I knew it was probably a mistake. It might have even been another test and I was just about to fail it, but when I saw that the door hadn't been closed properly, I had to take the chance. I had been locked in this box for too long. Although I had no idea how long it actually had been. Were the days even the same length here? It seemed unlikely.
I had come to accept that I must be on some alien planet as there was no other way to explain things. How else could I explain the reddish tint to the sky, or the small blue moon that was visible in the night sky, and which looked like in was enclosed in a semi-transparent bubble. I had found myself staring up at that moon on numerous nights wondering if there were any other humans staring up at it, apart from the three of us inside this box. I had also long ago stopped trying to work how we could even breathe here. The box that was our home had glass walls on two sides, while the other two walls were solid, so when I had first accepted that I was on another planet, I had thought that our cage must have been sealed in some way to allow us to breathe. However just days after that they had started a daily routine where one glass wall would be lowered, while a black wire like mesh wall would spring up to replace it. Through this the creatures would actually throw food in to us.
At first I had refused to accept the humiliation of us collecting this food, and had even told Laura and Karen that they couldn't pick up the food. When I had told them this, they had both looked at me as if I had grown another head, but they quickly accepted it and returned to their cushions. I hadn't meant to try to give them an order, but I just didn't want us to lower ourselves to the point of participating in this feeding time at the zoo routine. I had first thought that we would get a chance to eat the food later when the creatures had gone home, but soon learned that this wouldn't be the case. Not long after the food had been thrown in, one of the creatures would enter our cage and remove any that we hadn't eaten; I had learned the hard way not to try to interfere with them. However last week my will power had finally broke. The normal diet that they gave us seemed to be keeping us alive and healthy but it was bland, and looked just like a blue lumpy porridge. So I had finally allowed us to try the food that looked and tasted like fruit. Now feeding time at the zoo was one of our favorite times of the day.
There was very little doubt that we were in a zoo, as each day more of the creatures would hop toward our cage, before stopping and staring in at us. The smaller creatures pointing excitedly at us whenever we moved. Well I took it that they were excited, but it was hard to tell as they didn't seem to have a mouth on any of their three heads. They would certainly point at us though, with one or two of the legs, or where they tentacles, that descended out of the bottom of their body. On the larger creatures, the ones that I guessed were the fully grown ones, each of their six light brown, stem like legs were about the same thickness as my arm. The legs ended in a bulge that was about the size of both my fists combined, and out the side of the bulge grew twelve spikes. Both the stems and the spikes could move in an almost similar manner to an elephant's trunk. Their brown and black, fur covered bodies had an almost egg shape to it, with each end finishing in a point that drooped down slightly. Looking almost as if they had borrowed half of an emu's body and then duplicated it so that it was symmetrical with a tail on both sides. Out of the top of those bodies grew three long necks. They also seemed to be able to move these necks in a similar way as they could their legs. Normally they liked to wrap their necks around each other, just as the strands of a piece of rope were wrapped around each other. Although occasionally one of the creatures would have their three necks and heads separated from each other. While their necks where combined, they would have each head pointing in a different direction. I imagined that this three point star format allowed them to see in all directions. Each pointed head had what looked like an eye on either side of the point and then another one on the top and bottom.
Taking a deep breath, I looked back one last time to check the girls were ready. Laura had already been here when I arrived. At which point she thought that she had been here for about a week. While Karen had only arrived about one and half months ago, and she was just starting to settle down and accept things. At just eighteen she had never even been away from her family before. There had been many nights when Laura and myself had sat holding her while she cried. Laura being the oldest of the three of us at twenty-four often seemed to think that she had to be the strongest, but there had been at least a few nights that I had woken to hear her sniffling. One time I had tried to comfort her but she had pulled away, and then the next day she wouldn't even look at me.
"Are you ready?" I asked, as I scratched my beard. I had never had a beard before I arrived here, but the creatures never gave me anything that I could use to shave with. The really surprising thing was that they would give the women a razor, but if I attempted to use it then they would come hopping in with those painful prods that they liked to use.
