“You don’t have to be ashamed” the gurgling mass assures me. “About…the things coming out of your body”. Its half formed little arm sensually traces the spot where a bundle of greasy black hoses passes through its skin, puffy and red all around it. “I have…things…coming out of my body too.”

A baby’s scream pierces the thick, humid air, barely discernible over a loud siren. Shattered glass cylinders all around, revealed sporadically in silhouette by flickering lights. Men in gas masks travel down the rows with hammers, smashing the cylinders that are still intact, spilling their contents into the ever-deepening soup.

The screaming suddenly stops. I search frantically for some explanation but cannot get up. My limbs, feeble imitations of what they should be, splash the foetal muck about but do nothing to move me.

A maddening itching sensation surrounds the points on my chest where black hoses penetrate into it, but I haven’t the fingers with which to scratch. “It’s…not supposed to be this way” I sputter. It looks at once quizzical and mournful. “Oh? How is it…’supposed’ to be?”

Another loud smash, and a baby’s wail. The men with the hammers abruptly silence it, moving methodically down the rows. My tears mix freely with the amniotic fluid as one of the uniformed men, drenched in it from the waist down, arrives at our row.

“You know” the bulbous headed creature with the malformed little arm coos, “I always thought you were pretty.” It reaches over with its distorted, knobbly paw and caresses my ribcage. “I would’ve said something, but we were in different tanks.” I recoil from his touch, shuddering as the man with the hammer finally reaches me.

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