That’s all I feel anymore.
It’s been so long since I’ve felt anything else
Happiness, anger, sadness, even pain. None of it is there. It’s long since been beaten out of me.
Well, logically, I know that pain is still there. Everything they do to me hurts in some way or another. Every poke or prod or prick of a needle, or cut of a scalpel, or stinging shock of electricity. The burning of the drugs they inject me with and the constant chemical smells that sting my nose. Everything hurts, even something as simple as eating. But it’s all been there for so long that it doesn’t even register anymore.
I’ve been here too long for it to matter anymore. Stuck here in this cage, far too small for me at this point. By now, it’s likely been years since I was taken, since I was stolen from my life. I don’t know exactly how many, and at this point it no longer matters. All I know is that I was young when they took me, about four, if my memory can be trusted. It could be five or ten or it could even be fifty years since I was put here. The days all blended together into a mixture of pain and fear until I eventually gave up. After that, I simply haven't cared enough to keep track of each day as it passed.
I shift around a bit, attempting to find a position that might provide a bit of comfort. This cage is much too small for my four-legged form. It wasn’t always; it used to be a proper size. But a combination of my own natural growth and the unnatural growth caused by the two-legs incessant testing caused me to become too large for it. Now, I can barely stand up fully; my head brushes against the top of the cage, even when I hunch down. On top of that, it’s only just longer than I am. I can stand, but not walk or move around hardly at all.
I don’t remember how long it’s been since they last let me out. They did so once or twice, not long after they first brought me here. But ever since then, I’ve been stuck in here. The tests that the two-legs perform on me don’t require me to move; they just inject me with unknown substances and test my blood constantly. I don’t understand what they do to me, but the things they inject me with always hurt; burning through my veins, causing things to shift, always changing me. Some would make my claws or teeth longer, some changed my eyesight and hearing, one even caused something bony to sprout from my skull, just behind my ears. That one hurt so, so much; it felt like my head was going to explode. I used to try to ask them what they were doing, but I don’t make that mistake anymore. I’m not allowed to speak to them.
I’m not allowed to do anything. I can’t speak to them, can’t touch them, can’t even look at them. They don’t let me eat by myself. Any time they bring me foods or liquids, they don’t let me eat it, they always force it down my throat for me. I’m not even allowed to suffer the consequences of such limited movement.
For a while, I could. I would feel myself growing weaker, my muscles growing smaller until I was no longer able to support my own weight. But they took that away from me as well. One day, one of them injected me with something that hurt worse than anything else before it. It burned throughout my entire body for so much longer than normal until it forced me to fall unconscious. When I finally woke back up, I felt so much stronger than before. I could feel my muscles bulging just beneath the skin. After that, I never felt myself grow weaker again. No matter how long I went without moving, I would always remain just as strong.
I wish I could shift back into my two-legged form. At least then I could move around and stretch out properly. But they don’t let me do that either. At first, they would shock me whenever I tried, until they finally found a more permanent solution. One day, I bit one of the two-legs when they tried to inject me with something. As punishment, they put a muzzle on me; one that only allowed me to open my mouth just barely enough for them to feed me. This muzzle also prevented me from shifting. It was designed to shock me anytime I even tried. These shocks were so much more painful than the normal ones. It didn’t take long for me to give up and remain in my four-legged form.
I shift again, letting out a sigh as I rest my head on my paws.
I wish they would just let me die.
I used to wish for and dream of being saved. For great heroes like All Might to come rescue me from this torment and take me back to see my mom and Kacchan again. I used to want to see them more than anything in the world. But I’ve long since given up on that dream.
Now I just wish that the two-legs that test on me will finally get tired of me and either kill me or let me die. I’ve tried before to let myself die, but all that did was make things worse. I tried to stop eating, causing them to start force-feeding me. I tried to attack them in order to trick them into retaliating, but that merely resulted in the muzzle. Everything I tried just made them punish me more.
So now, I’ve given up.
I lie here day after day, blank and empty. I hope against hope that one day I’ll fall asleep and never wake up.
I hope I can finally just fade away.
“And then Kacchan started shouting at them. He used his explosions to scare them off; they ran away so fast. Then, once they were gone, he started yelling at me. But it wasn’t mean. He was telling me that they were stupid, and that I shouldn’t let them push me around.” I say with a small laugh, recalling the day that Kacchan had rescued me from a group of bullies, before I got my quirk.
I sigh, reminiscing about my best friend. Even during his best moments, he always came across as brash and loud. But I would give anything to see him again, even if just for a moment.
“This ‘Kacchan’ sounds like a good friend, but I don’t think I’d want to meet him. Those explosions and all of that yelling makes him seem like someone who wouldn’t like animals.” The animal in the cage across from me responded. She’s a cat. A fluffy, white Japanese Bobtail with bright green eyes. She said that she didn’t have a name, so I’ve taken to calling her Snowball. She allows it, saying that it fits, because of her beautiful, snow-white fur.
