sangria, part 2

“So, Loyalis, how’s life so far?”

“It… it’s okay, I guess.” Hunched over a solitary bowl of soup, the chaos of the rest of the cafeteria registered only in the back of Miranda’s mind dinner times were never as tightly organized as they were at the now-shut-down imprisonment, where the higher-ups had run a separate branch of their studies concerning Homo avis before angry parents shut them down for stealing kids. “I mean, it sure would help if something actually happened other than the same routine over and over again. Everybody keeps whispering at night about how this is the start to some brave new existence, but I’m not seeing it in between all these schedules and check-ins with Dr. Rendezvous.”

The caretaker, who turned out to be just another one of the staff and not in charge at all, reached behind them to scratch their quickly-balding head. “Well, we have another subject arriving tomorrow, and you’ll be reporting to the downstairs facilities shortly before for a different program we’ve enrolled you in.”

Miranda set down his spoon full of half-cooked noodles back into the solution of chicken broth, his brow furrowing. “What, you’re not going to let me see?”

Mr. Caretaker crossed their arms on the table, leaning in close enough to blow the stray locks of hair out of Miranda’s face. “You’ll get to see soon enough.”

“Why is it that everybody is so vague around here?” Miranda stood up suddenly, picking up his half-empty bowl and making his way slowly towards the food disposal chute. Mr. Caretaker stood up and followed him from the other side of the lunch table, pulling out a few crumpled notes typed neatly on super cheap printer paper. “I mean, you all could afford to actually describe what you’re talking about…”

“Now, Loyalis, remember that you’re considered property,” Mr. Caretaker warned as Miranda finally made it out of the crowded aisle. “You may think that you’re capable of making your own decisions, but the power to put anything in action lies with us.”

He dumped the sloggy contents of his bowl into the chute, cleansing out all the microbes it had acquired from him and recycling it for future consumption. “I’m nobody’s property.”

“Loyalis-”

In response to Mr. Caretaker raising his voice, Miranda’s arm shot up in a “stop talking gesture” and scraped the underside of the chute’s edge, ripping a few tiny holes open in the skin. Little beads of blood made Mr. Caretaker’s blood leave their head, making them take a few steps back faintly.

“I’m not your property.” Miranda let his arm fall and gracefully stormed out of the cafeteria, looking back in the doorway only to add, “I’m a human too, mate. Even if I don’t know what I’m doing half of the time.”

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