by Roger Haller
forum: Pets
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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           I've been getting acquainted with my new reality now for two days but I have no idea how I got here, where "here" is or what fate lies in store for me.

           I am in a jail… or a cage of some kind with no facilities, no food and the only water is the constant puddles at the weather edge of my confinement from the constant warm rain.

           I am wearing my business suit and my last memory before this predicament was leaving my desk and heading for the elevator. I had flipped my rain coat on over my sport jacket, donned my fedora, and grabbed my computer. I woke using my rain coat as a blanket and my jacket as a pillow.

           Now I blog everything that happens on my laptop and with a fine point Sharpie on the back cage wall. The back being the only solid wall. I won't have battery very long so the wall will, I assume, last longer. Hopefully, someone will read this sometime and find out what happened to me.

           I need to eat soon and have taken to chewing on the name tag on my computer case. It's not very satisfying, but not so bad tasting at all.

           Writing these words seems strange. I feel like I should be writing my will. Maybe I should. Right now, I'm just not in the mood to figure out who should take possession of my home and car.

           I'm not sure what to expect. I'm losing weight, but I still have some energy from the water and I feel light and agile. I can easily jump and touch the ceiling, which has to be 10 feet from the floor. At home, my two hundred and twelve pound frame was lucky to get off the floor in a mighty jump.

           Some crash diet.

           I did my business in the rain soaked corner and scraped it out between the bars with a small tree limb the wind supplied, but I hadn't needed it today. The rain was removing the evidence quite nicely.

           Night comes suddenly in this place, and it seems to come more often. I expect incarceration and starvation to make the days drag, but I can watch the shadows of dull daylight crawl across my cage and night is with me again. Since there is little else to do and nothing but my past to look forward to, I lie down and try to sleep. Maybe I'll dream about Margo tonight.

           I will keep the Sharpie in my pocket for easy access.

           My skin feels pruned and wrinkled as I rub my hands under my coat.



           I was awakened by my floor tilting to the side and my body deposited against the bars near what I considered the front of my prison. I grabbed my computer bag as it was about to seek freedom between the bars and held on for the sake of sanity if nothing else.

           I may have whimpered some at this time, but I don't remember well. Beside me swung two huge fur laden legs in a fore and aft ballet while my jail bounced up and down causing my head to bob like a carried chicken. Pressing my head to the bars, I peered up at the tower in charge of my journey to find a four-story biped that looked very much like Discovery Channel's version of a Neanderthal but with far more hair, or more exactly, fur.

           I decided now might be a good time to be quiet so I worked my way to the back wall, and with my case clutched between my knees, my jacket and coat on and my fedora perched in a most businesslike manner, I braced my forearm firmly against the wall and continued my journal.

           I checked the time and date on my watch, carefully wrote every word you are reading now and worked my mind into thinking I wasn't the type that gets seasick. I took a moment out to swing my head to the bars and lose a couple of ounces of bile down the leg of my captor.

           It wasn't pleased. The jail and I came to rest on a huge boulder. The beast took time out to wipe down its glossy brown fur before dropping its ape like face to my level to study its trinket.

           A huge fist came into view with an index finger like an eight-inch log pointing directly at me. In stunned horror I watched as it slid happily through the bars to bunt me in the belly hard enough to double me over to collapse on the floor.

           It tried to communicate with grunts and deep rumblings in its chest then settled in to pet me with two fingers as a child would a scared baby rabbit. I felt the part.

           With another grunt, it stood and my journey continued. I fell back to work at my journal, no better for being sick and sore from bruised ribs. The shadow deepened toward night again as my cage was settled into place across from several others. Most were empty but in one cage I saw another human in the same predicament I faced. In the waning light I called out to a woman across the way. She stood from her kneeling position and ran to the bars at the front of her cage.

           "Do you speak English?"

           I could not stop shaking as I called back. "Yes, I do. My name is Tom Billings, from Portland, Oregon."

           "I'm Sharon from Tucson. Do you know where we are? Do you know why we are here?"

           "Not a clue. All I know is I'm starving, wet, hot and so thankful to hear another human voice."

           Below us, I now heard rustling and a new voice joined the conversation.

           "Je suis Français. Parlez-vous Français?"

           I just knew enough to know I could not talk with this guy very well.

           "Non, pas… très bien."

           "OK. I… try English... some. Je suis… Uh, I am Jean Belanger, oui? Je… I am… uh… from Besancon beside riviere du Doubs… beside Jura mountains… France."

           "Hello, Jean. I am Tom and that is Sharon. How long have you two been here?"

           Sharon replied.

           "I was just dumped here."

           "Oui, je… Me too."

           The chat fest was now interrupted by a flurry of fur between us, and bits of raw meat and a celery or rhubarb type stock of vegetable were pushed through all our bars. I could see no gain in holding out for a Big Mac, so I dug in. Large containers of water were now added and the creature seemed pleased to see us eating. Its lips curled up over crooked teeth, and judging by the canines, that mouth ate meat as well.

           The captor now lifted my cage high in a tree and fastened it somehow from the roof.

           I was eating, swaying in front of a huge set of curious eyes.

           I wondered if it would respond to an attempt at communication. I stopped for a moment and moved to the front of the cage. I held out my arm with palm up and spoke.

           Hello, I'm Tom… Can you understand me?

           The beast growled something low and grinned. It held its hand as I did. I reached a little farther and it responded by putting its finger within my reach. I tapped the finger gently and nodded my head, pointing at the food.

           The creature nodded, lifted my cage from its perch, set me back on top of Jean and moved to the others.

           I knew at this time it was most important to learn how to communicate with my captor. My life probably depended on it. If you are unfortunate enough to read this, I expect this will be information you will need most. I began to study.


