You're not angry enough.

Her head is still foggy after she wakes up. She doesn't remember falling asleep, or where she is, or what she's doing there. She looks around, up and down the lonely dirt path, and sees nothing recognizable. No... no, it definitely isn't familiar to her. How could she forget someplace so red?

Trees, after all, are supposed to be green; the sky is supposed to be blue, broken only by the occasional white cloud. The colors are all different here. A vast crimson sky, streaked with cotton-candy pink, stretches over the auburn-leaved trees. Even her claws, normally a bright, clean ivory, are dark and ruddy-looking. Everything, absolutely everything is red, seen through a misty filter she can't remove but doesn't really want to. It looks sort of pretty, all of the red. It's a nice color. Surprisingly soothing, even.

She realizes that she's standing when she looks down, past her hands, and sees her feet planted on the ground beneath her. When did she stand up? When did she lie down, for that matter? She must've lain down at some point before drifting off; she wouldn't sleep on her feet. That's probably where the mud on her hands came from, now that she thinks about it. She can see several mud puddles through the red haze, dotting the road in small clusters here and there.

You're doing it wrong, damn you. Angry. I said angry. It doesn't work if you aren't angry.

She gives up on trying to figure out where she is for the time being, the palisade of reddish-brown trees lining the dusty road too foreign to ring any bells. She's a little more curious about the voice mumbling in the back of her mind. It's faint, distant, slightly slurred, almost as though she were listening to someone else's conversation through a thick door or over a great distance. It can't be talking to her, anyway. It sounds so bitter, so hateful, and she hasn't done anything to merit that tone... has she? She isn't angry, and she has no inclination to be after what must have been a refreshing nap. She wonders why the voice's owner can't feel as calm as she does, why it isn't seeing the world through the same lovely rose-colored lenses.

I didn't waste all those points just to have you flail around like a worthless magikarp. Stupid lizard. I told you that you need to be angry. You won't do shit to anything unless you're angry.

There are other voices, too, though she can only pick out a few vague words here and there. Too early, maybe, wait for it. She half wonders whom the new voices belong to, half wonders what they mean by she's not ready and more time, take it slow. The fragments make no sense, but in the end it's of no real importance. It sounds like they're talking to the yelling voice, not to her, so she probably doesn't have to worry about listening to them. She lets the extra voices and their mildly concerned tones fade back into the haze with everything else.

Don't you know what angry looks like, dumbfuck? If you don't, then you just keep fucking around. See what I get like the next time you cock this up.

There's something else in the haze now, something that might be discomfort or pain. Perhaps an echo, if that, of something hard striking her muzzle. Someone's muzzle, anyway. It's too distant for her to be sure if it was ever really her that was hit, or why anyone would be hitting her in the first place. Did she really make the yelling voice angry enough to lash out at her? Would the owner of the voice really get so upset just because she's in a good mood?

Get angrier, you stupid fuck. Do I have to do everything for you? Get. Angrier.

More echoes of distant pain, a lot more frequent this time. They fall on what might be her body with a regular rhythm, punctuating each syllable of the voice's far-off rant. The last few are the hardest—for just a second the pain almost feels real, and her muddied hand shoots up to her face without her really realizing it.


Stupid fucking piece-of-shit useless lizard. I'll show you angry. I'll bash the angry into your fucking skull if I have to.

For all of the voice's vehemence she doesn't feel very angry, though. She doesn't remember needing to be angry before, and she can't understand why the voice is so adamant about it now. This world of rosy, swirling mist and off-color trees and sky is too quiet, too peaceful, for her to be anything other than serene.

The human lying on the ground nearby certainly seems relaxed, at any rate. She has to admire him, stretched out and sleeping in the dirt like that; the hard road is nothing like the soft, springy beds or even sleeping bags that humans normally prefer. It's hard to tell through the fog of red that still swirls before her eyes, but he even looks like he's covered in mud—his hair, his chest, his tattered pants, what little she can see of his face, all are smeared with the same dark, sticky muck that sits in a large puddle beneath him. It might even be the same mud that's making her claws feel so slimy now, though she still doesn't remember getting dirty. (Yes, it must have gotten on her when she lay down to fall asleep herself.)

The reddish tint finally starts to retreat from her vision as she shrugs and ambles off down the road, leaving the sleeping man and his bed of mud behind. She doesn't know where she's going—that would probably require some knowledge of where she currently is—but she isn't unduly bothered by her unknown location and destination. She's sure she'll remember something eventually, anyway, sure that the memories will start flooding back along with the ebb of the rosy tide and its light-headed amnesia. Until that happens she'll just have to wander on alone.

It doesn't feel so bad, walking by herself. In fact, the farther she goes, the more she feels like skipping. It's almost as if she left something behind back there with the mud and the trees and the man, something that makes her feel giddy enough to take to the air and turn cartwheels through the paling cotton-candy clouds. It's warm and wonderful, and she's as light as a feather. Maybe that man will feel this way when he wakes up from his own nap. Maybe he'll open his eyes to a world of red fog and purple sky, and he'll wonder at the voices in his head and the mud on his clothes, and he won't really care because he's never felt less angry in his life. That would be nice.

About damn time you got your sorry ass in line! Now that looks angry...