“You might think that, but actually, he has a pretty big soft spot for animals. He’d probably yell at me for saying this, but he loves just about every animal he sees. He wants to pet every single one, even the all the wild squirrels and birds he’d see at the park.”
It was true, he’d chase after every animal he came across. Though he’d very rarely be successful in petting them; a fact that would upset him each time it happened.
“Hmm. Well if you put it like that, then maybe I would like to meet him. Maybe you can introduce me to him when we finally get out of here. If he’s nice enough, I might even let him pet me. So long as he knows the right way to do so.” Snowball remarked in a haughty manner and with an absent flick of her tail.
“Heh… Yeah… When we get out of here.” I try not to let my doubt show, but I’ve been here for so long now. It doesn’t seem likely that I’ll ever be able to leave.
“We will. Eventually.” She assured me. “You’ll see. Either they’ll slip up one day, or those nice two-legs you keep talking about-the heroes-will come get us out.”
“Yeah. Yeah!” I said, shaking my head to clear my doubtful thoughts. “We’ll be free someday. And when we are, I’ll take care of you, and get you all the fresh tuna you can eat!”
“Hmph. I’ll probably be the one taking care of you clover… But I wouldn’t say no to that tuna. That’s my favorite food by far, ever since that one two-legs that I ran into, gave me a piece. It’s too bad that I was never able to find them again.”
Clover was the nickname she’s given me on account of my dark green fur. I didn’t mind, it’s a lot better than the harsh names that the two-legs call me.
“Well, don’t worry. I’ll make sure to get you some. My mom will probably help, too. She hasn’t let me keep any animals before, but I think she’d like you.”
Even the thought of her hurts. My heart aches every time I think of her. Every time I think about her cooking katsudon, my favorite food, or helping me watch my favorite video; the one where All Might saves all those people.
“Of course she’ll like me.” Snowball says with a lazy lick to her paw. “What’s not to like about m-”
I’m rocketed from my dreams by a mind-numbing shock to my side.
“Wake the hell up, subject zero-one-eight-two!” A two-legs shouts at me, electricity arcing off his fingers. “We’ve got another drug to test, and we need you awake, mutt! Come closer to the bars!”
With my heart still pounding from the sudden waking, I shift myself so that my back is leaning against the bars. Another two-legs comes up and grabs the scruff of my neck. With the trained efficiency from years of performing this same task, they stick me with the needle and inject yet another unknown chemical underneath my skin.
Without even a second glance in my direction, both of them walk away, leaving me to deal with the incoming, familiar sensation of burning, beginning to spread out from the injection site.
Ignoring it, I think back to the dream I was having before being woken up. The cat, Snowball, had-had a quirk that allowed her to communicate with her mind. Originally, I couldn’t speak back to her. I could only listen to what she said. But then, one day, the two-legs injected me with something that burned inside my mind instead of across my body. Later, I discovered that I could finally speak to her.
After that, she’d quickly become something of a friend to me, the closest thing to a comfort I’d ever had in this place. She finally had someone to talk to, someone to share her thoughts with. In return, she’d give me hope; filling me with ideas of escape or rescue, of running away together as far away from these cruel people as we could.
Then, she was taken away.
It was sudden and, as usual, there was no explanation. But, one day, a group of two-legs came in and took her from her cage, before disappearing behind the doors at the end of the room. A day later, her cage was taken by a blank-faced monkey with an extra set of arms that wouldn’t respond to me, no matter how much I tried to talk to it. I never saw Snowball again.
It wasn’t long after that that I started to give up. After all, what was the point of dreaming of escape if I couldn’t do so with the one being in this place that had ever shown me kindness.
I sniff, blinking back the sudden rush of emotions and curling in on myself. Why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? All I’d wanted was to grow up and be a hero by Kacchan’s side. Now I was being poked and prodded and hurt for no reason at all.
Curling up even tighter, I tried to shut out the wave of sadness that threatened to rush over me. This is why I try to just stay empty. It’s easier than having to deal with emotion. If I had to deal with emotion, with every bit of sadness, grief, anger, or loneliness that was warranted by my situation, I likely wouldn’t be able to remain sane. It’s better to simply not care about what happens. Eventually, this will all come to an end. Not necessarily because of rescue or escape-that was unlikely-, but because eventually I will die. Whether the two-legs finally get tired of me or I eventually die of old age, this will end at some point.
Still ignoring the burning under my skin, which was now beginning to coalesce along my spine, I drift back into an uneasy sleep, hoping to avoid any further dreams that would dredge up unwanted memories.