I had stood stoically and watched my brothers and sisters disappear one by one. Each ripped from our grasps amidst screams and pleas to not take them, but also to not be next. We huddled in that darkened container for who knows how long, eyes turned towards the thin sliver of light that crept in under the door, awaiting the seconds that remained until we were chosen. And one by one we were. Sometimes one a day. Other times the creatures got greedy and took multiples of us. But, we all knew eventually we’d all be gone.
Jonas leaned against the wall next to me, silent in the ever present darkness. I kept glancing over at him, waiting for him to do something. His eyes bore through our synthetic cage. His gaze fixed on the handle of the door. I didn’t expect much more. They had taken Stella yesterday in a frenzied, jittery dance of clawed tentacles that swooped into the top of our prison. The three of us had dodged and slipped away from them, yelling at each other to watch out, but knowing that the claw wouldn’t give up.
The handle jiggled and slid soundlessly down. The large, monolith of a door pulled slowly open and our captor bore down on us. My heart picked up the pace as the lid to our cage opened. I skittered across the wall, trying to figure out where the safest place was, but it was all for nothing. Jonas didn’t move, didn’t flick his eyes up to the tentacles, didn’t flinch as they wrapped around him and pulled him into that gaping darkness that surrounded us. I cried out for him, for myself, for being utterly and completely alone.
The word had never really entered my mind before. I had always had someone. My mother, far away and hopefully safe; my brothers and sisters, gone before my very eyes; my friends, probably in the same predicament as me. My eyes turned fearfully towards the door. My heart was a drum in my ears, or was that the footsteps of the hideous monster? Its treacherous tread thundering against the floor as it drew nearer, the sound crashing against my mind, swirling my thoughts as they caught me in their storm.
The handle jiggled and my resolve strengthened. I was the last, but maybe I could change things. I dragged my hands along my straightened spine. I could only imagine the pain I would inflict upon myself but would being used and ground between the teeth of the monster feel any better? I took a deep breath. I ran between the walls of my cage, bashing my body against the sides, crushing my delicate flesh. Deliriously I stumbled about as the door began to open, my steps wobbling. I crashed against the wall and felt my body give way into unrelenting agony as my structure fell into itself. I slumped against the wall, my main pipe crushed, and watched as the tentacles descended. I smiled, feeling my life slip from me, as I heard it.
“Mom! The last straw is all broken!”