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Animal Instinct This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Rats, packed in, we all struggle for our own space. We communicate excitedly, squeaking, anxious to be released. Huddled in groups, yet each paying little attention to the others. We put self defense foremost. We stand ready for the alarm. We stand ready to be off, ready to race.

The alarm sounds suddenly, and any sort of order that we had is lost. Sound increases. Chaos ensues. Yet we all know our destinations. We scurry rapidly down the passageways. We are all trained to near perfection. We know the alarm will sound again. If we reach our destinations, no punishment will be given. But only if we do as we are trained.

The next session begins. A batch of us has moved on, a new batch brought in its place. No longer do we come as lab rats, penned in and regulated by alarms. Now we are wandering sheep. "Stay with the flock," the herder tells us again and again. "Move closer. Keep together," says the shepherd standing on an inclination above us. We wait for the word, to move on, to be regrouped in another area. No longer are we in a race. We mill about, we wander, we flock. We communicate lazily, tiredly, in mobs. We wait just as we waited every day in the past - for class to begin. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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