A boy longs to be adopted, but who would raise a moody young teenager?
The sun shined brightly on a particularly warm spring afternoon; one that felt warm to all except for a boy with slightly curled blonde hair, who gazed glumly out the second-story window at the scene down below. Parked in front of the building was a pale green car, with a young couple loading small suitcases into the trunk in the back and a small boy with short brown hair doing the best he could to help them. Once all the bags had been packed, the woman embraced the boy in yet another quick hug and the man playfully ruffled the boy's hair. Even though he couldn't hear the words they were saying at that moment, the older boy in the window knew full well they were happy to be together: something he had unfortunately never had the chance to feel for himself.
Letting out a heavy sigh, he rolled his desk chair away from the window and back over to the desk on the opposite side of the small bedroom. Before he had another moment alone with his unhappy thoughts, a light knock sounded from behind the slightly opened door, to which the boy flatly answered: "Come in."
A middle-aged woman gently opened the door, but she did not enter, she simply stood there in the threshold, staring into the bedroom at the teenage boy with the kind eyes behind her glasses.
"You didn't want to say goodbye to Johnny?" she asked sympathetically.
"Didn't feel like it," the boy muttered, slouching over the desk.
"I understand," said the woman. "He was only here a few weeks. I guess you two didn't really talk that much."
"Miss Roslyn?" the boy asked quietly.
"Yes, Damian," she replied, clearly seeing something was wrong.
"Am I ever going to get adopted?" he asked, looking up at his care-taker with his teal-blue eyes from his hunched position.
Miss Roslyn was taken aback for a moment. The first response that came to her mind was: "Don't be silly, of course you will," but she herself didn't know if that would be true. Damian had been in her foster home for more than a few years, and with every group of parents that arrived to adopt from her home, they did seem to prefer most of the other boys over Damian. While still wanting to give Damian hope, she could tell he wasn't going to take anything sugar-coated either.
"I wish I knew for sure," she finally answered.
Damian sighed in discontentment and shoved himself away from the desk, rolling the chair away from the table and spinning around slightly, turning his attention away from Miss Roslyn.
"I knew it..." he grumbled, spreading out his legs onto the floor and crossing his arms.
"But that doesn't mean it won't happen," Miss Roslyn quickly responded.
"I've been here forever!" said Damian. "And yet every other kid here has been adopted! What’s wrong with me!?”
"Well, for one..." Miss Roslyn began, taking a few steps into the room. "...you could maybe spend less time putting rubber spiders into the toilet and frightening the other boys and instead focus a bit more on your school work. By the way, is your end-of-term essay finished yet?"
"Sort of..." Damian grunted.
Feeling the cold stare of disbelief he knew all too well behind him, he squirmed in his seat and muttered: "...not really..." And then finally, after another sigh: "...no. So what?" he said, spinning the chair around to look his caretaker in the eye. "Lots of kids hate homework. What makes me so different from the others?"
Miss Roslyn had hoped he wouldn't ask something like that, but now that Damian had just turned 14 years old, maybe it was time to enlighten him.
"Well..." she began, looking down at him. "Sometimes...it can be rather difficult for a teenager to be adopted."
The words clouded Damian's mind with a dark feeling of dread. "Whuh...what?" he asked nervously. "Why?"
Miss Roslyn sighed before continuing: "Most new parents who can't have kids of their own prefer to adopt young children." She knew these words were hurting Damian, but she couldn't bring herself to withhold the truth. "They adopt younger children because it gives them the chance to raise them like normal parents would."
"So...what are you saying?" asked Damian, knitting his brow, trying to mask his fear with anger. "I'll just never be adopted because I'm older!? That SUCKS!"
"I know it's not fair," Miss Roslyn said, calming the boy by laying a hand on his shoulder. "But please understand that none of this is your fault. These things just happen."
"But what'll happen to me?" asked Damian. "You're not going to kick me out, are you?"
