Humans were both builders and destroyers, erasing every bit of open space they could lay their hands on. Like bees filling in every space in the honeycomb, they bought up the farms, they mowed down the cornstalks, they bulldozed the barns. The daisy print curtains, the Humpty Dumpty cookie jars, the overstuffed chairs of the farmers’ families all went to a faraway place that we loved called the Landfill. The farmers moved to Florida and were happy.
Beneath, dirt fell with the constant rumblings. Did the humans know how unstable was the foundation they built upon? Did they think of the voles and moles and worms they buried and crushed and starved? Even the carcasses of their dead were shaken by the digging of foundations for the great stone boxes. If they had been aware of the beings beneath, both dead and alive, would they have built so much? Yes, we must answer, yes.
“Shall we not go far away to the north, where there are only trees?” said young Leviticus. “It will be much safer for us.”
“But what of the trees here, that are in danger from all the building?” said old Atticus. “Our duty is to them.”
We huddled by a pile of warm coals, talking thus, while the women prepared food.
“Our duty is to ourselves,” declared Zeddicus.
“Besides, where would we find the gum, and the candy they throw out, and the toys they discard?” said the boy Ficus.
“And the steel and the wood with which we shore up the foundations? Where would we get all that?” said his friend Locus.
“But in the old days we had no need of such things,” said Atticus. “We lived quietly and the humans were just as quiet and peaceful.”
“The dark ones,” said Zeddicus. “They cared for the earth. Not like these.”
There was agreement all around. Even now a great truck hit a bump and some dirt fell upon our heads.
But there was one who befriended us, the one who brings us gum,” I reminded them. “He is different. He does care for us.”
“The Juicy Fruit!” remembered Ficus.
The women called us. Our porridge was ready. I will not describe it. You do not want to know of such things. I went to passage 3, and turned down the sixth pathway. “Come,” I called to the workers. “Your dinner is prepared, your work is done, come, rejoice, and dine with your friends.” The young ones who had been tying clambered down and hurried past me, wobbling, their stubby legs unsteady from being on their backs for so long. I felt the walls. They were not firm. The humans built only upon sand. Had they known how unsteady their foundation was…well, it would make no difference to them.
At the end of the sixth pathway was an opening to the outside. I crept toward it. A little mole squirmed on the path. “There, my friend,” I said, making an opening in a wall and placing him inside. “Cold! cold!” his tiny mole voice squealed.
I peered out into the night, hoping he would find this gateway. To discover one who was kind and respectful was rare. Something fell from above. I scrambled through the wet earth to retrieve it. It was just a box that had held the grain they set afire and put in their mouths. I sniffed it. It smelled…almost good. Then I shook my head and tossed it to the ground. What kind of beings would do such things?
I sensed that I was wanted. The warm tingling in my hands and feet was from my children, wondering where I was. To be so close is good, and yet a curse. One is never alone even when one is alone. I hurried back down the path, stretching up to weave some tiny hair roots that had come loose, and then I returned to taste the awful porridge.

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