This means War.
The Rise of the Gnomes, Part Five: The War
Mother hadn’t caught a Gnome in one of her traps in days. After the first ones had been caught, the Gnomes learned to avoid them. She caught a few more when they tried to help their fellows escape her cage, but now they had resorted to all-out destruction.
Father scarcely came home any more. When he did, he had to duck flying glassware. All his work suits were shredded and mangled so he couldn’t wear them any more. It was worse than the Great Cricket Invasion of his childhood.
Mother found other ways of capturing them. She put glue on their favorite perches. She designed new traps. She lured them into enclosed spaces where she could grab them and cage them. She soon had several cages filled, but for every one she caught, three more appeared.
And every new Gnome that came wreaked more havoc upon her home.
Where were they all coming from? And why did they keep attacking, even though she kept capturing them? When would they have enough?
She sat awake one night, after she would normally have gone to bed, and listened outside the pantry while the Gnomes made their plans.
It was then she realized they had a leader. One of the first ones she’d caught, the one in the red hat–he was the one they all listened to. He was the one they followed.
Which meant he was the key to getting the others under control.
First, she isolated him from his fellows. She put him in a cage by himself hidden in the closet, and surrounded the cage with traps. Any who tried to free him would be caught.
For a few days, the captured Gnomes panicked and rattled in their cages. Many more were captured as they tried to free their leader. And still more destroyed any last traces of tranquility Mother’s home retained in their retaliation.
Mother studied the Gnome leader. He was the key. She just had to figure out the lock.