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Like most gerbils in this world, I was not born with the greatest intelligence of my species. Here is the story of the day I learned that lesson:
I yawned and scurried over to the wheel. I ran, slowly at first, then faster and faster until I was bored. Then I hopped down and darted over to the food dish. It was empty. How extremely annoying, I thought.
I waited for Jalen, the giant creature who fed me and kept me trapped here. She finally came, after I had waited for a few minutes, bringing another giant with her.
"Do the wheel, Speedy! Go on, run on the wheel!" she cried, failing to understand my squeak of protest.
As I ran on the wheel, I fumed. It was not just to be kept prisoner this way, forced to obey every whim of the giants in order to obtain food! I had to escape. But how?
"Good job, Speedy! You're such a good gerbil. Here's your treat," she said, dropping a sunflower seed into my prison. I snatched it and started nibbling immediately.
I was too busy enjoying my treat to see Jalen's hand coming for me. She grabbed me and took me out of the cage to hand me to the other giant, who proceeded to torture me. After ages and ages of being treated in this ridiculous and unfair fashion, Jalen left and the other giant stuffed me back into my cage before following. It took me only a moment to realize that the cage door had been left open.
"Freedom!" I squeaked as I made my way down to the furry carpet. I started exploring, running carefree. I laughed as I rounded a corner, not paying attention to where I was going.
Then I ran into something big, white, and furry. I looked up, and I saw its terrible face. With those horrible teeth and gleaming eyes, this creature couldn't possibly be anything but a monster. My heart thumped. I almost stopped breathing. The monster grinned down at me as I desperately tried to move. I eventually managed to turn around. I slowly crawled away, feeling its dreadful eyes on my back. It followed me, still watching. I panicked and started running as fast as I could--and I landed flat on my nose.
That evil monster had brought its paw out and placed it on my tail before I could get away. I pulled. Ouch! A hurt tail was the result of my efforts. I pulled again, harder this time, ignoring the agony. It suddenly let me go and I found myself doing a series of somersaults. I tumbled a bit, and then I banged my head against the wall. Now I had a hurt head as well as a hurt tail! Why hadn't I stayed home in my cage, where I was safe? Jalen had kept me there because she wanted to protect me from this awful creature, why hadn't I seen that before? This accursed beast was a new sight to my eyes, and I wished to be as far from it as I had been in the previous days of my life. Now it was too late; I had practically no chance of getting back home alive.
It was coming for me. I decided to play dead though my instincts told me that it was too early--that I should run instead. It came and examined me, sniffing me and batting me with its paw. I couldn't see its face, but I could tell it was surprised. The monster picked me up and carried me in its mouth, walking with me trapped in its deadly jaws! What a horrible fate I was coming to!
You shouldn't have played dead, said an annoying voice in my head.
Be quiet, I didn't want to be played with anymore, I retorted.
Then Jalen came in. When she saw what was going on, she ran over, yelling, "Bad cat! Bad, bad Jasper! Put Speedy down!"
Jasper, that horrible and awful creature, reluctantly dropped me and hurried away. I shivered, and Jalen gently picked me up and carried me back to my cage. She set me down, closed the cage door, and left. It was over.
I'll never leave again, because I'm safe here. Being alive in my cage is much better than being dead in Jasper's belly! Safety is best, after all, I thought wearily. The food dish was still empty, but Jalen would remember to feed me soon. I settled down for a nice long nap.