Caged

A little something I put together while killing time between classes.  I wanted to try writing something with a twist.  Enjoy…

 

He could barely remember a time when he hadn’t been in this cage.  There were times when he could vaguely recall the feel of the sun on his face, the feel of the grass beneath his feet, the taste and smell of clean, free air.  But that all seemed like a very long time ago.  For longer than he cared to think about, this cage had been his home.  His only companions were the other sorry souls that were caged here with him, each in their own tiny cell.  They were fed and occasionally bathed by strange men and women who came in from time to time, but for the most part they were simply left here – forgotten and alone with their own thoughts and each other’s sadness.

Abruptly, his thoughts were ripped back to the present as the giant metal door at the other side of the room clanged open.  A group of the strangers filed into the room.  He dreaded these visits, all of the prisoners did.  In all his time here, he had never been able to figure out what these people wanted from him, from any of them.  From time to time – it seemed to be totally random – these groups would come in and inspect him and the others in the cells with him.  One of their uniformed jailors was always there, but they always came in with a new group of strangers.  They would poke and prod him and the others.  They would speak to them in some strange language that none of his friends, or he, could understand.  He always asked what they wanted; he begged them to tell him what they wanted.  But they didn’t seem to understand him any better than he understood them.  Or, if they could understand him, they didn’t care to answer.  He would reach out to them, hoping against hope that physical contact would give them some kind of connection.  On good days, he was ignored; on other days, his arm was swatted away and he was yelled at with what he could only assume was a scolding.  But it was always the same: meaningless gibberish and then they would leave.

At least he and the others hoped and prayed that the strangers would just leave.  Many times, the strangers would remove one of them from their cell and take them out through the door with them.  That, too, seemed to be random.  Some of those chosen had been new while others had been here when he first arrived.  Some had been his friends and some he had barely known.  The one constant was that those who passed through that big, heavy, loud door never came back and were never heard from again.  So he dreaded these visits, even though they seemed, more and more, to be his one hope for escape.  But life in his tiny cell seemed somehow better than whatever waited for him beyond that door.

There were three of the strangers this time.  A short, roundish one, whom he had seen here before, was leading a man and a woman who were talking quietly to each other and occasionally pointing to one of the cells, which the other man would then open.  As always, they would squeal unintelligibly, poke, prod and generally humiliate whomever happened to be inside.  Each time, though, they would look at each other, shake their heads and the short, fat, little man would lock the cell door again.

He was glad.  Two of his friends had been spared this time.  Then, though, his heart sank as they pointed at him.

The jailor inserted the key into the lock and turned it with a deafening click.  His blood ran cold.  The door opened and they dragged him out, inspecting him.  Naked, alone, and afraid, he shivered as they looked him up and down.  They tugged and pulled at him, twisted and turned him, and spoke to him in more of their gibberish language.  He begged them to let him go.  He begged them to tell him what they wanted.  He couldn’t tell if they understood him, but they didn’t seem to – and he certainly couldn’t understand what they were saying to each other or to him.  They continued their inspection, talking to each other and babbling at him.  The man and the woman smiled at each other and then barked something at the third man, who closed the cage door.  His time had come!  They were taking him away today!

He cried out to his friends for help.  The weakly called back to him, but there was nothing they could do for him, locked as they were in their own cells.  He tried to crawl away from them, but the fat man in the crumpled uniform grabbed him and carried him away.

He was carried out through the door into another room, where he was placed on a cold table.  They poked and prodded him some more, then jabbed him with a needle.  He cried out again, but there was nobody there to help him.  Why was this happening to him?

They placed him into a smaller cage now and loaded it into a tiny room.  As they closed a door above his head, the room went dark and then the whole room seemed to move.  What was happening?  What were they doing to him?  Why didn’t they just get it over with?  He didn’t know how much longer he could stand this.  There had to be a way to get away!

A short while later, they opened the door above his head again.  They lifted his small cage out and carried it into yet another room, much different than all of the others he had been in.  This one seemed much nicer, warmer.  There were no cages, no cold metal tables.  There were pictures on the walls.  The strange man placed his cage on the floor and opened the door as the woman called out something which he couldn’t understand.  What did they want him to do?

Tentatively, he stepped out of the cage and for the first time that he could recall, felt soft, warm carpet under his feet.  Another voice answered from down a hallway and a third stranger entered the room, this one much smaller than the man and the woman.  This smaller little man excitedly called out another one of their gibberish words, but it was one that he vaguely remembered having heard before.   This word was different; it had a certain warmth to it.  It made him want to learn what it meant.  Was the stranger talking to him?  The new little stranger gathered him up in his arms and, over and over again, just called him “puppy”.

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