On a day like any other, all mammals suddenly gain human-level consciousness—and begin a systematic attack on human kind. Among the ranks of these animals are a bear in the Canadian Rockies, an elephant in a traveling circus in Texas, a pig on a hog farm in North Carolina, and a dog living with his beloved owner in New York. As these four contend with the realities of who they were before the awareness, and who they must now become after it, they are each called to battle. The animals must then fight two wars: the one outside between mammals and humans, and the one inside each of their minds.
on their hind legs and tried to push the silver wall down. It didn’t fall. “I think you and I should find a way outside and inspect the situation,” 323 said to 789. “Why should we? Why should we leave the pen?” “Because we need to eat,” 323 said again, but it wasn’t what she wanted to say. She wanted to say because we belong out there, we belong in the soggy summer fields and marshes, in the meadows with the summer zephyrs, in the orange autumn, rummaging through a cornfield, staring up at a
She nearly whispered. Carol couldn’t answer, but the look of shock on Carol’s face told Jessie everything. Jessie looked at Cooper. “I thought you were leaving me.” Her tone was hurt, accusatory. Cooper was still wary of a flying bullet. He had braced himself for it, and now the air felt empty. “I was,” he said. “I thought I was. Carol stopped me. I don’t know. I don’t want to leave you. You know that.” Carol regained control of her anger. “Jessie, listen to me. Sally’s dead. People are
the pen. “Let’s get them,” Joe said. “No. Wait. Let them free the others first. Patience.” Nancy and Joe backed slowly into the shadows of their trailer. Nancy could smell the rust of death on Bill. Nancy let her body rest against the metal of the trailer. She closed her eyes. On the voyage from home she had been put to sleep, but upon waking she found herself in a strange land. Gone were the wide open spaces and the plains and the warm air. Strange people watched her with an odd reverence.
She looked up and silently asked the sun why. But the sun’s only answer was to turn a deeper shade of orange. After the pigs had finished eating, they began to discuss where they might sleep for the night. “We can always go back to the pen,” 861 offered. “No,” 323 said. “We sleep wherever we want. This is our land now. But I for one am not tired. I would like to hunt the humans.” Some agreed with 323. Others wanted sleep. 323 realized that being a pig did not mean being like other pigs. In
would have liked it here, among the other animals in the colony. He imagined her, older and weaker, but still strong and noble, resting in the dusky aisles of the old human market, fattening up for winter, making jokes about the world, fate, her newfangled mind. The noises outside, the sporadic sounds of war, were growing louder. But these commotions didn’t concern the bear; he neither feared them nor ignored them. He had faith in his future—in their future. He watched the human reach toward the