Thought blossoms in the raptor’s pebble-hard mind as he devours the entrails of his human father. For years they stared into each other’s eyes the way sun hardens at noon in a fist of heat. It’s not unfair to say the raptor never felt affection for his father. It is unfair to say the father doesn’t deserve this. He dressed the raptor in his own dreams for years. He punished the raptor for the insolence of his own existence. Now the raptor is caught in something like emotion. The screams have stopped, and he misses what he now recognizes as the touch of the dead man’s hand. Even the blows had brought the raptor into life. The recoiling had been a kind of awakening against the brute heat that assailed him. The impulse to reciprocate is lost now, and the raptor trembles with the beginnings of sadness. He leaves the body and tries to flee the facility, but there is no way out. The doors are sealed. His claws click against the concrete floor. He returns to the body, scratches at the blood. He doesn’t want to eat or hunt. His head lifts on some impetus of anguish, and he cries—not a howl, more a snap—at the wafer-thin ceiling tiles above him. They vibrate with each successive cry, shaking, displacing delicately, and slowly the raptor is reassured by the love of his new father, housed somewhere in the ceiling, the only sky he’ll ever know.
Scott Neuffer is a writer from Nevada. Follow him on Twitter @scottneuffer.