The Slow Asphyxiation Of Undiluted Ardor
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☦A story that should have been cute.☦

There was nothing in this room but love for the little lizard. Barely twenty-five centimeters long, the twenty-five square meters of enclosure provided was a barren wasteland of love and affection.

It had gotten used to sleeping out in the open, with nothing but love to hide under and keep shelter. It curled up in the felt lining of its enclosure and dreamed of sand and warmth.

The room was filled with love when the lizard awakened. Love could not warm a room, and so the lizard who dreamed of hot desert sand awoke sluggish and cold. There was no sun to bask in, no heated pad underneath or lamp above. It dragged itself along the ground, against the walls, bumping its nose against the door that promised freedom away from this love-filled room.

A camera recorded the crawling movements to upload the footage to YouTube. Such a beloved little lizard was quick to receive attention in a medium it could not even comprehend. None of the affectionate comments or likes would ever be received.

It crawled away and, with nothing else left to do, curled up in the felt lining of its enclosure and dreamed of the crunch of insects against its teeth.

A human interrupted the dreams as it stomped into the room, sporting a white coat and a heart filled with love. The human kneeled down and produced a high pitched cry of affection as the lizard dragged itself to the human's outstretched hands. It knew those hands were its only source of warmth in this wasteland filled with love.

A passing memory came upon the lizard as it managed to barely lift its head upon the warm fingers. Similar hands long ago, dropping mealworms and crickets fat with nutrition into its sandy home of invisible walls and warmth. The lizard flickered its pink tongue across the fingers before it now, hoping to taste even a trace of those days. It tasted nothing but love as it was scooped up and pressed up against a face twice its size as the human cooed, charmed by its little lizard "kiss".

The little lizard curled up in those warm hands, the words of love spoken by the human going unacknowledged.

Once, a Kinder person arrived in the lizard's room of love. He cradled the lizard in his hands in silence. There were no words of love or affection. He could do nothing to fix anything here; the plot had already been written and the creature's fate had already been woven in. In one last act of Kindness, he allowed the lizard a long, long sleep.

It dreamed of its days before being bought by less kind, but more loving humans. The sand was warm. The water was cool and fresh. The insects were plentiful and its tail was fat with storage for leaner times. There were places to burrow and places to climb. There was no love.

It woke one last time, prodded out of its dream with the affectionate fingers of a human in a lab coat.

"Now, who's a good ickle lizard?"

The creature in question leaned into those fingers weakly.

"That's right! You are! Yes you are!"

Tried to close its eyes and go back to sleep. The pain in its empty belly hurt too much.

"Do you want to go play? Do you want to go play? Does the ickle lizard want to go play?"

It lifted its head to the hand, opening its mouth in memory of being able to reach up and grab dangling food.

"D-085, come look! He's smiling at me!"

There was nothing to grab here but love.

"Is he not just the cutest lizard D-085?"

The second man approached and looked down at the thing he was asked to witness. It looked less like a lizard and more like a wrinkly, rotting banana with legs. Its tail was rail-thin with starvation, its eyes sunken in with dehydration.

"Sorry, I don't really like lizards. They kinda scare me."

The lizard tried to crawl away with the renewed vigor of provided body heat. One last time, to search for food.

"Look what you've done now! Get out! Get out now!"

Its limbs collapsed underneath its skeleton-and-skin body, too weak to hunt.

"It's ok little guy, who's still the cutest lizard? Who's still the cutest lizard? That's right it's you!"

The human spoke with love and filled its room with love but love could not fill its long-empty belly or warm its chilled bones or give it shelter. The little lizard was drowned in the infinite love of humans.

When it closed its eyes for the last time, the lizard dreamed that it had arrived in a place with no love. It didn't wake up.

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