother accepted it. They went home, and Tanner said nothing the entire way back.


Four years had passed, and Tanner was still obsessed with Tabitha and staring at trees. It was time for his high school graduation and Tabitha was the valedictorian. When she went up to the podium on the stage to give her speech, she tripped and fell up the stairs and the first one to jump to help her was Tanner. He held her hand, she pulled back and said “I’m fine, I can help myself.” Tanner sat back in his seat in the front; he was sweating profusely and his hands were shaking. In the middle of her speech, she looked down toward the area in which Tanner was sitting in, and paused in her speech because Tanner was staring at her again, smiling. The entire crowd was staring at her, but Tanner’s staring was so familiar, and so distinct. She remembered the last time this happened and what she did. She couldn’t look down this time, just up and forward. Tabitha continued her speech, then left the stage and sat back in her seat.

After leaving high school, Tanner decided to move away from home. He thought he would never see Tabitha again since she moved away, so what’s the point of staying there. He moved to a large and populated area on the East coast of the country - New York City. Tanner got into Columbia University with a full scholarship for a major in Cytology and a minor in Botany. He did exactly what he said he would, become a scientist, but no one ever thought he would go to such a place for it.

Tanner lived on campus in a door by himself. Everyday at lunch, he would go to a local store, buy a sub, gummy bears, and a water, and go sit in Central Park. He would usually be found on a bench near the oldest trees in the northern part of the park. Tanner never took his lab coat off because it made him feel important. After lunch, he would rush back to the lab at Columbia and study plant cells for hours. At night, he stayed in his room with his desk lamp on, and his laptop open. He would spend several more hours researching facts about the oldest living trees in the world. Old Tjikko, the oldest living tree in the world, located in Sweden, was what pushed Tanner to do well in school. He decided that after college he would take a plane to Sweden to stare at Old Tjikko.

Six years passed and it was time for graduation again. Tanner Boyd was graduating at the top of his class with a PhD in Cytology and a Botany. He was also his school’s valedictorian. As he gave his speech, he began to think of how much he wished he was a little more social in high school and college. He shrugged it off, finished his speech, and left the stage. Immediately after his speech, he left the grounds of Columbia and moved into his new apartment. He then packed his suitcase and boarded a plane on its way to Sweden. Approximately 8 hours later, Tanner landed in Sweden, then took a train to Dalarna. It was late, so he waited until the next morning to get a fresh look at Old Tjikko.

The next morning he climbed up the mountain on which Old Tjikko sat on. When he arrived at the tree, he stood in amazement. Tanner sat next to it and stared for a long while. After about 3 hours, he got out a kit full of scalpels and needles; he was taking samples. What he was about to do was illegal, and he knew that, but he wanted to research the trees chemical make up. Two days later, he arrived back in New York City. He was staring a new job at a lab in Manhattan that was testing the reactions of certain plants to certain medicine. Tanner did his job, but then stayed after to conduct his own experiments. He found that the tree had a certain chemical that came from the antennas of roaches. This chemical gives an endless amount of lives to largely rooted plants, like Old Tjikko.

Tanner Boyd had this brilliant idea of testing this chemical on humans. He thought, What if humans could be immortal? He he was onto something… Tanner spent months concocting a serum to experiment on someone. He finally created a product. He named it T2.


There was not one person Tanner found great enough to test T2 on; he searched for months. He would sit in his usual spot in Central Park and stare at humans for experimentation. Tanner would go back to his apartment after people watching and write what he absolutely wanted his “lab rat” to be. She should have long hair, a slender body, beautifully colored eyes, and golden colored skin.

After writing in his journal, he would sit and cry at his desk for hours. Tanner was describing the type of girl that got him aroused. He was a lonely man that desperately longed for a woman’s attention.

The next day, when Tanner was walking to work, he accidentally bumped into someone. When he saw who it was, he was astonished. He had bumped into Tabitha. Tanner didn’t know what to say, so he just said hi. “Hey Tanner! How ya doing?”

“I’m.. I’m alright.” He replied.

“I’m just on my way to work, lets chat some other time. Here’s my card. Nice to see you!”

The card read:

Tabitha Luck

Assistant to Editor-in-Chief of VOGUE


He turned around to see where Tabitha was headed. Tanner followed her for three blocks until she went into the VOGUE Magazine HQ. He remembered how pretty she was; beautifully colored eyes, golden skin. Tanner knew that Tabitha Luck was the one he had to test the serum on.


Tanner began following Tabitha. He would wait for her outside of work, he would spy on her by her apartment; he was everywhere she was. One day, Tabitha noticed Tanner. She went up to him with a friendly face on. “Hey, what are the odds? You never called me! Let’s set a lunch date.”

