Hello. I am Iris. I live on The Outerline, I call it. It’s a wasteland, bordering a single large Utopia. Yes, it may sound like it’s quite miserable and lonely out here... to you. But I’m not the sociable type, and I don’t really like anyone, because I’m not like them. I don’t know what I am, I’m not a human, I’m not an animal. That is why I left. I didn’t fit in. I feared people would judge me if I stayed. I have no technology, except I am technology. I don’t have a mother or father. I… didn’t exist… then I did. Am I interesting? You think I’m a weird bug or something? Well, guess what? You’re just a kid, picking at me! -And I’m not a bug, I’m a… Mutant, of the sort. I’m purple… with opalescent eyes… Build of a human… wings of an owl… maybe snowy. Tail of a widowbird… ridges of an armadillo… ears of a fox… fuzzy fur of a bunny. I’m a monstrosity. Or might you say… An experiment gone wrong? Because that's what happened.
I hold my breath, and dig under the lifeless ground with my huge paws, before I can be spotted. Damn, purple really stands out against this gray sand. I wait for the sound of footsteps to pass, then stick my head out of the hole, and look around, closing my eyes with translucent eyelids, and using my large ears to pick up any sound of humans over the whirring of the windstorm currently blazing. I hear a voice. Voices. Humans. I tuck my head back into the hole, but I'm too late. I have been spotted. I hear more footsteps approaching. “We found it!” One voice called. How dare they call me an ‘it’!? Well, maybe they just don't know I'm a female. “Well, bring it on out!” Another voice called. Again with the ‘it’!!! I guess I just won't pay mind to that. I felt the earth shake above me. Moments later, a shovel-like claw with razor sharp teeth tears at the ground, and hoists it up on its bright yellow arm. It exposes my hiding spot, and now I'm cornered. The yellow machine billows, and shrugs away slowly on worn black loops. I part my jaw open in plea, but all I can manage is a grunt before a heavy net is draped over me, and I'm placed in a box. Feeling hopeless as the wastelands themselves, I curl up in my box and fall asleep. Why was I chosen for this fate?
When I regain my consciousness, I find myself in a clean room with a bright light shining straight into my eyes. My paws are restrained on a blue seat, and my wings are pinned down, and stretched open. There's a needle in my shoulder, and my mouth traces faint bleach-like substances. The room smells of lemons, and five humans cloaked in white robes loom over me. “She's awake.” At least they got my gender right. “What do you want?” I groan. One human, presumably the leader, glances at the rest, and then starts to speak. “Oh, nothing. Just a couple tests, and the we’ll send you back on your way.” Huh. I nod. “Okay, but if you’re gonna cut me open, drug me to sleep first, okay?” My voice quivers. All five of the humans nod. I hope they actually acknowledged my request. I’m way too squeamish to just watch my guts bleed out. I wince sharply as a large needle intrudes my forearm. Once they remove the needle, they unlock my restraints. That’s odd. I glance around questioningly. The leader-human nods, and releases me to roam the rest of the lab.
I’m being treated very well. Here, I don’t have to hunt for my food, I don’t have to battle harsh sandstorms, and I don’t have to hide from humans. Humans are actually quite kind. Well… that is, until I found them. Other mutants. I was wandering around the lab, and I picked up on the scent of other animals. I couldn't tell what animal they were. Until I entered the room. There was a fish-Fox with bulging eyes that were too big for its head, so it couldn't move. There was a bat-monkey, and it's arms were extremely muscular, and the hind legs were smaller. It looked like it was suffering, too. The cage was too small, and the steel wire was cutting into its flesh. There were a whole bunch of other mutants that are too horrifyingly gruesome so I can't even explain, but all I can say is… I'm very lucky that I'm this functional. I step towards the back of the room, into another room, that I recognize. It’s the clean room. The room I woke up in. There’s another animal there, and the cloaked humans are, too. “There you are! Just in time. We need to get a good look at you real quick.” The supposed leader chuckles nervously. He takes my paws in his, and spreads out my wings, apparently he’s “Measuring” them. Not sure what that means. He walks away, saying he’s “collected” my “measurements”. He collected my wings? Nope, they’re still there. I check the rest of my back. Nothing’s missing. A man comes over again, not the leader, but nonetheless a human. I feel a sharp pain on my tail. “W-what gives?!” I screech, clutching my tail. The man rubs a single strand of my fur between his thumb and index finger, and walks back to the test-table. I follow the human. “H-hey, what are you-” And then I notice him. He’s me. Well, he looks like me, at least. He’s red, though. He’s asleep, laying on the table. “I… Me.. Him... “ His pelt is crimson red, and his tail is that of a fork-tailed Drongo, his wings are Tawny, and his ears are like a rabbit’s. What are they doing? I wonder. My intent gaze drifted back to Red. That’s the name I’m giving him for now. I’ve been so locked in thought, I didn’t realize that Red had awoken. “Uh… Can you speak?” I mutter questioningly towards him. “Yeah, I can! Where am I?!” A compulsive voice answered me. It belonged to Red, I knew. “Do you have a name?” I ask him, In a softer voice. “N-no… Do you?” I nod quietly. “Iris.” I mutter, just loud enough. I hope he heard me. Red grits his teeth. “Wait..
