With the humanoid retreating back to its lair, I unsqueezed my eyes. Just as I'd thought, my chains lay on the ground, the manacle parts still around my wrists and ankles, yet no longer tethering me to the wall.
I'm free? I'm Free!
My first instinct was to jump up and down, professing such freedom. It took all my strength to curb that instinct. My fellow captives stared at me. At first, I thought they'd be furious but no: they all slowly began to smile. It seems I had given them a solution to their captivity.
Over the next few hours, I lay in wait, watching (as my false-lobotomized self) as my fellows played dumb, having inflicted wounds on their foreheads with the sharp metal of their chains. Each time one of the humanoids came to perform their heinous procedure, they found yet another human, already 'fixed,' as they termed it, with blood dripping down their noses.
One man refused to pretend: a portly fellow with greying hair, quite thin on top. He'd yelled obscenities at us for, in his own words, 'making it easier for em.' We all watched as a humanoid snatched open his cage door, the man kicking and screaming as a power-drill protruded from the being's finger. A few beeps later and with an awful lot of thrashing about, the man lay dead on the floor of his cage. The humanoid's procedure to 'fix him' had failed.
It was a few hours later when the final captive, a fellow in the cage across from me had followed my tactic and been unchained. Almost immediately, a loud voice boomed over some unseen speakers.
'All fixed humans are to be taken out for observation.'
Fear seized hold of me.
What? They can't be serious!
I stared at the other cages, my fake dopey grin still in place. As much as we were all trying to hide it, our eyes had widened, only for a fraction of a second. Would it be enough for the humanoid to notice? Apparently not.
Our latest captor clanked across the stone floor. For a moment, I was sure it would return from whence it came. Then it paused and turned directly to face me.
I had never felt so cold. This was the first time I had looked into a humanoid's face. This one had black holes for eyes that reached deep into a metallic face. While it had a slit for a mouth, it had no curvature like a human's: it didn't appear to smile or frown. It simply existed, mocking all that a human was, or could ever be.
'Number 4,' it said in its cold, logical tone, 'You will be observed now.'
Like hell I will!
I was all but prepared to stand and fight this thing when I saw shadows drawing close to the other cages. Not one, but five more humanoids clanked into the room, each stopping before a designated cage. None of us looked at each other. We had no choice but to continue our game, straining to keep our expressions as blank as possible.
The humanoid before me latched onto my arm with a sudden death grip.
'Come,' it said, 'They are waiting for you.'
It began to drag me away from the cage I had briefly come to call home. Away from my fellow humans. These people had given me hope when I was dumped here, alone and confused. I could only hope we would come out of this alright.
YOU ARE READING
The People ZooShort Story
A young man finds himself thrust into a strange cage, bound in chains. What he sees while captive is enough to break any man's spirit. .Written in first person but giving the character no name and no identity. .Imagine yourself in the character's sh...