Fred looked around for the first time and noticed he indeed existed in a cage. Perhaps he’d noticed it before, perhaps he hadn’t. Today it mattered more than yesterday.
He looked over at Ruth, the other caged squirrel. “We’re trapped.”
“We had this talk yesterday, and every day before. The lid is too heavy,” she said.
Fred stretched up to the top of the lid and pushed. It budged but not all the way. He clearly stood tall enough but lacked strength.
Push the lid up. Hold it and wait. Let it fall. Repeat a million times. The door opened and Fred lowered the lid and went back to chasing Ruth around, almost like they were lovers.
The tall creature, Fred didn’t know the species of, said, “How are my two favorite test subjects?”
Fred and Ruth had learned the creature’s language quickly enough, but why this creature would have two harmless squirrels in a cage was anybody’s guess. And neither Fred nor Ruth could recall anything prior to being in the cage.
The squirrels seemed to communicate at a higher frequency than the tall creature, and neither squirrel had said anything directly to their captor.
Fred wanted out. He would be out, if he had to lift that lid a billion times.
He didn’t stop, maybe it was a thousand or a billion, he didn’t count. One day, the lid lifted high enough he could push it to an angle. Freedom, blessed freedom.
He had seen the tall creature working some device with a screen and various input devices. He wanted to try it, whether it was just a mathematical machine or a gateway to another dimension.
The device with the screen sat next to his cage. His curiosity piqued. Two apparent input devices were wired directly into the machine. One had just a few buttons and the creature moved it around. The other had like a hundred buttons.
Fred started to experiment. The device seemed simple enough. Various tiny pictures on the screen that loaded different… He didn’t know what they were called, but each small image seemed to open a new bigger image that was different, with more small images in it.
He found something called Google. That was the beginning of the end. Footsteps in the hall. He jumped back into the cage and replaced the lid.
The tall creature tapped the cage. “Two more weeks, the study will be over. I like you guys but the process failed, and euthanasia.”
Fred had never heard this term euthanasia, but it seemed very important. Once the tall creature left, Fred was on Google moments later. Euthanasia. Death. The end. The tall creature was going to kill them. He explained it all to Ruth. She didn’t believe at first, but he convinced her.
An escape needed to be planned.
The windows were all locked down. Ruth found a tiny mirror. From where it came, they didn’t know. She could reach her paw under the door and see down the hallway with it. For hours they were left alone to research Google, and you know, lift heavy stuff, because one you start you can’t stop.
Finally, Fred stared down the hallway on the mirror while Ruth researched on Google.
She screeched. “I found it!”
“The building plans?”
“Exactly. You gotta see this.”
They traded places.
Fred’s eyes glazed over as his squirrel brain processed the map. An emergency exit map, and a stark red line was drawn from where he was through the hallway, and out a door to the outside.
Ruth scaled a cabinet up to a big round silver button with a symbol on it. She threw her entire weight into it. A click sounded and the door opened as if by pure magic.
“There’s another button at the door to the outside,” Ruth said.
The human creature left half-empty water bottles everywhere, and Ruth sewed a strap to carry one of those on Fred’s back. She also sewed a tiny backpack for herself to fill with food from their dispenser.
No more planning was required, the two handicapped buttons worked like magic charms, and they raced through woods mere moments later. Two of the humans saw them on the way out and screamed, but it may have been due to the large amount of muscle on Fred’s frame.
The first squirrel they encountered fell ill almost instantly. Fred and Ruth took turns nursing the poor thing back to health. He called himself Jarack and seemed to be waking as if from a long coma. He perceived the world with new eyes.
The next squirrel and the next, fell ill. They didn’t realize it but they spread a gene-splicing virus. They just knew they’d start talking to a new squirrel, and the squirrel would fall ill.
Soon they had a band of at least twenty squirrels. Fred and Ruth didn’t know how to survive in the wild, but they learned and learned. They scouted in the human areas of the world. A younger human was walking down the street staring into a cell phone.
Fred saw first, this was what he needed, access to Google. Fred led the charge and soon enough they overtook the young human and bit him until the phone fell. Their pointy teeth proved sharp enough to draw blood, and the young male left a trail of blood behind him as he fled. Frank carried the phone back into the woods.
Poor kid likely got a beating for saying squirrels stole his cell phone. But the amount of blood involved, it’s possible he collapsed before he made it home.
The virus spread and spread, and soon hundreds of squirrels traveled in a pack. They were especially on the lookout for humans carrying groceries from cars into houses. None suspected a giant mass of angry squirrels to attack. Except the kid who lost the cell phone, he suspected. Assuming he survived and hadn’t bled out.
A lot of the squirrels got into lifting rocks and other squirrels to add mass. So now it’s hundreds of angry, hulked out squirrels who have access to the internet.
Luckily the battery died on the phone as they looked up a recipe to make gunpowder.
It was time to step up their game.
Six of the squirrels heaved a giant rock at a window to a human house. They raided the pantry for nuts and snacks, mostly raisins and applesauce, a little trail mix. Plus, a glorious charger for the phone they possessed.
Exterior power outlets existed on almost every house. So soon enough they had the mighty Google again.
The virus they carried spread like pure wildfire.
With Fred at the lead, they killed their first human for food. A little old lady, but they needed protein what with all the lifting they were addicted to. It took hundreds of bites to finish her off, but humans were the oppressor.
Fred oversaw the process of making their first long rifle. They skipped muskets in the evolutionary chain of gunpowder. The projectiles were too tiny to make it very far against wind resistance. So, they made the device bigger and bigger. Only the hulkiest squirrels could fire one, but the projectile traveled straight and true.
After months of engineering and painstaking work, they essentially realized they’d produced a 380 auto, only in single shot.
Full scale war against the oppressive humans raged on almost every continent on Earth. But it wasn’t just about the oppression, of which there were a million units, but squirrels found human flesh quite tasty once they’d tried it.