“Can I see it? I need to see it before I can make a decision”
She tucked a stray wisp of hair behind her ear, as she sat in the consultation room adjoining the children’s ward.
“Of course,” the lab technician answered, smoothing her crisp white coat and straightened the stethoscope neatly draped around her neck.
“As a government program, we are required to provide full disclosure of our transplantal procedures to potential clients and their families”
Ellie May’s mother stifled a sigh and pressed her palms into the armrests, heaving herself from the chair to follow the woman down the hall.
Doors were spaced evenly along both sides of the sterile white hallway. Each had a frosted glass window, a brass nameplate on the door and cold bright light seeping from within.
The technician unlocked room K8702.
“This one produces some of the top carriers” She gestured to the mother, lying stretched and worn in her cage. “According to sector B’s calculations, she can still be implanted 12 times before reassessment.”
Her worn grey eyes flickered between the two women at the door and the pups at her teats. She raised her head from the white nylon, and shifted her body to shield her young. Theirs was a supple pudgey flesh, yet her raw pink form was no more vulnerable than theirs.
As the technician strode towards her cage, snuffled grunts escaped the mother’s lips;
“Nghh” “Ouuu” “Nghe”.
A firm pair of gloved hands scooped up a pup and positioned it on the white topped bench. “We reviewed Ellie May’s kidney analysis and have optimised the corresponding transplantal tissue to avoid any complications”
Ellie May’s mother stood a little behind the technician. She saw the sleek white machines of the laboratory. Glinting artificial lights, screens; flashing and beeping, appendages slide noiselessly along hidden tracks, tubes writhing.
In the cage, groaned barks, and the stammered beginnings of words.
But her frail grunts were blurred and drowned by the humming of instruments and sleek machines crowding the room.
Rabbit-flapped ears wilted and cowered as the mother pressed her bare flesh against the metal bars.
Ellie May’s mother watched the pup’s transplantal organ being scanned and barcoded.
“Does that hurt him?”
The lab technician continued working. “Transplantal carriers are not coded under any specific laws as of yet, however while organs are still being internally developed they are treated with utmost care, to facilitate the development of donor organs.
In her cage, the mother nuzzled her pups’ supple flesh closer to herself. Along her back, her muscles grew taunt, and the dark hair along her limbs raised.
Ellie May’s mother took a step towards the bench, and reached to brush her fingers against his shivering pink form, strapped to the bench. “Will he be okay?”
The technician hesitated. “By law, subspecies with a genetic makeup of under 50% of traditional homo sapiens are approved for experimentation, testing and the development of beneficial technologies”
Her thoughts ran back along the corridor, to her daughter’s side. Ellie May would not survive, unless a kidney was implanted soon.
As the pup’s transplantal organs were weighed and reassessed, Ellie May’s mother tried not to glance at the mother, who lay, encircling and protecting her pups as best she could under the cold light. Her eyes were worn soft and grey, and their drooped corners marked the path of ignored tears.
“Nuhh” “Mnn” “Nigh”
“And after the implant”, she breathed, “ Will.. will he be alright?”
The lab technician did not answer. “Transplantal carriers are crucial for the organ generation program, and are treated as humanely as possible. However once a carrier’s target organs and tissues have been extracted, there is little pretext in prolonging their lifespan”
In the children’s ward, Ellie May’s curls lay on her pillow, golden against her pale face. She clasped her teddy bear to her chest and rubbed her fingers along its chewed ears. In the chair wedged beside her bed, the mother gazed at her daughter. Seeing, yet unseeing.
“Is he, is it going to be okay Mum?”
She pulled herself from the chair and leant across to kiss her forehead. “Mother knows best”
From along the hallway, a distant cry could be heard. Clear and urgent, the words had finally come.
“No. Nooo! NOOOO!”
Hot rivulettes ran along her mother’s cheeks, and a tear fell onto Ellie May’s starched linen sheets.
“Mother knows best.”
Anna Nolan is studying Fine Arts / Arts at UNSW, with a major in linguistics and creative writing.