The Incarceration of Serafina

Day One

Well, that most assuredly did not go as well as planned. What started out as a simple look-see to determine why so many of my crew have gone missing did not turn out well at all. At least they have not relieved me of my personal journal. In this way, I can keep a record of my incarceration among the aborigines of this planet.

It’s a lovely planet, and because we had been in transit for so long, I surmised that my crew was simply taking advantage of the natural beauty and getting a little well deserved rest and relaxation. Now it seems that is most likely not the case.

I was detained and confined within a few hours of my arrival in one of the aborigines’ city centers, if you can call it that. I have been placed in a cell with others, similar to me, in cells around me. Unfortunately, none of them speak my language and so I have been unable to determine where I am, how long I might be held, or even why I am being held.

The accommodations are terrible. They have thrown some blankets on the floor for a bed. The sanitary facilities are pathetic. And the food was delivered without eating utensils. I did not eat any of it. It was horrible and not at all suitable to one of my station.

They have turned out the lights and my cell mates are settling down to sleep. I guess I must do the same. Best to be well rested to prepare for whatever might transpire tomorrow.

Day Two

I do so wish they had not divested me of my uniform. The pockets thereof contained a few items that might have allowed me to break out of my cell. That shall be my main purpose and focus … breaking out. I will take as many of these others with me as I am able. I feel very exposed without my clothing. But none of the others around me is clothed. We are all naked. It must be some sort of attempt to belittle and control us emotionally. The aborigines are all clothed. Perhaps it makes them feel superior. Once I learn enough of their language, I will give them a piece of my mind about that. Of course, though, I hope to be long gone from this sorry world before I can learn enough of their language to do that.

I am fairly certain I know their single sound for “cease what you are doing this instant,” but beyond that, the aborigines have not been exceptionally forthcoming with dialogue.

A short, very round aborigine arrived shortly after the sun came up. It is assumed that she is a female of the species due to the presence of pronounced mammary glands and a higher pitch to her vocalizations. Although, it was observed yesterday as I was being unceremoniously detained, that the individual detaining me was most likely male by the hirsuteness of his face and the lower pitch to his voice, and yet, he had pronounced mammary glands as well. Perhaps both sexes of this species are capable of nurturing the very young.

The short and round aborigine has delivered breakfast. She has removed my uneaten dinner from last evening while making some sort of note on a form she has hanging on her cart. The breakfast is no different from the dinner and is still completely unappealing to me. Yet, the others around me are eating greedily and quickly. I cannot imagine how they can stand it. I refuse to eat the slop.

Quite some time has passed since breakfast was delivered. Very little has transpired. Those around me speak to each other now and then, but mostly they sleep. I can see why that might be if they have been here any length of time. There is not much else to do.

As for myself, I have remained alert. I sit at the very front of my cell so that I may see more of what transpires; precious little that it is. A different aborigine from the breakfast aborigine came through the cells a while back. She was accompanied by a male with a long stick. The female engaged herself by cleaning the sanitary facilities in each cell. The male only applied his stick if any of the inmates attempted to escape their cells.

I witnessed one such encounter and was counseled by it to not attempt my own escape. That the male seemed to enjoy his duties was not lost upon me. And on several occasions, it looked as if he might be encouraging an attempt at escape in order to apply his stick. In my opinion, that is totally reprehensible behavior.

It is once again evening. We have gone straight from breakfast to dinner with no lunch offered in between. Dinner is the same disgusting fair as breakfast. But hunger is starting to gnaw at my stomach and so I may have to eat the slop whether I will it or not. Oh, how I long for my uniform and my tools.

Day Three

I did indeed consume the meal that was offered last evening. It did not taste as bad as it looked or smelled. I find the latter to be an odd contradiction. There were some hard bits which I carefully set aside. They did not seem to bother any of the others, but they seemed out of place to me and so I did not eat them. I worried that they might contain some drug to make me more docile. For it seems to me that my sad compatriots are extremely docile and not at all involved in their situation.

The same short and round aborigine has delivered breakfast. And the same pair have been along and cleaned the sanitary facilities. It looks as if this day will play out much the same as the last two. With one exception, the female cleaner made a few interesting noises with her mouth that sounded a little like music. I had no idea these aborigines had any kind of culture. Maybe they are not quite as backward as I first assumed. They do, after all, possess some technology. Still, I have encountered races that made use of ancient technologies with no understanding of them whatsoever. They thought it was magic or some such silliness.

So, I guess I shall just have to settle down and wait to see what might transpire. Oh wait, what is that commotion? I hear many different noises. As if a group of aborigines is approaching.

Oh look. That must be what the young of this species look like. They are a lot more pleasing to gaze upon than their elders. But what are they doing?

