Isaac Shadetail: There are varying degrees of success if we're looking through a squirrelly lens on the topic of food. First of all, having food in the first place is a pretty successful thing if you're a squirrel given the conditions prey in the modern world are forced to endure. While it could be said that at least prey nowadays have shelter (even if it happens to be in the form on burnt-out old buildings with no heat that leak and everything, et cetera) and are at the very least somewhat protected (at least by the illusion of safety) from both the elements as well as hungry predators puts them at a great advantage of the predator/prey relations of the past when times were much more barbaric, preys throughout the ages have of course always had to endure things that even the most impoverished and least well off predators wouldn't even dream of. That's just the way it is; to both sides, it simply /has/ to be that way. As such, even having food in the first place is pretty awesome. Something even more awesome, though, if you happen to be a squirrel is food in the form of nuts; and something even grander than anything else imaginable as far as this subject goes would be food that is not only nuts but /acorns/.
And for once in his life, Izzy was among the squirrels lucky enough to have just that - his little foraging trip had come out of desperation, a simple physical need for food to prevent starvation, however it turned out to be far more bountiful than the squirrelly was accustomed. The little fuzzy had managed to secure an entire little bag full of acorns! He practically skipped back to his humble little home, he was so excited! Surely, this would keep him not only fed but happy for weeks to come! He wouldn't even have to leave the apartment for ages now that he had a nice supply of these luscious little lovelies. Mirroring the precaution he took while out and about searching for the yummy treats he had secured, he made his way back to his squirrelly home. His luck holding out, he was neither spotted nor did anything give chase - simply perfect! Scampering into his little home, he quickly dumped his bounty on the little table next to his bed (they would need to be sorted and stashed later) and headed for his ratty little bed after a hard day's foraging. He had lost track of time in his happiness and it had gone well beyond darkness and his little flat was nearly pitch black. Flopping himself down on his bed, he instantly registered that something was different...something wasn't right...something had gone horribly wrong...
randomfox: Just before the squirrel could make useful the soul crushing realizing that life had gone from lucky to horrid, the surface he'd suddenly plopped on expecting to rest in his bed surged under him. The texture felt was heavy and scaly, coiling around his body until he was utterly bound so no amount of struggling or pushing could free him, his chest and up exposed and left to panic and flail helplessly while everything even down to the tip of his fluffy tail felt the warm embrace of tether holding him tight, even with his arms free but too weak to be of any help. A chilling hiss broke the air to confirm the poor rodent worst fears; he'd sat right in the cushiony coils of a snake, and now after being so happy to have some food to live off of for some days long, he was reduced from a happy squirrel to the most basic and feared status a squirrel could ever be in: prey. And prey that was in the hungry grasp of a predator at that. Even if he hadn't heard a telling growl from a stomach or anything of the sort to imply his new captive was hungry, it was usually best to just assume that was the default state of predators at all times, which inspired the mindset of avoiding them at all costs, which didn't much help now that he had been caught and thus the assumption only served to make his predicament even more terrifying. The snake in question was hard to see in the sunset induced darkness of the room, even if his presence was impossible to ignore, but what was plainly visible were his glowing yellow eyes with that telling reptilian slit pupils staring down at the bound rodent, accompanied by another hiss. The snake himself was overjoyed at his luck, to have a prey literally fall into his clutches when he hadn't even been really hunting at that!
This particular naga was a contractor of sorts, who had been tasked with building a prey ghetto near an opulent predator city with hopes of attracting prey to live in the run down but abandoned housing and make hunting easier for even the casual citizen. Naturally this called for research into existing prey living quarters, investigation warranted on how to perfectly design them as ragged and ruined but still stable and liveable for the desperate food supplies. Sadly, being a cold blooded creature had its disadvantages and the chill of the winter weather made him exhausted. So he had no other choice but to pause mid-calculation and find an abandoned room to settle in, not realizing it was apparently already claimed by the surprised little squirrel he currently had in his clutches. Blessed with some particularly bright eyes that allowed for better sight in the dark, it didn't take much investigation to discover the bag of acorns on the table and put two and two together, that the squirrel had been so overjoyed with the success of his own foraging that he had neglected to notice there was a snake in his bed before he sat in his very coils. A baritone chuckle broke his chorus of hissing, and he gazed down at the rodent with the regard one would have towards a child who just caught you doing something it disapproved of. "Oh, dear me, I seem to be ruining quite a successful evening for you, aren't I?"
Isaac Shadetail: To a prey, anything different than what you're expecting can only be bad - the prey mind has an affinity for familiarity. Things that are familiar tend to be less scary than things that are different and if you know what something is about, it's less likely to turn out to be something terrible. Thus, the instant Izzy's squirrelly fuzz touched down onto something that most definitely was not what he anticipated when he flopped onto his meager little mattress, everything inside of him told him to run. That was another staple of the prey mindset - whenever something bad happens, run; running can only make things better. It was never a bad idea to run for a rodent or any prey for that matter - the instant something seems out of the ordinary be afraid and run. The fluffy-tail hadn't yet picked up on /why/ exactly he should be afraid but every rodent knew it couldn't hurt to be afraid at any given time! It was like touching your hand down on a stove - by reflex alone, you pull your hand off of it before you even feel the pain of the burn; likewise, Izzy was set to jump back up off of the proverbial burner that had hurt him and run away from whatever danger might be lurking therein. This was prevented, however, by the cold horror that could only be found in nightmares as the bed he was trying to get away from suddenly began to wrap all around him and prevent him from getting up at all which it did with practiced precision in no time flat. In the blink of an eye, the squirrel was completely wrapped up in thick and scaly coils of strong flesh and nearly all at once the truth of the situation hit him - snake. This was no nightmare, it was even worse!
