“Wow, do I have a treat for you all this morning!”
My instructor spoke excitedly as she handed each group of students a shrink-wrapped specimen. I peered into the plastic; today’s organism was unlike anything I had ever seen. My lab partners and I eagerly removed the plastic to reveal something enormous, soft, and very pale. The creature’s several limbs were stiff and stuck out at odd angles, yet immediately yielded to my sharp scalpel.
The class hummed excitedly as we began slicing and diagramming, dismembering and labeling. It occurred to me that I had made a rather gruesome mess on my lab table, yet was still uncertain as to what exactly the specimen was. I asked my teacher about today’s assignment, and she smiled wide as she told me, “You guys are a very lucky class. This species was indigenous to the area long before you all were born.” I could hardly believe it. I knew that something must have occupied Earth before us in order to render it habitable for my pilgrim ancestors, but I had only caught glimpses in history textbooks.
Regardless of the assignment’s special status, I was concerned about the ethics of the dissection. I preferred organisms to be shipped to the school after dying of natural causes rather than raised and later destroyed only for the purpose of the school’s research. I approached my teacher again and asked which category today’s specimen was. She lowered her voice, knowing many other students shared my moral convictions, and said “These organisms were grown and harvested for us.” I grimaced at the thought, then took the creature’s five small appendages in my claws and continued slicing. Once that was complete, I removed the two white orbs lodged the creature’s top region using only my antennae. Its situation was sad perhaps, but justified by the greater good of research.
Story entries for the October (2015) Sixpenceee Story Contest can be found here. Simply submit a story to enter. Stories don't necessarily have to be creepy, for example, thought provoking stories or stories with a twist are definitely acceptable.
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