Something Wicked This Way Comes
I knew I was dreaming. I was out in the dark city. I had been abandoned by the kind human, but not by choice. He had left me and the rest of us out in the middle of the street, apologizing, crying. Something was terribly wrong. We had no armor, no equipment. No food or water. Then he drove off, driving over several of us. Eight hundred mice, left in the middle of the street. Something in my head screamed that this was wrongness, but I was too scared to know what. So there we were, alone and terrified.
I took all the mice the way I had gone before, and we ran into the bully mouse and his gang. They brutally killed my master and my momma. At that moment I forgot I was dreaming. I thought it was real. It became real in my mind. The terror set in.
After they had mauled all the leaders, including BJ, no one would stand up to the bullies. They held up my armor and laughed at me, showing everyone else how I had caved in before. They said it was my fault. The bully mouse told everyone it was my fault they were abandoned. The human didn't want any coward mice. Then BJ, dying slowly, all his limbs gnawed off, turned on me and called me a coward. The rest of them began to bite me. I fled for my life again, but this time from my family and friends. But as I was getting away, I ran around a corner and right into the black mouse.
It stank like it was a week dead. It felt warm, like burned coal. I smelled smells I had never smelled before, which I later learned were sulfur and brimstone. Its eyes burned through me like fire. I was on fire. Flames burst into life on my fur.
I turned around, burning, and went back around the corner to face the hateful mob.
"It's here!" I cried. "You have to run!"
They laughed, and bit me. They broke all my limbs. They tore out my fur. They kept right at it as the black mouse came around the corner and ran BJ through with a dark sword. They would not relent from killing me even as the evil mouse lay into them, slaying animal after animal. They fell even as they refused to look at what was happening.
"Oh, you fools!" I cried. "Look at what is happening! Wake up! Wake up!"
But they would not listen, and by the time the demon was done with them, I was a ruined pile of torn flesh. I could not move any part of me. My bones were crushed, my muscles apart. My guts lay all over the street and only one eye still worked. Through it, I saw the black mouse drinking my blood and laughing. I tried to scream but I had no more mouth. Then it gestured, spreading my red life liquid all over the bodies of the mice. To my horror, the bodies stirred. Then all the dead mice got up. They got up, though they were still dead, and they came to bite me again. To eat me. The black mouse had raised the dead. Turned my friends and family into zombies.
Then a white, armored paw was on me. I was standing somewhere else. A battlefield. Everyone was dead. The bodies of mice and men speckled the landscape. Too many mice. Percival was standing before me, covered in blood, clutching a shining sword made of metal in his other paw. It danced with white fire. His face was grim stone.
"We should have listened to you," he said. "Now it's too late."
Then I was sitting in the hand of Michael the archangel. It was dawn in the Field of Fate.
"A very hard, special task. But you must accept it of your own free will," he was saying. I could not speak. "Squibble, this is not going to be easy. In fact, it is going to cost you alot. Maybe everything. You cannot know how hard this is going to be if you accept. It will make your trek across these fields of fate seem like nothing. I am warning you. If you accept, you can expect the worst."
Suddenly I remembered everything. Absolutely everything.
"I'm dreaming!" I said.
"Oh, Mike - I've made an awful mess of it all!" I cried.
Mike shook his head. "No," he said softly. "Outside these dreams, it is happening how it's supposed to happen."
"I'm having these messed up dreams every day!" I shouted. "Every day for the last several weeks!"
"They are powerful," Mike said. "Your gifts are manifesting themselves. The enemy sees this and seeks to curse you. Break you. Frighten you away."
"But it's terrible!"
He nodded again. "Do you want out now, Squibble?" he asked. "God will not trick you, or let you choose something that you know not the price of."
"Can this get any worse?" I asked incredulously.
He nodded again. "Many times."
My eyes got wide. "What will happen if I quit?"
"You lead a normal life. God will choose another champion. You are not being forced to do this."
"Why me then?" I asked.
"You were found worthy," he said.
"Oh, no way!" I said. "I'm not even close."
Mike scowled a bit. "Who knows better than God?"
"Bigfat never seemed that smart..."
He kept scowling.
"Yeah," I gave in. "Who knows better than the Mousegod. Nobody. I guess if he says I'm worthy then I might be."
"Why you, Squibble?" he said. "Truly?"
"Because no one else will do as good a job. No one else will take it so seriously." He looked into the dawn light. "No one else is you. The Prophet Squibble. A mighty hero."
"Oh," I said. Prophet?
Long silence followed. I finally looked into the blazing eyes of Michael. "You know I have to do it. The Mousegod knew I would too."
"You have free will."
"And with it, I chose this a long time ago, didn't I?"
He nodded. "You did."
"We all did."
"Thank you, Michael."
"Thank you, Squibble."
"Can I remember my dreams now?"
As I felt myself waking up into the land of pain and suffering, I remembered every single one of my dreams. So many I couldn't count them. Dreams of everything, or every sort. And all of them signs. Signs of what was to come, combined with dark nightmares trying to twist the signs out of reality and into Scaryville. I was overcome by awe and a deep feeling of anxiety as I went over every dream I had had since my first dream with Michael - the vision of the pet store. None of them were good. They all had darkness laced throughout them. They were nightmarish fantasies, full of death and pain. Each one was horribly traumatic. No wonder I had forgotten them!
But one thing I couldn't understand. Most of them contradicted each other. Like dreams, they made little sense. They told of many futures, not just one. In most every single one, the mice of the safe house fell upon hard times. In all of them, I went through my own private hell. They blended together in a huge mass of fear and pain. I knew that with time, they would fade, like real dreams. Though I remembered them now, I had to pick and choose what I would consciously remember - for I had to get back to the safe house as soon as mousey possible - to warn everyone of what was coming. And by then I might remember very little. My journal had been destroyed by the mouse gang along with my things. I had no way of writing any of it down, and it would take too long to do that anyway.
Now you know why I had to rewrite all this later. My entire pilgrimage was made without the means to record it.
And it turned out to be a very, very long pilgrimage.