Attempt 28. I enter the room, spotting the Xh-Rhoo subject hiding under the table. It’s frightened, curled into itself, but shivers less. When I reach out, it actually sniffs my fingers. I stroke its fur. It grumbles with approval. Another milestone; welcomed physical contact. Perhaps it—
Razor-sharp claws open my belly, spilling my entrails onto the floor.
“Fu—!” I scream as it grabs my head with its teeth and bites.
I wake up. Number 29 glows on my arm, as the pod opens and pops this new copy of me out to try and tame the Xh-Rhoo.
Joachim Heijndermans writes and draws nearly every waking hour. Originally from the Netherlands, he’s crossed the world, boring people with trivia. His work has been featured in many publications. His short story ‘All Through the House’ was adapted by ‘Love, Death and Robots’, the animated science fiction anthology on Netflix.