"No," said Miss Roslyn quickly. "Of course not, I would never leave you out there on your own. But now that you're almost a young man, I'm afraid it will only become harder for someone to want to adopt you."
So that was it, Damian wondered to himself. He had just simply missed his chance at a normal life with a loving family all because he was too old to be adopted? That was stupid!
"Although..." Miss Roslyn muttered, turning her attention slightly away from Damian, adrift in her own thoughts.
"What?" asked Damian curiously.
"There...um..." she said, looking back toward Damian. "There is an adoption agency that specializes in finding homes for teenage boys."
"There is?!" Damian said, a glimmer of hope flickering in his mind.
"Yes," Miss Roslyn confirmed. "The Esposito Youth Welfare Association. However, even though their results are surprisingly promising, their methods are a bit...different than mine." Her expression seemed to change as she said those last few words, but for now Damian shrugged it off.
"That doesn't seem so bad," scoffed Damian. "If it means getting me a better chance at getting adopted, I'll gladly go!"
"Well, why don't you sleep on it first before you go charging into anything," said Miss Roslyn calmly. "After you've thought things over for a while and you still want to go through with it, just let me know and I'll arrange everything for you."
"Okay," said Damian calmly, showing he understood but still secretly bubbling with excitement inside.
Several days had passed, allowing Damian to carefully consider his choice. On one hand he would do anything to improve his odds at getting adopted, but then he remembered the look Miss Roslyn had on her face when she mentioned that this other adoption place, the “Esposito Youth Welfare Association”, did things differently than she did. Damian considered maybe this other place was like some kind of military boot-camp with lots of rules and regulations, which hardly seemed preferable to Miss Roslyn's more generous care. But given his current odds of being adopted where he was, perhaps it would be better in the long-run just to give Esposito Youth a try. If this adoption place could really find a home for him, maybe it wouldn't matter what living there would be like, provided it even was as different as Miss Roslyn made it seem. After going over these thoughts countless times in his head for the next few days, Damian ultimately decided to leave Miss Roslyn's foster home and transfer to Esposito Youth.
While sad to let him go, Miss Roslyn dutifully got all the paperwork worked out to arrange for Damian to live under the care of the staff at Esposito Youth. In hardly any time at all, Damian packed his backpack with his few belongings, had a quick peanut-butter sandwich for one last lunch in the foster home, and then rode in the passenger's seat of Miss Roslyn's mini-van through the city roads and down the highway. Both of them remained silent throughout the entire ride, and Damian gazed out at the semi-urban scenery as it all glided past his view out the car side window. He kept day-dreaming about the possibility of getting adopted. He couldn't care less about what kind of person or people would take him in: he just wanted to be chosen by anyone who would be happy to have him as their child.
The car soon entered a parking lot beside a large building near the edge of town. The building was wide and about six stories tall with windows dotted along each of the walls, but every one of them had their blinds drawn, hiding the inside rooms from view outside. There weren't any real distinctive decorations or signs to identify the building, only the simple sign labeled: "Esposito Youth Welfare Association, est. 1980“ by the front of the parking lot. The whole place vaguely reminded Damian of the children's hospital he and the other fostered boys would visit for annual check-ups, only this place felt a lot more like it was trying to keep a secret, which playfully teased Damian's curiosity to no end.
Grabbing his backpack and strapping it on, Damian followed Miss Roslyn through the parking lot and to the building's entrance, she held the glass door open for him to enter and after passing through another enrty door they walked down the silent hallway to a wooden door labeled: "Registry". Damian followed Miss Roslyn as she opened the door, leading the both of them into what appeared to be a waiting room with a few potted plants and a large painting of a lighthouse overlooking a beach on the wall. There were two long couches placed in a corner of the room with a glass table in front of them, on the table was a loose spread of very dated magazines. On the other side of the room was a counter with a fold-up attachment on one end to allow people access behind the desk. Sitting at the desk, typing away on a computer keyboard was a rather young woman with blonde hair that hardly reached past her chin. Being the maturing young man he was, Damian couldn't help but take an interest in her very attractive appearance.