           A mostly uneventful week has passed with regular food and water. I got to know Sharon and Jean better than I wanted to, seeing I was in full view of Sharon at all times as she was with me and poor Jean lived directly under my "toilet".

           We agreed to use the same corner, and Sharon and I agreed to turn when necessary.

           Communication with the creature continued, and today we hit a new milestone.

           I came to understand the creature used a written language as it placed a huge sign over all the cages. With my Sharpie, I duplicated the characters on a piece of notepad paper and showed the beast. This impressed it considerably. With motions at the cages, the sign and hand to hand, I learned it was a for sale sign. Today I was surprised with the arrival of another of these creatures, this one a lighter shade of brown highlighted by golden tips to each hair. This created a sheen overall and was most impressive. The two communicated for a while and the new one began my training.

           I had no hope of parroting the sounds these huge creatures made when they communicated, so I concentrated on their written language.

           I soon reached an epiphany when I recognized a pattern in the characters. Putting the characters together, I experimented with rudimentary words

           The golden beast made clear a certain set of characters referred to us three captives, Then I found a slight variation that differentiated between Sharon and us men. This meant these beings understood our different sexes.

           My understanding of these words was not all pleasant. I now understood those signs

           This day has been huge, but I can no longer see what I write on this wall, so I will continue tomorrow.



           This morning was an awakening in more than one way.

           Shortly after we were fed, Sharon's cage was opened from the top, she was plucked out dangling and screaming four stories in the air, my roof was lifted off and she was placed in with me.

           Once let go, she ran to me and I held her as she shivered in fear.

           The roof to my cell was replaced and clipped and we were studied by that fur covered face as we huddled in the center of my prison. The creature wagged a down turned finger at us a few times, which made Sharon cling tighter and in turn made the creature grin.

           With no more than a scared huddle to entertain, the creature proceeded to show us what it wanted. The roof was lifted completely off and with the utmost care, using only two fingers and a thumb, a petrified Sharon was placed on her hands and knees. I was next to go to my knees, but I was then slid against her backside and my arms lifted to be placed on her shoulders.

           When we stayed where we were put, the roof was settled back on our cage, clipped shut and the huge face was again at eye level with us and its eyebrows lifted in a hopeful gaze.

           We were breeding stock.

           Our subsequent conversation was something like:

           "Sharon, do you understand what that creature wants?"

           "Yes… What are you going to do?"

           "Play along with me… I'm going to try to convey that we know what is expected, then try and communicate we want privacy."

           "But I don't want…"

           "I know, but I need to try and buy time. I am going to pretend I am uh… humping you. Play along. I will then pull you to the back of the cage, cuddle and look over our shoulders at the beast in hopes it gets the idea we don't want an audience. Are you with me"

           "Yes… Ok."

           I made the expected motions but I have to admit, it was not as unpleasant for me as I supposed it was for Sharon. Shortly I pulled back, stood, helped Sharon up and moved her to the back of the cage where we knelt, huddled and looked over our shoulder at the smiling creature. It left, seemingly satisfied we were going to mate.

           It seems strange to write this, but here is a close approximation of the chat we had about our dilemma. Sharon started it off.

           "Now what?"

           "I don't know, but I have the feeling it is not going to settle for pretend. I think it wants to raise pet humans… or at least I hope it wants pets."

           "What do you mean by that?"

           "I simply don't like the alternative."

           I was silent for a moment. Her gaze rose from her hands on her knees to my face, her eyes growing along the way.


           "Look, it's not going to do us a flea's pimple of good to worry about it. We are in no position to dictate our fate at present. The way I see it, we have to become pets to survive. We need to be cute, entertaining and endearing."

           Sharon's horror leaned a bit toward hope as she caught my drift.

           "What do you suggest?"

           I was silent a moment while carving up this reality. Then by her arms I pulled her to face me. My voice lowered.

           "We have to mate. Can you bear children?"


           "Look, if we don't you will be placed with Jean and be expected to try harder with him. Its really your choice, but you will have to mate with one of us or all of us will be expendable."

           I looked into her eyes as she absorbed the insanity of discarding human games and embracing the animal side of our nature. At least she wasn't screaming at the idea.

           Sharon was past prime a bit and so was I. Neither of us were part of the elite in human social politics, but she most certain had her charms and I would have no trouble with the arrangement.

           "If this works, you may be mated with other men, too. I suppose it depends if there are more where we came from and just how we impress."

           Her head shook from side to side in a dazed arc, but she looked me over some and rested her eyes on my face.

           "Well, Tom, you aren't Cruise, but I'm not Angelina, either. If we have to do this, you most certainly will do in a pinch." She delivered the line with a smile, so I supposed we were an item.

           "It's going to expect a show, isn't it?"

           I nodded, moved over to the wall and began writing this post.



           Today we performed for our captor, so it ran for its companion and suddenly our audience grew. I had trouble concentrating when it became apparent five creatures were getting a charge out of two small naked animals getting busy.

           A complicated conversation grew outside our cage. Jean was placed in Sharon's former home and the sign over it was changed.

           As we finished, my fevered brain deciphered "Sold".





copyright 2006 Roger Haller.

Roger Haller, a cowboy geek with a seemingly paradoxal love for gripping fiction and quiet cowboy logic, has several works published to the web and an old history of newspaper drama stoked up as fuel behind his consuming need to have his first novel see print.

Guardian of the One is now ready for a publisher
Dreamer of the One is underway and..
Teacher of the One is framed to become Roger’s third offering in his debut trilogy.

Many and varied short stories and the odd poem are published at the Adult Creative Writing contest site at

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