Nightmares

It’s been a while since we’ve seen anything new from Oz. This is a small update, but even a little step is one step closer to the end. That’s a good thing, right?

(x)


“Wake up, little one,” Noriko coos. Her voice is soft and gentle even as she nudges Oscar’s side. He opens his eyes and sits up to stare out at her. The glass front wall of his doll room is gone. Only her big smile remains to wall him in.

“Good morning, sweet baby,” she greets him. She can barely contain her squeak of delight as Oscar rubs sleepily at his eyes.

When he stands, he’s right in front of her, looking up. She always has food for him in the morning, and it’s usually fresh fruit. He likes the food, even if he doesn’t like being her doll.

He has to remind himself. He doesn’t like being her doll.

“Are you hungry?” she asks. He nods. It makes her smile again.

A hand looms in his vision and Oscar shudders, but has nowhere to run and hide. She pats his messy hair down with one fingertip in a gentle, caring motion. It’s not the worst. Oscar knows to let her, and the motion will be over with sooner.

Her fingertip trails back and Oscar’s heart skips a beat. As it approaches his shoulders, he opens his mouth to ask her not to touch his back. She can’t or he’ll-

A wave of pain twinged down Oscar’s back as he woke with a start. A muffled squeak escaped his throat and he slowly came out of the weird dream. His surroundings were darker, not as colorful. He lay on his front, because lying on his back was still agonizing.

After nearly two weeks, his burns hadn’t healed yet. The human that gave them to him came once a day to check on him and sometimes applied new bandages. Other than that, Oscar was kept alone in his own small cage.

Something about already being conditioned. They didn’t want him to talk to others of his own kind, lest they influence him. Oscar never was sure what that could mean. They’d still all be trapped.

He heaved a sigh and winced. Even the simple movement of his torso from breathing agitated his sensitive skin. He couldn’t tell if he was getting used to the pain or if it was lessening by the day.

Whatever the answer, Oscar had woken thirsty. He glanced across his cage where a plastic dish of water waited. Several inches separated him from it.

He shifted, clenching his jaw as he did. With the same care he’d grown used to, he scooted himself off the folded cloth that was his bed. Cold metal touched his bare front, but he didn’t mind. Crawling like this was the best way to keep from moving too much and hurting his back. It was almost soothing to feel something other than the sharp sensation over his back.

Oscar didn’t pay much mind to the world beyond his cage. Only the front was uncovered, and it didn’t offer a very interesting view, only a nightmare room with dingy lighting and more cages on shelves.

It was kind of like his old doll room in a way, except not as comfortable.

No cage is comfortable, he reminded himself. Not even Noriko could dress up a cage enough to be anything but a trap.

Oscar reached the water and propped himself up next to it the best he could so he could scoop some out. It soothed his throat, despite being the same temperature as the room. That, at least, was nothing new.

There were footsteps somewhere in the hall. A human approached. Oscar closed his eyes and sighed. They might leave him be. They might. If not, he was ready. His nightmares never got better, but he at least knew what to expect.

Landing (2/2)

Warning: contains violence and brief descriptions of extreme pain

( x )


By the time he saw light again, Oscar’s tears had stopped once more. The human opened his hand and let Oscar roll harshly onto a new surface, where he lay exhausted for an extra second. The metal was cool to the touch.

“Just a mark for this one,” the gruff human announced. That led Oscar to notice the other human in the room.

“Got it,” they said. It was a much meeker human, but they were no less terrifying. Oscar could only see their back so far as they fiddled with something opposite where he lay. He brushed at his eyes with the heel of his hand. Even curiosity was a foreign emotion now. All he knew was fear and resignation.

The room was fairly small, by human standards. Oscar sat on a metal workbench that took up most of one wall. The man who’d carried him in leaned against the frame of an archway leading out one way, a bored look on his face. Another archway led out directly across the room, a trek of several minutes for Oscar but barely two strides for a human.

