Prompt: Your boss is firing you, it seems that they don’t appreciate you befriending the creatures they keep in the science facility, don’t want you to have any attachments they said. Last day of the job you decide that you might as well let your friends out of their cages.
The green light chirps after I scan my keycard. They haven’t revoked my clearance yet. Push open the door, close it behind me. This early no one’s around, the labs I pass empty; monitors dark, stations vacant and sterile. At the end of the hall, the next clearance check. Slide my card through… It chirps green.
Inside, cages and kettles, prisons from floor-to-ceiling, flank the white tile floor. They’re still in chemically induced slumber. I keep the overhead off as I move to the nearest cage, using the dim lights over the steel work table along the far wall to see. Sweat forms under my arms, and despite the constant below-sixty temperature, heat swells inside my clothes.
My supervisor said emotions were weakness in this business; that caring for the specimens would only produce unstable and unreliable results. I must divide them from me, must place distance between the two. I was not them, and they were not me. But I didn’t—couldn’t see it that way, not then, not now. And how could I? How could any of us?
The orangutan rolls over, facing me. Her shaggy blonde hair blood-matted, pale fingers showing that the experiments are taking, her patchy haired body more familiar than not.
“Hey,” I whisper through the bars. “Wake up.”
She opens one clear blue eye, then the other. No speech yet; something purposely left out of tests.
“I’m getting you—everyone—out.” I smile, and she does, too. Tears line her eyes.
How could we not care for them? For they were us, at one time. Until are usefulness is gone, and we’re placed under the blade. Dissected, rummaged within, sinewy and bone and muscle contorted and conformed, weaving our DNA with others until something new is born.
I don’t want that. My wife didn’t want that, but her she is, before me. I couldn’t help her then, but I can now.
My hand meets hers between the metal bars.
Read the previous prompt, “Abyssal Offering”
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