#110 The Cure

by Emma McMorran Clark

It began with rabbits, but easily could have been rats, or beagles. Work with them long enough and genus species becomes barcode and batch number. In the end it’s a success or a failure; a dataset.

The eyes are what get you, peering through the plexiglas with a pleading that you know is physiologically impossible. Whether they’re pink, beady black or soulful brown, you later come to understand that the look is the same: resigned, vapid.

A warm white belly rested in the open palm of my left hand as I drew back the plunger with my right. So trusting—no, that’s not right—so subdued that I didn’t need assistance. Those prey-wide eyes staring off in comically opposite directions, unperturbed and the colour of azaleas. Its heart beat steady and rapid like a moth’s wings against my fingertips as it accepted discomfort, groping, cold steel tables and harsh fluorescent lighting without protest.

Then came the Google searches, the clandestine meetings, the misplaced key card that led to the midnight raid, the broken locks, the liberation. I lost my job and appeared on the cover of TIME in the same month; I was a pioneer, ushering in a new era of kindness. The gears of medical progress ground to a halt.

And had you told me back then what would come to pass, I don’t think I’d change a thing. We’re human, and nothing if not problem-solvers.

10 comments:

Shona Snowden said...

Nice writing.

Dino Parenti said...

The epic sweep of so few well-chosen words is impressive. Really cool work here.

Jonathan Rily said...

"The gears of medical progress ground to a halt" Love this line. I love he final line as well.
Nothing like a good liberation story, even if that freedom comes at a cost.
I mostly believe rabbits deserve to live more than humans anyway ;) Great storry, Emma

Brandi Haile said...

Very cool approach to a 250 word story. I felt like I just watched a snippet of a documentary. One of my favorites I have read on here so far.

bookspersonally said...

love the tension in this story, the hinting -and the vulnerability of the animal is very moving

Anonymous said...

Strong piece. I like the double play on your title--the presumed 'cure/cures' that justify animal research and the 'cure' of the researcher/narrator, who decides enough is enough and ushers in a sense of kindness.
As well as the revolutionary idea: there must be a better way.

Nicely written!

P. Frey

Lauren S said...

really well done. i loved this.

Leah said...

Sad and lovely. Kils me! Fantastic job, Emma!

Laura Howe said...

Nicely done, love the freedom cure and a great description of rabbit in hand.

Illya Arnet said...

The eyes and the cold, then suddenly...
The turns in your stories never cease to surprise me.