He didn’t have his climbing hook or his bag, not since Noriko took it away. Oscar didn’t even entertain the notion of trying to climb down. He had nowhere to go.

There was a lamp illuminating where he sat, but Oscar frowned at the human who had his back turned, working away at something on another workbench. There was a faint orange glow over there.

When they turned, they held a long metal rod in one gloved hand. Oscar’s eyes widened and he tried to scoot backwards on the table as the other human’s eyes fell on him. It only took them a few steps to saunter over, smirking down at him.

“Lord, he’s a little one. He’ll barely fit,” they mused. The human’s free hand left their side and descended towards Oscar’s cowering form, and he squeaked in terror. The hand might have blocked the sight of the tool they held in their other hand, but it couldn’t erase the memory of the heat haze coming off of it.

“N-no, please!” Oscar begged, but a finger and thumb pinched around him. He pushed at them, but they turned him over as if he hadn’t moved at all. He squirmed and kicked the best he could, but he was no match.

The human had done this before. Their hand settled over him, their heavy thumb pressing his legs down into the cold metal table. Other fingertips pinned his upper arms down, and his elbows didn’t have a good angle to try and push them away. Oscar’s face was pressed into the table and he could only see the human out of the corner of his eye. A fingertip shoved the hem of his shirt up and the cold air chilled his back like a hundred little needles.

There was a movement of glowing red in the corner of his eye. Warmth replaced the cold.

And then agonizing heat and pain replaced everything. Oscar screamed.

His voice was thready and broken, and he swore his skin sizzled as that hot metal made contact. His mind, in a panic, could only focus on the pain and the contact of the metal on his skin. It didn’t even last a second, and yet he felt like several minutes went by before there was nothing touching him but the table beneath him.

“What the hell?” the gruff human said. Oscar didn’t even flinch. He lay there, suddenly more exhausted than he’d ever been in his life, with his head pounding and his back stinging in the open air.

“I … The rod cooled off,” the smaller human stammered. Their voice was muffled by the throb of pain in Oscar’s head and on his back. “Must … must not have heated it up enough.”

“Well, now his mark’ll be uneven unless you’re more careful,“ the gruff human warned. “We can just hope Carson don’t notice. Just take care of it.”

“Right,” the other human said.

Oscar could hear more metal clattering behind him. He wanted to push himself up and at least try to crawl to safety. Instead, his muscles did nothing but quiver after all the strain. He blinked a few tears away and they fell onto the table. Even hearing those footsteps cross back toward him couldn’t convince his body to run.

The hand returned, pinning him down like before. Oscar finally struggled, but he was even weaker than before. This time, when the radiant heat reached him, it was like it clawed right into the first burn before the red-hot metal actually touched him. His scream pitched upwards. It was too much.

Another eternity with that hot metal against his skin went by. Then, just as the human removed it and cool air swarmed over it, Oscar lost consciousness again.

Landing (1/2)

It’s been a while since we last checked in on poor little Oscar in the Sad Oscar AU. Where we left off, he was on a plane, shipped off to who-knows-where. What’s on the other side of that trip?

( x )


From the second the plane landed, there wasn’t a still moment. After the rough turbulence of the plane taxiing back onto solid ground, Oscar’s prison was handed off multiple times. Callous voices gave instructions in loud tones. The light filtering through his air holes flickered and shifted, but Oscar lost track of how many doors and windows he passed. All of his effort went to curling up in a corner of his box.

His stomach hurt. His ears felt like they were stuffed with cotton. His head was pounding.

He was very, very lost. Even coming down from way up in the sky didn’t change that.

Whoever held his box for the latest car ride hadn’t said a word. They tapped the top occasionally, drumming on his cage with fingers bigger than his body. Oscar’s eyes were already puffy and stinging from so many shed tears, but a few more leaked down his face anyway.

They were in a city. He could hear it. Other cars rumbled by his current transportation, honking or screeching tires. People called to each other, thunderous voices muffled outside the car.