They are stopping at each cell in turn and looking at the occupant. Now one is poking its fingers through the bars and the occupant is licking them. Why would she lick the fingers of the young aborigine? The other young one is saying something to one of the elders. Is that laughter? Are they laughing at the plight of me and my compatriots? That seems totally lacking in compassion.

Now the elder is speaking to the male with the stick. It seems they want the cell opened. Yes! They are opening the cell. The male with the stick is gesturing for the occupant to exit the cell. The occupant seems very happy to be out of her cell and they all head for the door at the end of the hallway. It is much quieter once they have all passed through the door and the door is closed.

I had not realized it, as engrossed as I was in what was occurring, but many of the other occupants of the cells had started vocalizing quite loudly when the one occupant was released. In hindsight, the vocalizations sounded distressed. And yet, the body language of the one released seem to be indicating happiness on some level. Oh I so wish I could speak with the people around me so I could find out what this place is and what is its purpose.

Once again, no lunch was offered. I would really appreciate some lunch. It is a very long time between breakfast and dinner.

The individual that was released never returned. I fear the worst. And there is now a new individual in that cell. I worry that something bad has happened to the previous occupant of the cell. Still, I did not at any time sense fear. I wish I knew what was happening.

Day ?

I have no idea how long I have been here. I stopped making entries into my journal after day three because every day was the same as every other.

I have made some small progress at learning the language of the aborigines. It is a very limited language, unfortunately. How they manage to conduct their society with such a limited vocabulary is beyond me. I have theorized that perhaps a major part of their communication is empathic or perhaps even telepathic even though our scientists assure us that telepathy is a myth and simply not possible.

I now know the sounds for “put your back side on the floor” and “remain right where you are until I tell you differently.” I also know the sounds for when you have behaved as required, and not as required.

Day ??

I do not know how much more of this I can bear. On several occasions, aborigine families (that is what I now know them to be) have come and looked at my cell mates. Several have been removed never to return. What happens to them? I still fear the worst.

But I have decided that should any aborigine families approach my cell in future, I will go to the front of the cell and lick the proffered fingers. If it wins my release from this cell, it will be worth it.

Day ???

An aborigine family has skipped all the cells before mine. They are stopping at my cell. I will hurry to the front of it. Look! The small female is sticking her fingers through the bars. Much as it pains me to do so, I decide I will lick them and so I do. The face of the small female changes abruptly. Her lips part and she shows her teeth. But I have learned that among these aborigines it does not indicate aggression. It is an expression of pleasure. She is speaking to her elder and the man with the stick is coming to open the door to my cell. I find my tail wagging quite vigorously in response.

We all walk down the hall and out of the door. We stand at a counter where the elder aborigines shuffle papers around for a while.

Oh no! They are attempting to remove my necklace with my personal journal pendant upon it. It seems they want to replace it with another necklace. If they do not return it to me, I shall not be able …

The elder male says, “Well, Mother, that is the grumbliest dog I have ever laid eyes on.”

The elder female replies, “Yes, dear, she certainly does seem growly, doesn’t she? I have no idea what Susie sees in her.”

Susie says, “Mom, Dad, she’s just talking. Can’t’ you see that. She’s going to be the best and smartest doggie ever. I just know it.”

About two years ago now, when I was looking for a dog to adopt, I spent a lot of time online looking at the various rescues and the local humane society. I saw a lot of pictures of absolutely adorable dogs. But many of them didn’t meet my needs. One of which was size. I needed a small dog because I was still in recovery from a bad accident and subsequent surgery.

There was one dog that I thought would fit the bill. But when I went to the humane society, she had already been adopted. Her name was Serafina.


There was something about her photo that spoke to me. I had to write the story that you have just read. I sort of formed whole in my mind and kind of amazed me with the detail.

When I did finally find a dog I thought we should adopt … that would be Maddie … there was also something in her photos that said I am the one. We almost didn’t get her because someone else with a fenced yard was interested in her. But Maddie’s foster mom decided I really needed her. And she was right.

The weird thing is, Maddie is probably the grumbliest dog I have ever known. She grumbles when I rub her belly. She grumbles when I pick her up to put her on the bed at night. She just grumbles a lot. I figure she’s talking. She’s telling me how she feels about this, that or the other thing. It’s not her fault I can’t translate her various grumbles.

She has a number of other also endearing habits. She pokes me in the leg with her nose to get my attention. If I continue to ignore her, as when I am in the zone and writing like a fiend, she will clap her jaws together. If I ignore the clapping, she’ll say gerroww-Ruf! And then I really can’t ignore her any longer.

Maddie is smart and funny and loving and lovable. Our lives are better for having her in it.

Fourteen pounds of enthusiasm and joy.
Photo by Deborah Mayne

Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

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