Bright white light was all I could see when I opened my eyes. My head pounded as I blinked to adjust my eyes to the intense light. I forced myself up, realizing that I was sweating as the heat of the sun was beating down on me. Where am I? I thought, taking in my surroundings. There were rocks and small trees scattered all around me. But something was wrong. It didn’t look natural. It looked like it was set up like a movie set. I also noticed that there was sunlight coming from two different direction. I looked up and spotted two bright orbs in the sky. Two suns? Then I turned around. What I saw struck fear into my very soul. Metal bars. Vertical metal bars that I now realized surrounded me on all sides, caging me in like an animal. As I gazed further, past my cell bars, I noticed a hispanic couple in the cage across from me. This can’t be happening, I must be dreaming. What even is this place. I tried to communicate with them but the language barrier kept us from conversing. The one thing we all understood was that we were afraid, and we were confused.
Not too long later, these…creatures...came. They came in all sorts of different colors, shapes and sizes, some, colors I hadn’t even known existed. One that caught my eye in particular was a family of a dull lime green color. They had long noses that stuck out like the end of a clarinet. They were stubby creatures with big eyes and a horrible stench. And they were standing right in front of my cage. Staring at me. “Mommy, what’s that one?” the littlest one inquired, tugging on his mother’s smock and pointing at me.
“It’s a human TziTsum. An American one to be exact.” the mother answered.
“How do you know?” the little one asked.
“Because there’s a McDonald’s in this habitat. American Humans only eat McDonald's. And it says so on the sign.”
I looked behind me and sure enough, there was a McDonald’s. It was hidden behind the trees but from their perspective, they could probably see it better. The floor of my cage was elevated and the McDonald’s was huge.
A blue creature with five “tails” of what seemed to be octopus-like flesh where hair should be emerged from the McDonald’s carrying a happy meal. They set the red and yellow box down carefully and promptly left. I scrambled over to the box of food and tore into the cardboard box holding my food, not caring about the crowd that had now gathered in front of my cage. I tore into my food like an animal, I couldn’t remember ever being this hungry before. I must not have eaten in a week. Wherever I was, I was a long way from home. Which begged the question, how did I get here? And why don’t I remember coming here. My question was immediately answered as I noticed a tiny hole in my arm; like the hole you get after getting a shot from the doctor. I was drugged.
Months went by as I continued to go mad of cabin fever. I couldn’t stay there. I needed to be free. I had to escape. One day, I finally decided to go through with it. I placed a wedge of wood between the door and the frame as one of the workers left my cage that day. Then, when all the workers left and locked up, I opened the door and removed the wedge. When I stepped out of the cage I felt a surge of adrenaline and relief. I couldn’t believe it, I was free. Or, at least, one step closer to it anyway. As I crept towards the exit, I was stopped by a pang of guilt. I couldn’t just leave the others behind, especially not the hispanic couple that lay sound asleep in the cage across from mine. Not after all we’d been through, we had become such great friends, and they had given birth to a little girl. They didn’t deserve to be left behind and a cage was certainly no place to raise a child. I turned on my heels and ran over to their cage. The rattling of the cage eventually woke up the small family whose expression turned from one of confusion to hope. “I’m gonna get you out of here, okay?” I said with a hopeful smile. I banged and banged on the advanced technological lock; I wasn’t about to give up on them. Just when I thought I almost had it, bright lights shone on us. We had been caught.
“Get back in your cage.” they ordered.
But I wasn’t about to go down without a fight. I hit and kicked and did everything I could to put up a fight but it was no use, they were stronger than me and I was thrown back in my cage.
As I laid on the cold floor of my cage that night, I wept. It was then that I began to realise that even if I had escaped, I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea as to how I was supposed to get home. I would never be able to return home; not unless my captors had some sort of change of heart. I was just going to have to accept it, this was my home now.