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My days are numbered. That much I am sure of. Oppressive, artificial heat from above beats down onto my skin. Everything about my life is intensive. I am trapped here, with so many others, whose faces I see one day and they are gone the next. I look across our prison and connect with a mother with blue eyes and long lashes. She's beautiful, and so full of pain, like myself.
Beside her, but out of her reach, lie her children. Some dead, others struggling and in desperate need of care. But can she reach them? No, she cannot. They writhe and wriggle to one side, some of them not moving at all. Some of them mutilated. The mother looks on, eyes desperate and despairing, as she wonders why she is trapped in this embodiment of fresh hell.
Every day is the same. Wake up. Go to stretch. Can't move. Gaze at children. Wish for freedom.
A mother just wants to care for her children. Day in, day out, I live my existence, or my existence is lived out for me, and I don't know why I'm here—why I'm being oppressed, victimized, beaten, impregnated, tortured. I know I have no control over anything, and it breaks my heart that the same life, however short it may be, lies ahead for my children. The so many children that I have birthed, and never been able to show affection or love to.
I feel a coldness in the air, and I see the doors are open. Suddenly we're filed out, being yelled at, pushed, shoved, kicked as we go. And then I see this light—this freshness, this weird sensation I've never experienced. Albeit, it may be brief, but I have a feeling that this is the outside world—I breathe in, twitching my snout, and the air funnels through me, and it feels peaceful.
And then we're all pushed onto a thing that moves, and a new realization of fear kicks in. I've never been anywhere before, so where are we going now? The mother with blue eyes is in the corner, and her body is beaten and scratched. She's tired. We all are. With patient, blinking, accepting eyes, I begin to shake, and the others with me shake too, and we are all aware something is about to happen, and we are all petrified, all terrified, all waiting, all hoping, all crammed in together on this moving machine.
Then the moving machine stops. And suddenly there are humans around us. These are different humans. They weave their hands through the slats in the moving machine and want to stroke us. I sense their compassion. They talk in soothing voices and repeatedly tell me that they're sorry, they love us, and they wish for change. Change is coming, they promise. Some of them are crying, and it makes me want to cry too.
Then the machine moves again, before coming to a juddering stop and not long after that, the doors open. We're filed through, then there's only one way we can go—forward. We try and struggle back, but humans stand behind us pushing us forward so we have no option but to keep going—as I get closer, I can hear the screams already. I want to run, but I have nowhere to run to. This is it.
Everything's a blur at this point. I know I'm about to die. I think about my life and wonder why I've been imprisoned for the duration of it, been forcibly impregnated, and then not allowed to care for my children, and had all basic standards of living stripped away from me.
I hear screams. Fresh, loud screams.
I scream. It's rasping, in pain, a sound of wallowing despair.
Two humans look at each other.
"It sounded like that pig just said stop," they laugh.
They carry on.
If I were human, would this be acceptable? If I could talk like you, would you listen or would you look the other way?
Because the only difference between you and me is the way we look and the fact that you can talk.
Perhaps I can talk, and too many people just refuse to listen. So, this is me, using my voice.