I woke up dazed, something in my water smelt oily. I believe it was the reason I had fallen asleep. Did a human do that? As my eyes ajusted I could only see shadows, had someone moved my tank? Where was I? Suddenly, a flash of light stormed through the room. Wait, was I even in a room? If so, the room was moving. I could feel the water in whatever I was sitting in sloshing around as I was thrown about. I turned to investigate, and I hit something. A plant? A new decoration for my home? No, it was plastic. I turned the other way, plastic once again blocked me. Another strike of light flashed, this one held longer. And I saw them.
Dead Bettas, friends, kin, those who I had known. Spawn bothers and sisters. Dead. I frantically scanned for any other Betta who might be alive, but the lights flickered back off before I could find another living being.
Where was I? What was this hell filled with dead bettas? Why had they died? Where was home? And how could I get back?
For hours I found myself colliding head on with plastic, searching for a way out. In my confusion I hadn't been able to solve it. I was in something other than a tank. A small confinement tank. Frusterated and sure of my hyposthesis, I layed down. To pity myself or think of a soloution I don't remember. All I know is whatever it is I chose to use my time with did me no good. In the end, I ended up exhausted with a throbbing head fom the multiple collisions.
After several hours of bumping around in complete terror, the constant rumbling stopped. I didn't know what to think of it. Should I be afraid? Releived? Happy? I had no idea where I was, or why this room had been moving for hours on end. I heard movement outside the room. It got closer, I didn't know how to respond to this, ither.
In an instant a very bright light flooded the room, and I saw my dead companions once more. However this time I met the gaze of multiple surviving Bettas, each seemed as terrified as I was.
A human was standing infront of us, he had opened doors that let the light in. He said something in an angry tone, from there he proceeded to throw the bodies of my dead friends somewhere out of my small window of vision. When he came to me he handled me very roughly, squeezing my cup. He threw me into a box and the cup I was in tipped over. The water poured out the cup, for the lid had come off. The man yelled something the hurt my ears. So, with stale and callaused hands he roughly picked me up, which stung my body, and threw me into a cup with another male. The brute flared at me and I flared back. Instead of attacking which is what I thought he was going to do, he fell to the bottom of the cup. Looking pale and sick he glanced up at me. I attempted an attack, he was weak enough to kill.
I hesitated. I had been thrown in here with him, this was his territory. In addition, did I really want his dead body in here along with me? How awful that would be.
I decided not to attack. The cons weighed heavily over the pros. So, I laid down as well. I struggles to sleep, there was so much noise and bumping around. Twice I was unable to stay on my side of the overly small cup and ended up crashing into the ill Betta.
After an eternity, or as it seemed, of endless clattering, we were lifted from the moving box. We were deposited onto a shelf, surrounded by other bettas in cups. I flared, some flared back. My stomach started to hurt and I became overwhelmed with stress and worry. What if one jumped into my cup? What if the male I was with decided to kill me? I could not sleep, and I did not feel hungry in the least bit. This constant worry engulfed me, and I became obsessed. Frantically searching around me at all times, making sure I was away from any certain death.
About 30 pellets were thrown into out cup each day, by a careless human. I was hit numerous times. Neither my partner or I were interested in the cheap food. Soon out water became cloudy and untouched food piled up on on the bottom of the cup. Shortly after the cloudiness began to burn my eyes, my gills, and everywhere else. From the moment I had been thrown in this cup I had felt the sting, but never like this. I wished so badly to escape. Possibly death was a better option than this hell.
Humans constantly visited us, each ignoring us because we were placed in the back. Two days after a human had come and saved 3 others, the Betta with me died. The water stung so much, I gasped at the surface to escape the fire in the water and to breathe. Right then, I made a decision. To get out of this water. Now. So I began to push, I pushed on the side of the small cup. The dead Betta's body slammed into mine, it stung. I pushed with all my might, and tipped the cup over. The lid snapped off and I and the deceased Betta flew out of the cup, the soiled water carrying us.
I was still placed in the back, I hadn't considered that. Now I was going to die back here, unnoticed, a carcass upon me. I gasped, though I could still breathe. Not as well as in water, but the stinging was at least much less worse. What was I to do?
I was going to try. Live or die, I was going to try. My body felt stiff, and I suddenly craved water. Even if it stung. With all my effort I jumped forward, making it to the 3rd or 4th row of Bettas. Dead betta's empty eyes glared at me, while live ones pleaded for help. I continued to leap. I made it even further, and then, unexpectedly, I was falling. Possibly to my doom. I hid a hard cold surface, my head slammed into the ground.
So I lay there, gasping and spent, ready to say goodbye. I missed my old home. Clean water, plenty of swimming room, promised feedings of hearty and delicious food. What had happened? Had I been given away? None of that mattered right now. I wanted to live. So I held on, waiting to either be stepped on or die alone, or be found.
I didn't know how long I had been lying there. A few had passed, none had seen me. This ground stung my body, sharp things jabbed me. A wad of something I had never encountered wrapped itself around my now drying body.
Suddenly my tail was torn from my body. I heard a human shreik. The land creature lowered down to get a better look at me.
"A betta!" She screamed. "Come quick! Get me the net!"
Was I about to be rescued? No, it was too late. I couldn't breathe. My body went stiff, I couldn't even flop about. I was dying. It was too late.