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The Dangers Beyond the Shadows

The Ways of the Pack

I hate the darkness. I hate it just about as much as I hate people. That's a different subject. Our pack consists of many half-sisters, half-brothers, many-numbered cousins, a king, a queen, and way too many lines that are in between. Mischief. The name of our pack describes it all.

We have but one rule: NEVER venture outside of the shadows. I won't lie, this rule holds true to its word. I've watched so many of our kind die, before me. So, what am I talking about, might you be asking? We are a mischief of rats.

That's right, you've read that right. My name is Onyx, and I am a rat. I'm here to tell you a story about how I learned how this rule was right to be well-known and feared.

Follow Your Nose

Another special rule of our survival consists of one thing: Follow your nose. Food is scarce, especially with how many rats there are, within our clan of mischief. Once we stop drinking our mama's milk, we are destined to survive on our own. Once I found a shadowed place with plenty of goods, I found I had it made. Boxes upon boxes of various, dried foods, were within my reach. All it took was a simple hole, chewed within each box.

I took in a small, dark place, deep within the walls, where I have chosen to live alone. Any rat, family or not, that had made their way to my base were either killed, severely beaten, or chased out. You have no idea how many does I've bypassed, just to keep my little hideout safe.

Yeah, that's right. While all of my cousins, brothers, and the like were happy growing their own little families, I kept everyone away from me. It's not that I hated my own kind. It's just that I preferred to be alone. I wanted my happy piece of heaven to myself.

I won't lie, within months, I have grown bigger. But don't mistake that size as a sloth-like figure. With all of the fighting I go through, my fat has become grade A muscles. I've grown dependent on my individual life of prosperity, and I felt like a brand-new rat king, no pun or dominance intended, naturally....

Blinded by the Light....

It was a bitter, January morning. Normally, my hunger worked well for me as only a nighttime feeder, but for some reason, this icy, cold day had gotten the best of me.

Gazing at the ice-covered pipes around me, I stretched my paws out and cleaned my body. I wondered if I should have improved the warmth of my personal nest, by collecting more cardboard. That's when I saw it. Two, beady, yellow eyes were glaring at me. My body went immediately into pounce mode, ready to strike at whatever was staring at me.

I crept closer, catching the trespasser by surprise. Victoriously chittering my teeth at the running victim, I made a rat-like sigh and made my way to my private stash.

My nose found greater interest in soda crackers, as I dug into the open box and nibbled on a square. That's when it happened in a second....

My eyes were weakly adjusting to the sudden sight of light, as it overpowered before me. Hearing a blood curdling scream, I dropped my cracker and attempted to run. If fear weren't a factor, I was pretty sure I wouldn't have smashed my nose into the edge of the wooden cupboard I was unknowingly hiding in....

I was lucky my eyes had adjusted before my precious boxes were removed, one by one. Looks like it's time to find a new place to live......

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