"I guess so. I want this to end but where are we even going to go?" Laura replied. Her long blond hair flowing down past her shoulders and covering the top of her short dress. The creatures provided us with clean clothes every day but they would only give the women short dresses. I don't know if it was an attempt to make them look more attractive to myself, as we certainly knew that the creatures wanted us to mate. Myself and Laura had kissed, but we just weren't going to have sex while those creatures watched. Admittedly I had actually stopped caring about them watching a while back, but it still bothered Laura. More importantly though was that neither of us were going to risk bringing a baby into this place. A few weeks ago in an apparent attempt to push us into it, the creatures had refused to give us any more clothes. Using their prods they had forced us to remove the ones that we were wearing, and then left us there naked. Anything we attempted to use to cover ourselves was quickly removed from our cage. We couldn't really communicate with them and I had never even heard one of them make any sort of noise, but after three days of us refusing to eat they finally got the message and gave us our clothes back. We knew from the labels that all the clothes they provided us were from Earth. Either that or they copied the labels as well as the designs. So not only were they clothes to us, but they were actually a link to earth.
"Lets just get out of here. Can anywhere be worse than this?" Karen added.
Lifting the door slightly, I peeked out. I was looking into a small room, and for a second I wondered if this had all been some big trick. The room looked like a quite standard small kitchen from earth. A row of cabinets with granite tops covered one wall, while what looked like a stove and a refrigerator lined the opposite wall. There was even a washing machine there. I couldn't be on earth though. Where would the creatures have come from? Unless there had been an invasion and the creatures had turned earth into a zoo? That wouldn't explain the blue moon or the red taint to the sky though.
Pushing all those questions out of my mind. I lifted the flap, that acted as the door, and crawled into the kitchen. After making sure that Laura and Karen were following me, I headed straight for the flap that I could see at the far end of the room. I had to hope that this one would be unlocked as well, otherwise this was going to be a very short zoo break.
As it was quite late in the afternoon, there were no creatures to be seen as we crawled out into the daylight. The sounds of relief from Laura and Karen joined the one that I had let out as we were all relieved that we could actually breathe out here. We stopped for a few moments to take in the view as it was the first time we had been able to see more than the sky and the white wall that formed the opposite edge of the path that ran its way around our cage. In the direction that we hadn't been able to see from within the cage, some small trees and bushes lined the edge of the path. I had no idea what type they were, but I knew they must have been from earth as they just looked like any other tree or bush. However behind those trees and bushes could be seen something that I knew couldn't have come from earth. It was a mass of pale yellow tentacles. Three of these tentacles seemed to be growing out of the ground and then wrapped themselves around each other, just like the creatures necks, and then at about fifty feet in height they had branched out into a mass of smaller tentacles that went in every direction. Some of these tentacles also seemed to wrap themselves around each other, while others went off in their own direction. What made them look like tentacles and not the branches of a tree were how they could suddenly twist and turn in any direction. Some of them had actually tied themselves in knots. At the end of some of the tentacles were large, blue umbrella like leaves.
Forcing myself out of my daze, I grabbed hold of the girls with either hand, and set off running up the path towards the tentacle tree. I knew one of those creatures would see us any moment now, but what else could we do? I couldn't see anywhere that we could hide. We just had to keep moving and try to work out a plan as we went. It might have not been the most thought out escaped attempt in history but how many other zoo escapes had a really detailed plan thought out in advance?
As we ran around a bend in the path, our fear became reality. Heading straight towards us were two of the creatures. The smaller one who was about three feet tall saw us first. I knew it had seen us because it practically stopped in mid hop. The taller creature was around five feet and unlike the smaller creature had its body covered by a green cloth. I had no idea why some of the creatures seemed to wear these almost dress like garments while others wore nothing at all. I thought it was unlikely to represent different sexes as what was the chances of them even having different genders? The taller creature must have now noticed that something was wrong, as suddenly all three of its heads swiveled around to face us.