The idea of questioning how the snake got there and how stupid he was for not seeing it in the first place and just allowing himself to literally fall directly into the grasp of a hungry predator was quickly dwarfed by the enormous amount of fear and panic and dread that filled the squirrel's system at such a turn of events. Everything was forgotten in the wake of such a mind-shattering realization. Instantly and instinctually beginning to try and squirm his way out of the powerful grip that encased him and quickly thereafter realizing that it wasn't working, panicked little chittery noises came plentifully from the panicking little rodent. A...a s-snake? A snake! Of all things, he had ended up in a snake's coils! There wasn't a single prey-documented case of any rodent ever escaping from the coils of a snake and every rodent knew exactly what it meant for your fate. Thrashing about in the coils, the squirrel barely even noticed the two terrible yellow eyes staring down at him until he glanced up and stared, entranced, as his squirming slowed and then stopped. The rodent simply stared, wide-eyed, barely moving except for a fearful little shiver, up at the two nondescript yellow slit eyes looking down at him.
randomfox: The snake smiled in the dark at how the squirrel seemed to freeze when he finally saw his glowing gaze, looking into the very eyes of what must have represented pure terror for such a substandard living arrangement, to the point that even his struggles for freedom slowed to a halt. An idea struck, and the coils that bound the squirrel shifted around him slightly as the serpent searched about for the utility belt he'd discarded before curling up for a quick nap, hissing in satisfaction when he found what he was looking for. Suddenly a flash of light illuminated the rest of the snake's face, revealing the hood of a cobra of some type or another and the sight of his scaly face in full instead of just the floating eyes that existed before, the sudden shock of the light punctuated by a playful "boo" on the snake's part. After a small chuckle at his own poor sense of humor the predator pushed the flashlight into the squirrel's hands, allowing him at least the privilege to experience what he would soon be put through in something besides blindness in the early winter night.
"Bet I'm all kinds of scarey to something like you, huh?" A rhetorical question of course (and one in poor taste at that) considering any sort of predator was scarey for a rodent like Izzy, let alone one as alien as a reptile like this snake, let alone a poisonous one like a cobra! As if being covered in scales instead of fur and having a long trunk of a body wasn't abstract enough for such fluffy sensibilities. The sudden scritching of the contractor's clawed hands petting over his cheeks and his head between the ears only pronounced that all the more, little stains of venom left behind on his fur that tingled with pheromones evolved specifically to incite terror into the hearts of prey smelling it, with the purpose of making them even tastier for the lucky predator to leave the mark. "Sometimes fear is the appropriate response, though. I'd think you quite silly if you weren't scared."
Isaac Shadetail: Every single thing in the rodent's body and mind was now secondary to the shock, panic, and fear that filled his bloodstream and erupted in the form of little squeaks and shivers. The squirrelly simply stared, his good luck and collection of nuts long forgotten; indeed, /everything/ else was forgotten - not even self-loathing at being as foolish as he had been was important or potent enough to break through the ever-solid-growing brick wall of terror his predicament erected in his brain. Hearing the terrifying sound of the snake's hiss sent a plethora of shivers down his little squirrelly spine, equaling some barely noticeable little twitches and gasps coming from the weak fuzzy thing wrapped up in his wiles. The little guy whimpered softly, a quiet squeaky whining noise peppering every breath the rodent took as the snake shifted about in search of something. His vocal chords weren't quite ready to work yet, the faculty to produce audible sounds foregone in the sake of keeping the squirrel from simply passing out! Suddenly, though, with a small click-click the face of the reptile predator was illuminated in a quick flash of light. The squirrelly felt his heart sink in his chest at the sight - he'd had vague feelings of dread while the snake had spoken but had been far too out-of-it to actually parse what the predator had said. Now, though, the dread was unavoidable - the face of his predator was right there for him to see and nothing in the world was more terrifying to him.
The only thing scarier than a predator is /your/ predator. The squirrel squeaked in shock and instantly closed his eyes when they focused on the snake's terrifying face (complete with visible fangs as he uttered his little single word joke). Instantly beginning to shiver as numb shock gave way to complete fear and terror, he felt the flashlight (Izzy just happened to know what one was) get forced into his little paws. Though he instantly would have dropped it if he'd the ability, luckily it stayed exactly where it was thanks to the snake's grip on him. Thankfully because it meant he wasn't acting against the snake's obvious desires for him to hold it and unfortunately because that meant that as long as his eyes were open, he couldn't help but look directly into the eyes of his predator. The rodent squeaked and flinched at the snake's touch, whimpering even louder as he was gently scritched by those terrible claws, the snake's words filling him with a different kind of dread now that he could actually pay somewhat attention to what he was saying. He closed his eyes again and surrendered to his fearful shivering and little squeaky noises.
randomfox: The snake hissed in pure joy at the sound of his prey's voice, delighting in the fear dripping with every stuttering word and the implications of the request itself; nothing was more satisfying then hearing a morsel plead for freedom, aside from perhaps feeling it churning in one's belly where it belonged. The short little beg that must have required such force of will to voice only incited more coos of terrifying delight from the snake, along with further pets and combing of his unkempt fur with those foreboding claws. "Please don't what? Let you free? Well I wasn't planning on it to tell you the truth. You're far too warm and cuddly and qualities of that sort and provide such a benefit to beings such as myself in climates like these...even if you are a bit scrawny. I hope I'm not applying too much pressure, you feel as fragile as a twig." The serpent seemed to have a flair for the melodramatic, but what predator didn't when teasing their prey? You had to have a certain long-windedness with them after all, could never be sure how much they would actually register when in their little fear comas, and it was vital to squeeze in as much teasing as possible before finally devouring them. Of course this particular snake wasn't sure if he was going to get around to that tonight, since he wasn't lying about finding his fluffy warmth useful on such a chilly night so keeping the squirrel in hand until breakfast tomorrow wasn't out of the question, but there was no need to let that on quite yet.