"Hello there," the woman said with a gentle smile once she noticed they had entered. "Can I help you?"
"Yes, I'm Jennifer Roslyn," Miss Roslyn answered as she approached the desk. "I'm the one who called about transferring one of my foster children to your services."
"Oh, yes," the woman said happily. "So then this must be Damian, correct?"
"Yeah," said Damian, clearing his throat a little. "That's me."
"Excellent," the woman replied. "Alright, everything is in order for the guardianship transfer. I'll just need you to fill out this quick little form here and then we can get you all set up."
"Okay," said Damian.
She lifted a brown clipboard with a blue slip of paper and a chained pen to Damian over her computer screen. He then took it over to one of the couches and took a seat. The form was filled with basic questions that Damian easily wrote the answers to: his name, his birthday, any family members he knew about (which he unfortunately did not). Then there were a few questions that seemed a bit extensive for an adoption agency, such as: his height, his weight, any food-based allergies, if he was currently taking any medication, and finally there was one question that really stuck out to him: "Was there anything that frightened you as a child?"
Damian was at a loss for what to write in the box below that question. While there certainly wasn't anything in particular that scared him as a kid, he felt that was a rather odd thing for an adoption agency to ask him. What on earth would they use that kind of information for? Despite his skeptical thoughts on the question, Damian simply answered the question by writing: "No" on the empty line.
After signing his name at the bottom of the paper, paying no mind to all the legal mumbo-jumbo in parentheses above it, Damian rose from his seat and carried the clipboard back to the front desk where the attractive woman behind the counter and Miss Roslyn were finishing up the rest of the paperwork.
"Here, I finished this," Damian said, handing the clipboard back over the counter.
"Thank you," said the woman, accepting the returned form and glancing through it quickly. After a few seconds, she replied with her same bubbly demeanor: "Alright, everything's all set! We'll take it from here. Welcome to Esposito Youth, Damian!"
Miss Roslyn then turned toward Damian and gave him one last hug. Damian grunted a little, he was fine with hugs...just not in front of other people.
"Sorry," Miss Roslyn said, knowing she was embarrassing Damian. "34 years of fostering kids, and saying goodbye never gets any easier."
"Will I ever see you again?" Damian asked, looking at his former caretaker with those big blue eyes of his.
"Who knows?" Miss Roslyn said, letting go of the teenage boy, her hand lingering on his shoulder. "But for now...Good luck, Damian! I hope you find what you're looking for."
"Thanks," said Damian. "Take care."
The woman behind the desk arose from her chair and walked over to the end of the counter and opened the part that folded up.
"If you'll come right this way, we'll get you settled in," she said, gesturing for Damian to enter.
"Okay," Damian agreed, readjusting his backpack strap and walking through the opening in the desk, which the woman closed once he was past.
"Just enter through this door to the locker room," the woman instructed. "Please use the showers to cleanse yourself and store your belongings in your designated locker. Your locker will be number 16."
She handed Damian a small key with a tag that had the number "16" scribbled on it. Then she lifted up a small, grey gym bag from under her desk and held it out for Damian to take as well.
"Once you have showered, please change into these clothes" she continued. "We ask that you please wear something from this set of clothes while you stay here. Do you understand?"
"Uh...sure," said Damian, taking the gym bag, which felt rather light.
"Good," the woman said with a smile. "I hope you enjoy your stay here at Esposito Youth. Please enter the locker room when you are ready."
Damian glanced back at Miss Roslyn from the other side of the desk, getting one last look at her smiling face before turning the handle on the door and walking into the locker room like he was told to and the door automatically closed behind him.
The locker room looked very similar to any other. The floor was tiled, florescent lights flickered on the ceiling, grey metal lockers lined most of the walls with wooden benches occupying the space between them on the floor. Damian took note of the room next to the door he just came through as the showers that the woman had described to him. He quickly found his locker among the others, finding the number "16" engraved on the locker's door, inserted the key, and opened the empty storage space. Thankful that he seemed to be the only one in this room, he changed out of his red and black hoodie and his blue denim jeans. He then removed his sneakers, his socks, and finally his light-blue boxers and then proceeded to store them along with his backpack into his locker. He closed the door and turned the key back around to lock it but decided to leave the key where it was so he wouldn't lose it.
Feeling rather exposed with no clothing on him whatsoever, he quickly make his way to the showers. The floor was linoleum and Damian expected it to feel cold against his bare feet, but it wasn't nearly as bad as he expected. He figured the floors might've been heated; this place must be pretty up-scale. When he had arrived in the shower room, he walked over to the nearest faucet and twisted the handle below it, sending a drizzle of water out and splashing onto the tiled floor. Damian waited a few seconds for the water to heat up a little first before drenching himself in it, periodically extending his foot out to check if the falling water was to his liking yet. As soon as the temperature was acceptable, Damian walked directly under the stream of water, his semi-long blonde hair soon grew wet, lost its pointed curl, and fell over his eyes. When he could manage to brush it out of the away, he soon found a fresh bar of soap on a shelf extended out from the wall beside the shower and used it to quickly scrub it all over himself. Having a moderately low sense of personal hygiene, it wasn't long before Damian figured he was clean enough.
He switched off the shower, sending the remaining water down the nearby drain or else in puddles on the floor, returned the soap to its spot on the shelf, and shivered as the warm water was no longer protecting him from the cold room. Luckily, he spotted some towels on a rack on the wall opposite of the shower and quickly swiped one for himself. Wrapping it around him like a cloak, he simply stood where he was, feeling very cold as one normally does after a warm shower, and waited a bit before effectively using the towel to dry himself off.
As he rubbed the towel through his messed-up hair, Damian carefully made his way back to the locker room, paying no mind to the water he was dripping onto the warmer floor. Once he felt dry enough, he decided to make himself decent by wrapping the towel around his waist to avoid exposing himself anymore than he had to.
"Okay, let's see what I'm supposed to be wearing," he muttered to himself, turning his attention to the lone gym bag sitting on the bench in front of his locker.
He casually pulled the zipper across its path, but once the bag was opened, Damian was rather baffled by what he found inside it. The vivid light of the room revealed about five lightly colored shirts, each one with a simple design on it. One was purple with a simple little rocket ship on it, another was green and had a goofy looking frog printed on it. But in addition to the disgustingly cute look to them, Damian was shocked to see how small they were: these had to be clothes for toddlers. He moved them to the side hoping to find larger sets of clothes underneath them, but adding to his horror he found a selection of pull-ups and only a few bundles of small socks.
Damian felt his face grow warm and red with blush. The woman must've given him the wrong bag by mistake, there was no way these clothes were meant for a teenager like Damian. He quickly re-zipped the bag closed and turned to get his old clothes back from his locker, but the key had somehow vanished from the key-hole he made sure to leave it in. He glanced down at the floor, hopping maybe it had just fallen out, but when he found no sign of it he could feel the worry starting to grow inside him. He got down on all-fours to check under the bench and the floor around it. When he found no trace of his locker key, Damian got back on his feet and tried to force the locker open anyway, but with the key-hole being the only mechanism that could open the locked door, this made for quite an impossible challenge especially since his fingers were still a little wet and slippery from his shower.
Eventually he gave up and decided he wouldn't be getting his old clothes back anytime soon and considered his other options. Even though he was only in a towel, Damian thought that he might be able to get things sorted out if he went back the way he came and spoke to the woman at the registry desk. Not letting the awkwardness of the situation get to him, he made his way back toward the door he had first used to enter the locker room, keeping one hand on the towel to make sure it stayed in place. He tried opening the door, but the long handle wouldn't budge. He pushed, he pulled, but the door remained shut.
"Uh...hello?" Damian yelled to the door. "Is anyone out there? There's been some kind of mistake! I think I got the wrong bag of clothes! Hello?"
When no response came from the other side of the door, Damian tried pounding against it to get some attention.
"Hey!" he yelled a little louder. "Hello!? A little help please!? I don't have the right set of clothes! HELLO!?"
With no sound responding to him from the other side, Damian gave up and went back to the bench with the bag of small clothes. He then noticed the door labeled: "EXIT" on the other side of the room which probably lead out to where he would be staying. Maybe someone over there could help him, he thought. But as he approached the exit door, he noticed a large poster next to it that read: "Please change into clothes provided before entering. Thank you."
"Yeah, like I'm wearing any of that out there!" Damian snarked as he continued toward the door.
But as Damian tried turning the handle of this door, a brief buzzer sounded startling Damian, causing him to drop his towel to the floor. He traced the source of the sound to a speaker beside the door. An automated female voice then said: "Please change into clothes provided before entering. Thank you."
"ARGH! Are you kidding me!?" Damian grunted angrily, picking up his towel. "These people go out of their way to force that one rule but they can't give me the right clothes!? What gives!?"
Knowing full well it wouldn't work any better than the first time, Damian in his frustration kept trying to open the exit, only to repeatedly set off the buzzer and the automated message.
"*BZZRT* Please change into clothes provided...*BZZRT* Please change into...*BZZRT* Please...*BZZRT* Please...*BZZRT* Please...*BZZRT* Please...*BZZRT* Please change into clothes provided before entering. Thank You."
Having vented his anger, Damian sighed and gave up trying to open the door, taking a moment to allow himself to think more rationally. He wandered back over to the lone grey gym bag on the bench in front of his locker. He slowly opened the bag again, only to find the toddler-sized clothing just as he had left them. Looking back at the exit door at the end of the room, he let out another discontent sigh, looked back at the shirts and pull-ups, and finally said: "I guess this is my only way out of here..."
Swallowing his pride, Damian grabbed the only shirt out of the selected few that he could bring himself to wear: a light-blue t-shirt with a simple bear head design on the front. He lifted it up to his head and managed to work his arms through the short sleeves, then he used his free hands to tug the shirt down over his head, suffice to say: it wasn't too easy. Soon enough, he got his head through the small neck hole, and he could feel his embarrassment coming back as he noticed that the shirt's bottom rim only went down only about an inch past his chest, leaving his flat stomach exposed. But despite its embarrassingly small size, it wasn't clinging to Damian's skin much, in fact it even felt a little loose on him, allowing him to move like he normally did without stretching the shirt's fabric too much.
Next were his pants, or rather his awkward lack of them. Damian dumped the whole bag inside out but only found the pull-ups to be used as cover for his lower half. He knew this was not going to be big on dignity, but what other choice did he have? He grabbed a pair that had a blue-stripe along the top, put his legs into the holes, and lifted them up to his waist. Admittedly, Damian would've preferred to got out naked at this point rather than wear these baby-like clothes. The plush and cushioned fabric felt weird down in Damian's discreet parts, but at least it wasn't too uncomfortable other than his very silly appearance.
After donning one of the pairs of white socks, which only reached up to the bottom of his ankles, Damian was dressed in the ridiculously too small and juvenile clothing. His face was glowing bright red with embarrassment as he stared down at his inappropriately clothed body, never in all his life had he felt so humiliated, and he was truly grateful that he was the only person able to see himself this way...for now.
Getting an idea, he quickly stuffed the other toddler-sized clothes into the bag and zipped it shut. Tilting the bag vertically, he held it in front of his body to shield his awkward appearance from view. It hardly hid that much of him, but he figured it had to be better than nothing. With his arms wrapped tightly around his make-shift cover, Damian walked over to the exit door, hoping more than anything that he'd find someone on the other side who would help him with this terrible mishap.
He carefully placed his hand over the long, curved handle and pushed it downward. Instead of that annoying buzzer sound, Damian was pleasantly surprised to hear a conformational chime and the door allowed itself to be swung open. Not wanting to waste a single moment, Damian rushed inside, but his brief moment of triumph was dashed when he realized where the door, now closing by itself, had led him. Instead of a hallway like Damian had expected, the door lead him to a dank metal room with dim lighting. On the three walls surrounding him up next to the rim of the ceiling were long air-vents. Before he had the chance to react to the situation, a loud hissing noise sounded and Damian screamed in panic as fog-like gas started to pour into the room from the vents filling the room with a think haze.
Damian turned on the spot, dropped the bag and immediately began pushing, shoving, pounding, and screaming at the room's only door, desperately trying to escape whatever was going on. But within seconds, Damian's efforts dwindled as the room filled with more and more gas. He suddenly began to feel faint and weak, with everything going blurry around him. He fell to his knees, still lightly hitting in a futile attempt to get it open, and soon fell over onto his side and laid limp on the floor. The gas grew thicker, and thicker, and before he even knew it had happened, everything blacked out.
Everything was dark. Even after he started regaining conscientiousness, Damian's head was muddled and fogged with confusion, so much in fact that he could barely open his eyes yet. As his mind started waking up, he could tell he was laying flat on the ground. But rather than try to move, he first tried to remember where he was and how he got there. His recent memories soon came back to him slowly, he remembered Miss Roslyn's kind face, a beautiful young woman behind a counter, the locker room with showers, being trapped in the cold metal room with air vents. As soon he thought about that last frightful memory, the fear he had felt jump-started his heart, sending him back to his previous state of panic. Damian shot up into a sitting position with his eyes open and immediately alert. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust, but Damian was soon able to see just where he was.
He was now in a moderately sized room with bright blue wallpaper that had white clouds and brightly colored airplanes and boats designed onto it in a repeating pattern. Up where the wall touched the ceiling was a repeating stream of letters in alphabetical order with each letter being a different color. A large domed light fixture in the center of the ceiling served as the main source of light. When Damian looked down he noticed the floor was covered with large, multi-colored foam puzzle pieces which felt rather soft and padded. A wide selection of children’s toys were carelessly scattered all across the floorspace, among them were: a set of wooden building blocks with numbers and letters on them, a small yellow ball with a red star and a blue stripe, a colorful tower of stackable plastic rings, a toy helicopter, a wind-up mouse, and a wooden train-track set. Against one of the four walls was a particularly large wooden crib filled with a wide selection of stuffed animals and a small mobile with different colored stars arched over one end. Up against another wall closer to Damian was a bright green dresser with red trim around each drawer, on top of it was a wireless baby monitor and a lamp that had star shaped holes cut in the lampshade.
"Oh no..." Damian muttered, looking down at his body, which was still only clothed in the small light-blue t-shirt, pull-up underwear, and tight socks.
Not only had the Esposito Youth staff given him clothing for a toddler, they must've also placed him in a room that was meant for a toddler. Damian's face went bright red again as he stood up and stared at his truly embarrassing situation. He quickly searched the room for a door that would lead him out of here, but much to his horror: there didn't seem to be one. The entire room was sealed: no doors, no windows, only the four walls, the ceiling, and the floor.
Damian's heart began to pound in his chest with energized panic: he was trapped! He then scanned the walls more carefully, following the wall clockwise all the way around the room, carefully stepping over any toys in his path. As he ran his hands over the wall looking for something he might've missed, after moving around past the dresser and then the crib, Damian smiled slightly when his fingers felt a dent in the wallpaper. Upon closer inspection, Damian could see the outline of what could be a door at one end of the room. Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be any way to open it from this side. He pressed his ear against the outlined part of the wall and listened carefully, hearing nothing but the sound of his nervous breath and racing heartbeat.
"Hey! Is anyone out there!" Damian shouted through the crack. "There's been a mistake! I've been put in the wrong room! Hello!?"
He then backed away and began pounding on the 'door' with his fists, desperately trying to get noticed.
"Someone!? Anyone!?" he continued yelling. "I don't belong in here! I'm 14! Four-TEEN!!"
When this yielded no result, he ran to the opposite wall and began pounding and screaming there.
"Can anyone hear me!?" he shouted. "Please! I've been placed in the wrong room!"
He ran around the room, slamming his clenched fists on every inch of wall he could reach, screaming loudly to try as hard as he could to be noticed.
"This has to be a mistake! I'm not a little kid! Someone get me outta here! Please! HEY! Can anyone hear me!? You idiots can't seem to tell a baby from a TEENAGER!"
He went on and on, trying his absolute hardest to get the attention of anyone outside the room. He shouted and screamed, kicked and punched the walls and floor, all of which did nothing to help him. Eventually, Damian became exhausted and he soon collapsed onto the floor and leaded up against a wall, taking deep breaths as he came to a halt. With nothing else to do, Damian simply laid down on the floor, giving up his attempt at escape for the moment and allowing his frustration to melt away.
Maybe after awhile someone would realize the mistake and come get him, he thought. Yes, that's probably what would happen. They would realize the mistake, free Damian from this kiddie-themed prison, get him much more suitable clothes and living space, apologize over and over for their dreadful mistake, and everything would be fine. These thoughts of rescue calmed Damian. While he still felt unbelievably silly in this strange situation, he eased his mind with the hope that everything would be okay in the end.
Damian continued to lay where he was for what felt like hours. Unfortunately, there did not seem to be any clocks in the room, so Damian was clueless as to how much time had passed since he first awoke here, or even when he had first arrived at the Esposito Youth Welfare Association. Regardless of however much time had actually passed, it was hardly enough for that peanut butter sandwich he had back at Miss Roslyn's foster home to sustain him. Damian could feel his stomach growing emptier, with a strong desire for food building up in his mind. His thoughts turned to all of his favorite foods: french fries...triple cheeseburgers with extra gooey cheese...deep-dish sausage pizza with cheesy-crust. He continued to day-dream about food, and his belly grumbled loudly as he became hungrier with these thoughts.
Then all of a sudden, Damian heard a brief mechanical noise, snapping him out of his delicious thoughts. He quickly turned his head toward the source of the sound: the supposed door at the other end of the room which had now opened. Damian's heart leapt with excitement as he got to his feet, but before he got the chance to go near it, something entered the room and the door automatically closed the second afterward. What had apparently entered the room was a mechanical chair with four wheels attached to the bottom, and attached behind the seat were two pairs of robot arms with gloved hands.
Damian didn't know what to make of the strange device, at least until it started moving toward him quickly, its robotic arms stretched out ready to grab and it said in a cheery, male, recorded voice: "Ora di cena. Ora di cena."
Realizing the machine was after him, Damian quickly moved away from it in fear, however since there was still no way for him to leave the toddler-themed room, he didn't have much room to escape it. The robot chair followed him around, paying no mind to the toys it was knocking over and pushing as it pursued the teenage boy. All the while repeating that quick recorded phrase: "Ora di cena. Ora di cena. Ora di cena."
Soon, it had backed him into a corner, leaving Damian with no way to get past it. The gloved robot hands grabbed Damian by the arms and lifted him up off the floor and quickly placed him into its chair. As soon as he was seated, two leather straps automatically wrapped themselves around Damian: one around his shoulders and chest, and another around his wrists and upper legs. He struggled vigorously to try and free himself, but the straps were tight and held the distressed teen in place, save for his head and legs which freely wiggled about in protest.
One of the robot hands grabbed Damian’s head to keep it still, and as it continued saying: "Ora di cena", Damian heard something open behind the chair and one of the arms that wasn't holding him lifted something in front of him. In the robot's hand was a large baby bottle filled with what Damian could only guess was milk. Before he could object, the hand shoved the bottle's pink tip into Damian's slightly open mouth and squeezed it, sending a gush of lukewarm liquid into his mouth. His cheeks puffed out as they filled up and without much time to think about it, Damian instinctively swallowed it, only for the robot hand to squeeze more out of the bottle and into his mouth again.
