They strap me to the floor again. I can’t get up. I can’t escape. I can barely turn my head from one side to the other.
I can flail my arms and legs uselessly, but that tires me and accomplishes nothing.
Technically, I’m not on the floor itself. I’m encased in a molded platform three inches from the floor which forces me into an upright position, the better for their observation. Though with the constraints and my proximity to the ground, it doesn’t aid mine. All I can see are the giant tree-trunk legs of the aliens as they intermittently stomp in front of me.
Sometimes they pause and, stupid me, I allow my hopes to rise. I demand liberation.
But they are deaf to my cries. We are divided by the barriers of unshared language, though I doubt they’d respond even if they could understand.
I can’t help but wonder how long this type of restraint will last this time. Time itself moves strangely on this planet. I admit I’ve not caught the trick of it yet, but the hours are long, the discomfort acute.
I don’t think they mean me harm. In the early days following my capture I was terrified and feared for my continued existence. I don’t have that fear now. Many risings and fallings of the pale orb glimpsed through my prison window have shown me that somehow time continues to advance. If they do not always feed me until I’m screaming with the excruciating pains of my hunger, they do not, in the end, kill me.
I’m hopeful that a détente will be reached. It seems likely that an increased understanding must be achievable, and even eventual. Every day I study my captors’ customs and language. Theirs is full of clipped, harsh sounds, though I find there are variations amongst the individuals in pitch, cadence, and the inclination toward melody.
My own language is more guttural and expressive. I don’t understand the aliens’ need for incessant chatter. Though I have met few of my kind, my race speaks only when we have something urgent to communicate. Discourse should be reserved for relating imminent threats to life and health. So I find my captors to be egregiously wasteful in their utterances. And jarring in their exclamations. Though the murmuring din of many of them speaking at once can be oddly comforting.
It will be many of their years before I’m able to decrypt their language well enough to understand it and speak it for myself, and still more before I will write it. But if I could understand what my captor says to me now as I’m released from my restraints and carried to my cell with the thick, wooden bars, I would hear, “Oh, sweetie. I’m sorry it took Mommy so long to unload the groceries. Let’s get you out of your car seat and put you down for nap-nap time.”
As the giant applies its mouth to my forehead and lowers me into my cell with the padded floor, I know it will be ages before I taste freedom.