When it came to a stop, Oscar braced for movement like so many times before. There was an explosion of city noise as the door opened, though it was farther away from the worst of it. An almost smoky smell reached him, but he didn’t pay it any mind. Soon, he knew, the box would open up. Those fingertips tapping on the lid would dive in to snatch him up. Another human to look him over.

Just like Noriko. Just like Mina. He had been nothing more than a possession in their hands, and it wouldn’t stop now.

More walking, and a door closed behind them to seal off the sound of the city. Oscar sniffled and wished he knew how to prepare. It never became less terrifying. Humans were huge and powerful, and always did what they wanted no matter how he struggled.

“Ah, you’re back,” a voice greeted. It was deeper, male-sounding, but also smooth. Oscar didn’t recognize the accent, but he recognized the tone. People like that came and went at his old motel home. This human was a salesman.

Oscar’s carrier grunted an affirmative. The box jostled and then fell still as they set it down. Oscar barely had time to realize it before the lid came off at last and a bright light flooded in.

After the light, a human hand followed.

It didn’t wrap around him. Instead, a finger and thumb snared the front of his shirt. Oscar gasped as he was yanked upwards, lifting high over a table so the two men could look him over.

The man who held him ignored his squirms and attempts to cling to his fingers. Instead, he grinned at his friend. “I love it when Noriko gets these little things all ready. Does half our work for us, she does.”

“And for the same low price,” the other remarked. Oscar squeezed his eyes shut and tried to cling tighter, but the man never noticed his distress.

He snickered instead. “Love it when the yanks find ‘em. Alright, this one’s looking like he’d get a high bid, so be bloody careful, yeah? Young ones always bring in more but not if they’re damaged..”

Damaged? Oscar opened his eyes in time for the pinch on his shirt to release. He choked on a yelp of terror, only for his fall to end as quickly as it began. He was back in the first human’s hand.

“Full processing?” the human asked, casually curling a thumb inward to prevent Oscar from sitting up or rolling over on his palm.

The salesman eyed Oscar for a moment. Oscar trembled under that gaze; it was just like Mina’s. Cold and calculating. The smirk didn’t reach his eyes. “Nah. We can hold off for now, just take him to get a mark. I’ve heard this one’s very well behaved already.”

Oscar trembled as the chilling words sank in, and then his captor’s hand curled closed over him. He pushed against the fingers in alarm, but they didn’t even slow. He found himself squashed in their grip, completely immobile, while they walked somewhere else. His arms were pinned awkwardly to his chest and his legs were almost crushed in that grip.

Despite having cried off and on for most of his harrowing flight, Oscar found more tears in him as he was carried along. A heavy, thudding pulse pounded all around him, and the human’s body heat created beads of sweat on his forehead. The man’s calluses were rough against his own skin, but Oscar couldn’t avoid them no matter how he struggled.

He was so tired.

Taking Off

So, Oscar has been sold to the frigid Mina Chandler. Unfortunately, that isn’t the last he’s seen of troublesome changes in his life, as her job is merely to deliver. But to where, Oscar has no clue.


The roaring grew, and Oscar curled into a tighter ball. He was in the dark, but that was at least a comfort. The world around his small box prison shook with the sound of that massive engine, but he couldn’t see it at all. He didn’t have to watch the scary world that had swallowed him up and refused to release him.

He was an object. And he’d been sold.

He didn’t know where the plane was destined to go. The faint sensation of speed wormed in his gut as the enormous machine taxi’d, and he knew that wherever he was headed was far from his home. His space in a little motel in Breckenridge, Colorado was way beyond his reach now.

Oscar covered his ears with his hands to muffle the sound of that roaring engine, and thought of home. His makeshift table and spools for chairs. The shabby curtain in front of his pantry. The velvety ring box he used as a comfortable cushion while he worked on his sewing. A pile of blankets that he could burrow into to sleep at night and hide from the cold.

The plane jostled and shook as it picked up speed. Oscar grimaced and dragged the one piece of cloth he’d been given closer to himself. It didn’t hide him nearly enough.

