Foreword: This little story is basically the tale of the rat from the opening pages of Native Son by Richard Wright. It just describes him from his point of view as the narrator (hence the narrator’s primitive and unfocused tone) as he goes through the streets of Chicago with ultimately a single, obsessive goal in mind throughout: survival. The story begins with him roaming the streets recapping things from just a little bit ago to when he stumbles upon Bigger’s home and then when he gets squished. It’s just supposed to be a fun little story idea from an aspect of the story that is over and done with pretty quickly.
Food. Food… I want food.
I need food.
It’s hard enough. I risk my life crossing these open spaces. Giant metallic beasts roar by
nearly killing me and my brethren. On top of that, humans refuse to let us near their foods. We resort to sneaking, we resort to theft, we resort to all of the things necessary to keep ourselves warm and fed.
Last night I was with two of my brothers looking for crumbs in the darkness. It was cold. We had been chased out of our previous residence. Some human with the dark skin tried to smash us, but we managed to flee.
Ugh, fleas. Pesky little things. Make me itch all over, make me hurt all over. Such a
bother. Why can’t they just get lost, nobody wants them here. They make sneaking so much more uncomfortable and difficult.
Last night I was with two of my brothers roaming the outside world. It was dark and there were no crumbs. The birds had taken them all. We roam at night because there are less metallic beasts hunting at that time. Roaming in the day is okay, but there are many beasts and many humans that would hurt us.
Last night I was with two of my brothers when we came inside of a big den. Many
crumbs tall. Enough crumbs to feed a family of brothers and sisters for each of their lifetimes. We chose to separate. Easier to find food. Easier to sneak. Easier to survive. We would live here until we were doomed to die or flee.
Ugh, I absolutely hate fleas.
I stumble upon a family of humans. All of the dark skin kind. There are a lot of those in
this portion of the den colony. Two are much bigger than two others. But two have shorter hair.
Those are usually the aggressive males. One is bigger and one is smaller. I will lay low for a little bit and wait for them to sleep, then I shall see what food they have for me to pick at. They surely have enough to share.
The big one with the long hair sees me and lets out a high pitched battle cry. She alerts
the males who take charge against me. I scurry back to the hole to slink back into my cave from where I came. I shall wait a little longer. They will forget about me soon.
Hours pass and I take the time to sleep. The humans sleep as well. Now I am rested and
am much more sneaky than I was before. They will surely not catch me. I creep out into the darkness and begin to scavenge. As I thought, the humans are all asleep and I have as much time as I need until the sun comes up. But something is wrong. I feel movement. I freeze in order for whatever is moving to not notice me. Perhaps another of my brethren is here as well, or perhaps the humans have a cat? No, I would have smelled such things…
A sudden light appears. This is not the sun! These humans have portable lights as well!
Many do, but the ones outside never seem to have any. It is always a risk. This light is hanging from the ceiling of the den and is now glowing brightly. The female lets out another battle cry and the males are after me again. The bigger one is chasing after me. I try to hide behind a large object. It does not work. I am discovered again.
No more. It is time to fight back. I snarl and latch on to the bigger male’s leg. He does
not seem to feel any pain, though his skin is soft. Almost as if cotton. I am launched away from him and hit the wall. I am hurt by this. Fighting is not a good plan. My only hope is to return to the cave. But, oh no! They have blocked up my cave. I do not know where to go now!
I scurry to and fro. One of the males throws something large at me. I manage to dodge
but I still cannot find an exit. Perhaps I can squeeze under the human entry way. Perhaps…
I freeze as I see another heavy object come hurling towards me. I have noticed it too late and I cannot move. I fear that this will not end well for me. And all goes black.
(Greg Baranovskiy / CoS Student)