Naflafiwrimo Day 30: Human

The last one! That was a whole month of stories, which means that Naflafiwrimo if over. I now have thirty stories to rewrite, so I suppose that’s what May will be for.

You can click on the ‘Nanowrimo’ tab above and find a list of all thirty stories.

*flaaaaffyy*

Thanks for reading!

[P.S. If you’re wondering what this is all about, look here]

Human

 

‘You have failed to meet the standards expected of you, Mr Gower.’ The judge looks down from on high. Mr Gower opens his mouth but of course there is nothing he can say. ‘Humanity is something that must be earned, not something that is given unconditionally. Your behaviour has been, in many respects, inhuman. As such, the jury has ruled that certain rights should be taken from you. From this day onwards, you can longer claim the title ‘human’. You shall be demoted to an Inferior Intelligent Lifeform and shall be treated as such.’ The judge waves forward a man with a stack of papers. The man drops them in front of Mr Gower. ‘These are you amended rights as an IIL. Read them carefully.’

‘I’d like to appeal this decision,’ Mr Gower says.

‘You no longer have that right.’

Mr Gower reads the document through that night in the kennel. It’s late so there isn’t much light coming through the mesh-covered window and it takes him some time to get through the whole thing. The man down the corridor is also very distracting. Mr Gower wishes he would stop howling at the moon.

In summary, the following major rights are removed:

  1. 1.      The right to expression of opinion and freedom of speech.

‘Tell me, Mr Gower,’ says Dr Powell, ‘did you cry when Bambi died?’

‘Um.’ Mr Gower sits on the psychologists couch like a potato, or a lemon, or something not human at any rate. ‘Yes. Absolutely.’ He’s hit by sudden inspiration. ‘It was so unfair. I just thought, why could it be his mother or father that died instead? Bambi had so much more life to live.’

Dr Powell looks at Gower over his glasses. ‘I see. Well as you know, Mr Gower, you have one week in which to prove your status as human or you will continue to be designated as an IIL for a term of at least twelve months. From now on I suggest you try to act… more normal.’

  1. 2.      The right to ownership (of property, commodities, misc. items and IILs).

 

I smuggled a few pages of my favourite book into these kennels, but today someone took them. I’m not sure who. No longer will I be able to fall asleep to the comforting prose of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast. At least I still have my diary.

The thief sniggers and almost drops the journal, so strong is his amusement.

‘Give that back!’ Mr Gower shouts, reaching his arm through the bars of his cell (technically, as IIL’s do not possess the right of ownership, this is not ‘his cell’, merely the cell that Mr Gower occupies). The thief hangs back, just out of reach.

I also seem to have lost the documentation of my rights, the thief continues to read, I hope I can remember them all.

  1. 3.      The right to not be tortured in horrible ways (or something along those lines).

‘Mr Gower, tell me how this music makes you feel.’ Dr Powell sits back in his chair as classical music fills the room. Mr Gower listens.

‘I feel happy. It is very beautiful music, Dr Powell. You have excellent taste.’

‘Hmm. It is not my taste, I’m afraid. This is very dated stuff. I’m not sure that most people would consider it ‘beautiful’.’

‘Well, I mean, I can understand their point of view–’

‘Oh really? Next test, Mr Gower. Please do try this time.’

  1. 4.      The right to seek occupation, relationships and fulfilment; the pursuit of happiness.

 

They attach the leash to the collar worn by Mr Gower and lead him from the cell he generally occupies. They walk down a long corridor lined with cells filled with more IILs. Most of them look more bedraggled than Mr Gower, though the suit Mr Gower wears is looking a bit shabby.

‘This is where you’ll be working. Try to demonstrate a human standard of work ethic, including determination and satisfaction upon completion of your allotted task.’ The warden then helps Mr Gower into the wheel and shuts the door.

The wheel is very big and lined with rubber on the inside for grip. Mr Gower wishes he had worn trainers to court, rather than loafers.

There is a word printed in red on the rubber. It reads: RUN. Mr Gower begins to run. The wheel begins to turn and RUN disappears behind Mr Gower, then descends in front of him from above. A turbine begins to hum.

  1. 5.      The right to an honorific before your name (except when used for humorous personification, e.g. Mr Sniffles).

 

One night there is a clunk and the window frame drops to onto the bed. Mr Gower sits up in surprise. His surprise increases as a woman dressed in black climbs into his room and puts a sack over his head.

‘Shh,’ she says. ‘Come with me.’

Mr Gower follows, listening as the woman talks with her partners.

‘Is the sack necessary?’

‘It stops him panicking.’

‘Isn’t that chickens?’

‘Shh.’

After a lot of walking, running, and cowering in the back of a truck, the sack is removed and Mr Gower finds himself in a moonlit field.

‘Go on,’ the woman says from behind Mr Gower. ‘You’re free. Go on.’

Mr Gower turns around. ‘What? I’d like to go home please.’

‘This is your home.’

‘Where is this?’

‘Somewhere around Ely.’

‘This isn’t my home.’

‘It’s the wild; the wild is your home. Go on, now.’

‘Who are you?’

‘ARAG. Animal Rights Activism Group.’

‘Thank you.’

‘You’re welcome. Be free, little IIL.’

Mr Gower runs into the field, sliding through the wet grass and rejoicing. ‘I’ll never forget you!’ he calls to the people behind him. He turns to wave, but they’ve already disappeared. He watches for a moment, then continues to run, eager to exercise his remaining rights, not as Mr Gower, but as a free creature of the wild.

As an Inferior Intelligent Lifeform, the following right remains to you:

  1. 1.      The right to not be killed without reason (reasons include profit, some sports and as a source of food*)

 

*Note that consuming IIL flesh by humans may result in loss of human status.

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About lemonmachine

I am Kieren McCallum, a third-year English Literature student at UEA, Norwich. View all posts by lemonmachine

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