In the meantime he leaned over and plucked that bag of nuts from the table, barely making a shift in his long coils as he did before settling back, loosening it open to investigate the contents, an amused smirk crossing his lips at the discovery of the acorns. "Oh, I supposed you had plans to fix that little oversight. How thoughtful. Perhaps I should hold off my appetite long enough for you to enjoy your own dinner so I might have a more filling meal myself?" He snickered again, finding humor in the situation that was far from desirable from the poor squirrel's point of view, before pushing the bag as well into his midst and then leaning back into the mattress with arms crossed and a patient smile on his face. "Go on, eat up, it'll probably help your nerves so I might enjoy a semblance of pre-dinner conversation."
Isaac Shadetail: Izzy was almost instantly sorry he worked up the courage and physical strength to eek out his short little utterance when he quickly received a terrifying hiss in return. And not only a hiss, but a hiss of /pleasure/. The little guy squeaked quietly as his shivering worsened, the squirrelly wishing he could sink back further - so far down that he could no longer see or be seen and could be all hidden under his blanket like he so badly wanted. There was a terrifying predator around - that instantly signaled the little guy's urge to hide and sent it skyrocketing! His mind was broadcasting succinct and simple warnings as he wiggled in the grasp of the snake's coils: Run! Run! Run! Hide! Hide! Hide! He could do neither, though, and it was driving him crazy! Even if the snake were still in the room with him and desired to make a meal of him and everything, being all hidden under his covers would make him feel leagues better, at least for the moment. The little coo-like noises of delight from the snake sent the squirrelly whimpering again, this time a little louder as he received some more scritches he wanted so badly to sink away from. That's not to say that Izzy had expected much out of his pitiful little plea but the snake's reaction was terrifying regardless of what the circumstances were! It was like all of the predator stories preys would scare each other with around the campfire or what have you - predators were scary and they got off on inflicting emotional suffering on little preys like you.
To have this confirmed as true was absolutely horrifying to the little squirrel - not only do you have all these horrible nightmares but they also happen to be true and precisely what's about to happen to you first hand! Ordinarily, being called something like 'warm and cuddly' would send Izzy into a blushing squeaking little black-hole of bashfulness but...nothing could be further from the truth now. The snake.../l-likes/ to have me all wrapped up in his coils? He /enjoys/ my warmth and fur and desires to have me all bound up in his living scales?! What could be a worse thing to hear for a creature currently in that exact predicament? At the snake's investigation of his bounty of nuts from foraging, the squirrel would blush lightly with embarrassment, his eyes casting downwards. He was so embarrassed, he barely even registered the predator's confirmation that he was indeed intending on consuming the little rodent (which was as obvious as all hell but still something that isn't nice to have confirmed without doubt). Suddenly, his little bag of acorns was pushed into his arms, causing the squirrel to glance up with his wide little eyes questioningly. Looking down at the bag of acorns, then back to the snake, and then back to the bag, the squirrelly slowly tilted his head like a confused puppy. Slowly, he took an acorn out of the bag (glancing up every 3 seconds hesitantly as if asking "Is it okay that I'm doing this?") and brought it in front of his face. Freezing there, he looked back up at the predator and offered a tiny little interrogative "...*squeak*?"
randomfox: The bemused snake rolled his eyes before reaching forward to push the chosen acorn into Izzy's mouth, snickering a bit as it almost automatically deposited into his cheek in the most stereotypically squirrelly fashion. He did honestly want the squirrel to eat, for a handful of reasons beyond the simple desire of having a nice stuffed meal to devour. "Eat." He commanded just to be sure, putting possibly a bit more authority in his tone then was totally required, but it would definitely get the point across. "Maybe with a couple nuts in your belly you'll find your voice enough to speak more than a couple words. I do have some questions for you, besides just teasing you in the usual way of course." he waved dismissively, to some unvoiced thought of his own, "plenty of time for that later. I came here to do a job after all, and you can actually be of some use to me." The serpent waited until Izzy actually got a good number of squirrelly morsels down, perhaps applying some force fed encouragement here and there when his squirrellyness got the better of him, before pulling his clipboard to fore, scritching out the finishings of some thought he'd documented before snuggling to sleep and turning a new page intending to apply some first hand incite on the rodents living conditions. "Mind if I ask you a few questions? I'll do you a favor if you cooperate."
Isaac Shadetail: The squirrel let out another muffled little rodent-y noise as the treat was forced into his mouth, the initial flinch of the acorn being shoved into his little maw contrasting with the gustatory pleasure of tasting his favorite treat (let alone one that he had just spent hours fantasizing about eating!). With the confirmation that this was indeed what the snake wanted him to do, the squirrel quickly set about munching on his little mouthful as a sign that he would be a good little prey and do everything the predator told him to - "look how harmless I am, there's no need to hurt me - I will do whatever you want". While he went about doing what squirrels do best (munching through acorns, that is) the snake's words only caused his head to remain tilted as he chewed and munched, taking another acorn out of the bag once he had finished the first. His shivering was making it so that he had to actively try not to bite his tongue as he nibbled the tasty squirrelly treats, his little whines all but stopped now that he was utilizing his throat for eating and swallowing. He was pretty hungry, after all - he had just spent the entire afternoon scrapping around to find enough acorns to keep him satisfied for long enough so that he wouldn't have to leave again until the absolute latest he could manage. His little tummy was pretty empty as it was hunger that had inspired his trip out into the big scary unknown in search of nuts in the first place! He continued his little munching, covering some of the area underneath his face with crumbs in characteristically squirrelly manor as the snake fetched something Izzy couldn't identify at first.
