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A Short Story by Tim Josephs
Written using the suggestion "Tame"
Originally featured on 09-11-2008
As part of our series "The Ancient Trappings of Humanity’s Endless Summer (Age-Old Traps)"

It’s Thursday I think, or maybe it’s still Wednesday. My mind’s not quite together, I’ve barely slept in 2 days. Right now I’m in the bathroom.. There’s no lock but that doesn’t matter, I don’t think they can open doors. I got a towel stuffed under it and the window doesn’t look like it’s been open in years. I think I’m safe for now but God, I still hear them out there. What they did to Gary. Jesus. Let me start from the start as my Grandpa used to say, and I’ll try to get it all down, I hope I have enough time.

I guess it was about 3 days ago — is that all? — when Gary and me came up here to do some fishing and hunting, we go up here every year about this time. The fishing was good, the hunting wasn’t. We had been sitting out in the woods for hours but besides one deer we saw kind of a ways off, there wasn’t much of anything. Then we see this little chipmunk sitting on a log about 20 feet away and Gary says I bet you 10 bucks I can hit that chipmunk with this rock.. If I thought he had any chance of hitting the thing I never would have made the bet. But sure enough, he cocked his arm and flung the rock.. It hit the chipmunk square in the head, it made a little squeak and fell off the log. Gary laughed like a lunatic and I admit I laughed too. Right about then some deer came by and we forgot all about that chipmunk.

So we’re eating dinner that night — some of the trout we caught earlier — and I see something run across the floor of the cabin. What the hell was that? I yell. Gary thought I was crazy but then he saw it too and laughed. It’s just a stupid chipmunk, he said. Wait, let me get a rock. We both started laughing, by that time we had gone through a couple six packs. The thing crawled into the fireplace and I started telling Gary about the time when I was a kid and a chipmunk got into our house. Me and my sister chased that thing all over the place, laughing most of the time, until we finally got it out. After a couple more beers we went to sleep.

Gary woke me up with his snoring a few hours later and I went to get something to drink from the fridge. When I turned on the light I see all these little things scatter and my first thought is cockroaches. But that was dumb, I never seen any roaches out in the woods before. Then I see something sitting on the edge of the chair. It’s another chipmunk. How the hell did they get in here? I remember thinking. For a second I thought I was dreaming, but then I feel a sharp pain on my bare foot. I look down to see one biting my ankle. I kicked it and it went flying. Then some more of them started creeping towards me, coming out of the shadows around the furniture, under the rug. I never seen chipmunks do anything like that, they always seemed scared if you tried to get near them.. I once had a friend who saved a chipmunk from his cat and fixed it up and it became his pet. He used to carry it around on his shoulder but if anyone but him tried to pet it, it would get scared.

I called for Gary and a second later his snoring stopped. What the hell, John he yelled. I told him he needed to get out there. He came out scratching his big gut and looked around. Then he starts laughing. He thought it was funny! We got to get these things out of here, I said. Just get a broom or something, he says. They’re just stupid chipmunks.

Why do we do that? Why do we always see something small or cute and assume it’s harmless? I guess I’m probably as guilty as anybody but why do we do it??

I went into the kitchen and found an old broom and started trying to push the chipmunks to the door. They were darting all around, another one bit my ankle. Now here’s where it got bad. If I hadn’t opened the door we might’ve been ok, we probably could’ve handled the 10 or 15 inside. Did I already write about the open window in the kitchen? I don’t remember and I don’t want to go back and look,, I want to get this down before, well, sooner’s better than later as my Grandpa used to say. So when I went to get the broom I saw the window that was open, that must have been how they got in. So I closed it and open the front door and at first I didn’t understand what I was looking at, my brain couldn’t wrap itself around what I was seeing. The sun was just starting to come up and the ground as far as I could see was covered in chipmunks, it was like a giant brown carpet. They weren’t moving, just sitting there.

Opening the door was my first mistake and if I just closed it right then, we still might have been OK,, but I couldn’t move and by the time I did, it was too late. They rushed at me. I slammed the door and I heard some squeaks like when Gary hit that one with the rock.. I started swinging the broom but it didn’t really do anything. A few jumped on me, biting at my legs, but most of them went right past me. When I turned around I saw Gary with his shotgun. What the hell is he going to do with that? I remember thinking. These things were tiny. He got off a couple shots, I heard some more squeaks, then they were on him.. I went to a county fair once and there was this guy there who covered himself in bees. After a while it looked like a swarm of bees in the shape of a man. That’s what Gary looked like covered in the chipmunks. He screamed and started flailing all around, knocking into the couch, against the wall. And the sounds. God, I don’t think I’ll ever get those sounds out of my head. I could hear them eating his skin. There were a couple of pops which might have been his eyeballs. And Gary just kept screaming, this high pitched, horrible scream. Then there was a wet, crunching noise and he didn’t make anymore sounds. The chipmunks were squeaking loud but it wasn’t from pain this time, the y were enjoying what they were doing.

Why didn’t I leave then? God, why didn’t I leave??? I could’ve just left. The chipmunks didn’t seem to care about me. I could’ve just walked out the door. But I couldn’t move, I couldn’t look away from what they were doing to Gary. Slowly, when they had gotten their fill, they got off him.. That’s when I saw what was left — a dripping, bloody mess of a skeleton. I’m not sure a bear or mountain lion could’ve done a more thorough job. When a chipmunk came out of one of his empty eye sockets, I hunched over and vomited, coughing up all of last night’s trout. When my stomach was empty, I looked around. The chipmunks were all staring at me, they were more red than brown now. That’s when I thought to leave. Stupid. Why didn’t I leave before? I turned around and a bunch of them were blocking the door. I took a step towards it anyway and a few jumped on me and one took a chunk out of my leg. That’s when I ran for the bathroom and this is where I’ve been for I’m not even sure a day, 2 days? When I looked to see what was under the sink — not much, just some old shaving cream, soap, Tums, I found the stub of a pencil I been using and this old newspaper. I’m so tired. I guess I could go to sleep, I put a towel under the door and the window doesn’t look like someone opened it for a long time. I could probably just take a little


My arm is killing, my ear God my ear. Today or maybe last night, I must’ve fallen asleep because I woke up and there was a chipmunk sitting on the sink just looking at me. My head was aching and my back was killing me from sleeping on the floor and I looked at it, it seemed so harmless I almost wanted to reach out and pet it. But then I remembered and I shrank against the wall. The chipmunk just kept looking at me. How did it get in here? Then another one appeared, then another one. They were coming from the drain. I got up quickly and reached for the stopper, but they all jumped on me, clamping their teeth into my arm.. God it hurt. I slammed my arm against the wall and one dropped to the floor dead. The other two held on, their teeth deep in my arm.. I saw another one trying to come up out of the drain and I managed to shove a washcloth into it. I grabbed one of the chipmunks and pried it off, it came off with a hunk of skin and some veins. I almost fainted from the pain and when I looked at my arm, blood was oozing out of a big hole. I threw the chipmunk against the wall and it didn’t move again. I grabbed the last one by the head and squeezed, but it still wouldn’t let go. Finally the small head exploded between my fingers and I dropped it. I collapsed to the floor, my arm on fire. I wrapped a towel around it. Then scratching in the sink and there was another one in the sink. Before I could move it jumped on my ear, teeth like pins, ripping my ear. I pulled and pulled and it came off with some of my ear, it wouldn’t let go. Bastard, I stomped on it. It kept moving. I stomped stomped, my foot covered in blood guts fur. Finally stopped moving. Piece of my ear is on the floor. Put washcloth back in the sink with a shampoo bottle over it. Didn’t look in the mirror.


Tomorrow now or maybe it’s still today. I can’t I’m not remembering well. My arm hasn’t stopped bleeding ear is killing I don’t know what. I hear them.. Scratching at the door. I think they’re outside at the window they’re in the drain. Put a shampoo bottle on top of the washcloth but I don’t know if it will hold it. Tums taste bad stale but it’s all I have. I’ve lost a lot of I don’t know how much blood I’ve lost.


Think I fall asleep again but just for a min Have to stay awake so they won’t inside. So tired tired They’re out there, chewing the doors Why hasn’t anyone come Where’s Gary?? I call but not an answer He shouldn’t have thrown that There’s chipmunk coming in the window So cute like disney cartoons There’s another Didn’t check it Didn’t look it had open in a long year Should’ve checked better safe than sorry what Grandpa always

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