Here is another entry for Inspiration Monday over at Be Kind Rewrite. Haven’t tried it? Well then, get the heck over there and check it out! This one was written with the prompt, “comfortable cage”. Hope you enjoy!
* In Your Comfortable Cages *
We put the alien in a cage.
It was perfectly comfortable. Its smooth, steel bars circled around a floor of soft bedding, and we provided both water and a selection of different foods (we were unsure of what exactly it fed on, and so tried to accommodate for all tastes). But despite our efforts, the poor creature wailed anxiously and endlessly.
It spoke in a language unknown to us, a garbled stream of harsh sounds that it screeched whenever its captives came near. In the first hours following its entrapment, the alien had demonstrated a range of different emotions—or so we interpreted. Its retched noises changed from mournful whines, as if it were entreating us for its freedom, to short, sharp yelps as it threw itself wildly against the bars.
We were prepared to sedate it, for its own wellbeing, but it tired itself out before long, gasping frantically as its lungs struggled to adapt to the different atmosphere that surrounded it.
Despite its hostility, we grew to care deeply for this small, pitiful creature. Over time, we taught ourselves the best ways to care for it, help it to grow and keep it comfortable.
We succeeded in the first two endeavours, but it never seemed truly comfortable in its cage.
Nevertheless, our alien was highly educational for us. Several years after its capture, we began searching for more, and found them in large, plentiful groups. Screeching their awful, unintelligible language, we lowered them into their comfortable cages and raised them as best we could. We were certain that, from what little we’d seen of their violent and rotting home planet, we were taking them to a better place.
We explored their technologies, so different from our own, and attempted to decipher their language and learn how best to care for them. Strangely, in the course of our studies, we discovered that they had always been aware of our existence, but had never sought to locate us as we did them. Perhaps they had feared us, but they had no reason to do so. We wanted only to ensure their wellbeing.
The decades that followed were prosperous for our aliens. We began to breed them, and guided their offspring, who we found to be more docile and agreeable, to work in a wide range of different areas. They were easy to train—eager and strong and highly intelligent.
Our first-generation aliens began to show signs of aging; following years of captivity, we were finally able to integrate them into social life as our pets, obedient and gentle.
Except for the First.
I admit that our initial finding had always intrigued me more than the others. I was so involved in its upbringing that, when I was told it was being retired, I offered to take it into my own household. My wife was displeased, but I could not bear to have my alien sent away from my watchful eye.
I had hoped that, like the others who had been domesticated, I would be able to release it and rely on its obedience to keep it at my side. But it wasn’t to be—despite its age, my beloved little alien was as ferocious and wild as the day we’d captured it. And so I kept it in its cage, comfortable and cared for until the day it died.
I hadn’t been expecting its passing; after all, for all we knew about the aliens, their exact lifespan was still unknown to us. I rose one day to find it dead and cold on the floor of its enclosure, with a look of peace upon its weathered face.
Despite her distaste for the creatures, my wife was sympathetic to my grief. After a few months had passed, she gently asked if it would please me to take a new alien into our home.
One day, I think I will. But for now, my grief is too raw. So I will continue with my work to ensure that we locate more of this new race and take them into our care, learning as much about them as we can to ensure their longevity.
There is so much we do not know about these aliens, but of one thing I am certain:
These fragile creatures, these precious humans, need our care, and we shall give it to them.
Comfortable in their cages, we shall keep them safe.
- Love The Bad Guy