Newborn

I was thinking about the character on this one and how I wanted to write a story about what she became later in life, but somehow along the way I lost the actual story I meant to write. It ended up having little in the way of “story” at all, and it’s more just like a character description. Ah well.


The flesh of Amala’s forearm rippled as she pushed her creation outward. She held her other hand cupped, ready to catch it in case it fell, for her clients had requested a young specimen, and it would be unsteady in its body.

Its head came first, a cat’s head, but covered in the soft, fluffy down of a baby bird. She could have produced it raw and naked as a newborn, but her clients want a cute baby animal, not an overly dependent, burdensome creature. It crested outward, slipping out of her brown skin as smoothly as though it came out of placid water.

She charged an exorbitant amount for custom pets, because she could afford to do so. There was nobody in the world that shared her particular talent, and people with disposable income gave little thought to buying animals that could be precisely sculpted to fit their children’s whims and serve as status symbols.

What she didn’t tell her clients was that the amount she charged scaled based on how she judged their net worth, and not how difficult the combination could be made to seem. Producing one animal was equally as easy for her as producing another, regardless of how many alterations or combinations her clients asked her to make. It just took a bit more thought, for more complicated pets, and a bit more mass for larger ones.

This pet was disappointingly simple, and borderline mundane, but Amala didn’t mind too much even though it bored her. She had her own menagerie of animals that she had created to sate her drive to be creative. Those she freely absorbed and birthed anew in a new form when she grew bored with them.

The pet she had been paid to make today had the body of a cat and the feathers of a bird, which, as it matured, would take on a stunning golden shine. It also had brilliant, moonlike eyes that would glow in the night with their own bioluminescence. That was all. It was so simple. At one time she had appreciated such orders, but now she found them boring.

The clients had also requested that the creature have increased intelligence and the capacity to learn and speak at least a few simple phrases. This, she told them, would cost them a great deal extra. She also warned them that pets with increased intelligence had a tendency toward disobedience, which would only be curbed by excellent training. They assured her they would be able to provide it.

What she did not tell them was that the pet would always be deeply, infallibly loyal to her. She was not required to disclose the full extent of her Talents. The laws requiring soul analysis had been passed after she was born, and they only applied to newborns. With what influence she had — and her money lent her considerable influence — Amala had done everything she could to keep laws off of the ballot that would force her to reveal everything she knew of her Talents.

The loyalty of her creations was one thing, but they also functioned, to some extent, like distant parts of Amala. Though they were no longer apart from her physically, she still held a connection to them. She ran an entirely separate business with this power, using the pets of the wealthy against them by observing through the animal’s eyes and listening through their ears.

When she had expelled the feathered cat entirely, her muscles relaxed. She hadn’t even realized they were tense. Expelling creations did take effort, though she kept as much of it from her face as possible, especially when one of her employees was near. She didn’t like to show weakness to her subordinates.

She passed the newborn pet off to a waiting attendant. He would give it its first meal, then present it to the family alongside a nutritional mix that had been formulated by Amala’s scientists, which the pet would need to continue to thrive. The family would have to buy food from her business for the rest of its life, thanks to its unique biological structure.

They would also have to return to her for any health problems it might have. She could have made a bit of extra money by inserting flaws into her creations, but she did have some standards of quality. Unless it caught some sort of illness, it would be healthy far longer than any natural bird or cat.

As her employee carried the young animal away, it kept its eyes on her, letting out a soft, musical sound partway between a cat’s call and birdsong. She allowed herself to gaze through its eyes for a brief moment. She saw herself, swathed in a fashionable but comfortable robe, makeup expertly applied and hair carefully arranged, yet so clearly, frustratingly tired.

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