Culture Shock: Part II

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Culture Shock: Part II

A hand holding a blood-soaked knife.

I am not alone here. The others are chained and locked in cells because they have been known to gnaw off their own hands and pull off their own feet, to try to escape – such is the effect of their deep hunger. They look at me with pleading eyes – like animals that cannot communicate in any other way. I turn my back on them, glad to no longer be one of their number, sad that they are still trapped in this lifestyle and ashamed that I cannot help these lab rats.

Talking of lab rats, the urge is returning in me. It started with surreptitiously swallowed insects, then rodents, birds if I can catch them and once a hedgehog. Oh yes, as they learned to trust me, they let me out into the grounds – at first supervised, then quite freely. By this time Andrews had moved on. I was no longer his favourite 'pet,' just an old project that he let others monitor. I was still fenced in. I still had cameras aimed at me but by this time I was considered mostly harmless. The smell of rotting flash that was me, had subsided with time and the effects of various treatments. On top of that people had become acclimatised to my odour. I was the grenade that hadn't gone off.

Now, like a prisoner of war, I searched for a weak point – the spot where the searchlights or cameras missed and I dug.

I had known I was starting to revert when the Parkinson's-like symptoms started to reappear and I found it hard to kick-start my body into normal, human motion. I hid the shuffling gait as best as I could, the creeping catatonia but I knew the condition was returning and that there was no point fighting it.

I saw my people wandering in large, distant herds. I heard the sound of gunfire and explosions as the humans culled them. I longed to join them. I wanted to forget the normality I'd been a part of in the past and rejoined here: The bright light effect of coming out of a cinema into daylight, the noise, the smells, the sensitivity of touch and above all 'taste.' I wanted to forget all of these plus the memories of what I'd done to others, who trusted me to be at least 'human.' The wounds of these half remembered crimes against what I was, was just too much to bear. I wanted to slip back into the opulent dark of unknowing. To be without that sharpness of conscience and consciousness, was all I longed for. I wanted to forget, big time and tonight my opportunity came. I scrambled under the wire and got away, joining my brothers and sisters of the flesh. At first they sniffed me, like some new animal, but then realised I was still the same underneath. Soon the zombie army marched on, with me in its midst. Sorry, professor, but I must remain true to my calling as you do yours. You didn't sin against what you were, but for me there is no going back and no desire to. Even now the language centre is going and with it my mind.

"Ugh, snarl, grunt."

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