Handel had once been sure of many things, but now he was only sure of one: humans were not meant to have wings. His new appendages barely fit in his cage. Handel could feel every tendon and muscle and ligament in his wings as they ached in protest from being put in the tiny cage. And his wing itched, but every time he tried to scratch it, his talons would pierce his skin. His once crisp white feathers were sticky with dried blood.
They told him that there would be no side effects. Handel chose to believe them, even as he heard the observation room’s doors lock behind the scientists. His belief had only started to waiver when his back roared in agony and his fingernails grew and hardened into heavy claws before his eyes. He felt heavier.
The scientists had shuttled him from the observation room to his current cage. They had been speaking latin, but he understood from the shock in their faces that he hadn’t been meant to survive the procedure that made him what he was now. He had understood one other word: griffon.
Griffons hadn’t been real until Handel, and now his creators didn’t know what to do with him.
Handel saw someone twice a day when they fed him. It was always raw meat. He wasn’t sure what animal it came from. He was ashamed of how easily he ate it. The person who brought him his food always wore a hazmat suit, and never spoke. Handel could smell their disgust in the air with his new predator senses. He couldn’t blame them. Handel was acutely aware of how he smelled, and his limbs. His tail was continuous getting caught in the bars when he flicked it. He was just as disgusted with his inner world. The animal in him hungered, could hear every noise and smell every scent. The animal in him wanted flesh, wanted to rip and tear. At the same time, the animal in him wanted to fly.
At first Handel had thought that the animal in him hated the cage, but he knew now that it was only him. Humans weren’t meant to be in cages, he thought, it did things to them.
But Handel wasn’t human anymore.
Author’s note: I realized that I posted my flash Friday piece, “Ganymede” a week early, so I decided to treat you guys to two flash fiction pieces this month! This piece was written to get some ideas onto the page for a longer piece. I hope you enjoy it, and if you like it, don’t forget to like and comment! 🙂
Kelsey J. Mills