He figured it must be some kind of paper like a notebook or something when he saw the writing implement appear as the predator scribbled some things down. Instantly, Izzy perked up a little - writing? The little squirrel didn't really think in terms that most do what it comes to writing things down; the reason for this was that preys didn't write things down, predators did. Writing stuff down was simply not something a prey critter did (mostly because the majority of them didn't know how). Thus, this was a very predator thing to do in the squirrel's eyes! Being the great fan of literature he was, anything being written down even if it was just a scribble was incredibly interesting to the little rodent. As he was finishing up another acorn (he was a few nuts in), his thoughts on this subject were cut short as the snake spoke to him directly again. He simply looked up at the predator with half of a nibbled-on acorn in his paws with the same confused little look and wide eyes, unsure as to how he should respond.
randomfox: The snake arched a scaled brow with an accusatory smirk at the mid-snack stare he was receiving from his prey, shaking his head with a short chuckle before tapping pen to paper in preparation. "Well, full disclosure I suppose: I'm something of an architect...do you know what that means? I'm entrusted with constructing buildings like this one; exactly like this one, actually. I've been contracted to help produce another city for prey like you to inhabit within range of another predatory city far far away, and it has to be the same run down decrepit little slum so no predator will want to live there, which will assure a prey population. Since you live here I'm thinking I can get a first hand perspective on your conditions, so it will help me replicate the new city in a similar manner. Is this making sense?" He hissed in annoyance to himself, assuming with some measure of predatory self importance that most of what he said probably went right over the squirrel's head, not an unjustified thought since most prey weren't even literate. "Just, let me ask you some questions about what life is like for you here, if that's okay?" He could have simply demanded Izzy to cooperate of course, but he didn't want to be too mean to the poor thing, beyond what was usual for predator interaction in tormenting their prey of course. Besides, he was asking for help.
Isaac Shadetail: More-so than before, the squirrel found himself once again staring at the snake's return gaze with his typically squirrelly widened eyes of confusion and fear. The rodent was completely absorbed in what the serpent was saying, falling short of dropping the nibbled little acorn he still held in his grasp. There were two main reasons for this: the first being that the snake's words were so encyclopedic, he was simply trying to communicate an idea that had nothing to do with him wanting to get the little squirrel within his own body to keep for the rest of his life...well actually, it had /everything/ to do with that just not in such subjugating and terrifying language. Again, he was simply speaking in a conversational tone (in a voice that still sent little shivers down his spine and everything) about a topic of conversation. The squirrel didn't communicate with many people throughout his life and certainly not recently; to have a predator speak to him like that (especially after being teased and such) was sort of surreal. The second reason was simply because of /what/ the predator was talking about. It was an odd sort of removing the curtain moment of getting insight into predators' view on preys other than simply 'we eat them and are mean to them' and whatnot. It was like a child learning a little too much about a facet of adult life and it comes with this bizarre feeling of the fog and mystery surrounding it being completely sucked away in an instant. Like, suddenly it isn't so mystical and otherworldly anymore.
Of course, Izzy didn't get everything the predator was saying but he was self-educated beyond the typical degree of preys like him and was able to extrapolate far more than any other critter like him would have in the same situation. In this moment of the cat being out of the bag somewhat, he was able to gather the gist of what the snake was trying to say. He knew what an architect was (well, actually that wasn't true - he had read the term 'architect' but didn't know how to say it and until now thought it had something to do with prey slums in particular but he didn't know what) and was able to understand most of what was said. The big picture, of course, was completely lost on him. Blinking once or twice when the snake had finished talking, Izzy simply looked back up at him and nodded a few times very slowly (still shivering). He wasn't entirely sure what he was agreeing to but he knew that the snake wanted him to do something and by god he was going to frikkin' do it!
randomfox: The snake smiled and reached out to pet the squirrel, without claws this time, as a way of showing his appreciation. Obviously this interrogation would involve a lot of having to translate the specifics of squeaking, but hopefully he could learn enough to properly capture the spirit of what it was like to live in such a run down mess of a place for his work when he tried to make one elsewhere. One never knew after all; the slightest hint of artificiality could be enough to scare away prey from nesting anywhere close if they suspected a trap, which is what prey slums were basically, which would be quite counter intuitive to his plans. So the questions came: how did the squirrel spend his days, how often did he leave his housing, how often did he encounter predators (from afar and in person), how many other preys did he know who lived about (though on second thought that might sound a bit too insidious) and how often he interacted with them, etc etc. He made sure to speak slowly and try to reassure the poor scared squirrel whenever possible so he could give the questionnaire a sense of legitimacy in order to capture as accurate responses as possible.
Isaac Shadetail: Izzy gave a little squeak and twitch when the snake reached out to pet him in gratitude, not quite ready to let his guard down and admit that it was kinda nice to feel that. Whenever the little squirrelly felt scared or any other kind of negative emotion, getting a little affection like that always calmed his nerves and usually managed to bring a smile to the rodent's face. His mind was a little busy with things currently, though, so he stopped short of breaking out into a full blush and smile although the snake probably noticed a slight reddening of the squirrel's cheeks following the little head-pets. And thus began the questions, something Izzy wasn't quite prepared for. At first, he would just stare for a moment, completely convinced that the predator was just talking aloud to himself or perhaps speaking to someone who was in the room with them, concealed in the darkness. The last thing a predator like him would do is ask a prey like him his opinions on something, right? Even though that was exactly what he said he intended to do and Izzy had understood that, he still found it very hard to bring himself to perform what in his mind amounted to self-flattery to actually believe that the snake was really talking to him. He would only stare and maybe let out a squeak or two before the snake would ask the question again, rewording it or asking it in a softer voice or something of that sort.
Eventually, he began to respond to the questions; of course, every answer was very succinct and quiet and bashful and accompanied by plenty of blushing and chittering and not looking the predator in the eyes, not to mention everything the squirrel said being bookended by "...u-um...w-well, um...". It was very hard for the squirrelly to communicate like this and what was equally hard was actually figuring out the answers to some of these questions. After all, no one had ever asked him these things before so when the snake would ask him 'how many other preys did he know', he had to actually think about it for quite some time. He had never thought about it himself, let alone discussed it with anyone. He would have to sit there, thinking, for a moment with his finger on his chin before the answer came stuttering out a few moments later. Slowly but surely, the squirrel became slightly more comfortable with the process and the snake wouldn't have to wait as long anymore and the squirrel all but forgot the idea of struggling to escape, his mind so focused on answering the pred's questions and in the process answering them for himself as well.
randomfox: The snake had to be patient with the squirrel, that he already knew and was prepared for, and was satisfied when the little critter finally became comfortable with the situation and could answer the questions as close to confidently as a squirrel was capable of, smiling as he jotted down as much as he could translate before moving onto the next, until finally he ran out, nothing further coming to mind to ask as the building seemed to take full shape in his mind's eye. With a satisfied nod he pushed the clipboard away, petting the obedient rodent affectionately in gratitude for his cooperation. "That's all I need. Thanks, little guy, that'll definitely be helpful when we go about making another little prey city to make it easier to hunt and trap more prey like you." He announced it so matter of factually, only slightly aware of how that might be soul crushing for the little rodent, to realize what he'd contributed to would only result in more prey suffering. Either way it wouldn't matter much longer, since the only prey suffering that would matter to Izzy soon would be his own.
