I can hear you before I can see you. I sense your fear, your anxiety. I can't see out of the huge metal door with the tiny window. All I know is that you are out there, and I am in here, within the suffocating bars of light. I feel your vibrations through the ground, your struggling and kicking. It's only natural that you don't want to be put in here with me. None of them do.

Except you don't know that I am here. You only know your fear.

You grow closer, and closer. Finally, after my long wait and suffering, the door is opened and you stumble in. I jump at the movement, but I am not afraid of you. I crouch low as you fall to the ground. Your front paws are bound. Your face falls in the dirt and you breathe it and choke on it.

I cease my pacing and my paws flex with excitement. The shining bars restrain me, though, and I am frustrated. You stay on the ground like a pitiful mouse, shaking and crying. Playing dead. You still don't feel me. It is confusing. All of the sentients can sense me. You are a stupid one.

I growl to alert you, to warn you to get away. You immediately look up. I sense your shock and see your fright. You scramble backwards quickly, and I notice you are twitchy like a mouse, too. You are stupid. You don't seem to notice the bars that hold me back. I feel your heart beat fast. It isn't like mine. I am calm, in the heat of staring down my prey. My heart beats slowly and keeps me under control.

You don't like my red eyes, all four of them. You don't like my spiky fur, my claws that are so much longer and sharper than yours. My throat pulses as I continue to growl at you. Back off, I say. You can't understand me. You can't. You stay there frozen and staring at me.

I begin pacing again. You twitch, and I am happy. I show you my teeth. You aren't as afraid anymore, though. You begin to realize, that, as long as you don't mouse-crawl too close, I can't hurt you. I flick my tail with impatience. My claws scrape my hard cage floor.

You come closer anyway. I don't like it. I stop and brace myself into a crouched pouncing position. My fur rises. You hesitate, but only for a second. You edge forward without your front paws. I open my mouth to spit at you. You jump. My mouth is bigger than you think. Bigger than your mouse head.

And you keep coming forward. You don't know how far I can reach behind my bars. I do. You turn your back to me and show me your mouse claws. My claws begin to reach out in anticipation, ready to claw your willing prey hide. You come closer, and closer, and then just close enough...

I let my paw come out. The bars are just wide enough to let it pass through, and I swipe downward. But you move and I end up cutting the rope that holds your claws together. I hiss but bring my paw safely back inside the bars. The rope is already off of you and you rub your claws together. You are looking at me, outside my range. Your two-eyes are so small and dark. I don't like them, either.

I feel the impulse to hate you, to make you my main target.

You are so small, so weak. I wonder how your bones are strong enough to keep you sitting.

You open your mouth and I copy you with a hiss. You blink at me with your little eyes. You say something with your stupid prey language. I don't know what you say, but you don't seem to know that.

You raise your claws and they twitch. The light flickers and fades. I hesitate. I feel they are still there. But I do not see them. I slowly begin to make my way backward, step by step. My tail swipes the back wall, where more light used to be. If they were there, I would feel the pain. I feel nothing. My third and fourth eyes do not detect the faint blue light of heat that came from my bars. You hid them, and I like that.

And now there is nothing between me and the prey I long for. My muscles ripple as they prepare to be used, and then I leap out, my claws extended. You squeak, and move away. I am surprised that you are so quick, but I am strengthened by the feel of the soft dirt under my paws. I stroke it quickly and savor the feel. I leap at you again.

And again, you escape me, but I am closer to you now. I slash out, and when I scrape the loose hide that covers your naked, hairless body I pounce again. My paw hits you, but I cannot get my claws into you. You fall to the ground and I slide past you. The small space is frustrating, but it is larger and more comfortable than the bars.

I strike again and you find yourself with my claw-marks in your soft hide. I see muscle and blood. I like it. I want to attack you again and again until you stop moving, until your little dark eyes stop blinking like the weak prey you are.

You move fast, and get away from me. I find you back between the metal I was just trapped in. You wave your claws again and suddenly the light is there again. I screech. I hate you, my sentient prey. I hate you.

