I hope this doesn't sound too cheesy!! I'm only going to tell Leo's story, since he's been through so much...
I remember floating in my cup...I was one of the last ones left. There were five of us on the bottom rack; all but one of the cups above us had been removed, either by store people (employees, I think they are called) or visitors (called owners..or mothers/fathers, depending how attatched they become to us). The cup above me held a dead fish and I could see him laying on the bottom of his cup...the only other live betta was in the cup next to me, and he had already bitten his tail down to a stub. It was one of the few things we could do to occupy our minds. My tail was already short, and I admit I couldn't help but to bite sometimes too. Then she came in...I could tell she wasn't too sure, flitting back and forth between aisles, arms full of different things. I saw plants, food (pellets...and bloodworms) and a bottle with a picture of a fish on it. And then, finally, she picked me up, inspecting me. I remember seeing her smile through the hazy water and I knew I was going home. After living on the bottom rack for so long, you eventually learn human words...as she brought me to the register, the employee mentioned "poor thing..he would have been put away tomorrow when the new shipment arrived" (I later learned that "put away" basically meant "thrown out"...). She took me with her, and I suddenly felt more alive. I paced back and forth in my cup, watching as she placed my cup on her desk and began to put together a new home for me. A half-moon shaped tank, filled with blue rocks and a stone that changed colors and released bubbles. When she released me into my new home, it was cold, but much better than the cup I had been sentenced to. The first few days were rough, as she was unsure on a lot of things. She was also gone for most of the day, leaving me alone. It wasn't so bad, but sometimes it was lonely. One day she came back with a black stone- I thought it was going to shoot out bubbles, but I was wrong; this one had a glowing red light on it and it produced warmth, warming my tank. I felt better, even better than when she had first taken me home. I had so much more energy now, finally having enough energy to fully explore my new home. The plants were hard and tore at my fins, and the waterfall made the water move a lot. But I forgave her, because she was trying. I could sense her disappointment when she saw the damage the plants had caused. A few days later she returned with new plants- big green ones that smelled like water and dirt, not like plastic- and these funny things called "shrimp". They smelled sick, but it was nice to have some company. A week went by and the plants and shrimp began to die...but she wasn't there. I got really sick, not only from the dead things in the tank, but from the salt that was in my tank (it was still in big chunks, right from the package)....since then, I've moved to several tanks and had several tank mates, including cory catfish (who had to be rehomed) and another male on the other side of a plastic see-through wall. When the weather became colder (I could tell because the air above the water was colder), I was moved once again, into the half-moon tank I had first lived in. It wasn't long before I began to feel itchy and tired. I tried to scratch on the plants in my tank, but they were made of silk, so they weren't that effective...so I began to bite again. But because the biting relieved the itchy feeling in my fins, I began to bit all of them...soon my ventral fins became nothing more than threads, my dorsal fin had a bite taken from it (it wasn't as itchy as the other ones), and my tail fin was ragged and thin. I had already been a biter before the itchiness started, but now it was even worse. I also began to lose weight...my mother (I had grown to recognize her face through the tank walls) was worried and began to feed me different kinds of food, hoping I'd gain back the weight. My favorite was the baby shrimp..they smelled so delicious that even when I wasn't hungry, I ate anyway. When it became even colder, my mother moved all of us (me, the other male Toby, and a yellow female) a long way away and we met some other people, a man, a woman and a boy. I moved from my half-moon tank into a tiny one, with only my heater and a thermometer (I told you I was good at recognizing human words!). It was very boring, especially since my mother kept me in a dark room with a towel over my tank...but I still recognized her when she came to feed me and give me medicine that turned the water blue. But the medicine helped the itchiness stop and gave me some relief. More time went by and one day I could sense sadness coming from my mother. She picked up my tank and moved me into a bright room that always smelled like human food. She didn't put the towel back on and gave me a final dose of medicine. She was very sad and she and the woman talked for a long time...I caught the words "getting worse" and "euthanize"...I didn't really know what they meant, but my mother became even more sad as the day went on. I felt like I was the one who had made her sad. But little did she know, even without the medicine, the itchiness had stopped. I felt better. I was recovering! The next day, I greeted her by pacing the wall of the small tank, following her every movement. She seemed to be happier...I never again heard those words. When we got back to our real home, I was moved into the big tank again, this time next to a huge male named Sparky. He didn't like me much, but I wasn't scared. My mother always calls me her fighter, her survivor...sometimes I hear her call me her little boy...and there has been no more sadness.
But now I am sick again and it's very difficult to see out of my right eye. It is very cloudy and swollen, and now my left eye is starting to do the same. My mother is stressed, but not sad, because she is confident she can heal me (I heard her say that the big tank has similar sickness in it). Tonight she put some strong yellow medicine in my tank. Already I can feel my eye becoming a little less swollen and there isn't as much pressure on it as before.
But I'll make it...because I am my mother's fighter, her little boy...and because I love her.
Last edited by sunstar93; 02-24-2013 at 12:06 AM.