For Better or Worse

Chapter 1

They’re so cute!”

Looking into a giant glass terrarium at her small colony of pets within, a little girl tugs on her father’s sleeve to get his attention.

“I know, dear. They’re very cute. Now get tucked in, it’s getting past your bedtime,” the father says.

“But Daddy!” The little girl begs, peering back at the many small creatures inside. “Can’t I watch them play just a little bit longer? Look! Aw, look Daddy! Those two are loving each other!”

“Come on now, little girl. You’ve stayed up late enough. Time for bed.” He says, lifting his daughter up as he hoists her into her sleeping space.

“Okay, okay.” The girl sighs, watching her father place the wide veil over the terrarium to cover it. “See you guys tomorrow!” She shouts gleefully at her tiny creatures.

Kissing her on the snout, the father tucks the little girl in and turns off the light.

“Good night, little munchkin. I love you.” He says, closing the door until it’s just slightly cracked.

“I love you too Daddy.” The girl replies. Waiting until her father is gone, she lifts her head and peers at the glass dome.

“I love you guys too,” she whispers, closing her eyes before slowly drifting asleep.

Chapter 2

“Rise and shine, everyone!”

Quickly pulling away the large veil covering the girl’s terrarium, she excitedly greets the occupants inside.

“I bet you guys are hungry, aren’t you?” She asks matter-of-factly. Walking to the small closet in the corner of her room, she grabs a packet of food and a pale of water.

“And it looks like your lake is almost all dried up! You guys must be thirsty!” The girl exclaims, ripping open the food packet as she pulls back the small square door at the top the glass dome.

Holding the packet over the center of the little community of creatures, the girl shakes it until all the tiny morsels of food have fallen out. Watching her pets scramble toward the newly dropped food, she smiles as she pours water into the side of the dome where a pond-like crevice has been dug.

“Drink up, teenie weenies!” She cheerfully says, closing the lid.

As she places the water pale back in the closet, she notices that one of the tiny creatures is laying underneath a group of mini tree-like plants, not moving.

“Oh no!” She cries. “Not again!”

Placing her hands on the glass to lean over the dome, she looks down at the recently deceased pet.

“I told you all to stop fighting!” She tersely shouts. “Why can’t you just get along?”

Returning to the closet, the girl reaches in and grabs a long, skinny pole with a tong on the end. Re-opening the glass lid, she nabs the dead creature and chucks it outside her open window onto the lawn below.

“If I find out which one of you keeps doing this, you’re gonna be in big trouble!” She asserts, holding the tong up. “Now ya’ll behave while I’m gone!”

Closing the lid once more, she puts the tong back in the closet, exiting the room to spend the day outside.

Chapter 3

“Aw, yay!”

The day after disposing the dead creature, the little girl is pleasantly surprised to see that two of her pets have had a baby. Standing over the dome with a wide grin on her face, she looks down at the two tiny creatures nurturing their teenie, fragile newborn.

“Good job, you two! I hope the others take after the example you’ve set.” The girl coos, giggling as she watches the little family huddled together in the corner of the glass enclosure.

“Oh! But wait!” She says, remembering the chapter in her booklet that teaches how to properly take care of the creatures.

Sliding the lid open, the girl reaches down and grabs the newborn pet, pulling it up out of the dome. As she does so, the parents become visibly distraught, running to the edge of the glass as they watch the little girl carry the baby across the room.

“It’s okay!” She shouts back at them with a smile, seeing their distress. “I’m just making sure she’ll grow up nice and strong!” She adds, placing the small newborn in a separate, much smaller container.

Obviously not comprehending the reassurances of the girl, the baby creature’s parents remain at the edge of the glass for the remainder of the day, helplessly peering across the room at their new offspring, wishing they could be together.

Chapter 4

“All better!”

Pulling her arm from out of the tank, the little girl slides the lid back on her glass habitat after setting down the little newborn she’d taken out the night before.

“Those nutrients will make you a super pet!” She shouts, watching the parents finally reconnect with their baby.

“Anyway,” the girl says, sounding bored, “What are the rest of you guys up to?”

Stepping over a few feet to observe the little colony of creatures, she scratches her head.

“Why do you all keep doing that?!” The girl cries. “Stop splitting up!”

Since she first got them, the creatures have shown a tendency to huddle together in small groups. Some are lighter colored, and some are darker, and they seem to prefer grouping with those they resemble.

“You guys are sooooo weird,” the girl says to them. “You know you’re all the same little things, right?”

Looking back to a bookshelf against the wall, the girl grabs the instruction booklet that came with her pets’ terrarium. Opening it up, she turns to the pages that cover their interactions with one another.

“The creatures will have a tendency to keep close proximity with ones that look most like them.” She reads. “Do not worry if they display this behavior, as it is expected of them.”

Taking a moment to look at the tank again, the little girl shuts the booklet.

“Huh! Well I guess it’s normal after all, weirdos! But just so you guys know, I think that’s pretty dumb. You’re all made of the same stuff.” She says, sliding the booklet back in its spot on the shelf. “Anyway, its sleepy time! Good night little ones.”

Flicking off the light, the girl throws the wide veil over the dome and crawls into bed.

Chapter 5

“Hidey hidey hoooo!!”

Happily skipping over to the habitat on her table,  the little girl in the bedroom is gleaming over the new cut she’s gotten for her fur.

“Do you like my new bangs, teenie weenies?” She excitedly asks her pets. “I know you can’t understand me, but I bet you do! They’re very pretty. Just like you guys!”

