The characters and the story for Flowers for Algernon are the property of Daniel Keys. This is my interpretation of the story from an alternate characters point of view.

Please enjoy!


Lab Rat

The Story of Algernon

They woke me early that day, the day everything changed, their hands entering the cage to grab me before I had even had time to eat. The other mice screeched and ran into the shelter, their eyes wild. I lunged at the hand, knowing that biting was futile, but unable to give up the effort. I shrieked out in terror as the hand grasped me tighter. I was quickly dropped into another pen, I'd been there before, I just couldn't quite place it. I sniffed around and caught the scent of some food, the hand quickly forgotten. I ran towards the scent, forgetting that the wall was there as I ran into it. I dodged to the right, then to the left, trying to reach the food. I was hungry. After what seemed like forever, I found the nuts and fruit they left out for me, eating them as fast as I could. I could hear them talking to each other in that odd language of theirs. Empty of the chitters and chatters I was used to hearing. The hand came again and pulled me out of the cage while I was just finishing the last berry.

I cowered in fear as I was dropped unceremoniously onto a soft surface and a clear lid overtop, I could see the humans walking around in their odd white fur. I felt a strange burst of odd smelling air and jumped to the side, trying to dodge around it. It smelled too sweet, and it seemed to make my mind melt away. I struggled against the insistent sleep for only a few moments before the world went dark around me.

Pain. I opened my eyes to a world that was far too bright and loud. My fur was gone, the little bits that were left prickling the sensitive bare skin. Odd new fur covered me that seemed quite like the ones that the humans wore. It restrained my movement and kept me from trying to lick the sore areas. I couldn't stand, and my muscles, so used to doing as commanded, refused to cooperate with my thoughts. I fell back into darkness confused and miserable.

When I woke again the pain was oddly gone and I felt light. I twitched one of my ears and was pleased with the response. I listened carefully, hoping that I could hear another mouse nearby. All I heard was a bit of movement outside my box. The shadow stopped overhead and I shivered a bit in fear, was more pain to come? Food rattled into the container and the lid was quickly replaced. I dragged myself over and sniffed at the dish. It was taller then I was, I could smell the enticing food, I tried to climb up the side, but my nose could only reach the top. I chattered angrily at the shape above me. I strain to reach further, but my bare skin pulled oddly, making me stop. I dropped back down and thought for a moment, perhaps I would be strong enough.

I rammed myself into the dish and was pleased with how far it moved, I did it once more and it toppled over, spilling food everywhere. I was pleased and quickly gathered the food to eat it before the humans could take it away. I thought about how this had been so different than before, then disregarded the thought. As long as I got the food, I was pleased. I curled up once again in the corner and fell asleep, the bright coloured dish the forefront of my thoughts.

My food was locked away from me; I gazed at it through the clear substance. I could see it! I scratched the side lightly, feeling more hungry than ever. I really wanted to eat the berries before they got too soft. There was a brightly coloured object beside me and several holes of different colours and shapes. I pulled the object to one of the holes and tried to push it inside, only noticing as it didn't fit that it was a different colour. I had to try another. I found the matching one and pushed the object inside, the clear layer protecting my food pulled away and I sprinted to the food, chattering nervously. I didn't want it taken away again.

After a few days of this I started to get the idea of what they wanted, I had to solve some sort of puzzle or maze to get my food. The faster I completed the puzzle, the sooner I got my food. I started to work at figuring out the puzzles they gave me, but once I got one all figured out, they started another that I would have to start all over again.

One day seemed different, there was another man there, one without white fur, who stared at me far longer than anyone else had. He smelled different than the others, much more like food and less of the scary painful smells. The gate opened and I tore into the maze. I hadn't seen this one before. Left. Right. Left. Right. Right. There, I was closer, just a bit more to the right, I remembered all of the passageways I had seen and quickly worked out the way I needed to go. I dashed straight to the food and ate it as fast as possible. They sometimes took me out before I finished eating if I tried to take my time. I repeated the maze more often than usual, getting a bit aggravated at the repetition, it was getting boring. I chattered at the humans, trying to get them to take me back to my box. The hand shot in and grabbed me quickly, I was dropped into the odd new humans hand. The human stroked me along my head and back, I shuddered a bit at first before I realized that this was much nicer then the touches that the humans usually gave me. I had never felt anything so pleasant before. I was taken back and dropped in the cage far too quickly and the lights went dark. I took that as my queue to fall asleep, tired from so much running.

The new human kept on appearing, I listened to the humans odd language, starting to puzzle out the meanings to phrases that I had never really bothered to listen to before. How had I never noticed how interesting it was? They referred to me as Algernon, I figured it meant small. They all had unique phrases to themselves and they called the interesting new human Charlie. I usually only do the maze now, as it gets more and more complicated. Charlie does it too, tracing out a path above me. I always go faster than him though. The other humans are always watching, I am never with Charlie without them. I found the patterns of the mazes so interesting; I had never seen them before. Sometimes figuring out the pattern was even better then the food at the end of the maze.

