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The Human Zoo

The Human Zoo
I’m caged in, on display. Their eyes constantly bore into me, always wanting to more. If I sleep, if I rest, if I simply turn the wrong way I become classified as “the boring exhibit”. That makes them leave, which gives me the slightest amount of privacy, but when you're in a cage, privacy gets a whole new definition. As big as the want for privacy is, there’s something about them flocking around your cage that’s desirable, so we want to be interesting; or at least interesting enough. It’s sad, that the only thing that makes us happy anymore is attention.
When the first human zoo was created, humans fought against the new dominant species on Earth. We were outraged, and we fought back in rebellion. The human race had always been at the top, had been in control; so when this new power came to our world the anger and unfamiliarity fueled our rebellion. Now, it seems like we’ve given up. No one fights back; no one does anything. We play by their rules; we let them force us into cages; we let this life become our normal. Abused like animals, the white flags have been raised and we have surrendered our normal and our lives to them. The cold metal bars that surround me are a constant reminder of this defeat.
Closing time is coming soon, the time of peace and serenity; or at least something close to that. I walk towards my shelter where I sleep at night. It’s cold and hard, it’s a form of brutality that no one notices but us. There are a few stragglers left in the park. One of the kids, if that’s what you would call them, bangs on the bars and screams out in my direction. I stay still though. I’m done with the attention for today. My eyes peep out of a loose board and watch as the things mother drags him away from my cage. It’s a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.
The front gates are locked, the lights go out, and the zoo workers seem to come from nowhere. The Human Zoo is closed for the night; that translates to feeding time for the humans. The zoo workers disperse, each one going to one of our cages. I hear a jingling noise and the latch of my cage is lifted. The man who has come to bring me my food takes tentative steps, as if he’s afraid of me. I guess he hasn’t realized that I’m not going to fight him; I don’t care anymore. He sets my food on the ground and scatters out the door. He must be gone because silence envelopes me. My stomach begins to growl at me, and I roll my eyes. I don’t want to eat their food; but I’m hungry so I pick myself up and stomp over to the bowl of slop. A strong odor emanates from the food and I turn away. When I do this something catches my eye.
Whoever brought me my food must have been rushing on their way out because my door isn’t all the way closed. My breath quickens and my eyes nervously scan the area. No one is in sight. The first step towards the door crunches the hay beneath my feet making a sound that echoes in my head. I continue forward and reach the door in a matter of seconds. My hand shakes as I place it on the cold metal. The door swivels with ease. A drop of sweat drips down my face and nervousness consumes my body. I shove away the hesitation, open the cage’s door, and place my feet on the gravel. I know where the zoo’s entrance is. I’ve watched the onlooker’s race to and from it countless times. With the hope that the employees are tending to the other humans I snake my way to the front gates. They’re locked. I don’t have a key. I turn around with the fear that someone is watching me but the walkway is vacant. There is a spot to my left, where the ground underneath the fence has eroded away. I look down at my body. It looks like I could fit. I scamper over to the spot and get on my knees. I’ve seemed to have caught the attention of the humans in the cage right behind me. They stick their hands out between the bars and try to grab at me. Their whispers beg me to take them with me, but I don’t have time. I brush them away and thrust my body underneath the fence. It’s a tight fit, but it’s a fit. I make it through. My head turns back to see the zoo workers once again flooding the path. I’m blanketed by the darkness; no one sees me; no one even looks my way.
I slowly rise, feeling dazed and exited. Then I turn and run. My feet take traction in the hard dirt and I fly across the ground. I feel fast and I feel free. Maybe there is a little rebellion out there; maybe it’s in all of us. All I know is that it’s time for a change. The tortured animal inside of me has just been freed, and it knows exactly how to make that change happen.



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