The shaking suddenly changed. No more rumbles from speeding along the ground shook through his small body, only the engine’s roaring.

Gravity caught up as, a moment later, the world lurched upwards. Oscar cried out in fear and curled up again as an unseen force pushed him down into the bottom of the box. He was flying. It was just like the soaring feeling of a human grabbing him up, but thousands of times worse. The changing altitude hurt his ears like someone was pressing on either side of his head.

Oscar let his tears free. The pressure around his skull and concentrating on his ears hurt more than any headache he’d ever had. He couldn’t hear past the pounding in his own head as his body tried to cope with leaping miles into the air. For several long minutes, the pain drowned out all thoughts of where he was going. He couldn’t see the earth dropping away, but the terror of the very thought gripped him tight.

The entire plane shuddered again. Oscar was jostled out of his corner of the box and tossed against the opposite side by the turbulence. It knocked the wind out of him, but he didn’t take long to resume his frantic sobbing. The muscles in his hands hurt from clutching his blanket so tightly.

As the pressure mounted on his head and the fear and panic crackled through his every nerve, Oscar reached his breaking point. By the time the plane leveled off to carry him to his next destination, he was out cold.

At least in sleep he didn’t have to think. Blackness claimed him and his mind hid away from the fear of the unknown.

Changing Hands (5/5)

Welcome back to the sad Oscar AU. The unfortunate adventure continues for the little guy, as another upset in his new normal changes things again.

Mina’s part was written by @nightmares06, who graciously helped to bring even more terror to Oscar’s life.

(x)


Thomas hummed thoughtfully even as he lowered his hand to the table. His tiny passenger, still covering his face, wasn’t prepared for the hand to tilt. He tumbled again, landing on hands and knees while Thomas deliberated.

Oscar looked up tentatively while the answer came. “He did take a little work to get him healthier. And like you said, not many are caught in their prime. Fifty five.”

Oscar pushed himself to his feet and shuffled backwards. The cold demeanor from both humans was almost tangible. His gaze fell to the camera in Mina’s hand and he shuddered. Cameras were bad news for someone like him. He took a few more steps backwards.

A huge hand dropped behind him and Oscar squeaked in surprise. Thomas pointedly pushed him back to where he’d dumped him to the table. “Don’t wander,” rumbled overhead, and Oscar winced, but didn’t try to step back again.

Mina appeared to consider as she pointed the camera at Oscar– or Oliver, as she knew him. The device whirred to life, the lens slipping out from between two sliding planes of metal as the glass eye winked at Oscar in the light.

The camera flashed, and Mina was putting it away in her purse. “I suppose for one so tame it will be worth it,” she commented. “Very well. Fifty-five.”

Oscar covered his eyes too late for the flash, blinded for a few seconds. Even after his time in captivity, his eyes were more adjusted to the dark within the walls and floorboards back at the motel. He couldn’t have prepared for the sudden burst of light aimed right at him when he was stuck staring nervously at the camera’s eye.

“We have a deal,” Thomas said, already taking most of his attention off Oscar. Oscar glanced up, hearing the greed in the man’s voice. Whatever was happening to him was almost over, and soon he’d belong to Mina instead. Thomas solidified it with a smirk and an added “Appreciate your business, as always.”

The transaction had happened so quickly. Too fast, too sudden, much like humans always were. Oscar brushed more tears away from his eyes and his legs wobbled until he fell to his knees on the table. He could try to run now, while the humans were dealing with that precious paper they loved so much, but something told him his luck wouldn’t allow it. He could only watch.

“Keep bringing me little gems like this one and you’ll keep being rewarded,” Mina assured him. The last item to come out of her purse was a thick stack of unmarked bills, provided by her benefactors for just this purpose. “You can let Noriko know he’ll have a good home… in time.” She held out the cash.

That drew a chuckle out of Thomas as he took the money. “She’ll perk right up in no time,” he assured. Then, he idly set the box Oscar arrived in on the table so he could count his money and stash it in a pocket. The box landed barely a few inches away, and Oscar flinched away from it with a startled noise.

