We arrive not long after the report. The home is averagely small and colorless, like all the other homes along the street. My partner knocks on the door. The frail, old man comes out; he knows what it is that he’s done. My partner and another official take him to the car. The rest of us walk inside.

“M-My son. I did the best I could. He was ill. P-Please,” the elder admits, voice cracking from age.

Everything is clean and normal. What you’d expect from a proper elderly couple, I guess. The wife is sitting in a chair. A colleague questions her further, but she looks tired. Her eyes sag and her hair is a mix of silver grey and soft white. She seems zoned out of it all. One of the guys points to the backyard.

“That’s where he’s being kept,” my colleague says with a monotonous tone.

“Alright, I’ll head out to the back first,” I reply, a little more softly while nodding to the old woman.

The entire backyard is less kept up, with a broken down shed placed off to the side. It spits out a strange odor that makes me scrunch my nose. I walk down the steps and onto the grass. It hasn’t been cut for some time. I open the door to the shed, which barely manages to stay hinged on the side. It’s a foul smell, sour and spilling out with dirt.

“O-Oh no,” I barely utter out, covering my mouth.

A boy–no, a grown man, if you can call him that, is hunched over in a tiny, coffin-sized wooden cage. He looks barely five feet tall with almost nothing on his bones, and his bottom half is pale and naked. He’s got to be half the age of his father, but I would’ve thought he was a child. His eyes are tinged a mucky yellow; they appear to be infected by the state of them.

I get on my knees. He’s silent, but still breathing. The other officials come over, covering their mouths as well. We unlatch the cage. They get a stretcher and lift him up onto it. I watch as they take him back inside and out through the front door. His mother has her head bowed low, her hand on her mouth.

One of my colleagues pats my back. We don’t say anything to each other, we don’t need to. I tighten my lips and swallow the saliva hard down my throat. Kuso! Why? It keeps happening so often.

“This is just how it is with these kinds of people,” my colleague replies, as if he knew what I was thinking.

Sadly, this specific flash fiction piece is based off a news article I picked for a creative writing assignment. There are a lot more articles regarding special needs people being caged, mistreated, and secluded within parts of Asia. Their conditions are deemed un-treatable or just having it becomes a social stain for the family.

Here’s the news article:

⌊ © Serena Delgado (June, 2018) ⌉

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