Which is to say, you’re no one, dregs of society, scum of the earth, bottom feeder, immaterial, dispensable. What they want to say is: you deserve nothing, you are both noticed and unnoticed, and you are not really sure which is better between the two, when to be seen is to be hated, for people to wish you to die, and often it’s not even a wish, because they’ve killed your kind countless times, you’ve seen it—beating other rats with a stick until their eyes pop out, skulls cracked open until their brains spill over. Or a bath of boiling water, until their fur peels off their body.
You are a rat, which is to say: your pain is nothing, your happiness is nothing. You are nothing. You are a rat and to be a rat is to be disgusting, dirt that squirms—beady eyes waiting for leftovers— offensive cretin. Creatures of the dark, ugly vermin. You are a rat, and what does it matter what you feel?
You are a rat and you will spend your days hiding, running, escaping, every waking day trying to live in this big city that can’t wait to get rid of you, a city that they built from things they took from others too. But they just wait! Haven’t little people like you outlived lords before, like the dinosaurs, creatures who died of their own hubris too?