Home. The word had lost all meaning. He could barely remember his own name, let alone where he was really from. He clutched his bag of peanuts tighter. “I’ll get out of here someday,” He thought. He was the oldest and greatest among those captives around him. When he was first brought here, most of them were very old, and he was young. Since then he’d seen many born, others brought in as he was—drugged and caged—and he’d seen many die. Age took them, and too young, as he recalled many an elder in his own tribe that were ancient, much older than those who died here.
Out beyond the bars people would pass and mock and squeal with stupidity at his captivity. When the men found him out among the wood, he was a king. His land was rich with fruit, and the air was cool and damp. Here, he was a joke. Food was controlled, and came frequently, but never in abundance. The air was hot, and lacked the moisture of his natal land.
He could recall he had a mate back in the wood. Perhaps she was with child? He wasn’t sure. Here in the cage there were many others, even females, but he’d never choose another. He missed home. He missed her. He missed his pack and the smell of fresh rain on the lush earth. He wasn’t a king among his fellow captives either. He was far below the alpha here.
“I have the peanuts, I have my pride,” he thought, eating the remainder of the bag.
Outside the bars he saw a child standing still, starring. She clutched a red balloon. He went to the bars, pressing his face as close as he could. He reached out his tawny hand. Though he couldn’t speak her language, he used his every faculty to send a clear message: I am a captive here; pity me. Free me. Let me go home. Her mother came and whisked her away. he sat back, grunting, scratching his chest. “Someday, they’ll let me go,” He thought. He looked at the pack of captives huddled around the drinking pool. “Someday. Someday.”