#fridayflash: thrive

#top
if temperature > too cold and < too hot then
     if moisture > too dry and < too wet then
          if living medium > minimum then
               feed
               if size > viable maximum then
                    split
                    go to #top
               end if
          else
               move
          end if
     else
          start hibernation
          if hibernation == successful then
               hibernate
          else
               ...
          end if
     end if
else
     start hibernation
     if hibernation == successful then
          hibernate
     else
          ...
     end if
end if

Find a host with fur to grab onto and blood to feed on.

Is the host alive? Then attach to it, feed from it. Otherwise, keep finding.

Is there a mate? Then mate, make new ones. Otherwise, keep feeding.

Is a new host nearby, and no mate for a long time? Jump to the new host, feed, find a mate. Otherwise, keep feeding.

Are the babies safe? The babies are safe, and the babies will need milk, and one is the milk provider, and one needs food to make milk for the babies, because the babies must have milk. Hide the babies and go out and smell for food. The food is most accessible when the large ones dump it outside their dens. Sometimes the food is too bad to eat, but check check check with smells and little tastes and looking, and there will be good food to eat, to make the milk, to feed the babies, because the babies must be fed.

ITCHY! Scratch scratch scratch behind the ear with back claws, then back to smelling for food. Large ones about on two legs and four, careful careful, must stay safe because one must have milk for the babies, smell of good food there, there is a little bit too open to be safe but once in the pile of food it will be safe and there will be food to eat, to make milk for the babies. Run now, scurry scurry scur  —

"Got it!" Peter squealed, not a nice sound in a mature lad of eight years old already. He groaned. "It's still moving."

"Well go on then." Arthur gave him a little push. "The knife's pinned it to the ground, pull it out and finish it off. Can't have rats around here."

Peter inched out into the downpour, wincing at the cold rain soaking through his smock and cap. Arthur stood under the eaves of their house and watched his son pull the knife out of the rat the knife must have sliced through the backbone, because it didn't seem able to move its back legs anymore. Peter stabbed it twice more, looking Arthur's way for approval now that the rat was well and truly dead.

"Now hold that knife up to the rain and get that rat filth off it," said Arthur. "You're going to have to eat your sop and trencher with it tonight, get it good and clean now."

Peter grinned and held the blade up to the deluge. It was, Arthur reflected, the first time the boy had smiled since his mother had died. He watched Peter rinse off the knife and wipe it down with his kerchief. Arthur stared out at the rain, now making little rivers in the street gutters. God willing it would rinse away the plague.