“Loss”

The pink liquid was hard to swim through. It sucked at his limbs, pulling him further down. When his head sank below the surface, his panicked howls and whimpers were silenced.

Through the ooze, he could see human figures, like shadows along a wall. He remembered humans. He protected them. Lived with them. Loved them. He tried to swim to them, but only sank further down.

The pink liquid began to glow. A jolt slammed into his body. It coursed through his short, brown fur coat, along his snout and down his drooping ears. It didn’t stop. It kept pounding into him like waves of lightning.

Through the liquid, things began to move towards him, like snakes slipping through murky, muddy water. He tried to bark, but his mouth was already full of the pink liquid. He tried to run, but only sank more. All he could do was curl up, his tail between his legs.

The snake-like wires bit into his body like a million giant wasp stings. They went in deep, like porcupine needles. They’d burrow in, further and further, over and over again. His bones made popping sounds as his body bubbled and heaved. He was being torn to pieces.

Then his insides spewed out of his mouth.

***

He wakes with start, tossing blankets aside. He sits up, looking around at the dull white walls on each side, and the giant mirrored wall beyond the end of his bed.

The mirror captures his gaze, for the being that stares back shouldn’t be him.

He awkwardly swings two long legs over the side of his bed. They are his, but they aren’t. He inches himself forward, his legs and five-toed feet touch the cool floor. He recoils at the chill of the dull white linoleum, but soon, his feet adjust. His two long arms push himself up off the bed. He’s unsteady, trying to find a balance on legs that feel alien to him. But his mind recalls that this isn’t his first day on these legs. But it is the first he’s done it alone.

He leans on the bed for support as he walks. Once past the end of the bed, he finds his balance. He takes small, wobbly steps towards the mirror. As he nears it, he stumbles and falls forward. He places his hands against the mirror, stopping his fall. The five long fingers splay to support his weight.

He gets a close look at his face. It is a face he remembers from dim, distant memories, from ponds and puddles. The long snout, the chocolate-brown fur, the soulful brown eyes.

But the eyes are different now. There is something behind the eyes that he doesn’t know or like.

He looks down at his legs. Not four, only two. Like his master’s legs. Human legs. He looks at his body, not long, muscular, made for running and swimming. It is broad, narrower at the hips. A human body. His arms are human as well. But all of it covered in short brown fur.

He looks up into his face, into those eyes. They are brown human eyes.

He stumbles back, staring at the being that stares back at him. Wondering what has happened to him, wondering what he has become. There are so many questions.

Human questions.

Human thoughts.

His mind races, but not of simple things. He feels fear, thinks about his fate. He wonders what they want, why they did this, who they are, where he is. So many questions. No answers.

He holds his head, as if it would explode. He falls backwards onto the bed. He rolls to his side and curls up, whimpering as he tries to push back the alien thoughts and feelings of rationalization and vengeance. He closes his eyes, trying to remember things from before.

Sleeping, curled up on the end of a his boy’s bed. The sweet words as his tummy was rubbed. Running through forests, splashing in puddles in the rain. Hearing the murmur of his humans while the fire warmed them all…

… He sits up, the terrible realization that those thoughts are tainted by his human-like intellect. Before, they weren’t clear thoughts or memories. They were feelings without description. They just were. They were life. Now they are ruined. Everything ruined by the beings he loved and was always loyal to.

He looks down at his human arms, at his wrists and thinks the only human thought he agrees with.

He brings his wrist up to his mouth and bites deep into it, doing the same to the other.

He lays back on the bed, blood pouring out of the ragged wounds in his wrists. Tears stream down his face for the freedom he has gained and the freedom he lost.

***

Dr. Lo, wearing a dark blue lab coat, and a younger man in a plain white lab coat, carrying a clipboard, enter the room through a seamless door to the left of the bed. They stop, looking upon a being that was once a Chocolate Labrador Retriever. He lies on his back, on the bed, both wrists chewed open, dead. Blood pools and darkens on the bed and floor.

“Shit.” the younger man says. He takes out 2-way radio and presses a button. “Get a disposal crew to room 202. We have another suicide.”

“What a waste.” Dr. Lo says, saddened by what he sees. “What a waste of time and money. They have so much potential. If only they could understand what we are trying to do for them.” He looks over the dead irregular dog, shaking his head. “How many more canines to be processed?” he asks.

The younger man looks on his clipboard. “Ten.”

“Review the process again. See if we can’t weed out this problem.” He turns away and heads for the door. “Poor, stupid creatures.” he mumbles as he exits.

The younger man looks upon the creature as if it were an item, a defective product. He shrugs his shoulders. “Oh well. There’s plenty more where it came from.”

 

Irregulars: Origin of the Species Copyrighted © 2010-2012 Mark James MacKinnon. Any use of these characters, without permission, is strictly prohibited. Any similarities to individuals, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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