Down a long, cement and steel hallway, through the third corridor, and down three rooms, I sit in an empty iron cage on a torn up, dusty old bed, tightly holding a small, worn-looking book and a pen. The title of the book is written sloppily in blue ink across the cover: 'My First Diary.' I sit alone, noticing how I'm the only one in my cage. It's customary for three to be in a cage, but I'm so far back in the pound that there aren't enough pets for three per cage. There are lots of cages in the pound-I know this well. Most pets in here would consider their own cage a blessing... For me, it's a curse. The days are lonely with nobody to talk to, and the nights are frigid with nobody no sleep near, and only my own breath to help warm the large cage. If you were wondering, I'm writing in my diary so that if something ever happens, if I disappear, or if sickness frees me from this place, I won't be entirely forgotten.
My name is __Tassle__. I'm nothing special- just an ordinary, plain old red Kougra. I have no petpet, my stats are nothing special, and my name is undesirable. Speaking of my name, I hate it. It's one of the many things that keeps me in the pound. I've been in for two years now, and each day I dream of what it would be like if I were special. I'd be worthwhile to somebody. I might even get a place near the front of the pound.
I imagine what life would be like if my name was shorter- more desirable. If it had no underscores, or sometimes I dream about if I had been painted before I was put in the pound. If I was painted something nice, like Darigan, or Faerie, or Chocolate, I have little doubt that I'd have been adopted by now.
I know that there are many other pets like me- I lived with them until I was put back here. Like I said, I'm nothing special. Most of them gave up crying ages ago, but for some reason, I can't hold it back. Whenever I see an owner and their new pet walk by my cage, I can't help but growl a little. Then, my face gets hot and my eyes burn. After that, my throat tightens uncomfortably and it's all I can stand before salty little drops begin to roll down my face, making clean little lines across my ragged, dirty cheek fur.
Some pets laughed at me. Others pitied me. Most, like the owners that walk past, ignored me. I can't decide whether I should be grateful to those who ignored me, for not allowing me to make them feel worse than they already are, or making me an outlet for their hate... But on the other hand, I crave some sort of attention. I almost feel better when I saw faces of pity looking at me, or heard a sneer that acknowledged my existence. We all need to be acknowledged now and again- we all deserve acknowledgement, too. The beautiful pets with rich owners and beautiful colors tend to receive this natural need often, but the poorest, most bland little creatures such as myself are neglected mentally as well as physically.
I would look around and see nothing joyous among the pets here. They're all expressions of pain, humiliation, loathing, hopelessness, or dread. I see no cheerful smiles, no laughing pets or vibrant, healthy pelts. Even pets painted beautiful colors like faerie and rainbow seemed to have dull, drab fur coated thickly in dust and clinging to a thin, frail-looking, bony frame.
The pound is a miserable place. I know it. I also know that my chances of getting out are close to zero, thanks to how plain I am. Still, it's nice to imagine... Sometimes, I picture it: The way life would have been if I had never been abandoned.
I would have been painted some spectacular, stunning color- like royal! I've always wanted to be royal. A full, thick mane, beautiful robes, and a crown- a crown to show that I am worth something. If I were royal, I would probably be in a fine neohome, eating real food- at least jellies and omelets- with an owner who loved me as their dream pet. A dream pet... What a wonderful thing to be. Even if you are only in a home for a while, it's nice. I know some pets who've passed through complained about being 'trading fodder', but being tossed from owner to owner seems better than being locked in a cold, metal room with nothing but an ancient bed and nobody to talk to.
Sometimes, I wonder what my voice sounds like, and I try to speak. My throat, however, is often so dry that I can't form words. Very few pound volunteers even know about my cage- it's so far back, and I'm the only one in my unit at the moment, so I can see how it's easy to miss. Still, I wish that the Uni would stop by more. I can't remember her name, but I know that she'll occasionally walk by me and say hello. For a brief moment, she pays attention to me in a way that seems like an owner. She seems to care about me, as she does for all of the pets she keeps track of. It's nice. But it's over all too soon-she only stays for a brief moment, and then she must leave.
I should consider myself luckier, I suppose, for the moment. Soon, a girl who found me back here will be coming to visit me. She said she'll bring her family, and a notepad, and she might write a story about me so that people will know I exist. I'm thinking about giving her this page of my diary... It would get the point across. I am a living creature, and I'm back here, and I want somebody to remember me sometime. This would be a good way to do it-save time in an interview, and all. I'll have to think about it until she gets here.
I wonder if she'll bring her pets, too, so that we can talk. She told me when she last visited-about a month and a half ago- that she has a pair of twin baby Lupes, a faerie Xweetok, and a royal Lupe. I can't help but envy them all-they're all such nice colors compared to me, and they have a decent, warm place to sleep, and they have real food and clothes. All I have is this diary and this pen. To make things worse, I only have three pages left in here, and my pen is drying up. To be honest, I can't imagine how I made either last this long-the diary only has about two hundred and fifty pages, and I've been in this place, bored, for quite a while. The pen wasn't anything special, either-at least, in the eyes of the average pet with an owner. Perhaps by the time I run out of ink and paper the girl will have returned to interview me... Perhaps by then, I won't need them to feel noticed. Perhaps somebody will know about me by then.
But I suppose I can only hope.
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|Honor Among Thieves: Part Seven|
By the time Marlos woke the next morning, Nabile had already returned with several Tchea Fruits and a carved walking stick. The Draik resolved to never ask any questions about where they'd come from.