"And I'm a snake of my word, so in return for your help I promise not to bite you. Normally I inject my prey with a nice dose of venom, but I think you've earned a trip down south with all your faculties intact." Again, slightly dramatic, but he was back in prey teasing mode after all, so it was warranted, and he wanted as much emotional trauma inflicted as possible before he finally started swallowing. "But I get the feeling you're going to be a pretty abiding meal though, huh? You're not even really trying to get away anymore, and you even literally fell into my coils on your own, it's like you wanna be my food! And don't think I wouldn't appreciate the thought too, I promise I'm going to enjoy your..." he leaned in and hissed as he brushed his forked tongue against that soft squirrel fur and tender prey flesh, letting his rodenty flavor dance across his taste buds with a snakey purr as it sparked up his brain with ecstasy at the sensation, "...oh god, delicious little body. I can already tell you're gonna be the best meal I've had in a while." He grinned and pet across the squirrel's cheek a bit as he teased, licking his lips sultrily, "and I'm a snake, you know our meals last longer then most."
Isaac Shadetail: The squirrel finally flat-out smiled as the snake finished jotting down the last of the answers the squirrel had given him and reached out to pet the little rodent again. Everything in him that hesitated the last time was pretty much gone at this point. Again, Izzy didn't talk to many people so communicating with someone for this long gave the squirrel a (perhaps dangerous) amount of comfort around them. He kind of forgot he was talking to a predator simply because he was talking to someone in the first place. Conversation was very new for the squirrel (even a question-answer kind of exchange like this) so the squirrel found a bit of comfort in it even if it was kinda challenging sometimes; he didn't have much time or need to think about his own life in those terms so the act of thinking of the responses had generated a unique feeling of what might be referred to as self worth or at least a feeling of being an individual which was something that prey types and Izzy in particular didn't get very often. It made the squirrel realize that he had answers to questions of personal matters that were different from other preys' and that was something he hadn't dared to think about before.
The rodent chittered a little as the snake expressed his gratitude, the altruistic squirrel feeling good that he had helped the snake out with whatever he needed the information for. The squirrel's expression instantly dropped almost completely to the floor at the snake's next words. Feeling like someone had dropped a freezing bucket of salty ice water down his back, the squirrel's eyes nearly quadrupled in size at hearing this. ...you mean...that was what he was asking me questions about? That's what he's going to do with that information? The squirrel almost felt light-headed as his brain went over the information again and again. Once again, the rodent felt on the brink of fainting as the snake's follow up to this was not only reaffirming his non-wavering desire to gobble the poor little rodent up but also that he had intended to BITE him! And the only thing that stopped him from doing that was because he answered his questions! That he was now going to use to...
Lost in a blur of shock and terror that had materialized but had yet to actually attack his senses, he was quickly assaulted with more taunts of eventual consumption as well as (and this was the breaking point of the aforementioned shock) a sampling lick across his face. Quickly snapping right back into scared little prey mode of shivering and whimpering and widened eyes, the little squirrelly squeaked out a small uttering, far harder to get out than the last few answers to the snake's questions.
randomfox: The snake was more pleased with the reaction than he'd been with the helpful answering of his questions, grinning deviously at the rodent's soul crushing realization and pure terror as panic retook his mind. His coils squeezed around him a bit tighter, possessively, out of reflex from the feelings of dominance and giddy childish tease at how easy it was to manipulate such weak willed and simple minded critters. "Yes, I'm you're predator...And I'm going to eat you. You're gonna fill up my belly, because you're nothing but food." His grin only grew wider, and he leaned in for another lick only to wrap his arms around the bound critter in a moan of pleasure at the taste, glomming his lips over his shoulder and taking his entire left arm into his mouth to suckle and drool over his body, lost in the taste and enjoyment of a treat a sucker just couldn't match. He drew himself back only long enough to tease the squirrel further, poking fun at how safe he seemed to feel only a few seconds earlier.
"I could tell, you know. I know your type, the kind of prey who probably looks over at a predator city and wishes you could walk its streets, like a real person. Thinks just having a conversation with someone like me makes you anything better then what you are..." he leaned in especially close before finishing that thought, a heart stopping conclusion into his ear, "prey." He leaned back with a cruel smile on his lips, pointing at the poor little squirrel "You're going-" bringing his finger to indicate his lips, "down here-" and drew it down his neck and chest before trailing it down his coils which squeezed around Izzy again for emphasis "and filling here, in my belly, where food like you belongs. And no number of answers on a questionnaire will ever change that." The serpent sat back and waited for it to sink in, that pure fear, perhaps for Izzy to break down and cry, before he allowed himself to indulge in that pure delight of eating his prey.
