The Almost Pound Escape... Or Something Like That: Part Two
The lights flickered on in the pound starting with the bottom row. It would be a while before the old generator got up enough juice to power the lights on my floor. I had been up long before the first shift started, sitting up quietly and waiting for all the doors on my row to have opened. After two years you tend to notice the schedules of the cages around you. I yawned and stretched a little bit, scratching at the base of my neck while looking up and down the hall ways. A few of the newer pets who had spent the night crying, or those older ones who just stared ahead with that frozen look on their face, were up, but other than that the pound was silent. Usually I would grace the ears of the inmates with a nice loud battle cry to wake them up to greet the day, but this morning I wasn't in the mood. I had a plan to focus on, and it required complete stealth. Which I am the master of, if I do say so myself. And I do.
The small yellow Usul was out cold on the bunk above me, snoring like a light faerie. Well, okay I don't know why light faeries would snore, but you get the picture. From the way he seemed to commit to everything happening around him he was either A: a regular at the pound, B: a very reserved pet, or C: a brainwashed minion of Sloth sent to infiltrate the pound to brainwash more pets to add to his growing army. As unlikely as C sounds, believe me it's happened. I leaned over the edge of the top bunk and peeked at the sleeping Usul, biting my lip. This was going to take more stealth and more timing than I had ever had to summon at once. I gently wrapped the Usul in his blanket and started edging him off his bunk and onto mine. I was half way there when a furry paw grabbed me by my ear and pulled me down onto my bed. I was about to protest when another paw was clamped over my mouth.
"Mphpppppdgmh," I mumbled, and the blue Xweetok let go of my mouth, eying the precariously perched Usul.
"What did you say?" she whispered, and I shrugged.
"I said 'Good morning, Esme,' but it was blocked by your paw," I hissed, and she stuck her tongue out at me.
"My name is Welch," she hissed, looking at me rather annoyed. "What were you doing?" she whisper-shouted at me, an amusing thing to listen to.
"I was trying to get out of this Fyora forsaken heap of dung," I whisper-shouted back. She glared at me.
"Leave that bunk alone! You have no right to take his spot!" I scoffed at her.
"No right? He's been in and out of here more than the Meerca brothers have been into King Skarl's treasury. He'll be plopped back in here as soon as he is adopted."
"Oh and you think you'll fare any different?" she said, rolling her eyes.
"Well, I won't give them the chance to pound me again. As soon as I get out I'm running away from what ever double-crossing owner picks me out."
"You'd get caught."
"For your information, Miss Pessimist, there are plenty of pets without owners who don't get caught."
"Kauvara, The Meerca brothers, King Skarl," I started counting on my fingers.
"That's four and they don't count."
"You never said they had to be actual once-owned pets, Esme."
"It's Welch," she said, scowling.
"Whatever," I mumbled, waving my hand and turning my back to her. I stood up on my bunk and eyed the sleeping yellow Usul again. Man, this kid could sleep through the fall of Faerieland! Welch tugged on my ear, forcing me to kneel on my bunk to look her in the eye. "What is it?" I growled under my breath.
"Do you think it would be easier to get out another way?" she said, and I blinked sleepily.
"What do you mean 'another way'?"
"Well even if you did get out through the active pound door there's no guarantee that you'll be adopted." Welch paused.
"You have my attention," I said, leaning over the edge of the bunk.
"You could try to get out without an owner."
"The pound would be swarming with owners and pets, I wouldn't make it very far."
"I don't mean that side of the pound." She looked at me, waiting for what she said to sink in. I shook my head.
"I don't get it." She rolled her eyes at me.
"How many pound workers do you see back here?" I glanced around.
"None, but what does that-" My eyes lit up. "Oooooooh."
"Exactly. If you could figure out a way to get out of the cage, you would at least be half way to your goal. The only time there are more than two workers around here is on the weekends, and even then we never get more than three to a row."
"But two pets escaping the pound would be caught easily."
"That's why we don't just have two escaping." I looked down at her.
"Wait, so the girl who was just saying that no pet in the pound deserved to stay here longer than another is proposing that we break out with a select few and make a dash for the door? Are you feeling okay?"
"I never said it would only be a select few." I gawped at her.
"You mean you're planning-"
"A pound wide escape. With over a thousand pets running for every exit there's no way they could catch us! Never in a million years!" I continued to stare at her with my mouth open. She sank down a bit. "Is it that crazy?"
"Yes," I said honestly, shrugging my shoulders a little, "but it's better than a one man rush for the door during the height of the pound day." She smiled at me and laid back down on her bunk.
"I thought you would think so," Welch said, smiling smugly.
"Hey now, don't get too confident. There's still the little matter of the three to a cage thing. Don't get me wrong, spreading news around one row is easy, but going from row to row is a whole other can of eels. Unless you want me to shout it out across the whole pound and get us moved down another row, or worse. If that was part of your plan I would prefer not to be a part of your hair brained scheme, thank you very much."
"You worry more than I expected, Prince," Welch said, looking at me with eyebrows raised. "Getting the information around is my job. If you did it you'd just make other pets cry." I winced and sank down on my bunk, guilt flooding my chest.
"I'm sorry about yesterday," I said quietly. Her ears perked up and she looked down.
"Are my ears tricking me or did the great and mighty Prince apologize?"
"They're right, as usual. I said I was sorry. You could at least try not to drag it out." I looked down at my paws and sighed. Welch looked down.
"I forgive you," she said quietly, and I pulled my knees up to my chest. The pound was just starting to wake up, the low watt bulbs on the ceiling started to buzz to life one by one. A couple of the pets stirred and yawned. Some seemed disappointed that they had woken back up here. I looked down at my feet and pulled my tail closer around my body to keep out the slight cold that seemed to seep in from every angle down here.
"So how did you get here?" I asked Welch quietly, looking down at her from the edge of my bunk. She shrugged.
"I don't really have a tragic back story to tell you the truth. I was created by a newbie and then pounded around the time they got a little more experienced and realized that my name was not as 'nice' as some of the other pets around them. So I was pounded, and I've been here ever since." She looked at me softly. "What about you, Prince?" I sighed a little bit and picked at the dirt caught in my tail.
"I was created by a scatterbrained fourteen year old girl who was fairly new. Not exactly a newbie, but she wasn't very elite either. I was made along with two other Xweetoks that I've long forgotten the names of. After about a month she grew bored of me and pounded me, along with one of the Xweetoks. We got split up somewhere along the way and I ended up here." I looked up for a moment to catch Welch's eyes. She looked like she was about to cry.
"You lost your sister-" she started to say, I shook my head.
"She wasn't my sister. That Xweetok was as far away from a sister to me as I am from being Lord Darigan's mother. She was nasty, horribly mean and cruel, and she's the reason I ended up here."
To be continued...