Ronnie the rat had lived in the deep network of tunnels under the park for his whole life. He was part of a huge family, he had 30 brothers and sisters, a mother and a father who he loved very much. They all spent their days scurrying around the tunnels, playing hide and seek with one another and other such fun. His mother and father, and older brothers and sisters would take turns to venture up and out of the sky portals to go looking for food. Ronnie was only 6 months old, and had never been up to the sky portals. The sky portals frightened him, each time he looked up at them they burnt his eyes and made him feel dizzy. He knew one day his turn would come when he would go and look for food to bring back to his family, but until then he was content at home.
These days when the older ones would come back from their food expeditions, they would bring strange stories with them as well as food.
There were huge creatures called ‘human-folk’ which the rats were extremely careful to stay away from. Usually the stories were about how the human-folk would catch the rats and other creatures and do terrible, unspeakable things to them. But now, everyone told the same story. The human-folk had vanished… There were much less leftovers to pick from and the rats had taken to collecting the berries which fell from the trees instead.
The rat tunnels were full of gossip of the changes happening outside. It didn’t mean much to Ronnie until night after night he began to hear a strange sound. It was like nothing he had ever heard before – a low, droning, humming noise which would get louder and quieter as the night went on. He was unable to sleep, and to his surprise he began to hear tiny, rain-like voices in the humming; “We will get etched into folklore over our death”.