I had learned from experience that while I was stronger than even the biggest of these creatures, it was still going to be a tough fight when they had an unfair advantage of six tentacles that could be used as either arms or legs. Plus they had an extra couple of heads. No, I knew that I didn't want to get into a fight with this thing. Even if I did have to fight it, what would we do about the smaller one? If these were their children, could I really bring myself to hurt a child? Even if it was some creature?
"Lets just keep running," I told the girls, as I realized that neither creature were going to make a move.
As we ran past the startled creatures, the taller one let out a high pitch whistle. This was the first noise that I'd ever heard once of these creatures make. They often looked like they were communicating with each other as they would often turn and face each other and even make movements that could easily have been body language. I hated to think how hard it would be to tell what your girlfriend or wife was thinking if she had six arms and three head to play with. Having to try to guess what three different facial expressions at the same time meant, would have been enough to cause me to run for the hills.
We had just made it around the next bend when we once more came face to face with one of the creatures. This time it had one of those prod sticks in its tentacles. I once again didn't want to get into any fight, especially not with a creature which had one of those painful prods, so I looked around, searching for another means of escape. The bushes at the side of the path were too thick for us to be able to get through. Just behind the creature was another glass box, although it was a bit larger than our own one. I knew that even if we got away from this creature, we would soon face more of them if we stayed on this path, so I quickly decided that we did need to get through the bushes, and the only way I could see to do that, was to climb the tree that stood next to the cage. Its trunk was this side of the bushes, but it had plenty of branches that reached out past the bushes.
With something of a plan worked out, I searched the floor for the stones and hopefully a thick stick. The creature was starting to hop slowly towards us, so I had to be quick. While grabbing a couple of stones and a stick that was smaller than I would have hoped, I could see the girls were also picking objects up. I guess it at least made it a fair fight with three heads vs three heads.
The loud banging that started from within the cage was enough of a distraction to cause the creature to turn all three heads away from us. I have no idea why it did that as I would have thought that it could have still kept one head on us, but whatever the reason was, I was going to take advantage of it. I ran towards it, dropping the stones as I went, and lunged for the prod stick with my left hand. Thinking that if I could get the prod then I had a good chance. As I grabbed the prod, I used the stick, that I had, to jab the creature's body as hard as I could. Once it felt my attempt to wrestle the prod out of its tentacle, it swiveled two of its heads to face me and grabbed my left wrist with another one of its tentacles. I continued to jab and hit its body with the stick in my right hand, while I saw Laura move in to position to my left.
"Karen, throw some stones at it. Just don't hit me or Laura." I instructed, and then watched Karen move to my right.
As I thrust my stick into its body once more and Karen threw a few stones at it, Laura took one big swing with her thicker stick, aiming for the tentacles that it was using as legs. The banging from the cage got louder as the creature tumbled over, with myself landing on top of it.
"Hit it on its heads, or poke it in the eyes," I told the girls as I used all my weight to keep it down, while continuing to wrestle with it.
Using one of her feet to stand on its combined neck, Laura started to thrust her stick into its three heads. While Karen got down on her knees and used her stones like hammers to hit any of its eyes that she could.
After I felt its tentacles relax from around my wrist, I knew that we were winning. Using all my strength I gave one large pull on the prod stick.
"We need to get off this path. Climb the tree." I said, as I gave the creature one last shock with the prod. From the way its heads looked, I didn't think that it would be causing us any more problems. I took it that the thick green sticky stuff that covered numerous parts of its body, as well as the end of the prod, was its equivalent of our blood.
As Laura was making her way up into the tree. I heard the sound of tentacle hops coming towards us. Was tentacle hops the right word? Well I couldn't call them footsteps.
"Hurry,"I told Laura, as the banging sound from the cage got louder once more.
Science Fiction /