It was a dark and stormy night. Actually, it was a nice day, but Brushy likes dramatic retellings. It was a dark and stormy night and there he sat, on a shelf in a pet store, with hundreds of other hamsters. No one seemed to notice one specific hamster. This hamster's name was Brushy. Unfortunately, no one seemed to understand that. They all seems to just think he was squeaking. It was a slightly outrageous, but he knew that humans were very simple-minded and just needed to be ignored. However, that was Brushy's very issue. He couldn't just ignore them. See, Brushy's whiskers were very powerful. He was always able to read people's minds. The only way he was able to do that was through his whiskers. Since he was born, Brushy had learned and listened to everyone's thoughts coming through his shop. His favorite so far was the opera singer. Her head seemed very empty but had beautiful music flowing around in it.

About Brushy: he's 2.5 years old. That's, like, 80 in hamster years. He had seen a lot of people come and go from his shop. It wasn't until one fateful day that a gentleman who happened to have a doctorate in astrophysics walked into the shop looking for a puppy to give to his wife for a Valentine's Day gift. Bad idea, really. However, the amount of information that flowed through his head was amazing! No, astronomical! Brushy knew he only had a few moments to get all the information that he wanted from this mind. He sifted through the memories and thoughts and found the ones that he needed. He had stopped worrying about imposing on people's personal memories. He found out a while ago that he couldn't do that. No matter how he tried, his powers only allowed him to find informational thoughts. You know, facts, details, information and such. He can't look at a person's personal memories because they were stored in a different part of the brain. At least that's what he told himself to keep his mind from pondering too much on that topic. Anyway, he found information about creating a launching system. The math he would need to create a seesaw to get him out of this prison. He knew he was destined for greater things than to sit here ignored by humans that didn't want to try and see past his squeaks and look into his heart. He gathered, sifted, and sorted the information, equations, and algorithms that he would need to be able to grant himself freedom! He had done it! He finally had his ticket to freedom and he wasn't going to waste any time.

0-0-0-0-0

That evening when Mr. Jacobs had closed shop, Brushy waved at him with his little paw, sadness stirring in his heart. Mr. Jacobs had taken such good care of him. However, Brushy couldn't live in a cage anymore. He needed freedom and as caring as Mr. Jacobs was, he would not be able to understand what he needed. In fact, Mr. Jacobs couldn't understand him at all! Very frustrating for a mind reading hamster, wouldn't you agree? Brushy got to work building his device by the light of the street lights outside the shop window. The store was set up almost like a rectangle. When one entered the store, they would be facing the cash register where Mr. Jacobs stood whenever he wasn't cleaning or feeding his pets. When you looked left after entering, the store would seem small on both sides but it looked like it stretched on for miles straight ahead! Mr. Jacobs kept the furry friends like Brushy on the right longer side and the scaly ones on the left longer side. Brushy had a plan to escape using his running wheel, water straw from his bottle, and a nugget of food. He still to this day doesn't quite understand how he was able to put it together, but maybe like the artists, he was just working off of inspiration. Or was that desperation? Either way, he made it out and onto the floor.

He was ready to bolt for the door where he could escape through the mail slot. Before he could move, he heard a rustling behind him. Brushy froze. In the dark of the long store behind him, he had forgotten about one very important aspect in his plan. Mr. Jacob's pet cat, Marcus. Marcus was normally very docile and fun to watch from a cage that was about 5 feet up. Brushy didn't think about how Marcus would perceive him scurrying around the store floor like a city rat! (Not that Brushy has anything against rats.) The gleam of Marcus' eyes shone from the darkness, reflecting the street lights outside. Brushy stood very still. Maybe Marcus would go back to sleep if he thought Brushy was simply a shadow. The moments seemed like hours as Marcus continued to stare at Brushy. Then the eyes disappeared. Everything in Brushy's mind suddenly went into overdrive as he made a mad dash for the door, he could hear the padding of Marcus' paws behind him. He just needed to make it a few feet which is like miles for hamster legs! The padding was getting closer! Brushy put all of his energy and hamster powers into his hind legs and leapt with all his might and soared towards the mail slot. Freedom was just inches away! However, Brushy didn't take into account that his legs were not that good at jumping! He fell short of the mail slot and bumped his nose into the door. Brushy spun around and flattened himself against the door almost sure that it was over! All that planning, waiting, all that time alone, wasted! Marcus slowly padded over and looked at Brushy with his golden gleaming eyes that seemed too good in the dark. He sat down in front of Brushy. Marcus tail swished back and forth as he watched Brushy standing there breathing heavy and his nose smarting. Suddenly, Marcus started chuckling and gave what could only be perceived as a cat smile. Brushy jumped as he heard a voice that was not his own within his head.

"Were you planning on leaving without saying goodbye?" The deep, almost bored, voice said.

Brushy's mouth dropped open in shock, surprise and a lot of other words that Brushy knew but couldn't recall at the moment. He tried squeaking at Marcus to which Marcus held up a paw, "Calm yourself, little one. Communicate with your mind. Visualize your mental voice reaching to the target." Brushy took a deep breath and exhaled. He concentrated and visualized the thought of his voice coming from his mind to Marcus as if it was coming from his mouth.

"What… how… Have you always been able to talk to me?" Brushy asked becoming slightly upset. He could've had a friend all this time and Marcus kept this quiet.

Marcus nodded, "I did not know if you were a creature of intellect. Only some animals can communicate with their minds. As we had never tried, and you seemed to have only tried communicating in the verbal communication of the humans, it makes sense that we have not understood or found each other. I had my suspicions of your intellect when you would stop and stare at certain people entering the store and only returning to your previous activity when they left. Odd patterns for a hamster. I do admit, I should have reached out sooner to see if you contained the gift." Marcus tilted his head to the side.

"I'm not alone in this ability?" Brushy stood there blinking.

"No, little one. There are several animals like you in the world, special ones that have a higher intellect and telepathic activity."

Brushy's whiskers lowered, he had always thought he was alone in this world as one that had these special powers.

"So that means that you've been able to take information from the human's minds? Like I did for the way to escape?"

Marcus' tail stopped moving. "What do you mean, little one?" Marcus said with a small level of interest.

Brushy's whiskers perked up. "Like, when a mechanic comes in, can you read their minds and know how to install a u-bend pipe as well as seal it from leaks? Or when a physicist come in, you are able to glean a small understanding of how physics works?"

Marcus sat still as a statue, "No, little one, I do not have any such ability. That is not a common one that has been recorded by any such animal in the histories. You seem to contain a special power that no one can lay claim to."