by Rachel Bolton
I was still a boy when the aliens from
above took me. They came in their big ships from far beyond and stole me from
my mother and my home. She wept, and the aliens killed her for her distress.
She was too old for their purposes. I was not their only bounty that day, two
other children were brought into captivity. The girl, far too young, died a few
hours later. I don’t know what happened to the other boy.
My memories of the transport are vague
now. The captors provided food and checked on me often. I cannot imagine their
My home these past decades has been a
prison cell. I can pace back and forth, and my captors make sure it is clean. But
it’s too small. The walls are blank. Nothing grows, nothing thrives. I am
brought to other cells from time to time, and since I am special, I have one
that’s just for me. My captors believe this is enough to be happy.
There are many prisoners, some like me, others
are strangers from worlds I don’t know. I cannot learn their tongue, but I
understand their cries. We are all lonely in this place. There are eight of my
own kind still living. I’m the oldest and considered a model prisoner.
I am fascinating to the aliens. It
disturbs me to consider that some of them love me. They chatter in their grating,
jagged speech, bring better food, and stroke my head during visits. If I am
sick, a doctor comes to tend me. I knew of the aliens as a boy, stories passed
down from my mother. Their ships were smaller. Visitors, not invaders. These
captors don’t think they are doing any harm. All my needs are met, save for
space and opportunity.
As part of their care, my captors brought
me a companion when I reached manhood, the first of many. She too was from the
world outside our prison. We knew what they expected of us, and at first the
only thing we did in our cell was talk. Yet time stretched out endlessly in
front of us, and sex became a balm to boredom. I did not force her. Why take
away one of the few choices we had? We were gentle to each other.
She bore us a son. My companion was given
the best of medical attention, and our baby was born full term. But the prison
still ruined them both. Our son died at a few days old. His mother tried to
keep his body in her cell. The captors came and took him anyway. Everyone in
the prison could hear her cries. She sang for our baby, mournful and low,
between her tears.
Eventually, she was brought back to my
cell. They hoped we would try for another. We didn’t, the amusement of sex not
worth the risk of bringing a child into this dreadful place. She too passed
soon after. A friend from her cell confirmed her loss without detail. I don’t
know how she died. If she killed herself, I wonder how she did it. Why didn’t
she share this trick with me?
Over the years I’ve sired many more children.
After the loss of my first born, I try not to think of them or get attached to
their mothers. I’ve but one left, she is small and lives with her mother in
another cell. My other children have disappeared from the prison or died before
their early years passed. I try to speak to my daughter when we’re in the same
space. She is scared of me. I’m too large and a stranger. She hides behind her
mother when she sees me coming. I wish I could tell her about my life before,
take her away from here to grow up free. Her mother was born in another prison,
her own parents prison-born as well. I won’t tell our daughter about a life she
will never have.
I don’t know how old I am. My captors
celebrate a day with special food and songs for me and their guests. I believe
I’m close to fifty years old. Life in the prison has left me permanently
warped. My crooked back does not prevent my movement, but I wouldn’t have
developed this if I’d been left in my home.
You must wonder why I don’t just escape,
use my strength to leave. I cannot move in the air of my captors. I could never
pilot their ship to take me home. While I understand many of their words, I’m
unable to reply. There are too many of them and not enough of us. Finally, if I
could leave on my own, I wouldn’t. My daughter and her mother deserve freedom
I know my captors use me for research. I’m
so different from them. My body is studied. I’ve been measured regularly since
I was a boy. I’d admire my captors’ curiosity more if they had left us all
alone. I’m here for more than science. I’m here to entertain. Several times a
day, unless I’m sick, they bring me into the biggest cell. The prison guests
are here to be impressed by my strange body and fits of strength.
A captor in their special costume directs
my actions with the commands I know by heart. I leap high into the air. Lift my
captor, balance their light weight with ease. The crowds cheer with delight,
excited to be so close to a being like me. Despite my hatred, I choose to do
this. Yes, I could do the moves incorrectly or straightforwardly refuse. Boredom,
my constant companion, would be delighted by my inaction. So, I do as I’m told.
I’m given better food as a reward. I tell myself activity is better than
At the end of every show, I leap up onto
the stage and show off my teeth to the audience. They think I’m smiling as they
My fiftieth birthday approaches. As I gift
to myself, I decide to kill one of my captors. Under the right circumstances it
should be easy. They are so delicate. I want to make this meaningful. I need an
audience. Part of me does feel bad, my captors are the best and longest friends
I’ve ever known. But I don’t want to be here with them. I never have. I harden
my heart and think of murder.
I’m very patient. When you’ve spent your
whole life waiting, what is another day or month? I fantasize about what I can
do, trying to make the best choice in an infinity of limited ones. Days before
my birthday, I’m brought to the big cell for the afternoon show. The screams
are loud as the guests see me swim in. They chant the name I was given in
captivity. Leading me today is the one who pets my head and coos like I was her
child. I get close and lean on the stage, keeping most of my body in the cell.
She wears her special suit that mimics me,
mocking my powerful white and black body. She kneels down next to me. My captor
turns her head to the crowds watching her, watching us. I don’t think, only act.
I open my great, wide mouth, taking in her hair and arm. I bite down and pull
her deep into the water. The crowd cheers, thinking this is part of the
performance. I twist and shake, plunging deeper and deeper with my victim.
Maybe now they’ll understand what they’ve done.
© 2022 Rachel Bolton
Bio: Rachel Bolton is a busy
writer living in Massachusetts. You can read more of her work at rachelmbolton.wordpress.com
or follow her on twitter @RaeBolt.
E-mail: Rachel Bolton
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