In the cover of darkness, a creature from deep within emerges.
This beast must be careful, danger is everywhere, and the consequences of failure are insurmountable.
His time is limited. Hours from now, he will be human again. He will sit at a desk and get human things done. He will answer phone calls and write emails. He will be a role model to his son and run errands for the household.
But tonight, he is wild.
Slowly slithering out of his nest, the beast must be aware of the vibrations he creates. The nest is home to a human female named Jamie, who uses an extensive network of pillows, sheets, and mattress springs to detect even the slightest disturbance.
Human Sam is fond of human Jamie. She is so wonderfully together and adult. She runs her own company. What would this civilized and polite being think if she saw the beast?
He must be slow here; time is his ally. One by one, his hands and feet stretch out to the floor, each new point of contact giving him more leverage to pull himself out of the nest and onto the ground.
Once grounded, he must wait a moment, making sure it’s safe to continue.
The efficiency of the upright position must be disregarded. Efficiency is little use here. He does not have to cover much ground, but what ground he does, he must do precisely. His back hunches and his knees bend, his arms hang almost to the ground. He must be ready to for anything.
Every sense is vital to his survival. The sounds of rustling sheets alert him to danger. The reflections of moonlight reveal small details of the obstacles ahead, obscured by darkness. The cold hard stone beneath his feet will transition to wood when he is halfway there.The slight touches of objects coming in contact with his outstretched hand identify landmarks along the way, and help him keep his bearing in this dark world.
Entryways are his friends. They must be blocked off. They are safety barriers between him and the other dwellers. Some dwellers seem to intentionally leave their entrances open to thwart his efforts, but he does not give up easily.
One at a time, they are sealed off, quietly, turning the knobs to prevent them from making loud clicking sounds.
This area is his now. He can scurry and skulk around uninhibited, free from the domestication and etiquette of society.
Tonight he is joined by another beast, covered in hair, who has come to greet a friend back into the animal world.
After they have caught up, It is time to forage.
A food vessel must be freed from its cage. The beast wishes he could free all of them, but they are loud in groups, their clangs can be heard from far away, so he must only take one.
Using only his hands, he must find a suitable tool. There are many to choose from, you and I could not tell them apart. But to the skilled hunter, there is only one that will do. Sometimes he gets lucky and finds it right away, other times he must search around further, there are several places he knows it to gather.
The next step is the hardest, and has been the downfall of previous foraging missions. He has been captured many times at this juncture, but it is the moment of truth. Without this step, he will go hungry.
The food has a deceivingly easy to open hard outer shell, which can instill a false sense of confidence in a beast, but this pride must be put in check. It’s the thin inner shell which is dangerous. The inner shell is delicate, but what it lacks in structure, it makes up for with noise. It’s equipped with a defense mechanism, specifically designed by humans to alert them to intruders. Its crinkly crackly sirens can be heard throughout the whole land.
It is the sleeping human Jamie’s pet peeve, even when she is awake, so it must be taken with extreme caution. There is no easy way to do this. But this is something that must be done if the beast wants to eat.
She mustn’t see the beast.
This step is one that cannot be eased with patience like the others. Going slowly will only make the alarm sound longer. He must quickly, and violently, unroll the inner shell in one swift movement, and quickly pour out its contents into the vessel.
In an emergency, he could stop here and survive off the dry contents, but the meal is not truly complete without animal milk.
Kept in a boobytrapped tomb-like container, he is never prepared for its blinding light. While temporarily unable to see, he must use his refined hearing to gauge the proper amount.
The beast is pleased with himself while returning the remaining animal milk, but he senses something is wrong.
A door bursts open, it’s Jamie. The beast shoots up into an upright position. He stands there, like a dog standing on its hind legs, wondering if the human is convinced he is one of them. His mind racing, where did he go wrong? He was sure he did everything right, but yet, Jamie is awake.
The beast’s heart pounds and mind races. Is this how he is found out?
The beast and Jamie stare at each other for a moment, until Jamie breaks the silence.
“What are you doing?” Which is human for “Why are you here, beast? Why did you wake Jamie up?”
The beast mimics humans he has seen in the past, who casually open the boobytrapped box standing upright on two feet.
“Eating cereal,” the beast says while pointing to the human food. He isn’t positive, but he thinks this means “Eating regular human food and doing regular human things.”
Jamie tells the beast to come back to bed once he is done; unaware the beast is not one of her kind.
The beast nods, and Jamie returns to her nest. The beast has survived another night.
He eats his hard-earned meal, looking at the wild landscape in front of him. Nobody but the beast and the land will know what really happened tonight. The kitchen will never tell the beast’s secrets. You may see a bowl of cereal in the sink and think “Someone ate cereal.” But here, in this room, there was adventure. Hands walked on these floors as casually as feet do, silverware was carried with teeth, boxes were cracked opened like coconuts, and a beast was almost captured.
You may think you’re walking through a kitchen, but you’re standing on wild land.