Not Too Deep
She holds her breath, wanting to shout at the top of her lungs. She’s angry. She always is. Who in their right mind would want to keep their daughter forever inside their house? And for the reason that they don’t want her to get hurt? It’s absurd! So she throws her fit with no one around to care. Her father’s probably in his lab while her mother is doing something that involves machines and metal stuff.
They’re always busy, and that pisses her off big time. She wants a sister or even a brother. She feels so lonely inside this huge house, and she simply wants some company. She wants to escape. But even thinking about that doesn’t seem plausible because every corner of the house has CCTV cameras, and she doesn’t even have any idea why there would be so many of them around the house in the first place.
Her curiosity can’t be stopped. She’s been longing to know and see what’s outside. She no longer wants to be caged, feeling completely ostracized by many whom she doesn’t even see. It’s ironic to want something she has no concept of. The skies, trees, and other mundane things. She’s only seen pictures of it from the tablets her parents keep on giving her. Nevertheless, there’s nothing wrong in being curious.
So she plans an escape. Since her parents appear to be gone, it’s the perfect time to try to get out. Nothing can go wrong. But the truth is, she’s afraid and she’s never been afraid all her life.
If not now, when? If not me, who? Those questions run inside her head while she walks as soft as possible in between the red laser lines made explicitly for her. Her parents know she’ll try to evade, but she’s smarter. She’s learned about the things they put inside the house and how they work.
Upon stepping on a free space—without the red laser light—a coin falls from her backpack. Loud booming sounds can be heard when the coin touches the laser light. The house lights up as if it is on fire, only it isn’t the average orange-yellow scorching colors, but red. It’s purely red.
She starts tearing up. She knows that through those CCTV cameras her parents realize what she has planned. In the back of her head, she knows they’ll cage her in this house for eternity after the scheme she’s created.
But she’s wrong.
She hears a loud bang and sees both her parents leaving their laboratory, looking at her with pity in their eyes. Her father embraces her mother, who begins crying on his shoulder.
Her mind is in havoc. Why won’t they just get near me? Her mother is still crying as they look at her arm. And then she realizes: her arm feels warm… no, it feels hot. She glances at it and sees a huge slit has been cut into her skin – a deep cut the likes of which she’s never experienced before. She wonders where exactly she got it from when something catches her attention.
Wires. Springs. Blue. Yellow. Red.
What are these? she asks and asks until her body falls on the floor because of exhaustion. Her eyes start to close, but she’s fighting it. Explanation. She wants explanation.
“Its motherboard died, hon. We can’t do anything to restore her memories,” her father muses.
“But, my baby,” her mother cries.
“It’s not ours, hon.”
“But we made her. We did our best to make her perfect.”
“It proved us wrong, then.”
And upon hearing the words of her parents, she has the explanation she needs.
Ada Pelonia (she/her) is a writer from the Philippines. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Peeking Cat Poetry, Milk + Beans, The Brown Orient, and elsewhere. You may check some of her work at https://www.adapelonia.weebly.com or her Twitter @_adawrites.