Unexpected Cutoff

“Apologies all, our project must end,” the speaker announced.

“One more day!” Someone stepped forward, “we’re so close. Their brains are simple. I can prove-“

“No. We leave now. It’s not safe anymore, they’re volatile.”

With a thought, doors opened and the nervous crowd filed out.

Their commotion grew as others joined.

“Hostile movement ahead.”

Someone triggered a different thought-command, halting the hostiles.

The speaker hesitated, shouted, “run!”

As a crowd of feathers, fur and wool flew by, armed humanoids watched, immobilised by their own neural-chips.

Headlines the following morning read: Intelligent Lab Pigs Plot Mass Breakout. Now Citizens.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner

August 26: Flash Fiction Challenge « Carrot Ranch
In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a flight of pigs. It can be farm or fantasy-related. The idea can be a tale, poem or memory. You can use the phrase as an expression. Go where the prompt leads!

Submissions now closed. Find the full collection here.

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17 thoughts on “Unexpected Cutoff

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  1. This story speaks on a couple of different levels. First, considering the state of affairs in the world, it might not be so bad to share citizenship with pigs. I’m not sure they wouldn’t do better than we’re doing. Second, the cruelty of animal testing and human ignorance to anything that doesn’t walk on two legs and do stupid things like we all tend to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more Michael. Animals should be respected and cherished as our own children are. Though a large portion of humans treat their own children as if they should be punished simply for existing, perhaps that’s not as high a standard as I’d hope us to strive for.

      I read Michio Kaku’s novel, The Future of Humanity, recently, and it covers the scale that scientists use to assess the intelligence of everything. The range of emotions and social interactions are just about the only things that place us above other animals at a scientific level. Animals like ravens and elephants are some of the animals that place higher than others because they show evidence of grief and come together in social gatherings to mourn loved ones. If they had a language like dolphins, and also the ability to craft tools (elephant trunk), they would be on par with humans.

      Then I read the Poseidon’s Children trilogy by Alastair Reynolds and he touches on the idea of “intelligent” elephants (I know I’m a little off topic from pigs but stay with me), who’ve had neural implants inserted in order to interpret their brain activity, associating it with imagery and linked emotions and actions, and transmitting that activity to humans to understand, he created societies of elephants who could “speak” with humans.

      Considering neural decoding is gathering speed now, we might not be far off from sitting on a bus with our fellow curly tailed friends.

      A world without animal testing would indeed be a world to be proud of.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t interact socially very much so maybe I have more elephant or raven/crow DNA than human? That’s kind of a cool thought… Science should probably leave animals alone and stop researching them. Not to sound too disillusioned, but the more we learn about them the more we’ll find ways to exploit them :( Elephants and ravens/crows are two of my favorite animals (have to throw turtles in there as well). I can’t really tell by their sound if I’m seeing ravens or crows (I think they’re crows), but there’s a pair in the yard every morning and I go out and say “hello” to them but I’m not sure they recognize me because they just fly away.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree. Just like what we do to each other, animals will be exploited no matter what level of intelligence they display. That’s wonderful about your daily visitors though, I’m sure they do recognise you but they’re not sure what your motives are just yet. Crows/ravens have been shown to recognise faces! And elephants too actually. Amazing creatures, they are.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read that some folks believe that pigs are more intelligent than dogs – just don’t tell the dog owners that. ;)

    And then there are the pigs that hunt truffles…” A truffle hog is any domestic pig used for locating and extracting the fruit bodies of the fungi known as truffles from temperate forests in Europe and North America. Pigs have a great sense of smell, and are able to identify truffles from as deep as three feet underground.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m yet to try truffles. I wonder if our dogs could find them too… I’d believe pigs are more intelligent though, despite having two dogs of our own (husky and German shepherd). Our dogs are dodos, gorgeous and lovable dodos. Though maybe I’ve been biased since reading Animal Farm.. those pigs were sly, cruel things. Our pups don’t have a manipulative bone in their bodies. Cats on the other hand.. perhaps on par with pigs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Charli. What depth of theme you’ve found in this one. To me it was just one action after another as I wrote and edited. I feared this concept was cliche and overused but wanted to try it in my own style anyway and I’m glad the themes came through.

      It’s interesting how closed and set we become while in the midst of creating. Despite enjoying exploring themes in my writing, whenever I write toward a theme I find myself blocked. I have a need to focus on the actions, the plot, the realism of characters instead. Anything else and I have to force the story to appear.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My classes are reminding me how important it is to engage with stories, and explore themes. You’re right, as writers we start to tune out the depths despite going to them to write. We give our creations shape and forget that readers see beyond that. Art is truly meant to be shared and interactive. I think themes should emerge naturally and you are right to focus on plot and characters. We find themes through the exchange of discussion.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I like how themes can be personal and unique to each reader, that the story is not meant to be read and felt in a specific way.

          Through school, english classes and discussions always gave an air of themes being pre-set and pre-determined, as if us students just had to find the one right answer and we succeeded at interpreting that story. Art isn’t meant to be boxed by a single perspective, it’s intrinsic to the human experience, it reaches us in ways unique to our own experience, in ways it’s creators couldn’t possibly imagine. I like that, the possibility of it, the unknown. The endless potential for connection.

          I love hearing everyone’s thoughts on the flash pieces I publish here, it really is a crucial part of growth and fulfilment as a creative, to share and connect with others through our art. The discussion with unique individuals, discovering their interpretation, makes the art feel real, tangible. It’s grounding.


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