Thursday, 20 March 2014

It's like the English Patient, but for rats

I've been busy lately and have not had time to write a lot for pleasure. I wrote this post a few years back, when I was living in a really old house in Fitzroy with my mate Ceils. We had rats in the house that were big enough to carry fruit (and eat it, gross). We put out rat-sac then I had an attack of the guilts. Those poor rats dying while so thirsty...
Anyway, this is one of my favourite posts of all time.  

Mr Rat is lying in bed, his eyes bulging open with excitement and anticipation. He is itching to get up for his nightly activities but can still hear the house humans moving around and he must wait for them to go to bed.

Finally, he hears the lights being turned off, the toilet flushing and the bedroom doors being closed. He throws off his blanket and jumps out of bed, exclaiming, “I wonder what fruit they've left out for us tonight!” But Mrs Rat is still curled up fast asleep, so he quietly kisses her forehead and tucks the blanket up around her shoulders. She hadn't been feeling well lately.

Mr Rat scurries along down the wall the same way he scurries every day, sticking a whisker cautiously out of his front door-hole and gingerly stepping through into the cold kitchen from the hole behind the stove. It’s quiet. Eerily quiet. He hesitates, and then scurries along the skirting boards towards the place where the fruit is kept. Something is different but he can’t quiet put his finger on what it is.

He stops, suddenly, senses hyper-alert. What was that: a noise…a smell? And then he sees it. It glints in the soft light that streams in through the kitchen window. He is transfixed. Paralyzed by the fear, but he can’t look away. He takes a deep breath, his mind scrolling quickly through the events of the past week. The fruit he took…the boxes of those lovely blue pellets he had gnawed through. It's hadn't seemed suspicious at all. He had been sure it was safe. Could it be? Surely not, this sort of thing was the thing that happened to other rats. Not him! He was always so careful!

A sudden wave of nausea passes through him and without taking enough care he runs as fast as he can back to the skirting board through the kitchen towards the hole behind the stove. He curses himself as he realises the stove has been scrubbed clean.

The house humans have known all along.

'You can’t go through that right now', he scolds himself, 'just focus on getting back home'. He scurries back up the wall as fast as he can. He doesn't even care that he is bumping into the familiar bricks and bits of wood. His foot catches on a nail. He scurries faster.

Finally he reaches his home. It is usually so cozy and full of love, but now it just seems empty and lonely. He knows before he sees her that she is gone. Tears are dripping down his whiskers. It’s only now he notices the hollow pain in his own stomach, and the thin blood pooling from where his foot caught the old nail. His sadness turns to bitter regret and he folds himself around his dear wife’s cold body.

“I’m sorry”, he whispers softly into her beautiful ear, “I’m so sorry”.

1 comment: