I have tracked my path to my nest site: the location good, the soil moist, the river clear and swift-flowing. My excavations are almost complete. The eggs weigh heavy; it is time.
My tail is caught, I am hauled from my tunnel. There is strength; too strong for my writhing and flipping. My bite fails to connect, my thrashings ineffective.
Then, the pain is excruciating. My being centres on the blinding flash of agony in my claws. My limbs are drawn behind, shoulders burning. The pain returns ten-fold, a pin-like digging to my back. Just as I know it can go on no longer, the agony doubles, my hind claws scream, my shoulders burn, the prickling to the back once more. I am immobile. Every twitch causes fire throughout my body. My eggs! The urge to expel is overwhelming, but I am unable to push them from my body. I feel a tightness around my midsection, a band preventing breath or contraction. My mind dims, unable to comprehend what is happening.
I wake. Try to move. The agony returns, the tightness remains, my eggs press hard in my belly. There is now pressure from above; a weight on top not there before. There are human noises around me – a signal to danger, but I cannot run, cannot move, my limbs secured. I hear noises of my own kind; soft sounds of constricted agony. I twist my head as much as the pressure and pain will allow and there I see the awfulness of what is. I now understand the pain, the agony, the burning, the pressure, the futility of hope. Piles of bodies – my own kind, females, heavy with eggs, stacked like logs on the cement floor. Their limbs secured behind, the claws snapped from their feet, ligaments stretched to the limit and tied into knots – unbreakable bonds of their own flesh and sinew. A final insult - the useless claw dug into the leathery skin of the back as if agonies inflicted were insufficient. The bellies of the captives bulge with eggs that strain for escape against cords and bindings. Eyes wide with pain and despair, I know as I gaze upon these eyes it is as if I gaze at my own reflection in the clear pools of the river eddies.
Those eyes I watch blaze with hurt as her body moves, a blade flashes, the binding around the abdomen severs, eggs expelled in a flush of relief. Relief turns to agony, the final glint of a blade at her neck. I see blood, fear, pain and finally acceptance of death.
I watch purpose for life crushed as eggs are consumed; I watch hope for life diminish and fail in the eyes of my neighbour; I see disregard for sense in the face of my captor; I see futility in my own life and despair at its end.
And then I feel no more.