The Story of Mouse

Posted 2009.06.22 11.18 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

The day began like every other. Mouse woke, and left the nest to forage for food. There was activity in the grassy field this day, so he stayed close to the great blue wall that rose up from the ground to the sky. Mouse knew to avoid the large noisy twoleg creatures that sometimes came and dug in the fields. They didn’t seem to hunt or eat mice, but they were so big that one couldn’t help but be fearful.

As Mouse moved quietly along the base of the blue wall, he found something new, something he had never seen before. At the spot where the blue wall became a white wall, there was an opening, a portal, a way through. It was just a crack, as though the white wall and blue wall had parted slightly. It was just big enough for Mouse to squeeze through.

Cautiously, he approached the opening. He sniffed the air. Food! There was food inside. Suddenly his mind was filled with stories and legends from his youth. Shangri-la, mouse paradise. A land where it was always warm, never rainy, yet fresh water and wonderful food were always there for the taking. The legends said that once every few generations, one brave or lucky mouse had found the mythical shangri-la, and lived there in paradise for the rest of his days. Those who found it were always too happy to return, they couldn’t bring themselves to leave such a wonderful place.

Was this it? Had Mouse found the path to paradise? His heart started pounding with excitement. Mouse resolved that if he truly did find shangri-la, he would return to the nest to tell the others. Then they would all return to paradise together.

Mouse took a deep breath, then crossed through the portal. On the other side, the ground was not ground any more – it was smooth and hard. The great blue wall was yellow on the inside. And there was no sky any more – it was like an enormous, gigantic cave, the roof so high he could barely see it. He could see other colours and shapes, further inside. Mouse was fearful, but the smell of food was strong, and the thought of fame drove him on.

Keeping as much to the edges and shadows as he could, Mouse followed the smells towards the food. It was just like the legends! Huge bowls filled with mountains of food, set out on the ‘ground’, just there for the taking! And fresh water – more huge bowls the size of small lakes, full of fresh water, just there for the drinking! Mouse’s mind reeled, he had truly found it shangri-la. It was real, and here it was. Mouse was so excited, it really didn’t occur to him to wonder why there weren’t any other mice here already. The legends did say after all, that those who’d gone before him, loved paradise so much they never left it…

Suddenly, Mouse felt the ground shaking. Something was wrong! It was one of the huge field-diggers! Standing at the base of Food Mountain, Mouse could just see the great yellow wall / white wall where he had entered. Only the white wall was moving. The huge two-legged field-digger was so strong it had moved the white wall. The ground shook with its steps as the creature passed through. The white wall then swung closed, slamming shut with a sound that shook the ground. Mouse fled, racing into the nearest shadows as the huge creature walked by without stopping, without seeing Mouse.

Once things were quiet, Mouse ran back to the portal. It was gone. The great walls were sealed. Feeling panic starting to set in, Mouse tried to calm himself. He had all the food in the world, all the water he could want. He would wait. Eventually the portal would re-appear and he could return to the nest to tell the others. In the meantime, Mouse moved into the shadows, to wait. Then he heard the new noise. A gentle jingling sound, like a bell. It was distant, but it was approaching quickly.

Mouse peeked out from his shadow, to see what was approaching him with bells, and his blood ran cold. The monster was easily 100 times his size. He saw razor-sharp claws, and heard the clatter of those claws as they scraped across the ground as the beast moved. The monster’s mouth was half open, it was tasting the air, tasting Mouse’s scent. He saw white fangs, each as long as his entire leg. The beast’s eyes were aglow with fire, even its ears were focused on him, as though it could hear the fear in his tiny heart. Mouse’s stomach felt like lead in his belly. This was the true secret of shangri-la, this is why the others never came back. The stories of paradise were true, but the stories didn’t mention the monster that guarded it.

There was just one chance. Mouse had seen a small dark cave, at the base of a huge square white metal mountain. He dashed for it. Behind, he could hear the bells, the scratching of deadly claws on the hard smooth ground. Mouse ran as fast as he could, faster than he knew possible, for the safety of the small dark cave. The sound of bells and claws were right upon him as he dove for the cave…

He made it! He was safe! Mouse cowered at the back of the cave. The beast could not fit. It was laying down now, it stretched its long arm in as far as it could. Huge razor-sharp claws sliced at the air as it tried to reach him, but Mouse was well out of reach. Still gripped with fear, but his panic slowly settling, Mouse realized he could wait here. Surely the monster would eventually grow bored or tired. When it left, he would then escape.

Indeed, after several minutes the beast stopped it’s reaching and grasping. It withdrew its fearsome claws, but it did not leave. The monster simply sat there, at the cave entrance, its chin resting on the ground, its eyes fixed on Mouse. And it waited.

Mouse closed his eyes, wishing now he never heard of shangri-la, wishing he never found the portal, wishing all this would just go away. When he heard the sound of jingling bells, he thought the monster was leaving. He opened his eyes. Oh no, he thought. There were two of them. A second one was approaching. Somehow it already knew he was there. It sat next to the first, and the two of them watched him, with their blazing eyes and bared fangs.

Mouse closed his eyes again, curled up as far back in this cave as he could get.

Night fell. Mouse remained hiding in the cave. He’d lost track of time, perhaps he had slept. He heard crunching noises in the distance. He opened his eyes and nervously looked around. The two monsters had left the cave entrance. He could just make out one of them, at food mountain. It was eating the food, it’s great fangs piercing and splitting the large chunks of food, crushing them to dust. Mouse shuddered. The other monster was nowhere to be seen.

Mouse observed the one for a time. It ate, then it moved away. It moved quietly now, slowly and no sound of bells. If there were no bells, there would be no warning – that such a huge monster could move without a sound made him even more fearful. Yet, it was leaving. And the other was nowhere in sight. He had waited them out!

Cautiously, Mouse moved out of the cave. He looked towards the food and water. He was both hungry and thirsty, but the portal was in the other direction. Should he dare to at least taste the fruits of shangri-la before trying to escape? He had come so far. To leave empty handed…

Mouse decided. Keeping to the sides of the huge area, he slowly moved out towards the food. If he could bring a piece back, he could at least prove to the others what he had seen, that it was real. His ears strained for any slight sound. In the very far distance was the sound of running water and bubbles. No bells though, no claws scraping the ground. Mouse crept closer to the food. The last few feet he would have to cross in the open. He stopped again, waiting, listening.

All was quiet. Mouse tiptoed out and started to cross the open space. Oh dear gods, it was the sound of bells – above him! Above! It was somehow above him the whole time, watching him in the darkness. Then everything went black, as Mouse felt the huge weight of the beast upon him, knocking his breath from him, crushing him to the ground…

Mouse was merely stunned by the Pixie pounce. His story continues for another two hours, but from here the details become…unsuitable for family reading. Suffice to say that the story of Mouse does not have a happy ending, and the horrible secret of mouse paradise remains unknown to those in the nest. Mouse was not the first to find his way to shangri-la, and he will probably not be the last.

The end.

Leave a Comment