The Mouse in the Mirror

Chapter Two

Thunder rolls and rumbles outside the house.

The little mouse, dwarfed by the enormous doorway, stops at the threshold of this unexplored room. He peeks left then right, still somewhat frightened but just that much hungrier. This room seems just as bare as the one he has just left. The only objects occupying the room are a pile of rubbish (consisting of candy wraps, a few pieces of scrap paper and an empty Coke can) and in another corner a cardboard box.

Hoping to find some form of food, the little mouse scampers over to the pile of rubbish. He noses through the empty wrappings hoping for a few crumbs of chocolate or candy.

He remembers a time when he was lucky enough to have found himself in a pantry full of chocolate bars, but that seems so long ago now. He hears a rumbling sound, and is not quite sure if the noise came from the thunder or his stomach, when all of a sudden he is struck by a familiar smell.

Sniff! Sniff! Sniff!

Pushing his nose through the pieces of rubbish, he sniffs the different coloured wrappers, but the smell doesn’t seem to get any stronger.

Frustrated, he lifts his head and sniffs indignantly, and realises the smell is in the air, not amongst the pile of rubbish. It’s close by, he knows that much, and although his little mouse” brain is not overly intelligent, he assumes the smell must be coming from the only other object in the room - the cardboard box.

That smell! That all too familiar smell. His stomach seems to leap within his little body at the recognition of that smell.

Dashing over at a full run, the little mouse skids to a halt at the rim of the box.

On many occasions the little mouse has come across cardboard boxes like the one in front of him now. Once in a warehouse, another time in a kitchen pantry, and many a time in lonely alley ways. Sometimes they were empty, other times they were filled with objects of one kind or another, once in a dark alley way, he even found an old man sleeping in one. But on most occasions he found food stored in cardboard cartons such as this one.

The box towered above the little mouse, but luckily for him it lay on its side, so that the opening was like a huge cave mouth.

What lay inside? For even with his “mousy” night vision, the little mouse was unable to make out the dark interior of the box. But that smell was definitely coming from inside that darkness. So laying aside his fears, the little mouse ventured inside.

As his eyes adjusted to the bleakness, and as the smell became ever stronger, the little mouse began to make out a small cube-like object in the far, back corner of the box. And that smell confirmed his first guess - Cheese!

A fairly large piece of chewed-at, mouldy, hole-ridden but-oh-so-wonderful cheese!

Without a thought for anything but to satiate his hunger, the little mouse plunged head first into the block of cheese.

Making his way across the rafters, the slimy, big rat came to a hole in the wall and proceeded inside.

He grumbled gibberish, dribbled and spat as he walked through the tunnels behind the walls.

All this walking around and searching for food scraps was not his idea of fun. Eating and resting, now that was what a rat’s life was for.

As he trudged through the mess of rat’s droppings, slime, bits of wood and plaster, the Bad Rat squeezed into an opening to find the tunnel ahead crammed with other rats.

There were rats of every size and shape, fat ones, skinny ones, hairy black ones, rats with large ears, rats with buck teeth, rats with long, skinny tails. But in the gloom of the tunnel, they all had two things in common, their eyes all shone with an eerie red glow and they were all disgustingly ugly.

All the red-beady eyes turned to watch the Bad Rat as he pushed and shoved his way through the crowded tunnel, nipping and scratching at those who stood in his way.

Finally reaching the head of the crowd, the Bad Rat came to the cause of the traffic jam, a partially caved-in portion of the tunnel. There was still a way through, but the space available meant that only one rat at a time could pass through.

So deciding it was his turn, the Bad Rat started forward, much to the disgruntlement of the other rats. The way was so tight, that the fat Bad Rat soon became wedged. The Bad Rat backed up and tried again, but sure enough, he again became stuck.

Someone in the crowd waiting behind him yelled, “Hurry up fatso!” To which some of the other rats joined in with their own comments.

Hearing this the Bad Rat backed out of the squeeze, growling with rage and humiliation, whirled around and although unsure of who exactly had yelled out, tore off the ear of the rat closest to him. With a dash, quick for one of his size and bulk, the Bad Rat shoulder barged his way through the partially collapsed tunnel, bringing down more dirt and plaster behind him, blocking the tunnel once and for all.

With this deed of destruction, the Bad Rat disappeared into the darkness in a rage.

Continue on to Chapter Three
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Copyright © 1994 by Steven Younis.