I recall how willing I was to reclaim our territory. Full of vigor and youth, we would venture at least thrice per moon cycle to realms beyond our own. By paw or by machine, we journeyed along the blackened paths, navigating our way through uncharted lands. One of our favourite prospects was known as the Land of The Dozens. It was a lush field of grassland complimented by sloping mounds and scattered foliage. A vast expanse of land which required a vantage point in order to scope the entire arena. Many artificial lookout posts had been erected and were utilized by their young. They would scurry and climb, slide and swing, quickly learning the essential rules of play. Upon entering the Land of The Dozens, one would be greeted by hordes of enemies. Often I would see the familiar mug, and a new face from time to time, but all with the same look in their eye, that same sheer desire to lay claim to that land as their own. But none before had been able to establish a settlement within the hallowed grounds, so each cycle bore opportunity. The atmosphere within the picketed walls would teem with unrest, culminating in a tension so electric, it was palpable. In my impudence, I would rush onto the battlefield, bellowing the ancient call of my kind, paying homage to the most primordial of games! We were on the hunt!
As a wee whelp, my mother would tell my siblings and I stories of how our relationship with the Bipedal Ones came to be. Tales told by our elders of how our ancestors domesticated them. For the ancestors were fascinated by how these hairless creatures lacked any significant natural weaponry, yet fashioned artificial claws and teeth in order to compensate. We taught them how to bring our young eats and drink, and in return we aided them with protection from predators and lent them our keen sense of smell when tracking prey. It was theorized that since they lack any true proboscis, they are reliant solely on their eyesight and opposable thumbs, yet they were a proud warrior race. A formidable partnership had been born and as its success grew, we moved into their settlements and shared migration patterns. But not all of our ancestors left their wild ways; many stayed and procreated, and to this day, inhabit immense outcrops of territory in lands far away. Their progeny are our cousins, the Wolvian kind. My descendants were farmers in the hills of western-central Europe, shepherds by trade. My great, great, great, great, great, great, great uncle told his family of how he had had a brief conversion with an old wolf whom had told him that the Bipedals were not only slaughtering one another but also the local population of wolves as well. They had betrayed the scared oath. But these are lore of old, now the Bipedals seem too amused by distractions and our kind made too soft by their comforts, too obsessed with worldly possessions to heed the call of the explorer. Too often on my return from expeditions with my bipedal, ten settlements before our own, one would hear the mut at the end of the path hollering, “Sound the alarm gentlemen! An intruder is in our midst!” Had they the decency to introduce themselves, I would have lost the hubris air with which I walked. Their taunts were directed at our freedom. I basked in it.
For generations we had watched them grow as a species. Under our tutorage, they made remarkable advancements in development and exploration. One of our most notable achievements was sending the honourable Laika into space. However, it seems that they no longer rule their tools, but rather their tools rule them. My own Bipedal would spend copious amounts of time staring at the moving pictures on the wall, a veil of static seemingly able to reach within his being and subject him to aimlessly sitting on the couch for hours on end, transfixed by a random pattern generator. But that was not the worst of his worries; he was addicted to a luminescent box which he kept on his person religiously. Every time it cried he would run to its aid, every time it flashed he would respond. Pavlov would be proud!
Perhaps the reason for their downfall was in fact the very essence of what made them successful. They seemed so intent on creating a utopia that they forgot they were living in one. I remember my alarm when I first noticed that my Bipedal kept mutilated fowl and beef in the cold box. I thought to myself, “Good gracious man! What will stop him from doing the same to me? I mean they do do it in East Asia don’t they!? How could he desecrate another living creature like that? I’ll have to end it whilst he’s sleeping…” But soon I learnt that this was just one of the many forms of their superstimuli. But not all of their stimuli have been disastrous. They have a keen sense for companionship, one surely developed long before they had even met us. It is the very thread which holds them together. The last shred of love in their rapidly deteriorating world. I pray for the day when I can tell them that a caterpillar emits the same signature as a butterfly.