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The Mouse in the House

Posted by Hisham
Tuesday 03 May 2005 at 11:53 am.
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It was small. It was grey, with a side of tan. It might have had lice. And it squeaked.

It was also the most vicious creature Sam had the displeasure of encountering. Within the space of three days of hunting the tiny rodent, Sam had been bitten twice, fell off a ladder once, hit his head on something hard and painful at least six times, and (although he wasn't sure of this) peed on by the mouse once.

When he twisted his ankle, he thought that he'd had enough.

He'd had enough of villagers shunning him. He'd had enough of family members dropping dead without warning here. He'd had enough of forty-one years of being dragged through the mud, figuratively speaking of course. So he decided tovisit Auntie.

The trip to Auntie's cabin twenty miles into the thick woods took four hours, but he thought it was worth it. Auntie was waiting for him at the porch, in the shadows. It was always shadowy here, under the thick canopy of a thousand large leaves hanging from a meshwork of thick branches. There was a layer of dead leaves on the roof of Auntie's cabin. The cabin stood on two stilt-like legs. If someone was to ask Sam what he thought the legs looked like, he'd tell them they looked like chicken legs. But there was no one else around for miles and miles, except Auntie and the calamitous mouse. Sometimes he wished that work took him to the next valley, where there were more people living than dead.

Inside, there awaited for Sam a table full of hot soup, warm coffee and some freshly-baked cakes. He quietly but quickly wolfed (and slurped) them down after about forty seconds of pleasantries.

After another twelve minutes and fifty-two seconds of explaining the situation with the mouse to his Aunt, he asked, "What should I do, Auntie?"

Auntie squinted hard at him, deep in thought, for another thirty seconds (although it felt like nine days and sixteen hours for Sam). Then she eased up on her squinting (but the creases didn't go away), turned to Sam slowly and showed him something she was holding with both hands.

It was small, but heavy. It threatened to reflect shining light, but didn't. It looked like it had a sharp edge. It was a nasty-looking hatchet. Auntie spoke with her normal screeching voice, which caused Sam to wince, "Once you find the mouse you must not take your eyes of it. Throw this enchanted hatchet at the creature and it will strike true. Your problem shall be no more."

Sam took the weapon and felt its weight, waving it around slightly. Then Sam thanked Auntie. Auntie said, with some unidentifiable emotion rattling her voice. "Why don't you call me as you do anymore?"

Sam looked at Auntie notionless. He didn't know why he felt some distress at Auntie's query. He thought he had something to say but all he could muster was, "I - I don't know."

Auntie smiled at him, baring teeth that are in various degrees of disrepair. "One last time, Samuel, please. For Auntie."

"Alright," said Sam, his mind still acloud with uncertainty. "Good night, Baba Yaga." And with that, Sam left with the enchanted hatchet. The chicken legs of Auntie's house scratched at the soft, wet topsoil.

As she turned to enter her house, a small, furry mouse appeared from behind some thick foliage. It looked at Auntie's house and looked at the direction to where Sam disappeared. It thought for a moment, its whiskers twitching, then it scampered off towards Sam.


By the time Sam reached his house it was late at night. He fell asleep immediately after his head hit his pillow on the bed. The enchanted hatchet lay beside him as he slept.

The next morning he awoke with an agonizing scream. He writhed on the bed for a second and when he kicked his legs outwards a small mass of fur was flung away from it. His bedsheet was stained blood red. He tried in vain to stop the bleeding from his toes.

Now more enraged than in pain, he lunged at the mouse pleasantly eyeing him from the corner, its teeth also stained red. Folds of his blanket caught his feet and he sprawled on the uncarpeted wooden floor before his bed. When he stood once more, his nose was bloodied. He yelled with rage, grabbed the enchanted hatchet from the floor where it had fell and threw it at the mouse. But he blinked and lost sight of the mouse. The hatchet buried itself at the bottom of the wall where the mouse used to be.

Sam wildly scanned the room with his eyes, desperately trying to catch sight of the mouse. He grabbed the hatchet once again and pulled it from the wall.

Then there it was, the mouse, peering at Sam from above his wardrobe.

"Don't use the hatchet again," said the mouse.

"Why not?" asked Sam, his arm muscles poised to throw the weapon again.

"Because the Babuschka tampered with it," the mouse squeaked with excellent diction. "If you kill me with it, we will all die. I know of the spell she cast on it. Please, Sam. Just give up. This has gone on for too long. I'm tired of my role as your curse."


"Yes," the mouse said. "Your father desecrated something somewhere about forty-one years ago. I don't know the details. They sent me. After he died there was no recall order. So I moved on to you."

"I'm getting tired, you know," said Sam, his hand relaxing its grip on the hatchet. Dripping blood turned the front of his shirt red. "I just want this all to end."

The mouse jumped from the wardrobe and bounced twice on the bed. It made Sam tense up again, perhaps in fear. The mouse told him, "I can help you."


And the mouse told him. After twenty seconds Sam's face relaxed. Another thirty seconds, the hatchet was dropped to the floor unheeded. After the remaining ten seconds, there was a smile on Sam's bloody face. His body spasmed once in what might have been an aborted laugh. The solution was so simple, yet so complicated that he wouldn't have figured it out on his own. He sobbed several times before telling the mouse, "If you were a general, I would die to fight your battle. If my sons and daughters still lived, I would gladly slit their throats for your sake."

He nodded at the mouse, who looked relieved and happy.

"But," said Sam, a sudden madness taking over him, "I guess it doesn't matter anymore. Nothing matters."

The mouse froze, suddenly realizing its peril. He asked with a bit of resignation, confusion and frustration, "Did I underestimate your state of mind? Your.. overwhelming depression?"


The hatchet came at it glinting light from some unknown source from outside the window. The mouse had time to say, "She tricked me too." And it struck the mouse and split it two, spilling blood and guts. A sudden strong blast of wind emanated from the impact. It threatened to flay the skin off Sam, and half a moment later, it did. Then the fireball began to occur, swifter than he could perceive even in the final second before death took him. The fireball ripped away the walls and roof of his house. Then the fireball flattened the trees around the immolated house... for miles and miles and miles. The fireball became. It was a massive envelope of destruction that overwhelmed the minds of anyone that saw it from afar, turning them irrevocably insane. The fireball was as alive and it took the forest and all that lived within. The fireball was happy that it was released. It gave a wave of thanks to Auntie, who saw the entire forest tear itself apart all around her house, which stood safely on its chicken legs untouched by flame and destruction. Fiery, disintegrating timber cartwheeled around her frail figure.

Then Auntie told her house, "Our work here is done. Let's go."

And the house galloped (if that was the word to use) and disappeared safely into the flames.

One comment

Sila - 05-05-’05 20:45

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