RMCA Fiction:
Squibble's Story: The Mouse Knight II

Cutter Hays

Way Too Much to Write!

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

Well, it's been three weeks since I wrote in my journal. I've been so busy. Alot has happened. I'll try not to write a novel here.

Nemo never did really impress me, but what he said about my daughter did, so I am studying under him. Well, alright. He did impress me, but I didn't admit it, okay? Anyway, I frustrate him with constant questions. I kinda enjoy that. He hasn't taught me anything gnarly yet. No fireballs. Psychology. Just a bunch of self-help 'know yourself' stuff that totally bores this mouse! He asks me how I feel about things. What I think about things. He wants me to get in touch with my soul an' all that. I said, look - I'm in touch with it - it's mine, okay? It ain't goin anywhere. He said, "Are you sure?" and freaked me out. Hate it when he does that.

Sometimes he makes sense. He tells me dreams are important, and that he thinks I have a powerful gift (same gift that lets me see the spirit world). He says that, taken far enough, that gift could allow me to see the future. Actually he said "all the futures," whatever that meant. If there are gonna be lots of them, I'll take the cool one where I win and the black mouse bites it. I asked him how I use it, and he said I might not want to. He said it carries heavy responsibility and power. Yeah, he made it sound intimidating, but I know he's just messing with Squibble's mind. Yep. Nobody wants Squib to have power. Maybe they're afraid of what I'd do with it. I'd make myself really big. Like, a thousand feet tall. And I'd go to all the humans and say, "See? How do you like it, eh? EH!" ...MMMm... Oh, maybe I see what he means. Yeah.

In this last week he has started teaching me how to turn my spirit vision on and off. We begin each lesson with a few minutes of still, silent meditation. Boy, that stuff is hard! How long have you ever seen a mouse sit still that wasn't asleep? Huh? Huh? You haven't. Doesn't happen. But he makes me sit still - and not think - for minutes! GAH! By the end of that I'm ready to do two thousand laps on the wheel. He catches me if I think too. He says he can see it in my face. That chinchilla is sneaky, I tell you. It's hard, but if I could control my spirit vision that would be cool, so I keep going.

The house has been raided every single day for three weeks. They're wearing us down. My master won't let me go outside and fight. He says they can't risk losing me, or giving the enemy more motivation. I hate it! What's up with that? "I'm supposed to be a warrior," I said, and he said, "No - you're supposed to be a hero." Whatever that meant. I can't stand sitting back inside while everyone fights to defend our home. It's driving me crazy. As if I didn't have enough problems already. Now I have nothing to do while everyone else risks their lives being honorable. So I've taken to writing and drawing alot.

My master talked to the kind human, informed him of the situation. The human has a pretty open mind. He took it well, though he liked the idea of mice picking on other mice even less than my master did. He set up fences, walls of stone, and closed up all the random mousey ways into the house. Now there are only two: the front and the back. One way in, one way out. Old mouse rule. Despite this, the attacks continue. The kind human sometimes gets upset, goes outside and collects all the crazy animals. He gets bit several times, even though he wears heavy armor. The mice swarm him, the nutso birds peck him, the snakes try to bite him (he wraps his boots in thick leather and cloth so they can't get through - ha).. He rounds them all up in a huge net or blanket, and takes them far away in his truck. He told my master once that he dumps them off somewhere across a river where they can't get back here easily, and reports that, once they're gone a couple of miles, they return to sanity. They all scatter, going their separate ways once he lets them go. But it's alot of work. He only does it when he's fed up. Still, he's our giant. Our guardian angel. What would we do without him?

The kind human plays with my master (and sometimes me) every night (it's wonderful to have playtime again), so my master has long conversations with him about many things. My master has to write alot to talk to him. The conversations involve my master writing with the help of a few assistants (like me) on paper with pencil leads an' the kind human talks in response. It takes awhile. I usually watch TV in the long waiting periods if I'm not writing.

One-Ear came from nowhere and apologized to me. Can you believe it? At first I was gonna beat him up, and I had to hold Scratchy off him. He seemed really afraid of the little runt, and genuinely sorry for what he'd done. He was thin, hungry, and dirty. No one lets him eat. He's nobody now. He has no friends. He sleeps in the lower levels of the basement with the ants. Ants don't use bedding. He's lucky it's summer. Anyway, I told him to go away. He asked me if I would be his friend. I said I'd think about it. He gave me a whole bag full of millet he's been collecting from treat time, which was amazing. Amazing he had that much, considering he has to wait until all the other mice are done to feed at all. It genuinely seems like he wants to be my friend. He grovels well, anyway.