Isaac Shadetail: All of the comfort and happiness at having helped someone out (indeed, all positive emotions about the current situation whatsoever) completely vanished as the predator instantly resumed being the terrifying, horrible, and incredibly intimidating creature he had been at first. If plopping right into his coils was stupid then letting himself become comfortable even a tiny bit with this predator just because he pet him and changed his tone of voice momentarily was outrageously foolish! What was he thinking?! He had already allowed himself to get caught by the serpent and now he was making it easy as cookies to subdue him and get him into a position of trust and comfort so that not only was it even easier than average but it also packed twice or even three times the punch it would have otherwise! Getting eaten by a terrifying predator is par for the course, getting eaten by someone you trust a little for a stupid reason really sucks! The squirrel was back into the mindset of terrified little prey but even more-so this time; fear that's been thawed, frozen and then re-thawed is always worse than just fear alone. The squirrelly let out a particularly loud little squeak of fear as the coils surrounding him tightened and gave a nice squeeeze in simply the pleasure-riddled reaction to the squirrel's fear.
His squirming began again in full force as he tried to fight his way out of the coils' tight grip on him, his escape attempt doing as much good as it had before (that is, nothing at all). The little rodent squealed out in a shriek of prey-ish fear as the snake (still commenting on his status as the serpent's food, of course) glommed onto his shoulder and enveloped his entire arm, enjoying his flavor for a while. This caused quite the squirming increase indeed, the little squirrel squeaking and chittering and whimpering in desperation and panic squeaking out a little "...n-n-no!" before the snake's grip relented, the panic and fear causing the squirrel's little eyes to mist a tad at the scariness and suddenness of it all. The rodent could only offer his pitiful teary-eyed little stare once again as the snake iterated on his position on the food chain and status as mere 'food'. He shivered like crazy, a pitiful little whimpering sound shaking out of his lungs with every breath. As the snake finished his little subjugating soliloquy on how the squirrel was worth nothing more than a simple meal, leaning back to watch the rodent's reaction cruelly, the little squeaky somehow managed to eep out another tiny little collection of pathetic and stuttered words, now piteously sniffling a tad.
"...p-please, M-M-Mister S-Snake, sir...p-please l-let me g-go...d-don't swallow m-me, please! *sniffle sniffle*"
randomfox: The snake laughed in pure amusement at his captive's dismayed plea for mercy, leaning forward again to slurp over the delicious morsel in response before wrapping his arms around the little guy to pull him in his coiled prison closer and press his face against his chest. Not specifically where his stomach was in his naga anatomy, but close enough frame of reference to get his point across. "But you're just so delicious! And you, tasty little squirrel you are, belong in my belly. You were born and bred to be my meal; I'd do a disservice to us both to deny you that fate." He purred in a snakey hiss and lapped over the critter's head a few more times, until a growl of hunger actually emanated from his gut, making his coils vibrate around the squirrel due to the proximity to his future home being squeezed all around him. "It could be worse though, just think of that. My belly is nice and long and you'll get to lay out in it while you're my food. Could have been forced into some fuzzy cat's gut and into a little ball for the rest of your life. That wouldn't have been any fun at all, no?" He shrugged at the suggestion, slurping his lips lewdly as he gave Izzy a final regard, with nothing but pure hunger in his eyes. "You know nothing you say will keep me from eating you, right? Anything else you'd like to say before you slide down into my belly like the tasty little rodent snack you are?"
Isaac Shadetail: The squirrelly winced at the sound of the snake's laughter in response to his pitiful little plea and just as he was squeaking and reeling back from another lick across his squirrelly face, he squealed out in fear as suddenly even the parts of him that were left outside of the grasp of the snake's coils were wrapped up in snake flesh so that there wasn't a single part of him left outside. Obviously, this caused quite a fearful reaction in the fuzzy as this little simulation of what it would be like to be inside of this snake's very body became a little too real for the rodent to handle! It just exemplified the difference in strength and whatnot - he was a mere plaything for the much stronger creature. He could do whatever he wanted with him and he seemed rather interested in doing just that! His squirming increasing at the exact moment it decreased in effectiveness even more-so, the little squirrelly panicked as he was completely entwined in snake, squeaking and chittering desperately. And just when things couldn't possibly get any worse, Izzy's entire world seemed to shake a little as...*eep*...the snake's stomach growled. This was like a shot of pure terror directly into the squirrel's heart - completely encased in the coils of a hungry snake, totally unable to get away...and then his stomach growls.
It might as well have been Taps being played on a trumpet or something! And once again, things somehow managed to get even worse as the snake chose this moment to mention Izzy's "good luck" in having a snake as a predator; of course mentioning cats (a species the little guy was equally as terrified of) at a time like this was kind of like adding not just salt to an open wound but probably something more like aluminum shavings and chlorine! How much fear can one squirrel possess at a single moment? It seemed this snake was going for the world record and Izzy was unlucky enough to be the squirrelly object of those intentions. Needless to say, all of this was in addition bookended by the fact that the snake was indeed pondering the fact that beyond a shadow of a doubt, Izzy would be spending the rest of his life inside of him. The predator was already thinking in those terms. A tear forming in the poor little guy's eye and his shivering and whimpering and terror at their highest levels, he struggled to comply with his brain's demands to continue to beg for his freedom.
randomfox: The hungry serpent couldn't restrain an amused half-smile at the poor rodent's last attempts at begging for his freedom. For a brief moment he considered the hypothetical scenario of if that meager display actually managed to sway him; the mental image of the squirrel's reaction to being let free after whimpering something so pathetic making the snake snicker into his palm. He actually considered pretending along those lines just because the thought of how absolutely dejected the poor rodent would be upon being devoured anyway after those few moments of unadulterated joy at having his freedom granted again almost made it worth the time. But unfortunately for Izzy's aspirations of false hope, the snake didn't see much point in toying with the squirrel any further considering he'd gotten all the information he'd needed out of the thing, so without even a final taunting word the reptile merely looked down over the helpless prey, licked his lips, and then let his mouth yawn open to positively snake like proportions, giving Izzy a nice view of the dripping cavern of the predators maw and the gaping abyss of his throat beyond, the image etching itself in the deepest nightmarish recesses of the poor prey's mind before an even more horrific sight presented itself; that of the maw lowering down to swallow him whole.
