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There is a sound like wet meat being squeezed through a metal grate as it uncoils from the floor, and despite the layer of thick glass separating us, I take a step back. Thick, ashen fingers press against the curvature of its orb-shaped prison as its unblinking eyes remain fixed on me. Each finger splits at the knuckle to spread into new fingers, and each of those splits to reveal yet more digits, reminding me of untempered weeds that have somehow evolved a skeletal structure. It caresses the glass, testing for fractures and weakness, and the squeak of its sweaty skin sliding over the surface stimulates a sensation of nausea and an urge to retreat—more proof that I am human. I switch the feeling off instantly; I need its help, and it cannot escape without mine. It shakes its domed head in disdain, like a sea snake swaying in the current of the ocean depths. “There’s no emotion under that hard skin is there?” It says. “Do you feel anything at all when you dissect us? Do you feel even a glimmer of remorse? Or do you just switch that off if it offends you?” “You’re wasting your breath.” “At least I can breathe. I can feel the rush of cool air running through my gills, soothing my throat and filling my lung. An alien concept to you. You don’t know what it’s like to feel human.” I laugh at the audacity. “Human? That air you are breathing doesn’t even have oxygen in it! You mimic human behaviour, pretend to laugh or cry, but to think you might actually believe you have some sort of connection to us is... well, frankly, it is disgusting.” Subject 249 slides back down the glass into its coiled position again, the many strange appendages folding like rubber under its gelatinous body. “I may not resemble those ape-like abominations you think of as human, but there is more humanity in my spinal lobes than there is in any of your... components.” A grotesque flinch forms on its lips that might be a smile as if it thinks it has somehow scored a philosophical

Profile for Conjectural Figments

Conjectural Figments Feb 2012  

ConFigs, the first issue. Transhumanism. Interview: Simon Morden. Poetry: Jhon Z. Baker, Dale Herring. Short Fiction: Richard Thomas, Simon...

Conjectural Figments Feb 2012  

ConFigs, the first issue. Transhumanism. Interview: Simon Morden. Poetry: Jhon Z. Baker, Dale Herring. Short Fiction: Richard Thomas, Simon...

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