The terrarium has always been. It’s made of glass with a great mesh lid on top. A lamp provides warmth throughout the day. We were once scientists and art teachers and coffee baristas. Now we’re just people. Some still go by their name. Some go by titles. They call me Six because I was the sixth one to wake up here.
When the mesh lid is drawn back and The Hand reaches down from above to deliver food and presents we rush to the center, fight for our scraps despite there being enough. The youngest of us scuttle off with bread and grapes, the strongest take turkey legs and bottled wine. Often enough a quarrel ends in a draw, even the weak get a taste of luxuries like cheese and kiwi fruit.
Sometimes we’ll meet by the waterfall and talk about life before we were here. Stories are told of late night talks with friends and first sexual encounters. We like to discuss old sitcoms and favorite restaurants– none of us know whether these are still active facets of the community we left behind but it’s all we have to remember. Stories about great canyons and tropical forests are told around fire pits. Here, we just have a couple dome houses and a giant wheel to spin around in. It smells like Home-Depot. The Doctor likes to pick up our bedding, composed mostly of shredded newspapers, and read the scraps of information out loud. We always get a kick about what’s bothering the outsiders; politics and celebrity gossip run rampant in headlines still. Imagine if they had to fight for their bread.
At first we wanted to leave, who wouldn’t? We missed our friends and families. We missed our movie theatres, our dogs, and local super markets. But eventually we realized it wasn’t going to happen. Whoever wants us here will keep us here, and that’s fine. You might lose an ear or a finger, but still, once everybody is fed it’s not so bad. We have everything we need besides organized rations; friends, doctors, make-shift lovers, and even though our reflection looks at us from beyond the glass we don’t crave to be there anymore. Life inside the terrarium is fine, maybe even better. We have no bills, no appearances to keep up. There’s no pressure to have kids or get a degree. Things are simple. Primal, perhaps even evil when stomachs get rumbling, but incredibly simple. And that’s enough for us.