Bendigo Children 🔵
Today in 2201, being able to do splits, fold one's back in half or wear a dog's collar on one's waist is something almost any of us is capable of with little or no training. But it's not always been so.
Back in the early 21st century, over 99% of people on Earth weren't able to touch their toes, let alone put their feet behind their head. They considered those who could do that as some kind of tolerable freaks and unimportant form of entertainment.
Then suddenly bad things happened. Biological weapons were used on a global scale. People didn't know what was coming and in the end only a small part of the mankind survived.
After the major lockdowns all over the world, the only ones who survived were the ones who didn't follow the rules. Very soon all political power ended up in the hands of the outlaws. Slavery was most naturally restored in the world. Each city would become a state in itself and communications between various regions and zones were almost nonexistent.
Everyone had to grow their own potatoes and children of the new generation grew up to listen to old men's stories about the internet and mobile phones as if they were fairytales...
Speaking of children, it was shortly noted that some of the newborns possessed unusual physical conditions, especially the children of those who suffered through the infection and survived to procreate.
As these children matured, their joints and ligaments preserved the baby-like elasticity, they never truly hardened, and some decade later a unique generation started to form of children who had some inhuman physical flexibility.
They were called the Bendigo children and could be found in different nations all over the world, after all the virus which affected their parents and caused the mutation in the children was the same virus all over the globe.
Most of them lived on showing off these special abilities to the adults and further advancing their skills to the ridiculous demands of their patrons.
Naturally, the majority of the Bendigo quickly ended up in slavery, making the most entertaining human material you could imagine. Many of them were simply kidnapped or even bought or bartered from their original families. Some were raised in orphanages and also didn't differ much from slaves.
Many of the slaves were forced to wear dog's collars on their waists as their abdominal organs could easily adapt to the extreme clenching. Only the Bendigo could bear that much pressure on their abdomen, so the wasped waist became a sort of distinctive trait of a Bendigo slave.
Of course for parents it was a pure horror to find out that their kid was more flexible than the norm. For the Bendigo it was a piece of cake to slide in a split or touch their head to their butt, and doing something like that at a wrong party was like asking to be kidnapped.
The prices on the black market (well, the only market pretty much) were so good that it was totally worth organizing a whole squad of cutthroats to kidnap a single Bendigo.
So parents who figured out they were blessed with a Bendigo child had a hard time protecting the child and convincing them to never ever stretch in public, and preferably at all.
For the kid it was plain torture as in their growing years their body would develop awful pains if not stretched daily. Stretching was the Bendigo's natural call, pretty much like breathing or urination.
Of course many parents would try to relieve their child, but only in complete secrecy after making sure every window and every single peephole is shut tight. And for many parents it was terrifying to see their otherwise cute kid ending up in all those bizarre and completely abnormal positions, every joint looking like it should break but it doesn't...
Many of the Bendigo would also develop abdominal pains in regular conditions, and the only way to relieve that was to tug an awfully tight belt around the waist and make sure to wear a long enough shirt to hide it from the prying eyes and pray that the strong wind wouldn't lift the shirt up in the street.
Life wasn't easier for those who were already kidnapped and enslaved, their lives surely weren't short on stretching and sometimes they weren't let out of contorted positions and/or tight belts 24/7.
The slaves had to learn to dance and come up with fun ways to show off if they wanted to eat. Even water costed them a nice performance and the last thing to do was to end up without proper hydration, especially for the Bendigo who required much more water per day than regular humans.
Oddly enough, some of the Bendigo kids deliberately ran off from their families to join a powerful person's harem. It was, in their mind, something like finding a good job. And some of the best harems out there indeed had better living conditions than most parents could offer to their kids.
Of course it came at the cost of turning into a bendy doll but the Bendigo had the natural craving to have their bodies stretched anyway. And many of the slaves lived with something like a pride for their house, rather than willing to escape at any cost.
Needless to add that many of the Bendigo were quite attractive and it was thought for a while that they were just beautiful and youthful, so it took a whole decade to notice that they actually aged very slowly.
One more decade and it was confirmed that the Bendigo's own children retained the superior metabolism and the Bendigo grandchildren looked even prettier, they literally had the ideal skin and bodily features.
This changed everything. It doesn't take rocket science to calculate that by the 2200s there's literally not a single non-Bendigo on Earth. Today it's impossible to imagine that at some not so distant point in the past males had facial hair and looked like inflated balloons, that a person at the age of 30 looked nothing like the very same person at the age of 15.
Today, in 2201, being able to do splits, fold one's back in half or wear a dog's collar on one's waist is something almost any human is capable of with little or no training. The same virus that obliterated 99% of the world's population in the 21st century helped the mankind to reach a whole new level of development as hyperflexible, slow-aging, doll-faced people we are today.
University of Advanced Contortion
p.s. I want to thank my professor of history, Sir Lichard Tombson, who helped a lot with this essay by granting the access to his library. Much like his library full of tiny spiderbots, the history of Earth is quite horrifying, but it's what made us what we are today!