Cicely was watering her plants way too much, they all tended to drown in her love. Once she was going on a trip and decided to bring her cactus along in her suitcase.
By the end of the trip her clothes were full of needles, and the cactus had grown wildly, perhaps hoping to burst forth from its containment chamber. It had become a bloated, hideous thing, and because Cicely couldn’t reconcile her terror and love, she brought it out to the empty lot and smashed it with a hammer, tears streaming down her face.
Other plants had met their end this way, for she had something of an eldritch thumb, and the greenery that didn’t wilt from her attention tended to blossom and blossom tumescently, grossly, becoming something other than what a plant should be.
While many a florist would recoil in horror, our Organization saw something desirable in her gifts, and sought to recruit her and bring them to fruition.
Also, there was this other lady, Jacinta, that interested the Organization. When she was a kid, she found four kittens meowing next to the fence that separated two houses. We have to admit: Jacinta went to the backyard to steal neighbour’s berries. When she noticed little animals, she was sure that some spinster cat that will adopt them, or some cat that can’t have kids, or some other good hearted cat. So Jacinta left the kitties where she found them.
When she returned a few hours later (with her tummy full of berries), four kittens were still there. Unfortunately, they weren’t adopted by some spinster cat, by some cat that can’t have kids or by some other good hearted cat. Jacinta decided to take care of them.
Over the night she left them next to the small dish filled with milk and bread.
When she woke up, the kittens were still meowing. They didn’t eat; the bread soaked up the milk.
„There’s no justice on this world“, Jacinta thought, „there’s no justice among people, and there’s no justice for kitties.“
She took them to the end of the backyard, to the river. She was crying out loud as she was putting them in a bag.
Our Organization was interested in restoration. Our sole purpose was the restoration of balance. This required a back to origins movement. It meant therefore that
cacti lovers were highly desirable. The next world war would be over water. There would be a need for cacti. They would act as storage.
Cats needed less water than a dog for instance. They bathed themselves, required less attention and were basically, on their own beat.
We would have to do something about Jacinta’s attempt to drown the kittens, who had been saved after all.
Jacinta hadn’t been aware that her neighbour’s daughter, Mercy, hearing the little cries, had followed her with a pair of binoculars. Jacinta hadn’t been able to look at herself throwing the bag into the river and luckily, the bag plopped down closer to the bank where it bobbed a bit before settling into the mud. Mercy waited until the crying Jacinta had run back indoors and promptly jumped over the fence and fished the poor kittens out before the current eventually took the bag.
Mercy found Jacinta intriguing, this little girl who lived next door, who came to steal their berries. She was afraid of befriending her for Jacinta spoke to herself a lot and made gestures at the imaginary friends. These friends had names: Jacket and Pocket. Mercy imagined that they were probably rabbits. They sounded like rabbit names.
Whether they were or were not rabbits, our Organisation could not confirm, though Mercy did not seem to mind. She was grateful only that we, the justice in the world, would take the kittens.
In the bag with the kittens were little glossy strands of seaweed and the moss that grows on rocks in rivers. Our Organisation had instructed us to keep what plants naturally fell into the kittens’ vicinity, but I knew that they would take a kitten out for experimentation; I had seen a cage prepared, in which lay the softest towels, a saucer of formula, and a single bud of cactus rescued from the smear in the empty lot. Cicely would do very nicely with them, or very horribly, but the results would likely be the same either way.
Before Mercy handed over the bag of kittens, she hesitated. Her pink tongue darted out to taste the air and for a moment, her dark grey eyes seemed to reflect a stormy sky streaked with distant thunder. Then, to my great satisfaction, she decided that the kittens would indeed do better with our Organisation. What had she foretold? What sort of supposed compassion did she glimpse in shine of my company-issued shades? Whatever it was, I was pleased that she chose to hand over the kittens after all. Mercy, and her mercy. Perhaps she could be of interest as well.
As one of the Organization’s researchers, I was finding it difficult of late to carry out my duties effectively. At the front, I never made my views public. We worked for justice. But justice was like health food.
The health experts had said that it would be healthier to eat the food that you grew on your own land. Justice was like that. It had to be grown locally. When exported, I found that it began to degenerate quickly, like foods held in freezers too long. But I was divided. Sometimes, the soil in some areas suited foods that weren’t grown there. But export some seeds and the plants could become naturalized.
This required training of people and dispensing of information which wasn’t too difficult when I thought about it. The more troublesome part was first finding the farmers who would be receptive to the new information and then convincing them that the produce would be financially beneficial. That it could make them more money in the long-term. Most people were interested in the short-term.
For the most part, I was all for local produce.
There were seven of us in all. Researchers, the foundation of the organization. We made the plans, we advised on implementation and adjustments. We advised on humans and mindsets. We scanned the land for possible locations for headquarters. We infiltrated with Macbooks which never logged on to WiFi networks. We used pens and paper, ancient equipment that was tamper proof though not fireproof.
Seven of us, yet only one chose to stand beside me as I peered through the one-way mirror into the sterile experimentatin ward. They were the youngest of us, and only joined scant months ago. None of us knew yet what lay beneath their mushroom-shaped cap, which they kept on and tucked tightly behind their ears so no scrap of hair could tumble out. Nor did we know the colour of the eyes that hid behind round, expansive mirrored glasses. Nor the mouth behind the surgical mask.
When they spoke, the voice was perfectly neutral, neither feminine nor masculine, and tinged only slightly by curiousity. “Do you see how Subject 026 watches the kitten? She has learnt to be wary.”
I focused my attention back to the ward, in which was the bare essentials for acceptable living, bed, toilet, what not, and the cage with the kitten and the cactus bud. Cicely was trying to pat the kitten, whose fur stood on end, prickly and irratable. On occasion she would flinch back, little beads of blood welling on her fingertips.
In the corner of the cage, I could see the way the cactus bud had taken root in the softest towels upon which the kitten slumbered. “She is watches wrongly. She is learning, not learnt.”