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Jennifer Mortensen

     I had not long been in existence when I witnessed my eldest brother's head being ripped savagely from his taut frame. I remember well the sight of the razor sharp fangs cutting deeply into his tender flesh, only to expel the distorted cranium carelessly onto the ground. The Demon then tipped my brother's headless body to his mouth and drank deeply of the life-blood within. He took care to ingest every last drop and then tossed my brother's hollow, shrunken body aside.

     Motionless, I laid inside the prison cell with my three other siblings. I was the youngest, and confused and horrified by what I saw. I looked to the others for explanations, but none were offered. All three remained silent and excepting of our brother's fate.


     I don't remember much about the early days of my childhood. I only know that there were once a great many of us. We lived together in peace and happiness, shaped and guided by the strict hands of technology. Our world was round and confining, but ignorance was bliss. There was nothing that could harm us. We were well cared for by our mechanical masters. Then, they came.

     At that dark moment when our peaceful world came crashing down around us, I was sitting haphazardly among a group of my family and friends. Lazily I stared at the emptiness above me. Light glinted off the thick steel wall that surrounded us, forcing me to look away from its vicious glare. The tender-shelled bodies of my people lay scattered all around me. Each boasted the preordained color of his or her station. It was a primitive system of classification designed to help our rulers distinguish between our varying roles. As I gazed around me, bright reds, yellows, blues and greens drifted peacefully throughout our metallic world, contrasting vividly with the monochromatic territory in which we lived. I was lucky enough to be a member of the elite Reds.

     I turned my gaze back toward the sky. Before I had time to fully comprehend what was happening, an ominous shadow stretched out across the space above my quiet community. Its tentacles twisted and writhed as they dangled overtop our heads. Suddenly, the tentacles dived into the midst of a group of us and plucked out a small, deformed member of our society. It repeated this motion several times, until our community was completely absent of the disabled. Then the tentacles silently slipped away.

     Frozen in fear, I sat helpless among my people. We were all helpless. From that moment on, we lived in constant fear of the return of those shadowy tentacles. One haunting question echoed through all of our minds: Who was going to be next? It was not long before we were given the answer to our question.

     On a day much like the one previously described, that dark figure again hovered over our beloved community. This time it was not so discriminatory. One by one it wrenched us all from our homes, silently diminishing our population and destroying the remains of our culture. I was one of the last to be taken. My four brothers and sisters and I were somehow miraculously able to stay together through the entire ordeal. Through all the pokes and prods, the long petrifying waits, and the numerous bodily insults, we managed to remain a family.

     After an eternity of these torturous games, the five of us were strapped inside a long, narrow cell and blinded from any possible view of the outside world. Vivid are my memories of the days we spent locked inside that forbidding cell. The darkness seeped in all around us. Not a single crevice was left untouched by its explorative fingers. The silence resonated through the walls and pressed tightly against our skin. Our humid bodies were packed firmly together, our bonds unyielding. But it was not long before the impenetrable door to our cell was removed. There, in the blinding light of a fiery globe, stood the Demon before us.


     And thus my original story continues. The lifeless shell of my brother lay silently on the ground, emptied of its soul. I sat helpless, once again, with feelings of anger, fear, and shame flooding throughout my being. How much more of this injury could our family bear? My remaining brother and two sisters appeared as hollow as our dead brother. Nothing could shake them. Nothing could penetrate their zombie-like state. I was alone.

     The Demon (for that was the only suitable name for such a blood-thirsty, soul-seeking creature) returned again and again, feasting upon us one by one and savoring the sugary sweetness that flowed through our veins. As I watched my last sister sacrificed to satisfy the cravings of this satanic creature, I knew that I would soon follow in my siblings' footsteps.

     Escape was impossible. Not only were my bonds secure, but obstacles of all shapes and sizes surrounded my cell and hindered my progress. The height at which the Demon had placed us further complicated matters. Stretched out before me was a vast emptiness that plunged deeply into the ground below. The monotony of the land was broken only by the occasional unidentifiable object placed arbitrarily on its barren surface. I pleaded for help, but was answered only with the dull echo of silence. Fate was against me.

     It was dark the day he came for me. Shadowy figures floated silently along the outer edges of the territory, flickering back and forth on the dimly lit interior. Cautiously he approached me, an animal stalking his prey. I froze in terror as his evil gaze focused upon my still form. His eyes glinted in the darkness, and a sinister smile crept slowly across his face. Before I had a chance to react, his arm slithered out and his muscular fingers wrapped around my gaunt frame and pulled me towards him.

     "The last one, and you're all mine." The demon smiled in satisfaction.

     A dusky haze swept quickly across my brain. Words slipped slowly from the demon's jaws as I fell further and further into a ghostly abyss. I comprehended only one more phrase before sinking into the murky depths.

     "Mommy, can I have the last one of these waxy pop bottle things with the juice inside?"


Acknowledgments: I would like to thank Jessi Stansberry, Josh "Hobz" Hooley, Jaime Critchfield, Amy Goodman, and Jenna "Ishmael" Cuddeback for their honesty and support. I would also like to thank the class for their excellent critiques and questions and Dr. Terry Heller for giving me the opportunity to express the twisted side of my mind.

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