Immediately after his reaction, Oscar couldn’t resist the temptation to crawl behind the box, putting it between himself and the towering humans. With an imaginary shield in place, his breathing shuddered and he choked on more sobs. What would be a familiar motel room setting loomed around him, a faraway ceiling and unfamiliar decor pressing in on him.

Thomas’ shadow on the wall made its way towards the door, and Oscar’s eyes stung again.

Changing Hands (4/5)

Welcome back to the sad Oscar AU. The unfortunate adventure continues for the little guy, as another upset in his new normal changes things again.

Mina’s part was written by @nightmares06, who graciously helped to bring even more terror to Oscar’s life.

(x)


Oscar tried to squirm away, tried to keep himself in his protective curl. It was no use. Even with simple nudging, humans were far more powerful than he, and he found himself pinned and staring up.

The magnifier gave him a startling view of a green eye, cold and not at all interested in his discomfort. He shook and his breathing was ragged, but nothing relented. Oscar hesitantly placed his hands against the finger, giving it a shaky push, but of course he couldn’t budge it. He shuddered and ducked his head again.

Mina ignored Oscar’s struggles, going over him with a crucial eye. “He looks healthy enough,” she assessed. “Could probably use a few more meals in him. It’s amazing how little these gems can eat yet they still get by fine.”

One after the other, she pinched each of his arms and both his legs between her fingers to see that he was uninjured. She had enough training in handling the smaller folk to be able to find any surface injuries, though once she reached her destination with him, he would undergo a more rigorous examination to ensure he was worth as much as possible.

“Small but cute,” Mina said. “And a good age. Not many get caught in the prime of their lives.”

Thomas almost chuckled. “Some get lucky. Even this one was skinnier when I first found him,” he admitted. After some time feeding Oscar multiple meals a day, he had finally stopped looking skinny enough to waste away, but not by much. “I think we did him a favor, to be honest.”

Oscar looked up then, an incredulous look on his face. As always with Thomas, he only met indifference. His breathing quickened and tears filled his eyes again. As soon as Mina was done pinching his limbs, he tried to scoot himself away from her hands. “S-stop,” he managed to say, his voice quiet and wavering.

Mina gave no sign that she heard Oscar’s plea. “What’s his name?” she asked briskly, pulling away and closing up the pocket magnifier. This time, she withdrew a small black journal that fit in the palm of her hand, quickly opening it to the middle and brushing aside the red ribbon that marked her place.

The pages were worn and covered in tight script from a steady hand. A fountain pen was next to appear from the bag, and Mina looked expectantly at Thomas.

Thomas glanced down, searching his memory. As usual, Noriko had asked the little thing’s name all of one time and then proceeded to call him little baby or something like it ever since. He barely remembered what it was, but he wouldn’t be cruel and pass along the pet name. He shrugged, jostling the little guy on his palm. “Oliver.”

Oscar looked up at Thomas, disbelieving but at the same time not surprised. Thomas had only been in charge of bringing Oscar his food and intimidating him into eating it. Noriko was the one who spent time with him and she’d only asked once.

He turned to watch the pen in motion as the wrong name went into that book, the smallest one he’d ever seen and still too big for him to carry. A protest nearly rose to his throat, but trembling fear stopped it, and instead Oscar covered his face with his hands as more tears came.

“Hey,” Thomas said, curling a finger inward to nudge pointedly at the little guy’s back. His voice lacked any sign of real comfort. “Keep it together.”

“You can leave him on the table,” Mina said dismissively as she closed the notebook. More notes would be taken later on, along with the amount paid for him, and in the future, how much she made when she sold him to her foreign clients. She set the pen down overtop the black leather cover.

This time, it was a camera she pulled from her purse, small enough to fit in the palm of her hand. The development of digital technology had certainly made life easier when it came to documenting the small folk that got themselves caught.

“How does… Fifty grand sound for him,” Mina said idly as she turned on the camera.