I hear more footsteps, and they come from the metal door. I twirl around to see another human flesh face appear in that window. I bound up to the door and lay my paws against the metal. I stare through the glass and flash the sentient my teeth with happiness. The sentient throws itself backwards with a scream I can hear with my ears. Then –

I sense your movement, and the lack of the blue heat. I stare at you, and I see the light bars are gone. I leap towards you, and you don't have time to raise your paws to bring the light back. You must scramble away as I slide close enough to you to smell your musky naked scent. I lash out and contact your soft hide again. You squawk.

And somehow I'm back outside of the cage and you are back inside, and the bars separate us. I pace back and forth before you. My tail flicks impatiently. I hate you more and more by the second. Finally, staring at your bleeding body is boring to me. I climb up onto the metal top to this box, and I lay down on it with pride.

Just to be sure, I check my tail again. No, there are no tricks. Both sides of my tail are unharmed. The grips are not damaged, and I hold onto my paw for reference. I purr, but it sounds to you like a growl.

A while passes. I can even hear your little mouse stomach begin to grumble with lack of prey. I feel myself grin with satisfaction. There. Once you are a dead little sentient the bars will vanish again and I'll have you to myself.

There is a noise. I flick my eyes up to the big door to the outside. Another sentient face appears in the window, and it is afraid. I growl loudly at it and show it my teeth. You are my prey, not theirs. It disappears. I peek over the edge of my metal floor.

The bars are still there. Disappointed, I seethe quietly and continue my leisurely lay on your cage.

The sentient is back again in a matter of moments. I don't like it one bit. I rise to a stand. The sentient comes in with two more of its kind. I look at their mouse claws and see they have light swords. The light isn't out yet, I sense with my third and fourth eyes. But I hiss at them. The light hurts me. I don't want it to come out. I can see the heat in the metal holder, caged in until they want to use it.

I crouch and the light shoots out. Anger frustrates me and a squeaky growl barks out. I lash some claws at them but they just wave their light swords at me. I look from one to the next, assessing weaknesses and strengths.

My prey is the smallest one. It has blue flesh and tails on its head. It also has brown hide like you to cover its naked ugliness. My fur will protect me, I realize. I am far safer then they are. We both wait, yet I lull them into a state of security. Maybe I won't pounce at them, they must think. They watch me relax my muscles. I watch them slowly relax theirs.

I launch myself at the blue one. There is a scream and I feel pain in my right foreleg, but I close my teeth around the blue flesh. I taste the acid sentient blood, which is slightly sweet, I think due to the head tails. Sentients with head tails always taste a little like fruit. But I don't mind. The head tail sentient's flesh is more... fleshy. It's soft and juicy.

Before the other sentients can react, my tail whips out too. The grips curl around the metal cage holder of the swords, and I fling them at your cage. The swords fly through the bars but you duck down to avoid them, just barely.

I stand between the remaining sentients and the door, still gnashing on the sentient in my jaws. Its little mouse-bones crunch easily, and soon it is down my throat. I can still hear its screams in my head as it slides into my stomach.

Now I'm not too hungry anymore but I do slide a tongue over my teeth. It works. The sentients are afraid. They back away towards your cage. You let down the bars to allow them in...

While I am somewhat tired, I leap after you. Killing is on my mind and only the bars will distract me. You scream, but I catch you and my claws find your naked hide. You fall.

The other sentients don't have a chance now... At least that's what I believe.

The sentients are out of the cage, and they but the bars back up. Disbelief makes me roar. I flick my tail in horror, you still hanging in my fangs. Your pulse sends blood streaming out of your wounds, and I lap it up to calm myself.

At least I was fed. At least I had a bit of time to stretch my limbs out. But now I'm back in my cage, and you aren't even here to help me out. In a matter of seconds the other sentients are gone. I know another sentient will be here soon to help clean this cave of mine, but it won't go near my cage.

I finally lay down. My muscles are exhausted, spent with so much running and leaping about. I let my tongue sweep over your still body. You're dead now. Your mouse pulse is gone. I'll save you for later.

For a snack when they starve me again.