Metamorphosis

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I stood up and gave my name, Ishmael, and I was struck down to the floor again. A lash from a whip hit my back, as I felt the blood trickling my spine, a new power took a hold of me. I knew that I had to escape from this place, the enclosed space made me feel claustrophobic, I was suffering. It was only a month ago when they captured me, maybe a year, time loses its meaning inside this cage. The metal bars slowly rusting away, the repugnant smell of the bucket in the corner given to me for my necessities. The guerrilla, they barely fed me, and I haven’t even considered asking them for some water to take a bath. I closed myself inside my mind, and kept myself busy, never talking. I am now a caged animal. Many months passed until I finally realized what was happening to me; I was no longer a man, I had become a gorilla.

My hands felt huge; my whole body was covered in hair. When I tried to speak a guttural sound rose from my voice box. I no longer walked upright like a man, but I roamed like a beast. Yet I felt so strong, so connected to everything else to which I was never connected to. I felt one with nature and nature felt one with me. It was only about after a week that they noticed this change in me, and after that time I had fully embraced the fact that I was no longer human. Who were these odd creatures? Why are they keeping me captive? I had lost most of my human memory. New sounds, and smells and images rose to my attention. The soft breeze of a summer day, the tropical smell this jungle had, but most of all the rusting of the cage I was confined to. Everyday I would smell it rust more and more.

I had no human left in me; I despised these horrible creatures. And after all this time all I wanted was my freedom, yet there was nothing I could do. I slowly started losing the ability to understand what they were speaking, and I increasingly became madder and madder. My mind could no longer hold the prison it had become, losing contact with the world, what was there for me to entertain myself with? I started counting stars, 1,2,3,4,5…18904… How sad it made me realize that I would be forever locked inside here. They would never let me go. I want my freedom, I want my FREEDOM! I shouted every night, to no use, they could not understand me. No matter how much I shook those metal bars, they would not understand me.

One night, a monkey came up to my cage; he looked at me with those deep brown eyes, and gave me his hand, as if somehow he understood. That was the last time I’d ever see him. Is it that humans have less empathy than animals? Have we been wrong all along? From that day on I decided I would learn the language of the humans again and I would teach them what I have learned throughout these years of solitude and isolation. Slowly, I began understanding words again, it was all coming back to me slowly. I began stealing newspapers and books from passing guerrilla members. They hardly ever noticed them go missing. I read and read, and understood every time a little more. I was only a few weeks from being able to talk again. I felt happiness, after so long I felt happy, as if maybe all of this is worth something, like I might make a difference.

As I sat there, all alone, I grabbed a book, and began reading it voraciously; it was the Metamorphosis by Kafka. I read it once, I read it twice, I read it three times, I read it endlessly. After having read the book so many times I finally understood that I had undergone the same process as Gregor Samsa, I had become this beast. I decided I would not end up like him, I decided I would somehow escape this jail of mine and finally be free. It began the day after, when one of the humans was having lunch by my cage, the knife so close, so I screamed as loud as I could and he jumped up like a little girl, allowing me to take the knife, and by chance a spoon. I was severely punished by the human, but I minded not for I had what I wanted. I had the tools to set myself free, these human tools and my new complex and intricate set of muscles and energy sources, I was finally ready. I felt as if I could carry the world upon my shoulders, my strength was infinite. With the knife and the spoon I carefully broke all of the metal bars, until I was free. I set down the knife and the spoon down, I grabbed the book, and I set my paw on the soil. It had rained for a few days already, and the rich dark wet soil felt like heaven under me. All I had to do was to embrace my new form, and with that, I was free.

I began running, not even looking back to where I had been held a prisoner for so long, my captivity was finally over. I ran and ran until I could no more, and I came upon a huge tree, the biggest tree anyone has ever seen. I climbed it as if it was a twig, all the way to the top. Once I arrived at the majestic summit of the tree I was overwhelmed by the feelings that were invading me, I felt my humanity being completely lost, and this new, animalistic feeling overcame my every sense, and then and there I felt what it was to be free, to be happy, to exists without knowing that because of the fault of your own species many more will perish. The beauty of the landscape was too much and it felt like an abyss, so far away, yet so close to me, and I remembered a quote I had read many many years ago by Nietzsche, which read, “And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” I finally felt complete.





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