The city was in a time of turmoil, suffering from the worst rat infestation and spread of disease any city had ever seen. The buildings shreiked. No one was sleeping. The streets were full of broken glass. Every corner smelled of vomit and alcohol. Distant thunder signaled an imminent arrival of a storm. It was an environment well suited for a rat.

Richie the rat traversed the city's underground drainage system. He followed a stream of neon green slime until he found the gutter that it was dripping from. He recognized the the smell. The green slime dripped down into a thick pool in front of him, and he picked up a handful of bacteria nodules that he could snack on for later.

Richie emerged from the gutters to rummage through the filth that lined the streets. He discovered the source of the green slime - a hole at the base of the rusty dumpster. He climbed through. Inside, it was dark. He couldn't see in the darkness but he used his nose to detect the scent of cheese. His sharp little yellow teeth chewed through the polyethylene garbage bag, releasing a small trove of putrid cheese. It was a delicious Manchengo covered with a velety layer of blue mold. He put the rest of his cheese in his pocket to save for later.

The air cooled and the night got dark as the clouds eclipsed the moon. The rain came down slowly but it fell in large water droplets. The thunder rolled in louder and then suddenly there was a disturbing noise that was not thunder. The horrific noise grew louder than the thunder and filled the air. It was like the sound of static and bending metal. The Sickos were repulsed by the noise and ran from the streets to take shelter.

The rats, however, did not run away. They emerged from the dark corners that they typically lurked in. The rats were charmed by the noise. To them it wasn't actually noise at all. It was music.

Richie scurried out to the main street to find the source of the beautiful melody. There was a giant that stood as tall as the buildings. His arms were nothing but flesh and bone. His skeletal finger was pointed to the gulf and his other hand beckoned the rats to come follow his music.

The tall figure turned his head back and down toward Richie. Richie stared at the face of the giant, who had a television for a head and on the television there was static. The static wasn't purely noise, though. As Richie peered deeply into the television monitor, he could make out a sinister face that was formed by patterns in the static. Text flickered on the television for a brief moment.


Richie didn't know where the giant or the rats were going, but he felt an intense desire to join. It was anxiety and an overwhelming fear of missing out of the opportunities the giant was leading the rats to.

Millions of rats and mice funneled out from every buidling, gutter, and garbage can as they were lured by the noise coming from this pied piper. The noise threw every rat into a mania. They were driven to follow the giant and nothing else. Rats were crawling up the legs of the giant to get closer to the source of the noise. The chaos was amplified as the storm began to come down in full force.

When it seemed like the giant collected every rat and mouse that existed, he went out of town and the entire throng of rats and mice scampered behind him. He led them directly into the gulf. He entered the warm water and the rodents eagerly followed him into the ocean where the rip tide was especially strong due to the raging storm. At least two million rats were all swept away by the swift current and drowned.

Richie was among the rats that followed the pied piper into the dangerous waters. Richie was unlike other rats, though, because he did not drown. Richie was a strong swimmer. Richie knew how to survive. He coughed up water as he crawled back onto the shore. He gazed at the city skyline and wondered where the best cheese in the city was.