In response to the prompt: Alpha Male. 500 word limit.
Office Space No. 9
K’Fara-nu was shown into the warehouse; the motion triggered the overhead lights, revealing the exhibit. It took up half of the floor space. Its four walls – equal in length – were made entirely of glass.
D’Jaka-ta elaborated. ‘It is to resemble what was once their working environment; crammed office cubicles, no privacy, back-to-back desks… the tension in there is palpable, and often entertaining.’ D’Jaka-ta, curled limbs with K’fara-nu and led her closer to the huge glass box.
It offered a view of a devastated scene. What she was sure had once been orderly rows of desks and carefully arranged partitions was now a landscape of overturned furniture and destroyed hardware. In the centre was a pile of desks and chairs, arranged as if being readied for a bonfire. K’Fara-nu questioned it.
‘It’s not that,’ replied D’Jaka-ta. ‘It’s a vantage point. No doubt we’ll see shortly. Keep an eye on the remaining humans.’ Heeding the instruction, K’Fara-nu’s stalks twitched in readiness.
They toured the perimeter of the exhibit and found some huddled together in a den made of partition walls, the roof held up with long-empty water coolers. Pale and sickly, their business suits hung off their angular frames. ‘How regularly do they need feeding?’
‘We drop it in twice a day, but some of the weaker ones struggle to get enough.’ D’Jaka-ta waved a tail at the stacked boxes in another corner of the warehouse. ‘Prepacked sandwiches, mainly.’
‘I see. What’s this one doing?’ K’Fara-nu pointed to a female sat cross-legged near the glass wall. She was flicking and flexing her fingers above her lap and holding a fixed stare at a patch of nothing just in front of her.
‘She thinks she’s still working, tapping away at one of their computers. Sad, really.’ D’Jaka-ta slapped a limb against the glass, but the human did not break her gaze, or the repetitive action.
‘Is it cruel to keep them locked up this way?’
‘They did it to themselves anyway before we came. They used to call it The Rat Race, or Swimming With Sharks. Ironic, as sharks and rats are far more intelligent and would never do this to themselves. It seems humans couldn’t live up to their own analogies. Oh look, here he comes!’
Their attention was drawn to the vantage point. Atop of the structure crouched a male, muscular; his shirt tight, some buttons popped. His tie hung loosely around his thick neck. He barked out what K’Fara-nu assumed were orders and pointed aggressively to all corners. A chunky gold watch still adorned his wrist.
The other humans came out of their holes and ran around aimlessly, panic-stricken, without purpose but active nonetheless. ‘He’s the Alpha,’ explained D’Jaka-ta. ‘He still feels he has to demonstrate his power, even though they can do nothing productive. Those that don’t scurry he won’t allow to eat at the next food drop. Poor creature still thinks he’s in charge!’
K’Fara-nu slid back and took in the whole exhibit. She nodded. ‘I’ll take it.’