The Human Zoo

When 16 year old Tiffany is adopted, she doesn't know that her parents own a false organization of Human Zoos, or places where people are trapped and forced to perform. When she is sent away to a larger Human Zoo, she refuses to perform, and she soon realizes it isn't a choice. Then she meets Lena, her "cell mate". They're forced to dress up everyday and pretend to swim and laugh. But Lena has an idea that might free everyone in the Human Zoo, or kill them

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3. The First Official Performance

A man comes to get me, and I go with him willingly, not feeling up to doing much of anything right now. He shoves a pile of clothes at me, and then pushes me into a dim supply closet. I strip off my clothes, and then look at my costume. Again, a mermaid, this time with a shimmering aqua tail, a coconut bra and a flower wreath that wraps around my hair. The tail is a bit iconic, but I make do. I knock on the door, and the man opens it, picks me up, and brings me out on to the stage. I see a cage, with the same watery effects like at the first human zoo. There’s also a shackle big enough for my tail. Crap. He pushes my tail into the shackle, and then says “Act scared.” Then he leaves. I see a boy in a billowing white shirt come out onto the stage. “Fear not! My lovely mermaiden! I will save thou!” he recites, then “breaks into my cage” and “releases my shackles.” I feel like it’s my turn to do perform. I see a man dressed as a sea monster to the side of the stage and at first think what sort of special power it that? then realize its part of MY power. I’m a mermaid, duh!

“There is a sea monster, and he is going to kill us!” I shout, feigning surprise and shock. The boy turns to the now advancing monster.

“Fear not!” he says, and strikes his wooden sword at the man. The man falls down in pain, and I almost laugh at the acting. The boy whisks me off stage,  then gingerly throws me to the man, who makes me re-dress in a bland shorts and tee. I skip into the cage, and see a girl with light brown hair, chocolate brown eyes and a nice tan sitting by the window. Her hair looks gold, red and blonde in parts of it, in the sun. She turns to me, smiles and says in a beautiful voice “I’m Lena Snow.” The name shocks me mostly because it sounds too perfect for a girl locked in a zoo. She looks at me, expecting me to say my name. “T-Tiffany.” I stutter, and then sit against a wall. She smiles. “I really love that name!” Her hair shakes when she speaks, and I can tell she was well liked wherever she came from. Then she tells me the rundown of her life;

Raised by abusive parents until age 7 where she ran away to foster care, and was adopted by Jane and Dan Smith, until they died in a car crash, left her to Jane’s brother Greg, who let Lena do whatever she wanted. Lena basically cruised through life until age 16 (our current ages). Then Greg sold Lena like a dog to a man named Marco Sonolo, a supposed circus clown in need of an assistant. Instead, Marco took her here, where she already pretended to walk on water and fly.

Lena shivered as a breeze floated through the barred window. She sulked down onto the floor. She leaned down, found my eyes and whispered so quietly I had to strain to hear it: I know how to escape.

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