History of Mammals

by Trulynd W. Hall

First place, Fiction, Heard/Alexandria Detention Center writing contest, July 2022

 *This is a work of fictional history. Any similarities are a coincidence.

The bell rung and the class was rumbling from chatter between the students. A door embedded in a larger door swung open. The miniscule hairy professor struts across the room toward a small ladder near the chalkboard, an antiquated relic of the past yet the professor liked old things. His ebony claws reached for the chalk. He tapped it five times, a habit of his, a peculiar one at that. But that habit always gathered the class’ attention. They watch as he brings his small koalan body up to the podium.

“Part two ladies and gentlemen.” His voice smoothly lets out. “Can anyone care to recap us quicky on last class’ session?” A large claw raises it’s hand up before the question is concluded. His mane was glorious and fangs magnificent. Yet despite his intrepid out look his voice was frail followed by his large magnifying glasses he wore on his face.

“Ah Yes Charlie, always an eager one, do tell.” The professor opens his hand toward the “king of the jungle” student. Charlie stands proudly with notebook in claw.

“2028, scientist a G.E.M. labs, laboratory of genetics engineering modifications successfully transplant a human brain fragment in an injured dog shot in the head. Next week the dog displayed high levels of intelligence. Even deeper understanding of human speech. Such as the clear ability to discern shapes taught to it. This day was deemed Adam, the first of what we know now as Mammals. A prototype of what we see in our everyday lives. Adam-” the professor raises his hand to stop Charlie’s eager recital.

“And what were Adam’s progeny used for?” He scans the room. “Miss Granger? Do you know?” The sunset fur of Granger stood up as her white tipped tail stiffened. She gives a weary smile with her canines exposed.

“Police dogs Professor Hitch.” The answer came from a pinstriped fellow in the back of the class. His head resting on his arms as if bored of the subject.

“Thank you Zack and Miss Granger.” He tapped on the podium. “Stay focused.” Granger gave a small up sound and lifted her pen.

“Let’s move forward, 2033, who were the next mammals on the line for G.E.M. labs?” Hitch asked opening the question to the class.

“Felines.” Growled a mozzarella rodent in the front. Charlie felt the animosity in the air and covered his face with his notebook.

“Correct Mister Mario.” Hitch replied in a calming manner. “Domestic animals with high IQ became the hot trend of the 2030s. Why have a pet that can’t understand you?” The professor looked down and looked at his class with a solemn expression. “But then what happened that changed history forever?” A voice descended from on high.

“Alder Sterling stole G.E.M.s research.” The girl with the longest neck said. Hitch motioned her to continue. “Gladly Professor!” She replied gleefully. Since her stature was that of the tallest, attention was drawn to her every time she spoke. But she loved it.

“2044 was the emergence of all wild mammals.” She glances around to see if others are looking at her. Indeed they were. “Alongside intelligence, mammals were given more human qualities, inside and out.” She rolls her fingers that were supposed to be hooves. Some of the class react in response by moving their human-like hands and feet.

“Sterling was a disgruntled G.E.M. scientist who wanted to test on more animals instead of chase military or domestic profits. He went to Africa and began testing there with a small team.” She bite back the next sentence.

“That’s a good deal of backstory Miss Roxie,” the professor says with empathy. “Alder Sterling killed many African animals with his tests. A shame that such a revolutionary mind committed such cruel acts.” Hitch jumps down from his podium and grabs his chalk.

“Which leads us to today’s topic.” Hitch says while climbing his ladder and marking the green canvas. “The first Mammalian war, the first of many unfortunately.” Hitch returns to his podium book in hand. “We start on page 87.” He once again scans the room and opens his hand toward a student. “Mister Jones, why don’t you start?”

Jones’ hairless hands, short hair on his head and small body reacts by lifting his textbook.

“Sure thing Professor Hitch.”