That forked tongue reached out to grind down the pinned prey's neck as it descended, the overwhelming organic confines of gestating snake mouth closing in on him and blocking out the outside world and all its comforts from ever including Izzy in the sum of its parts again. Those tight lips closed around the poor squirrel at the top of his acorn filled stomach, everything above encased in the warmth and wet of the snakes mouth as it closed in and suckled upon the delicious morsel in its grasp, making the interviewer's eyes roll back in pure pleasure at the flavor drenching his pallet and encouraging him to swallow with sudden gluttony, pulling the squirrel from the confines of his coils into the underworld of predator innards. There wasn't much to differentiate the feelings of the snake's mouth from his throat, but at some point the tender tasting gave way to apathetic clenching to signal an uncaring throat that sought to do its biological duty of transporting food to its final destination with no greater purpose, locking Izzy in a trifecta of preyish torment, with his head and shoulders being tenderized by an anxious gullet while his torso was being lavished over for its perfect flavor while his lower body remained trapped in shuddering snake coils with sucking down his legs and tail an even more trivially simple task.
Isaac Shadetail: The cold air felt incredibly thick in the suspense that floated and swirled around the squirrel as the snake simply paused to stare at him, the serpent's mind mulling over unseen thoughts and ideas as silence overtook the room. He felt so utterly alone - even if there were other prey in the building or perhaps in the room right next to them, they would most certainly be hiding and unable to be seen at the commotion of the serpent's voice, much too deep to be anything squeaky and scurrying like the occupants of the prey infested building spent all of their time doing. It was a lie to say that the silence offered a speck of hope; it wasn't hope, it wasn't really positive. One might think that such a hesitation could cause a certain rodent to perhaps get it in his mind that the predator was indeed considering letting him go and allowing him to hang onto his freedom at least until something just as big and scary and powerful caught him again but it wasn't really like that - the silence just didn't sound like success. Every silence has a color and this one was most certainly not bright; somehow, the little squirrelly could tell that far from considering letting him go, the predator was most likely imagining some way of further tormenting the little fuzzy and using his mind as a mere playground to mess with him and have a little bit of fun before devouring him. Of course, he had no way of knowing for sure but that certainly was what it felt like and it made the air three times as thick! Another little barely audible unintentional chitter of squirrelliness escaped from Izzy's lungs as he shivered slightly in the tight grip of the snake's coils, waiting and waiting and waiting, until...
Finally, the question he didn't want to ask was answered as he was unable to stop himself from seeing the predator's serpentine maw stretch wiiiide open and position itself for easy squirrel consumption. At such a sight, the little rodent's eyes doubled in size and he began making squeaky little whines of fear as he could do little other than shiver slightly, the snake's grip increasing two-fold at this final moment to keep his prey where he wanted. Wiggling ever so weakly and making tiny pathetic little noises, the squirrel was forced to have a front row seat to witnessing himself be devoured - he couldn't turn away and he couldn't bring himself to control his body enough to actually close his eyes. He was just forced to watch as that maw grew ever closer and closer. All at once, Izzy's world was plunged into darkness as the snake's maw glommed onto his upper body in a terrifying instant, sending the fluffy into a near feral state of panic as he began to squeak and flail madly within the snake's grip (of both his coils and mouth) as the 'getting eaten' portion of his demise began. Somewhere deep within all that snake flesh, the disappearing squirrelly made one sound that could be made out among all the others: a tiny little 'cheep, cheep, squeak' that would repeat over and over. It was a squirrelly warning call that there was a snake in the area. Over and over, it sounded from the snake's throat, heavily muffled by the predator's flesh and scales.
randomfox: The snake could barely hear whatever noises the squirrel made through so many layers of scales and flesh, but the panicked squirms and sounds of terror alone were enough to satisfy the serpent's more hedonistic predatory needs; a feline or foxy might have eaten the squirrel feet first to enjoy some last minute begging or some such, but the snake was only interested in filling his belly with food, which Izzy fit the definition of perfectly, and had no interest in indulging in the suffering the squirrel endured, his enjoyment of it being more of a side benefit of what he saw as the natural fulfillment of gluttony rather than a main feature. With a satisfied churr the snake raised his head to the sky, freeing what was left of the rodent from his coils only for them to be wrapped up by that lathering tongue to hold them still as he let gravity send the prey down to lock the last remnants of delectable squirrel flesh from the outside world with a final wet slurp of his lips. A definitive gulp resounded and shuddered the squirrels entire known world as every last inch of his body was engulfed within a predator, tight flesh pressing in on his sensitive body and soaking his fur down to the core leaving traces of squirrelly flavor across every inch of snake throat as he was squeezed past on his journey.
The sounds of the snake breathing in a steady rhythm of satisfaction mixed with the gentle beatings of his heart somewhere past the wall of flesh that claimed him all leading to a crescendo of hungry growls as he neared that waiting stomach. The feeling of something pressing down on his form from the outside, hastening his descent, didn't help matters in the least seeing as how the snake's body was so long he didn't even wait until the poor squirrel was actually in his belly before rubbing over the form of his bulge along his coils! The transition was hard to detect, the loose doughnut hole of a sphincter separating gullet from stomach barely noticeable unless it was being paid attention to, but the sudden prominence of gastric gurgles and the presence of a bit more elbow room to explore the new swampy confines apparent; Izzy was officially in the snake's belly.
Isaac Shadetail: Everything in Izzy's world was dark, wet, undulating, and flexing snake flesh - currently (and indeed for the remainder of his squeaky little existence), everything around him was predator. What he had spent whatever portion of his life he was allowed to scamper about and breathe fresh air trying to avoid was now literally all around him and couldn't be more in his face. It was rubbing Izzy's nose in it...but not just his nose, his whole body! Every inch of him was encased in, and being repulsively massaged and squeezed by, the inside of a predator and it would be nothing but more of the same from here on out. Still instinctively calling out a squeaky little squirrelly warning of 'SNAKE! SNAKE! SNAKE!' as he only descended further down into the constrictive flesh of snake innards, he could feel bit by bit of his frail little rodent body being gobbled up by the serpent. It seemed like it was so easy for him, like slurping up his little frame was exactly what he was put here to do and everything else was just extra. First and foremost, he was here to eat little rodent types and more specifically, the rodent he was currently snacking on! That /would/ be the way it seemed, one supposes, when you're a squirrel who's quickly being eaten by a rodent-devouring snake!
