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The Hollow Prisoner

Paul Starkey lives in Nottingham, England and has been writing for many years. He's been published multiple times, including by Analog and Daily Science Fiction. His novella "The Lazarus Conundrum" was published by Abaddon Books. He's written for 2000AD and Big Finish.

He Tweets as @lunar_werewolf and blogs at werewolvesonthemoon.wordpress.com.

She existed, and yet she did not exist. It was a curious position to find oneself in, but then curiosity was baked into her DNA.
Her prison had barely room for her to turn around in, and she'd been provided with no food or water by her captor. There was air but she wondered how long this would last. She cried out, but in the confined space her own shrieks echoed loudly, hurting her ears, so she stopped.
The only other items in the room were out of reach behind wire mesh. A tiny mechanical device that ticked with a gently perpetual rhythm, and a flask containing liquid. The two items connected by a delicate hammer that, despite its appearance, looked sufficient to smash the flask if required.
She did not understand what these items were for. She did not understand why she had been imprisoned, what she had done to deserve such a fate.
Yet somehow she understood the ephemeral nature of her existence. Caught between two states. Alive and dead, existing in a void between realities, a limbo outside of time. This understanding did not stop her feeling hungry, and it did not stop her feeling fearful of the items behind the wire mesh. She didn't know what their purpose was, but she knew those things were potentially dangerous.
She had always been patient though, and she would be again now. Her captor couldn't keep her locked up forever, clearly, he had some purpose in placing her in this box. And even if that purpose was beyond her understanding, she knew he'd eventually need to check on his experiment.
She readied her claws. When Schrodinger opened the box she was going to tear his bloody eyes out.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, July 11th, 2022


Author Comments

tReally the main drive behind this was that I wasn't sure anyone had ever given thought to how the cat might feel about Schrodinger's little thought experiment. Not happy, I imagined!

- Paul Starkey
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