I didn't always like having to solve the puzzles to get my food. The brightly coloured pieces seemed to mock me as I moved them around. Sometimes I stopped out of sheer anger, even if I enjoyed the challenge of the puzzles. I didn't like always having to work for what I wanted to eat. Charlie stopped coming and I sniffed around for him. It was odd not having him around, I had never really gotten used to recognizing humans as different entities than one another. Charlie was beating me at the mazes before he left; I really wanted to try to get better than him again.

The humans placed me in an odd new cage, with white bars instead of walls and carried it around beside them. It was far too unsteady and I curled up against one side, trying to sleep. I really wanted out of the shaking madness. I was set down for several moments before I noticed who was beside me, it was Charlie! I chattered at him a bit, noticing he was playing with the latch of my cage. It had been set up so I couldn't reach it and get out. I looked around the room, I hadn't realized there was quite this many humans, and the room was cloudy and hard to see around. It smelled like fire, which was rather odd and frightening. Charlie played with the latch some more, maybe he'd let me out.

It was a long time of humans talking before he finally opened the latch. I stared at him, shocked for a moment before I leaped out of the cage. There was so much empty space to run. It was like a huge maze. I took off along the ledge they had me on, the humans started this high pitched keen that seemed to be like a scared chatter.

"Algernon's loose!" one of my humans called as I jumped off the ledge, rolling onto the cold floor.

"Get him! Get him!" the other screamed. The room transformed into chaos as I tried to sort out the room before me. The females jumped away from me making my way easier.

"Close those back doors!" the first scientist yelled, I was a bit surprised as I managed to piece together the phrase from what I had heard.

"Run!" Charlie yelled as I hesitated. "The side door!" I raced to the side door as fast as I possibly could, the humans were easily fooled. I squeezed under a door and into another room. It was suddenly thrown into movement and the odd screaming. The room quickly cleared. I climbed up onto a dish and something odd caught my eye. A small white form glared back at me, I sniffed, and it did at the exact same moment. Curious, I moved my paw, it was me. I stared at myself for several more moments, wondering why I was even alive.

Charlie entered the room then, walking over to me. "Come on," he spoke gently "We'll get out of here together." I let him pick me up, his tone was oddly soothing as he placed me in his removable fur they called clothes. "Stay in there quietly until I tell you." I could do that. I heard a lot of movement and talk about a ventilator thing. I couldn't sort out what it was with my head in this pocket. We quickly entered a different area and Charlie lightly touched me through the clothing. "It's just you and me – a couple of man made geniuses on the run." We left very soon after.

Charlie was much easier to live with, no more locks on my food, and the food was so much more interesting. I very much so liked pretzels, but not beer at all. I found the television very interesting, with the moving pictures contained in a little box. Charlie made me a maze, and didn't put food at the end, I contented myself with figuring out the puzzles it hid.

The woman named Faye came over and seemed very different than any human I had ever seen. She made such a big deal about my maze and I ran it a couple more times because her responses were so interesting. She blowed and moved her hand at me as she left, it seemed like such an odd, but nice gesture.

Charlie adds more to my maze constantly, giving me more challenges to figure out. I enjoyed the maze, it surpassed food in its interest. Especially now that my food was always there. I found myself feeling angry about things I experienced. It was an odd emotion, one that I had rarely felt and now I felt angry almost every day. Sometimes over the smallest of things, like the way the light came in the window. I've been getting especially angry when I can't figure out or remember the puzzles that are out in front of me. Something that I easily understood a few days before seems impossible to comprehend.

Minnie came today, the woman Faye brought her. She is so much smaller and me and is normal, which is something that is nice sometimes, she doesn't complicate things like I do. She's so sweet and she smelled so good, we curled up together to share warmth that night.

I couldn't seem to grasp even the basic patterns I understood before, I found myself getting more and more frustrated with each passing day. Minnie is so terrified when I throw a fit, she curls up in a little ball and trembles, which just seems to upset me more. I found myself enjoying life with Charlie less and less and I always felt… sad. It was a hard thing to comprehend. Some days all I can do is sit in the corner and lash out at anyone who comes near me.

I have to finish mazes, they're the only link to my mind.

Today was terrible, Minnie tried to cheer me up more than usual and I charged her. I huddled closer to the corner as Faye's hand opens the trap door. She opened the entrance to the maze, but I didn't want to deal with that so she reached for me. Even as I made it clear I didn't want to be in her hand, she reached further. The hand was creeping so close to me, I lashed out and bit it, tasting the strange coppery flavour of her blood. The hand quickly left. I glared up at Charlie and Faye, just wishing they'd leave me alone.

Charlie's hand reached in then, trying to take Minnie, I charged at him too, trying to bite but getting his sleeve instead. He shook me loose and I fell to the floor, only just realizing what I had done. I was losing everything I had valued.

Charlie took me back to the white-furred men after that, the humans took me to their maze and dropped me inside. I did it over and over again, but couldn't remember the patterns at all. Finally, completely frustrated, I stopped.

I won't run anymore, the maze has no appeal. The hands come so often now, shoving things in my mouth. I just don't want to eat, I just want to be left alone. I don't want to live this broken existence, of knowing that I once knew so much more then I do now. I curled up in my box and tried to sleep forever, wishing the world away.