Mariner's Thirteen aka the Fellowship of the Woods
A ragged group of animals huddled around a small fire. The woods were dark. Night had fallen, but that was nothing to them. They had bigger problems. Made up of a trio of raccoons, a pair of squirrels, one irritable bobcat, a lost ferret, and six hares, they looked at each other uneasily as they were strangers before last night. One and all, they bore obvious wounds-blind eyes, torn ears, pustulant wounds that reeked of disease, limps, favored arms or legs and missing tails. Uneasily they shifted and their shadows moved with them, long and dark.
And the talks went on.
“We should hide. Hiding is always the answer.”
“No, We should run. Running is better than hiding.”
“They’ll catch us and hurt us some more.”
“Maybe if we wait, they’ll go away and take their damnable machines with them.”
One of the younger hares twitched violently and spoke up.
“What does ‘mall’ mean?”
“Where did you hear that?”
“The mans were talking about turning Mariner Woods into a ‘mall’.”
“Oh gods, when will they stop?”