Animals of the Future By: Tk. T

I bet you don't even think about it when you look at your dog, or your cat, or maybe your singing little canary. No, I'm sure you don't think about it at all. Why would you? Most likely you've been looking at your dog or cat since he was small. You've probably lived with him since you were a toddler or maybe starting elementary school. We're taught that humans are superior to other species. Right? We can kill for sport, we can clear the land for our homes, pollute the air for our factories and our cars, we can claim other creatures for pets and playthings, we can abuse other living things and each other, we can do whatever we want because we are human. We are the masters of the planet. We are the smartest of all living things that walk the Earth.

But-

The balance of power shifted. It changed right after the last nuclear war in November 22, 3678. Now the ground is covered in ash from the nuclear fall-out. It has been nineteen years since that day, the day the world fell apart. Humans are no longer ruler, we cannot claim pets, or pollute the air on whim as before- No. Everything has changed.

The strangers came after the last war. Not like on TV with the big saucers whizzing down and green men with blinking costumes flashing guns at everyone. No. Nothing like that. The strangers were nothing like the books or magazines. They came quietly.

In fact, we had no idea it had happened, really. It was that discrete, that quiet and subtle- I was born after the strangers had come, so this is all I know. I can only listen to what the elders say and dream of what life must've been like before the last nuclear war and the strangers. My father told me that the land was once covered with tall glittering skyscrapers and green grass. Not anymore. Only ash and gray. Nothing more than the big black sky and the never-ending lumpy terrain that stretches all the way to the horizon.

The strangers aren't mean to us, not necessarily anyway. If I told you, you would laugh, but it is true. It is all very true. The strangers are the smartest and dominant force now. Humans are just part of the other species. Now it is the strangers who pollute the water and air, and honk their loud sophisticated machines. They are the ones who get to pick and choose, they are the ones with the authority to kill living things and clear the ashen land for their houses- houses so tall you would have to crane your neck to see the tops of them. The strangers can do whatever they want simply because they are stronger and smarter than any other living thing on the Earth. They are the masters of the planet.

Me? I look out of the cage they have put me in. I watch them come by to speculate me, like you would to a squirrel or chipmunk. The strangers look at us just as remotely, just as objectively. I have taught myself to scratch the cage when they come by, in hope that I may leave this place. My companions around me fight for their attention as they gaze at us.

Every now and then a stranger will come in and take one of us. The lucky human would get to live in the glittering homes of the strangers. For that was our purpose, right? Right? I'm sure when you go into a pet store you'd see the puppies doing strange things for your attention, they'd look at you with sad eyes in hope that you'll take one of them home. That is how we are because that is what we have become.

The strangers take us to their homes and groom, feed, pet, observe, and play with us. So the strangers aren't bad, no- not really. I like them, and maybe one of them will take me home with them.

But-

I want you to imagine. I want you to look at your dog, or your cat, or whatever pet you have. I want you to look at him real hard. Look straight into his eyes and stare beneath his pupils to his soul. Yes, his soul, I want you to peer into his soul. I'm sure it's nice having a pet. But I want you to think of yourself while you look at him. Think if you were in his place, in his paws staring out with the muzzle and sad eyes.

It'll be you one day. One day we won't have the gift of claiming weaker creatures for our own. We will be the ones claimed. We will be the ones drinking out of bowls and begging for scraps at the table. We'll be the ones staring with the sad eyes in hope that someone will take us home. It will be us who'll watch from cages and fences for the rest of our lives. That will be us. Because nothing lasts forever, and sooner or later the strangers will come. They will come. It is only a matter of time for you.