I knew something wasn't right. Things hadn't been right since that horrible day They gassed us, since that horrible day that so many of my family had been driven from our home. No, things had gone to hell on that day and hadn't been right since. Though, that isn't what I'm here to talk about. That is another subject entirely.
I knew something wasn't right. I wasn't right. I hadn't been right since that horrible day They gassed us. I was one of the few that stayed, thinking to weather out the storm. Something inside me had changed that day, and after that I wasn't the same.
My change was barely visible on the outside. It wasn't something that one could pick up on right away. It would take a moment to notice. It would take a moment to notice that something was simply... off about me. My hair was still the soft, muted brown it had always been, but if one looked closer at it, he might realize that it was duller than it used to be, absent of the healthy sheen it used to contain. My eyes were still the same obsidian they always were, though I'd been told that there was a certain... glazed quality to them, similar to looking into iced-over water. I still had the same face, though I often found it positioned into a vacant expression. I still maintained the same posture, but now I moved with a staggering gait rather than the subtle grace I had been so proud of before.
No, the changes that took place inside of me were more drastic, more significant. My mind wasn't what it used to be. My thoughts lost their clarity; my musings would circle about without my even realizing it. I often times forgot where I was, what I was doing. Though, the thing was, I couldn't even bring myself to care anymore. I didn't care about anything. In place of the feelings inside of me, there was only an absentminded numbness.
I knew something wasn't right. I wasn't right. But I didn't care. Even with the knowledge that I may be sick—dying, even—the only emotion I could dredge up that morning was a rather avid interest in that faint, delicious smell lingering in the air. What did They call it? Bee-nut batter? Pea-cup butter?
It was with that train of thought that I clambered out through my hole and into "Their" home. I paused a moment to lift my nose in the air and sniff, seeking guidance to the scent's source. My mouth watered and my stomach clenched longingly as I lurched into motion. My feet hit the ground shockingly hard as I scuttled across the wooden floor. I was in the beginnings of chastising myself about that when I caught another whiff of the sea nut brittle and was lost.
I reached a long hallway and wrinkled my nose in confusion. My steps faltered. Where am I? I glanced up at the grey walls with white splashed across the surface and then down at the wooden floorboards boring grooves into the pads of my feet. I continued uncertainly down the hallway and entered the first room on the left.
There were odd noises coming from this room. Instead of being repelled from it like I vaguely knew I should have been, I was drawn toward it. I padded into the room, heading to the far side, not without bumping into things on the way. I found an area against the wall that was clear but somewhat blocked from view and slid down it until I was lying down. I curled up into a ball, finding myself lulled by the organized noise drifting to me from somewhere on the other side of the room and the whir of the machine right in front of me. I shut my eyes slowly, welcoming the dark blanket of sleep that so rarely came to me those days.
I heard the sharp rapping on the floor first. I ignored it, scrunching my eyes tighter closed as I willed the disturbance to leave me alone. It did, surprising me slightly. The surprise wasn't enough to rouse me, of course, and I settled down again, pondering the reason that I have whiskers on my face.
The whir of the machine ceased suddenly. Its absence jolted me from my slumber and I looked up at the monolithic creature casting me in shadow. I blinked dazedly as the huge, curious face of It peered down at me. I knew that I should've been feeling something—doing something—when confronted by one of Them, but I simply couldn't bring myself to do anything more than think at It, Why did you have to go and ruin my nap?
I remained still, too occupied by the feeling that I was forgetting something, as the face pulled back. Its ground-shaking footsteps sent tremors all throughout my body as It exited the room. I stared blankly ahead of me, debating idly on whether or not to move.
The ground began trembling again, signaling Its return. Though, the vibrations were worse this time, almost like there was more than one...
Two faces loomed above me, gazing down at me. I stared right back at Them, speculating on what They were staring so fervently at. I was spurred instinctively into movement at the sight of a brightly colored container bearing down upon me, appearing seemingly out of nowhere. I darted behind a trunk-like object to my left. In my hiding place, I examined the trunk, trying to figure out why it had more jutting angles than any tree trunk that I remember, why it had those odd carvings engraved into only some of its flat faces, and then finally where it went. Belatedly, I realized that They had moved it and I scrambled in the opposite direction only to run right into the container.
I was trapped. I knew I was, though I still clawed half-heartedly at the walls. Something slid underneath my feet, and then I felt myself being pressed into the ground even though nothing physical was touching me. When the pressure eased, the world began to shift, and I was able to crawl up the walls and then onto the ceiling of the container.
After the shifting was over, there was more horror to come. I clutched at the ground, trying to get some kind of hold as I felt myself being jerked left and right and up and down. My stomach lurched with every movement. It seemed to last forever, and it was getting very hot in there. The only light inside was coming from a hole somewhere above—or was it below? I began hearing sounds that I hadn't heard in a long time. There was the chattering of birds, water bubbling and gushing over rocks, the rustle of wind in the leaves of a tree. I shrunk lower to the ground. Am I dead?
The hole grew larger and more blessed air and light came inside the container. The world shifted again, and I found myself sliding down towards the hole. Oh, no! I thought, and scrabbled at the walls, the ground underneath my feet, struggling to find purchase before I fell out through the hole.
I landed in the grass with a thud. I blinked slowly, clutching at the large green leaves disbelievingly. I'm not dead? I stood up on all fours shakily, flicking my tail for reassurance. No, I was still alive.
A scent tickled at my nose. A delicious scent that made my stomach clench in anticipation. What was it They called it? Razz parries? Rass berries? I followed the scent deeper into the grass, not paying any heed to where I was, or to the slithering body trailing slowly after me.