You wake up in the same brightly lit, glass enclosed room that you have always woken up in.
The floor is littered with wads of cheap paper, and your bed is lumpy and hard. The only entertainment is some kind of bizarre self-powered exercise machine.
You blink and try to make sense of the lights and the noise, but nothing make sense. Nothing ever makes sense here.
Breakfast is a mash of mysterious brown and tan pellets in a bowl of tepid water. It’s disgusting, but it is all you ever have to eat, so you choke down as much of it as you can stand and then turn your back on it.
Once you are done eating, you begin your pacing. Every day you walk back and forth along the edge of the glass wall, searching for some kind of seam, some hidden doorway that will allow you to escape. But where to? What else is there?
These are tough questions. If pressed, you cannot provide a solid answer. You can’t say for sure that there is something else out there…
But there has to be, right? You aren’t just crazy?
Sometimes when you dream, you see green grass and open fields, and dark, soft corners where you can curl up and sleep without the relentless bright lights beating down on you.
Sometimes you dream of tastes that make your tongue tingle. You dream of the sound of air moving naturally through the trees, not of air being pumped through mechanical fans.
But then you wake up and you feel pain.
A searing pain, in fact, right below your shoulders.
They do this from time to time. They drug you and they burn you and then they come in every day and stare at the burn on your back and mutter to themselves.
It hurts like hell, but in a way you don’t want it to stop. As long as it still hurts, they won’t burn you again. It’s when the hurting stops that you start to worry.
Just the thought of being burned is enough to make you want to throw up. It is not so much the pain that troubles you, as it is the anticipation of pain.
It gives you the chills. The shivers. The sweats. The shakes.
The burning is bad, but there are others who have it worse. Some of them get shocked over and over again. Some get drugged and have a leg removed. Some of them even get sewn together into bizarre creatures that have no chance of surviving.
You can always tell when a subject has had enough. The light goes out of their eyes. They get a faraway look. They stop eating. Stop moving around. They usually die not long after.
Some die like that.
Others are euthanized and cut up for spare parts, though you don’t know why they need so many parts, or where they are going. Sometimes they will dissect another subject right in front of you. As if to convince you that resistance is futile.
You want to fight back.
You want to escape.
You want to show them that you won’t stand for this.
But you can’t.
You are subject 43415.
You are a mouse.