Author : Kristin Kirby

They’ve locked me in the device like they do every time. But this time I’m putting up a fight. I scissor and kick my cramped legs, wave my arms, and the device rocks a bit. That’s good. I’m stronger than before.

It was all a blur, my coming here. Images distorted and blinding, sounds loud and blaring. I was weak. Afraid. I could barely move, my limbs not used to the atmosphere, the weight.

I’ve acclimated a bit since then. Their language is difficult to parse, though, and so far I understand only a few words. With more time, I can crack it and communicate with them. Or maybe I’ll play it close to the vest, not let them know I understand what they’re saying. Keep the upper hand until I know what they intend to do with me.

I’ve been able to sit up, and once or twice make it to my hands and knees. I’m still unsteady; my strength soon fades and I collapse. But it’s a start.

I can’t clean up after myself, though. It’s uncomfortable and humiliating, but what can I do? I suspect the liquids and food they force-feed me, while just enough nourishment to keep me alive, are also designed to sustain my weakened, vulnerable state. They eat their own food in front of me, but when I reach for it, they pull it away.

The door to my quarters is frustratingly close, but bars on my cage prevent my getting to it. At night they hang a contraption overhead. It rotates and makes discordant tinks and squawks. I can’t figure out its purpose; I assume it’s to spy on my movements and alert my keepers of any attempts at escape. I find myself staring at it for hours, wondering how I can use it for just that. Like everything else, though, they keep it tantalizingly out of my ham-fisted reach.

It’s time. And right on schedule, here comes the airplane, which usually delivers a green mush substance. Sometimes it’s a train, accompanied by, from my main keeper, a hearty but unintelligible “choo choo!” But the mush never tastes like real food, and, as they don’t eat it themselves, it makes me suspicious.

I try to grab the airplane, to push it away, but my hands are clumsy balloons I can’t control. I bang on the surface of my device in frustration. My main keeper makes noises, waving its own long, spindly arms and baring its white teeth. It wants me to eat the mush, but I’m so angry all I can do is cry.

Eventually I get ahold of myself and open my mouth. I need nourishment, after all. This time the airplane delivers an orange substance, slightly sweet. Still only mush, but not as bad as the green stuff. I swish it around my mouth. Some dribbles down my chin, but I ingest enough to want more.

Okay. I’ll eat their mush substance. I’ll play by their rules. But only until I get stronger, until I can walk unaided. I’ll wait for them to slip up and forget to shut the bars of my cage. Then I’ll see what’s out there, what new world I’ve been dropped into.

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