The machine soon forced Damian to drink the entire bottle, still repeating that same annoying phrase: "Ora di cena." Once the bottle was empty, the hand yanked the bottle out of Damian's mouth, and after a brief moment to try catching his breath, one of the other hands shoved another big baby bottle of milk into his mouth and forced him to drink that one as well. When that bottle was finished, the machine had another bottle ready and waiting, then another, and another, and another. With each bottle the machine fed him, Damian could feel his stomach filling up at a rapid pace. With his toddler-sized shirt hardly doing anything to cover it, Damian could see his belly becoming noticeably bigger and rounder as it stretched to accommodate all the milk he was forced to drink. This hardly helped Damian's embarrassment of being treated like a baby, but he was somewhat glad that he wasn't going to starve.
After about ten of those large bottles, Damian could feel his stomach reaching its limit as it started to become painfully tight, but the machine had plenty more left for him to drink, pulling out an almost endless amount of those milk bottles. After the fifteenth bottle's worth had been completely pumped and painfully swallowed down Damian's throat, an audible chime sounded and the repeating "Ora di cena" had stopped. The mechanical hand returned the empty bottle with all the others in the compartment behind the chair and the straps around Damian's body released, although he felt too bloated to do anything except let out a tired moan and allow gravity to carry him to the floor. However, the robot seemed to have a different idea, as the robot arms grabbed him again, the servo-motors groaning slightly under Damian's increased weight. The arms lifted him up out of the chair and gently placed him over what could be considered the ‘shoulder’ of the device, with Damian's arms and head hanging lazily over the back side while the robot arms supported the rest of his body on the front. One of the robot hands then began lightly patting Damian on the back repeatedly.
His eyes half-closed with exhaustion, Damian wondered what the robot was doing to him now. It wasn't long before Damian received his answer, as a large belch erupted out of his mouth, after which he sighed at the mild relief of pressure. After completing its task, the hands stopped lightly hitting the full teenager on the back and drove across the floor over to the crib. Almost as if it detected the robot-chair's presence, the crib's front row of bars opened and the robot arms placed Damian on the soft mattress inside it, with the cool fabric touching Damian's excessively exposed skin, and the bars rose back up, sealing him in the large crib with several stuffed animals beside him. He watched sleepily as the robot turned around and drove back to the door at the end of the room which quickly opened and closed to allow the robot passage through.
Damian looked down at his belly, which stood like a large, tan mountain in front of him as he laid in the crib, slowly rising and falling with his slow breaths. He gently rubbed it with his hands to try and relieve some of pressure, it felt completely solid and very heavy. His shirt now had absolutely no chance of fitting him comfortably now and his pull-ups felt snug against his expanded waist. He could hardly tolerate staying in this infantile crib, but he was too tired and full to try getting out of it, all he could do was simply lean onto his side to make himself more comfortable, causing the milk inside him to make a slight sloshing sound.
The lights in the room slowly dimmed, making the room much darker than it was before, but rather than completely shut off, the light fixture instead turned to a very dull shade of orange, allowing everything in the room to still be moderately visible. The room now seemed to be emulating nighttime, while still making the room feel warm and comfortable. Damian saw the lamp atop the dresser flick on with a pale blue light, sending star-shaped beams of light across the surfaces of the room through the holes in the lampshade. The lampshade then began to spin slowly, causing the shapes of light to move around the room, with a soft and soothing music box melody beginning to play.
Since he drank so much warm milk and was now full to bursting, Damian was already very drowsy to begin with, but the dimmed lights and relaxing music were only making him even more so. His eyelids had grown unbelievably heavy and he soon found himself unable to keep them open any longer. Despite his unpleasant situation, Damian felt completely relaxed. He was in a soft bed, his stomach was full, all he wanted to do at that moment was just fall asleep, and thanks to the relaxing atmosphere, it wasn't long before his mind drifted off into a soothing slumber.