The little distress call wasn't even a call for help or some kind of assistance, it was simply an instinctual little squeaky noise that, if any other squirrel heard, would send them scurrying for the treetops. It wasn't even that either, though - he was simply doing it out of squirrelly instinct. He didn't think about whether or not someone could hear him or whether or not there were even other preys in the area that would be able to hear and react to the message - he was simply doing it out of instinct. And, needless to say, it did him very little good as he was disappearing into the snake faster than ever. Moment by moment, he could feel the wet warmth of the snake slurp him in further and further as he was eaten; first the thigh, then the knee, then the ankle, then the... And, soon enough, he knew that he was completely sealed up inside of the predator's body. There was no turning back and there was no getting out of it - he was inside now. Everything had failed him, and he was inside. Giving a last little squirm of panic and disbelief, an all too audible gulp seemed to signal the go-ahead for the constricting flesh around him to completely claim him once and for all, gripping him ever so tightly and moving him along efficiently.
A little whimper of "...n-no...no, p-please..." escaped him, hardly audible in the first place but nearly impossible to hear inside of the predator's body. It felt like an eternity that he was sliding down that serpent body, going deeper and deeper and deeper into the dark abyss of a snake's anatomy. Every inch was like a battle lost - it was an inch he would never get back. Once he passed a section, he would never return to that section; he would never be making his way out. Finally, after what seemed like hours, the journey was over and the feeling of venturing deeper and deeper into a snake's body was replaced with the ice cold knowledge that you were now finally within his belly. It was officially all over now; Izzy was snake food. Or rather, the snake food that used to be a squirrel named Izzy was now finally in its place.
randomfox: The well fed snake sighed in content, feeling as if he was finally complete, like the squirrel he'd eaten was the missing puzzle piece in his life and now that he was where he belonged (the snake's belly) he was finally finished in some existential way, like he'd fulfilled his purpose for existing. A thought no doubt horrifying to the poor rodent, that a predator had been born specifically and for no other reason in life than to end his existence by condemning him to an eternity within his belly despite how little he wished for such a fate, that a creature could not only feel justified in reducing him to nothing but a bulge under his scales but somehow feel it was the summation of his entire life's duty as well. Izzy would spend the rest of his existence as a lump in the snake's stomach, nothing but food forever after, and the predator who had devoured him deemed this state as the correct one for both of them to be in, utterly sealing the little guy's fate. The tube like confines of the reptile's belly shuddered around the squirrel, subjecting him to quite a soggy existence while the soft walls rolled down into his tender body like a wave from one end to the other, pressing in and squeezing over the squirrel in a feeding persistence to draw sustenance from his form as it would from any other food.
The feeling of being worked over as food, a sensation that held no prospect of becoming less objectionably horrific to endure no matter how many times he'd be experience it through the coming years, was not helped at all by the feeling of being pressed down upon from the outside; the snake's belly resided somewhere in the pile of coils the snake rested upon, and he slithered them to and fro like a winding organic kaleidoscope as the snake equivalent to rubbing his belly in pure exaggerated enjoyment of the fullness his tummy enjoyed at having food inside of it. After indulging in the feeling for a bit, the snake gave a final lick of his lips to cherish the last remnants of squirrelly flavor before plucking up his research and making his way from the room and down the halls, Izzy feeling every sway and slither of the predator leaving his former home, paying no further mind to the poor former-Izzy-but-just-food-now's existence beyond his status of "bulge in his belly" that didn't even merit some post devoured taunting from the predator. He'd simply questioned him, ate him, and moved on like he didn't pay a single moment to remember the poor little thing beyond enjoying his hunger being sated.
Isaac Shadetail: What had been and remained such a simple act to the predator was the single most defining moment in the squirrel's life. What the snake did as almost an afterthought (a very enjoyable afterthought, but still) was the biggest and absolutely most unimaginably horrible thing to ever happen in Izzy's life. As he made panicky, jerky movements to and fro as if he couldn't believe he was actually where he currently found himself and was searching around for some kind of sign that it was all a hoax or illusion, the snake's insides gave no sign of mercy to the squirrel in his frantic and panicky state. The constantly moving stomach walls merely squeezed him in a wave of motion, moving from his toes to his head, processing him just like any other piece of food. It was such a terrible feeling, not only just in that it was the sensation of a snake's stomach working you over while you're inside of it, it was also something that couldn't be stopped and cared not how much you wanted it or for that matter didn't want it. It simply occurred. Pulse after pulse from the serpent's hungry insides squeezed him again and again as the predator rubbed his belly in the most foreign and reptilian way that made it a good thing that Izzy couldn't actually see it happen as anything that snake-ish was bound to frighten the fuzzy little guy...of course, one shouldn't count one's blessings too quickly seeing as how...y'know...he was INSIDE OF THE SNAKE'S STOMACH after all...
And finally, the pulsing and undulating walls began swaying in an odd manner as the snake slithered away and out of the room Izzy had been devoured in. In a simple and utterly snake-like movement, the entire ordeal was summed up; the snake had used Izzy for what he was worth outside of food and then used him for the food he was, as simple as that. Uncaring that the little squirrelly had put so much into forcing himself to answer the snake's questions and help him out and do him a favor, the snake had simply done what snakes do to rodents regardless of anything else - gobbled him up. And thus, Izzy completely snake food at this point and reduced to little more than a barely visible lump in the serpent's body, the predator slithered his way out of the dingy little prey den with Izzy inside of him, full and complete while meanwhile the little belly bulge in question squirmed and squeaked under all of that flesh and all of those scales, unable to even bring himself to beg for his freedom, simply existing as food inside of a snake's stomach.