Looking to a small group of less-than-healthy-looking creatures coddled in the far rear of the dome, she grimaces.

“Well, like most of you guys, at least.” She says, rolling her head to the side as she snootily brushes her hair back. “Anyway, you’re gonna love the new toy Daddy got for you all!”

Opening the tank, the girl lifts a box and pulls out a large digital screen which depicts moving images of other small creatures that look just like her pets. The creatures displayed appear to be acting out their own little lives, similar to the ones in the terrarium. Finding a cozy spot to set it in the terrarium, she places the big screen down as the tiny inhabitants flock over in front of it, seemingly enamored as they watch the images.

“I knew you’d like it!” The girl excitedly coos, closing the lid. “No idea why, though. After all, those fake teeny weenies aren’t doing anything that you aren’t already doing yourselves! Why don’t you just watch each other, sillies?”

Happily scooting back to observe the new environment she’s created, the little girl spends the rest of her evening quietly watching them enjoy their new square of moving images.

Chapter 6

Caution: Creatures may occasionally engage in physical conflict. It is important for the owner of the habitat to pay close attention to how your terrarium’s occupants are grouped. Indicators of impending conflict may include, but are not limited to:

  • Two large groups of inhabitants facing one another in close proximity. Usually preceded by audible squealing of the creatures as a collective.
  •  Aggressive body language, abrupt movement, and loud vocal exchanges (when occurring simultaneously). Individually these behaviors do not necessarily indicate physical conflict. 

**Important**

If your terrarium’s inhabitants group together in close proximity while carrying small, board-like signposts or other tools, separate them immediately. It is recommended you allow two to four hours before removing them from isolation to reintegrate with their fellow inhabitants. This will allow their aggressive emotions to subside, creating a more peaceful environment for your pets! 

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Closing the handbook, the little girl sets her Creature Care Taking Manual back on the bookshelf by her bed after reading it.

“Silly teenie-weenies!” She says, laughing as she turns to look at them from her bed. “See? There’s no need for you guys to fight! It says right here you’ll calm down if you yourselves a little time to blow off the steam.”

Getting up to walk over to the dome, she opens it and removes the partition she’d placed down three hours ago to separate two groups of visibly angry little creatures.

“You guys are so cute.” She says as she watches the two groups slowly make their way toward one another, eventually creating one seamless, teenie-weenie unit.

“Good job! I’m proud of you fellas.” She says.

Shutting the lid, she turns around and leaps into bed, wriggling around until she’s created a little dimple in her wide mattress. Hearing the commotion, her father enters the room to kiss her good night.

“Hello, little one. How was your day?” He asks he as he blows her candle out with his long snout.

“It was good, Daddy! I made my little guys get along.” She says cheerfully, obviously proud of herself for mitigating the conflict. “They we’re fighting over something stupid.”

Laughing and smooching her forehead, the father brushes her hair back before walking to the door.

“Good girl. I’m glad to hear that you’re a peaceful overlord.” He says with a chuckle and a wink.

“I love you Daddy!” The little girl says, shutting her eyes.

“I love you too, sweetie.” Her father whispers with a smile, gently closing the door.

Chapter 7

“Ho hum ho hum deedeedee!”

Joyfully skipping around her bedroom, the little girl is singing and humming to herself as her furry pigtails bounce around behind her.

“Now, what are my teenie-weenies up to today?” She asks, skipping over to the terrarium.

As she peers inside, she sees that her little creatures have erected an enormous statue of her. Chiseled to perfection, the monolith displays her every feature, dimpled smile and all.

“Wow! Well look at that!” She squeals in delight. “How did you guys do that without me noticing?!”

Leaning back to admire the sculpture, she beams at the tiny inhabitants inside, who appear to be bowing before her.

“You guys are just so adorable. Thank you for my statue!” She says to them.

Entering her room, the girl’s father approaches the tank as he puts his hand on her head.

“Time for bed, sweetie.”

Noticing the statue, he chuckles.

“And what have we here?” He asks.

“My teenie-weenies built me a monument, Daddy! Look!” The little girl says, pointing to the newly erected obelisk.

“Very impressive!” Her father laughs. “You are clearly a generous God. Now come, let’s get you tucked in.”

“Okay Daddy.” The girl says as her father lifts her up, placing her under the sheets. Kissing her on the forehead, smiles at her before walking out the door.

“I love you, kiddo.” He says.

“Love you too Daddy.” The girl replies, yawning as she softly falls asleep.

Chapter 8

IMPORTANTHUMAN BEINGS ARE VOLATILE, DANGEROUS, AND EMOTIONALLY UNPREDICTABLE 

***Handle with utmost caution. Do not allow these creatures outside of the included habitat***

Setting her instruction booklet aside, the little girl takes one final look at her “teenie-weenies”, before clearing the tank to make room for her next batch of creatures.

“Sorry little guys!! I know you’ve been having the time of your lives in there, but I’ve got some new teenie-weenies on the way!! Daddy says they are even more exciting than you guys! Much smarter and more fun to play with. I’m sooooooo sorry!!!!!!”

Grasping the enclosure with her trunk, the little girl dumps the entire habitat of human beings into the drain inside her bathroom, flushing them down into the abyss below.

“Have fun down there!!” She shouts, smiling as the very last human swirls around in a vortex of death.

“All clean Daddy!” The girl shouts, waiting for her father to bring in her new pets. “These humans were fun.”

 


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