“Okay.” Tanner plainly replied.

“Does Tuesday work for you?”


“Alright, I’ll meet you at Warm Breads at 1. See you then!”

Tanner was excited that Tabitha Luck asked him out on a date. He creepily smirked as she walked away. He waited until that Tuesday to see her face again.


Tabitha had already reserved a table for the two and was sitting inside of Warm Breads waiting at 12:30. Tanner walked in, noticed her, and walked over to sit down. They both ordered coffees and started to chat. “So what have you been up to, Tanner?”

“Nothing much.”

“Are you still into nature?” Tabitha hesitantly responded.


“You know, you’ve been very reserved ever since we bumped into each other. Is everything alright?”

Tanner paused for a minute to think. He looked down at the table, then quickly looked up at Tabitha. He said, “I think I left the water running in my bathroom, and I can’t afford to pay more for my bills. So I’m just worried.”

“Oh… I’m sorry. Would you like to go back and then meet me later?” Tabitha suggested.

“Why don’t you come with me? I’d hate to cut our date short.” Tanner suggested back.

“Okay, why not!”

They walked 5 blocks to Tanner’s home. It was a bright day, with clear skies. When they arrived at his apartment, Tanner unlocked the door, and let Tabitha in first. His home had a scarce amount of furniture and almost no art on his white walls. There were few windows, a small kitchen, and only one closet. Tanner didn’t leave his water on, but he pretended he did. He went into his kitchen, and turned the faucet on and off. Tabitha looked exceptionally stunning that day. She wore a large sunhat, a low cut V-neck dress, and her hair was curled to the side. Tanner was staring at her for a long time before either of them said anything. “Can I use your bathroom?” Tabitha said.

“Sure, but you have to walked through my bedroom to get it.”

While she was freshening up, Tanner had gone into his bedroom, locked both of them in, and placed the serum on his bedside table. Tabitha came out, she jumped back to see Tanner sitting in the room. “You frightened me.” Tabitha laughed.

“I’m sorry, why don’t you come sit down over here?”

“But, there’s only one chair…” Tabitha responded, confusedly.

“That’s alright, my bed is comfortable.” Tanner kept trying to persuade her.

“I think it’s time for me to go actually, we’ll do it some other time.” Tabitha rushed toward the door.

“It’s locked.” He was waving the key around in his hand.

“Let me out, Tanner, or I’ll scream so the neighbors can hear me.”

“I’ve sound proofed my room.”

Tabitha knew she was getting out of this room unless she were to attack Tanner for the key. She tried to punch him, but he grabbed her other and twisted her around before  she did anything. “You thought you could get the key, huh? You have no chance.” Tabitha tried to break herself free, but Tanner was too strong. He began to run his hand down the side of her leg, then up around so it could land right below her backside. “I’ve  been waiting for you, Tabitha.” He stuck a needle in her back and put her to sleep.


When Tabitha woke up a few hours later, she hardly had any clothes on. She had all of her limbs strapped to all four corners of Tanner’s bed. She began to yell for help, “Can anyone hear me? I’m trapped! Someone, please help me!” Tanner walked in and stared at her. She felt so ashamed that she was half-naked in front of him. He ran up next to her and lied down. “How are you sweetheart? You’re looking really good.”

“What did you do to me?” Tabitha softly said.

“Oh nothing, I just did… a little exploring.” Tanner walked out of his bedroom laughing.

When he returned a few moments later, he was holding the serum. He walked over to his bed, kneeled next to Tabitha and said, “Open up.” She squealed and kept her mouth closed.

“I’m not going to say it again. Open up.” She still didn’t do it.

Tanner had to use force. He pried open her mouth with his hands, and took out a drop of the serum from it’s bottle. Right before he dropped it into Tabitha’s mouth, they stared at each other. He smiled, she cried. He dropped the serum in and said, “Thank you for your cooperation.” Her eyes shut.


Comments (2)

Nikki Adeli (Student 2015)
Nikki Adeli

I think out of all the sci-fi stories that I've read, this was the less confusing out of them all. It was really detailed and well explained. I also did a cliff hanger, like you did, because it really gives the reader the opportunity to use their own imagination to figure out what happened. On a side note, the way you incorporate VOGUE and fashion into everything is great. I always look forward to reading your material.

Penelope Deoliveira (Student 2015)
Penelope Deoliveira

This was really good. The way you incorporated the sci-fi was good and I love how you developed tanners personality. The sci-fi was believable because it was explained. It talked about the longivity of trees, and scientist are actually looking into what makes these trees live so long. I love how you left the cliff hanger at the end. Does tabitha escape? Does she die? what happens :V? was very interesting.