My captor has left. I don't know how long they will be gone. I carefully look around. I am definitely alone. Now is my chance. "Help!" I yell, cocking my head to the side.
I try again, louder, "Help! Help! I'm in here!"
Why won't anyone answer me? I know there are other's like me out there, where the sky is blue and the wind blows and the sun shines. I hear them every once in a while, giving warning or calmly keeping track of each other. I long to join them.
I listen hard for an answer to my call. I hope for a response soon. I fear my captor will be back any moment. And when they arrive, I will face more time held close to their warm body or more quiet time in my cold cage.
Wait? What was that? Was that... There! I heard one! I don't know what they are yelling, though, and that scares me almost as much as my giant captor.
"Help! I'm here! I'm here!" I shift as close as I dare to the edge of one of the many platforms my captor keeps me on when I am not locked away behind bars.
The ground shakes. I feel the vibrations through my feet and up my bones, rattling my skull. I freeze. I don't know why I bother. It isn't as if my stillness fools my captor in any way. They see me whether I or not I hold still, but instinct keeps me rooted. Immobile.
My captor's head peeks around a blind spot, startling me, and I jerk. How long were they there? Goosebumps race across my body. Did they hear my cry for help? Will they punish me for my disobedience?
My captor makes a noise, expecting a response. I mimic it to the best of my ability. I don't know what I said—"Happy to be fondled" for all I know—but the sound makes my captor happy. I shake out my tension. They must not have heard my cries, or if they did, they don't care.
The thought is chilling, sending a shiver down my back. I twist, anxious to relieve the uncomfortable sensation. My captor comes closer. Their claws are flat, stretched before me. Expectant. They want me to leave the security of my platform. The claws scare me. Always have, but I do as my captor bids. If I don't they may not feed me or give me water. I won't live if that happens, and I must live.
My captor extends a single claw toward my head. They will touch me. Hold me. Rub their beak against me and I can do nothing.
I hate it.
I love it.
Displeasure clouds my eyesight and I momentarily lose track of my captor. I'm not sure how that can be. They are a hundred times my size, even the smallest of them towers over me. I quake in fear when I realize my captor is eyeing me. Waiting.
Did I miss a signal? I wish I knew what they wanted.
Their beak morphs into a most disturbing expression as they bring me to it. Their beak nuzzles my tiny head, making a wet, smacking sound. I duplicate it. It makes them happy.
My captor straightens to their full height and my head swims with vertigo. My limbs shake, but I hold fast, along for the ride.