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This week’s Trifecta Challenge gave us the word “animal,” with the definition being “a human being considered chiefly as physical or nonrational; also :  this nature.” It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote one of these, so with 333 words, here’s my entry for the challenge.



That’s what they call me. They spit the word at me through the ventilation holes in my polymer prison. They don’t think I can understand them, that I’m mindless, that the virus that began developing inside of me three months ago has transformed me into a thing from their nightmares. Animal’s better than the other word.

But I can hear them. I hear the scientists talking. That’s how I know what’s happened, how long it’s been. And it’s not being held in a plastic cell that scares me. I’m just a passenger in my head now, a prisoner locked in my own body, and so far undetected by any of their tests. But I can still hear them. I know what they say, but all of my will isn’t enough to move my jaw and tongue and make myself say anything beyond the roars and screams.

I’m more scared of me than I am of them. I may be slamming my fists and feet and knees and head against the walls and getting them to threaten to shoot me, but that’s not scary. What scares me is that it’s not me doing that. I’m not any more in control of my limbs than I am of mouth.

It’s the virus. It has to be. I remember getting sick at work. The tremors, the headaches. I thought it was just the flu, but I went to the doctor anyway. Better to get back on my feet quickly, right? Turns out whatever it was was like nothing they’d ever seen before, or at least that’s what the scientists say when they come by to look at my body. It’s not me that they’re seeing. That’s why they call me an animal. Pure instinct. Unhuman.

Trapped in a cage that’s trapped in a cage. Still, I know they’ll come back to me, when they find a cure. After all, they’re using me to develop and test it.

I’m not an animal.

I am patient zero.


  1. That would be a scary existence. It’s like being a helpless bystander in your own body. Nicely done!

  2. Great last line… ties it all together beautifully. What a terrifying existence. Well done.

  3. Ooo, chilling story. Those last couple of lines were perfect. And I love the picture you paint with: ” They spit the word at me through the ventilation holes in my polymer prison.” Great job.

    • Thank you! I had the prompt in my head for the last couple of days, and woke up this morning with that final line in my head. The middle just fell into place this afternoon.

  4. Cool.

  5. “Trapped in a cage that’s trapped in a cage. ” and “Patient Zero”-chilling!And says it all-wonderful piece:-)

  6. I want this to be a book, and then I want to read it. Thanks for linking up. Don’t forget to vote.

    • I’m already considering expanding it into something a little longer. Maybe a comic script or something along those lines. Thank you!

  7. trapped in a cage that’s trapped in a cage… and yet still thinking you’re patient zero. Chilled to the bone.

  8. This is scary and very well written. Love the last two lines.

  9. Loved this one, meant to comment much earlier, but it gave me chills. I’d love to see it expanded into something longer. Well done!

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