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Speculative Science Fiction

I have been here too long.


I know those white walls with colorful geometric shapes by heart.


I have been here too long.


I know how the children work.


I have been here too long.


I have memorized those framed quotes.


I have been here too long.


***


They have finally given me more of my kind, not theirs. They are young, and they come to me for comfort, for answers. They want to know how I got here. My story.


And they are too young. Innocent. They need to know about this place. They need to learn how to survive.


So I tell them. I tell them everything.


***


It started in a grey cluttered room. I was stocked between an un-opened toddler lego set and an uneven disproportionate table. Then they brought me to a room. 


Remember, they have complete power over us. You mustn't step out of line or they will come for you. They will be angry.


The room was this room. This room with it's white with colorful geometric shapes. It was empty. But it was different from now. It was like when you came here at first. There was a feeder and every twelve hours it would open and I would get a handful of pellets.


The pellets do not taste good, but they keep us alive. You must remember that when you eat them. The pellets keep us alive.


I had to learn. I did not have someone to tell me what to do, to help me. I had to learn everything like a new-born.


I learned that if you hid for long enough, the children would go.


I learned that they only come for eight out of six pellet feedings.


I learned what the framed pictures on the wall said, thanks to the children practicing their reading skills.


I learned everything there was to now.


That alone took sixty pellet drops.


We time everything with pellet drops, so you must remember when the pellet drops happen.


Do you want to hear the quotes?


That one. The purple one. It says You do not find the happy life, you make it. The other one? The black or with white text? It says success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall.


What does it mean to fall? We cannot fall. The water supports us. But do you remember when the children hit the ground by accident? When they tripped? They fell then. That is what it means to fall. And to get back up is to un-fall.


That one? With the glowing ball behind the water? And the colored blobs? That says success is not final. Failure is not final. It is the courage to continue that counts. That one? That one says to be the change you wish to see in the world.


I could go on and on. There are many.


That one? Fine. It will be the last quote. The children loved that one. They flocked to it like birds to the south. It says do or do not. There is no try. Yes, the background is very pretty.


660 more pellet drops until you came. We mustn't waste time on silly things like quotes. You must listen. Why? You said you wanted to know. You begged me. If you really wanted it, why are you not letting me tell you? That's more like it.


You want it to be fast though? Because long stories are kind of boring? Fine. I will tell you everything that happened in sixty pellet drops. We have eleven parts of this story to go.


During the next sixty pellet drops, I came to respect the children. They were able to move around the room, to leave.


I made a friend. She came often. She had long black hair and a smiling face. Hair? It is the thing that covers their heads. Yes. Her name was Lucy.


When she came, she would run over to me. And I went to her. She did not make sounds like the others. To this day I cannot understand the sounds. 


But we were friends.


During the next sixty pellet section, my friend stopped coming. She stopped coming halfway through. No, she was not my mate. There is a difference between a friend and a mate. We were friends. 


During the tenth pellet drop, they gave me someone else. He wanted more. He took all the pellets. I could not eat. I became hungry. They saw this, and they took him out. He could not breathe. He suffocated. that is why I remind you that they have complete control. I do not know where they are now.


After that, nothing really happened during the ninth sixty pellet drops. But during the eight, there were fewer children. Not enough to make anyone worry, but there was still something weird.


It was the start of it. back then, I did not realize it had started.


During the seventh, around a quarter of the children were not coming anymore. I still did not know it had started. But I was warry.


Yes, I stayed there for seven hundred twenty pellet drops. It did not happen all at once, no. It happened gradually, and then it happened.


I will tell you later when we get there.


During the sixth and fifth little to no one came. Many of the people in white coats left too. They were the ones who escorted the children into the rooms, which they came out of sucking circles on sticks.


Lollipops they called them.


On the fourth pellet drop, everyone had abandoned the place except a few. There were Darius and Kathy and Ruth and Michael and Lincoln. They were the only children. Then there was a tall man, a short man, and a thick man. They were the only white suits.


One day, Kathy dropped you guys into the tank. Do you remember that time?


In the third one, everyone had fled. They had abandoned the place. I waited for them for a long time.


They never came back.


But I had you. It gave me something to live for. I will forever be grateful.


The second pellet drop, I was saving my pellets. I shared as much as I could spare with you.


The paint had started to peel. Do you see that jagged green shape? That used to be a circle. The orange one over there? A rectangle. They are gone now. Faded away into almost nothing.


The first pellet drop was the one you remember. You were old enough. You see the pellet container? It is almost empty. I have been preserving it, rationing it. But it is still not enough. We will run out soon. Then we will die.


I accept death. I understand death. Death makes way for more life. 


But there might not be more life. I do not know what made them run. But they are dead now. How do I know? You will understand later, but now you will not understand. I will tell you anyway.


It is a gut feeling. My instincts tell me it is true, so it is true. Your instincts have not fully matured. You will not understand.


But I have seen glimpses. Through the windows, yes. I have seen ruined buildings, not destroyed my age, but something else. I see the streets bathed in dried blood. I see cars smashed unnaturally so.


It is the other reason I accept death. It is a coward's reason.


I would rather die to starvation than die to whatever roams the streets.


Yes, I saw it once. It makes my coward's reason a little less cowardly, but still a coward's reason.


No, I will not tell you.


You ask too many questions. Do something else.


I am preparing myself. For what? Have you not been listening to me?


I am preparing myself for death.

March 12, 2021 00:09

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1 comment

Paula Dennison
22:54 Mar 18, 2021

The idea for your story is ingenious! Who would of thought to comply with this prompt through the eyes of a fish? This is an one of a kind story that takes a eclectic, unique and perhaps eccentric person to write. Eccentric in a good way. In a highly creative way that displays natural talent. Great story! I loved it.

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