Why am I on a table..? Get me out of here!!” He blurts spontaneously, and starts to struggle wildly against the table’s restraints. Pools of red, almost matching his pelt, start to form under his wrists and ankles, where the cuffs are. “Stop, what are you doing? You’re going to die if you lose too much blood!” I exclaim. Red stills at my pleads, seeming to only now notice the blood. I glance around nervously, out of habit, and realize that the cloaked men have been watching our interactions the whole time. “Why would you…” I peer at the men in turn. Then my eyes turn over to the leader. “Why would you do that?!” I point at Red. “Hey! I’m not an it, thanks-” He bursts, sounding offended. I shush him. “Not the time to be compulsive, Red.” I feel like I know him, but I only met him ten minutes ago. “Did you just… name me?” He turns his head towards me, to the best of his abilities, and I glare back at him. “Shush!” I shake my head violently, not sure why. I glance back over at the men, but they’re gone. “Damn! Look what you’ve done!” I growl. I take a deep breath. “Okay, let’s get rid of those restraints.” I approach Red’s table, and unsheathe a claw. I start scratching at the leather bindings. In about an hour, all the restraints are cut off. Red had been waiting so long, he fell asleep.
Red finally woke up, after about three hours. Man, he's a heavy sleeper. I kept poking him, but he just kept snoring. He snores a lot. But I stayed with him. “What am I..? Who are you… Why do you look like that?” He was very disoriented. It must have been the drugs they gave him. “I’m… Iris, you're Red, and we are…” I paused. I never really considered what we were. Mutants? Monsters? Furries? “...I'm not exactly sure what we are.” I finish. Red nods. “Ah. I see... Iris, huh? That's a pretty name.” He smiles kindly. He's so much different than he was when I first met him. “And yes, I am red. But what's my name?” I shake my head, and laugh a bit. “That’s a good one. I've been calling you Red, but I guess you can pick a name for yourself.” The crimson animal sat up wearily, and sighed. “I like the name… Red. It suits me. Because… Well, the obvious. My pelt is red. But also, because of my personality. I can come off as a bit… Aggressive, sometimes.” Red smiles. “I hope I haven't been too bad in the past.” And he gives a light chuckle. The past? What past? We've only known each other for an hour, and he obviously has amnesia. I go with it anyways. “Nah, you've been fine.” I stick my tongue out awkwardly. “Good. I don't remember much, after that lab incident, ya know? You were there, yeah? The mutagen spill? Surely you’d remember…” Am I the one with amnesia..? “No, I don't remember that. Tell me about it.” Red sighs, slowly. “Recently you've been shedding, yes? Well, the scientists had been collecting your fur for DNA testing, and goodness, there sure was plenty of it. But there was a… miscalculation in the stability of your genes, and the research machinery overheated. The nearby mutagen supply pipes burst, and then… The chemicals knocked us out. Thankfully, it was dormant mutagen, so it didn't harm anything in our bodies… I mean, other than our memory.” I shuddered. Red gets up, and pats my head. “You forgot who I am. I did too, so that’s okay. I guess.” He strides out of the room, and I follow.