Caged By Nick Lachmund

We’re only animals after all.


By Nick Lachmund

For The Rat In A Cage Award


I wake with a start. The first thing to hit me is the smell. The stench of piss and shit is so strong that it burns my nostrils. It smells chemical, almost metallic. I start to breathe through my mouth. I gasp and supress an urge to vomit. I can almost taste the bile trying to make its way up my throat. I swallow hard.

Next thing to hit me is the headache. My head pounds like a jackhammer. It’s dark. Where am I? I try to move my legs but before I can stretch them out my shoe hits something hard. I try to sit up but my head hits something hard. God, that one hurt. I slowly run a hand over the new bump on my head.

Suddenly, a light turns on. My eyes burn at the light and I can’t help but wonder how long I’ve been out. I cover my eyes with my forearm but I still feel like my retinas are drying out. I mustn’t have seen light for a while. Slowly, my eyes begin to adjust. I blink away the tears and look around.

I’m in a cage. To be more specific, I’m in one of my cages. Someone has put me in one of my dog cages. Who the hell would do this to me? What am I, an animal? My mind races to think of who would do this to me. No one comes to mind immediately. But then I see him. He’s still standing by the light switch and he’s smiling at me. The prick’s actually smiling at me! I try to yell something at him but the words catch. My throat’s dry, too dry to even spit out the words. I need a drink desperately. As if reading my thoughts, the man approaches my cage and slides a dirty water bowl under the door. Is he kidding me? Does he expect me to drink out of that? He’s mad!

I still can’t talk and I can barely move. I need to get out of the cage. I begin to cough and splutter. My throat burns with each cough. I look at the water bowl. I look at the bastard that put it there. God dammit! I plunge my face into the water. The first sip is the greatest drink I’ve ever experienced. The cool water coats my throat like snow on a campfire. The ecstasy is short lived, though. I soon begin to taste the water. It tastes like the food I feed the mutts I keep around here.

The taste and smell of the cheap, meaty dog food makes me instantly vomit. An animalistic, guttural noise escapes me as a stream of bile and spew splashes in the water bowl that my head still hovers above. I feel the specks of vomit and water splash onto my face. I retch a few more times but struggle to bring anything else up. I’m pretty sure all of the contents and lining of my stomach are now in the water bowl in front of me.

I roll onto my side with my head as far away as it can get from the bowl and I assume a foetal position. I look at my captor; my tormentor. He speaks to me. He tells me why I am here. He tells me why he’s doing this to me. I hear his words but my throbbing, confused head struggles to find meaning in them. I assume I’ve been drugged but, now I think of it, maybe I just have a nasty concussion.

One thing shines through in what the man tells me. If I keep breeding and caging dogs here like I have been, he’s coming back. I think he said he’d kill me. It doesn’t matter. Death can’t feel any worse than I feel right now. A part of is hoping for death so as to end this experience. I don’t respond as he opens my cage and leaves the room.

I can’t believe anyone would do this to me. Sure, I’ve bred a lot of dogs here and kept them in cages until I could sell them but I’ve never hurt anyone. They’re only animals. I hate these self-righteous hippies. This dog-loving prick has just treated me like an animal for no reason. I’m not an animal, am I?