a.n. Halcyon, thanks for the suggestion in your review, which I have only just now gotten around to. :apologizes: This is technically is not a continuation of 'F33D CH1PPY', but I feel that anything I write about my pets in this format deserves to be with others of its kind. To clear things up a bit, 'she' is my guinea pig, Ms. Brown. Laugh at my pet's names and I will pummel you into your chair. :glare:

I make joke. Laugh all you want. I often do myself. I wasn't the one who named them. xP

She waddles awkwardly to my side where I sit on the cool, smooth asphalt.

We'd both been running for too long. We are tired. We both knew from the start that it would end someday, in one way or another. This day had come, it seems. Inevitability is a hard guy to play.

We both understand that to speak could result in an unspeakable brutality from our captor, so we sit in silence, basking in the finality of our fate—well, I am, at least.

She scrambles faithfully onto my lap and looks into my eyes. I just stare at the bars, refusing any comfort. It is over, can't she see that? But she holds with dogged determination, and after ten minutes I reluctantly give in.

Such deep black, filled with motherly concern and love. I turn away, but it is too late. Emotion erupts in my chest, and what I'd fought so furiously to keep at bay comes pouring from my tear ducts. Misery, regret, spite—all congeal into angry, steaming liquid, spilling down my cheeks and nose.

She offers a knowing snuffle and crawls up my shirt with immense care. Her twitching whiskers tickle my ear and she whispers, "We'll get out of this, I promise."

But as I survey our prison—cast iron bars, a stench of un-cleanliness about the air, festering tuna carcasses piled against a damp stone wall—I could not disagree with her more.

"No, Ms. Brown," I shake my head, sending tears tumbling onto her furry head, "No. We're doomed."

Her maternal gaze suddenly disappears and she grasps my chin with two tiny paws.

"Never give up," she says fiercely, shaking my head with uncharacteristic strength. I am shocked by her tone, but more so by what she says next.

"We could challenge the bastard to a game of chess when it comes back," she says. "Stake our lives on the outcome," she adds, her thin ears quivering with a newfound zeal.

I blink at her, cutting off the path of wetness from my eyes. "But you can't play chess," I say.

She pulls back from me, affronted. "Says who?"

"You lived in a cage by yourself your whole life," I say mournfully, "When could you have learned to play chess?" Then I add as an afterthought, "When could the Sheriff have learned to play chess?"

The atmosphere changes within a microsecond. She scratches at my chin in her hurry to get away from me. "That whiskered abomination… Don't you ever again say its name," she warns, her teeth chattering.

I stare sullenly at the dim, gray floor, ignoring this violent outburst. I do not look at my friend. "I won't play chess," I say.

She glares at me and shuffles off into a far corner, obscured from my sight by the fermenting pile of fish bones. "Then don't welcome the noose with surprise," she says, leaving a growing cloud of dingy uncertainty to brood over my head for the rest of the day.