In the pound there is a room, an old room, with a cracked ceiling and musty air. It is a sad room, a hopeless room. A room without crying, without talking. The only noise is the coughing, the sneezing, the moaning. It is the room where the sick pets go.
They didn't want us to infect the others, but it happened anyways. If it weren't for the fact that having two sicknesses was nearly impossible we would've had our own rooms. That room was cold, always cold, and then burning. Burning hot as the fever flared up again. Bunks lined the walls. The sheets were old and wrinkled, but clean. The pink Uni made sure they were clean for us. We never talked, we never argued; there was no talk about the old days. We all wanted to die. To die and leave this place.
The pink Uni hardly ever brought owners back here, unless they asked. We were alone. My mind throbbed with a headache, had it always been like this? The misery? It seemed unending. I had had Neomonia when I got here, that was why I was here. My owner didn't want to spring for the ten thousand points to heal me. After weeks of getting only snowballs and hp from the Healing Springs, something snapped. I had woken up here one morning. There was no goodbye, no explanation, but maybe an explanation would have made me hate her more. I curled my tail around my body, trying to keep in some of the heat the short burst of fever allowed me. I fingered the thin blanket, wishing I could sleep.
That morning I woke up to blackness. I expected it was the middle of the night but no, I could hear the voices of owners in the pound. I couldn't see anything, not even the strip of light under the door. I waved my paw in front of my hand. Nothing but the slight whoosh of wind told me that it was there. I stumbled off my bunk and made my way towards the door. My fingers brushed the cold steel and I got down on my knees, searching for the crack, the light. My hands found the gap between the floor and the door and froze. I panicked, placing my face down by the crack, trying in vain to see something that I would never see again. I screamed, my voice cracking, and sent myself into a bought of coughs. The pink Uni came running, I could hear her hooves. The door swung open and I felt the warmth of the dim light. But I couldn't see it.
They tried their best to comfort me, but it was no use. My owner had stolen my love, and now she had taken my sight. The pink Uni even brought in the green Gelert Doctor from the hospital, but nothing worked. In the end they settled me back down in my bunk and left me. I was blind.
I slowly adjusted to the new lifestyle. My big Xweetok ears actually came in handy. At first I couldn't only tell voices, maybe the occasional noise of a door being opened, but I got good at it. Soon I could tell the difference between the pink Uni's steps and the other Unis in the pound. I could tell the difference between the twin yellow Kacheeks' coughs. My world may have been dark, but it was never empty. For two years the noises of the pound were my world, my ears had become-and would always be-my eyes. I didn't expect a life, but the faeries have a way of surprising you.
It was near closing time that next day. The Uni was taking a head count of the newly abandoned pets and trying to find open bunks for all of them. Owners still trickled in slowly, like they always did, but these were the owners we all wanted. The ones who avoided the rush and tried to find the basic pets. They never took two home if they knew they could only care for one. They were the ones who brought their pets back to the pound only to let them chat with old friends. We all wanted to be adopted by them, to be given a home, but we knew the chances were slim. They looked for the younger pets, the ones who would get along best with their pets. I sat quietly on my bunk, combing my fur slowly with a lunar comb one of the pets had found for me. I didn't know why I was doing it, I almost never tried to tidy up for the owners. Maybe it was nostalgia. She used to brush me every night, combing my hair back from my face and laughing at the faces I'd make at her... There was a sharp thud and the metal door swung open. All the pets, no matter how sick, turned to face the beam of light that shot through. All but me. The pink Uni almost never brought owners back here, but I didn't care about the light. I turned my ear towards the door. Snatches of conversation echoed from the two.
"-these are our sick pets, Ma'am," the pink Uni was saying. The owner didn't reply for a long time. I could hear her footsteps walking around the room. Sometimes she would pause at the pets, other times she would make a point to stop and mutter something to the pet, an apology of sorts for why she couldn't take them home. I could hear her getting closer and closer to my row. Part of me wanted her to stop at my bunk, to take me home, but another part of me wanted to run and hide, to avoid this owner. She came around and stopped at me.
"Hello," she said, her voice quiet and cool. I turned my ear towards her. "Not too happy to see me then?" She laughed a little.
"I can't see you," I muttered coolly. "I'm blind." The owner fell silent and I knew, I knew I'd missed my chance. She walked away, but she didn't stop at any other bunks. I could hear the pink Uni's voice clearly.
"You sure you want Anna?" My heart jumped. The owner came back over and scooped me up in her arms. The sudden movement made me dizzy.
"It's okay, Anna," she said as we walked out of the back room of the pound, past the rows of doorways leading to the other rooms, to the front of the pound. "I will never pound you again."
I woke up that morning in a clean bed. It was warm, the blankets were thick and downy. The room smelled like roses and honeydew melon. I stretched, trying to figure where I was. That's when it hit me: my fever was gone. I sat up, taking a deep breath of the air. For the first time in two years I didn't cough. I was healed. I nearly jumped for joy. That was when I realized that my world was still black. I guess for years I had assumed that when I was healed the colors would all come back. I leaned back, tears slipping down my face.
"I tried my best."
I turned my ear towards my new owner and scowled, tossing my pillow at her.
"Apparently your best isn't enough," I snapped, pulling the blanket around my shoulders. I could hear her footsteps across the wooden planked floor. She sat down next to me, running her hand through my fur.
"I never told you my name," she said, and I tried hard to keep up my annoyed facade.
"I don't care."
"I am the Librarian."
I struggled to keep my face from breaking into a smile. I failed miserably.
"What kind of name is that?" I laughed a little, and she chuckled.
"Not as nice a name as Anna."
"But that's not my real name," I said quietly.
"No, I guess not. But this is a new home, Anna." I turned to face her. "And you can be whoever you want."