Short Story: Wriggly Soil
“Hey! Look at this.”
‘This’ was a clump of soil that wriggled whenever they spoke.
“Separate that from the rest and observe.”
The soil didn’t always react to sound but it always responded to voices. Eventually, they learnt that it wriggled to music too. It even had preferences.
“It’s like having a pet.”
The three of them laughed and joked about it as they worked, until they walked in one day to find that the soil had gathered into the form of a small girl the size of their hand.
“Uh oh. Ethics isn’t going to like this.”
Somehow, they ended up adopting the girl as their daughter-mascot, and the lab became her home. She never spoke, and there were some quirks she had that were definitely not human, but they loved her best they could.
They still freaked out when she suddenly started bearing fruit like a tree.
“How did she even… Hey. This is tasty.”
Being the researchers they were, they ran some quick experiments in their free time. Not on the girl. The fruit. They didn’t expect to find a miracle cure.
For the second time in the same year, Ethics got involved. This time, they took their strange daughter away.
“This is too valuable. We need to study it and learn how to replicate it.”
Three months later, they returned her as a pile of crumbs.
They had discovered too late that love was the food that kept her alive. As much as the original trio joked about their unexpected daughter, they had truly loved her, and she had happily fed on that love. The other department hadn’t mistreated her, but they didn’t love her the same way the original trio did, and so accidentally starved her to death.
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
The soil wriggled.
“Thank you, but I think we’ll be fine.”