Messengers were sent out to the field mice. None returned. After twenty mice went, we stopped sending them - probably to their deaths - and never heard anything from the field mice. Maybe they were all already possessed, but something told me that wasn't possible. The field mice were too pure. We hadn't had one field mouse come attack us all possessed an' stuff. Not one. The enemy was all lab mice. Mostly severely abused, sick, or, just recently...dead already. No healthy mice ever came to attack. It made things easier. It was the same with the other animals. All of them were sick or injured, or in some way compromised. Every one of them had some weakness that allowed the black mouse to get hold of them.

I tried taking care of Favorite, but she's depressed to the point of deep withdrawal. Squibette cares for her, and Favorite will take food from her, so that's how things have been. It's sad to go home and see her suffering. I know the human is going to euthanize her soon. I told Nemo this and he said, "no one is this house has ever been euthanized." I said I was afraid of it. I dread it. He said that my fears were controlling me, and as my power grew, they might control reality as well. Nothing he's ever said scared me more. My dreams are all nightmares. If they start controlling reality, we're done.

I had one dream...I can't forget it. It's one of those that stays with you until you die. It was very simple, but terrible.

I was standing on wet, grey earth. It was raining. The world was a depressing shade of blue. I was standing alone in a graveyard of thousands of sticks - the sticks the human uses to mark the graves of mice. I couldnt believe there were so many. Thousands and thousands.

It was lonely. I was alone.

Then my vision went below ground, like a camera special effect on TV. I saw the inside of my mother's coffin. It was dark, but dimly illuminated by something from everywhere, just enough that I could dimly see her corpse, resting on the soft bedding, surrounded by cheerios and millet, soaked in water. Water was dripping down through the wood of the coffin, onto her head, and running down her face, across her eyes, to the damp floor. It was all happening in a total silence. Only the tiny drip of water could barely be heard. She was still. Dead. But in the dream, I kept expecting her to move, to wipe the water off her face...something. It was lonely and horrible that she was trapped there, underground, in that tiny box, and that it was leaking...like tears. It was cold and lonely in that awful coffin. And she would be there forever.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

That's all the dream was. That silent, dark scene. It lasted a long time. A really, really long time.

I don't know if you can feel the same sadness through these words, but the vision was one of utter despair. Complete hopelessness with no light at the end of the tunnel - ever. It was so awful I woke crying, and could not function that day. I just lay around, doing nothing. I did not go see Nemo. I did nothing. I couldn't get it out of my head. I still can't. And because of that dream, I stopped going to her grave every night. I just can't take it, thinking of her that way. Or the thought that this is where we all go. Into the earth like that. I told Nemo about the dream later, and he said I didn't have to picture my mother in that way. I could choose how I wanted to remember her. I told him that the dream was so traumatic my mind kept going back to it for some stupid reason. He contemplated that for awhile, and then finally said only, "There are great powers at work here, Squibble."

Yeah, no kidding. This just in.

I had other dreams. Dreams of wars. Dreams of fire, which I thought was hell. I was visiting hell in my dreams. It looked like a black field of scorched earth. The smell was terrible, and smoke covered everything - I could barely see. My eyes were watering and my lungs burned. Dead bodies were everywhere, charred into husks. I called out and called out but no one answered my cries. In most of these dreams I'm either alone, or something bad happens to the people I'm with pretty quick. I'm so sick of these dreams. I can't take much more of this. No one could. They're much worse during the day, so I sleep at night, and stay up all day long. I never see anyone anymore. When I'm awake, they're asleep. And when I'm asleep, they're awake. My master and daughter are worried about me. Rightly so. I feel my hold on reality slipping. I act like nothing matters, when in truth I am thinking endlessly about sad things. My poor momma, and how she didn't deserve to die like she did. Favorite and how she doesn't deserve what she got. The bully mouse back in the city. The lab and all those suffering animals. Bad things. None of these good mice did anything to deserve all this. It's as if no good deed goes unpunished. It's dragging me down, but I can't seem to stop it. I'm becoming depressed, and that's not like me at all. I was such a happy mouse. I want to be happy again.

I had another dream in this time that confirmed the first dream I had with the flames wasn't Hell. Or maybe Hell has many levels, I don't know, but the dream was awful. It was frigidly cold. More cold than anything I had ever known. Lost souls were wandering around, crying and hurting themselves. It was dark. Like night. I knew there was no way out. The lost souls knew it too, and their wails reached me on that cutting wind. My feet hurt, then froze. My tail broke clean off. Eventually, I died, but it took a long time. And just before I did, I had another dream, except this one had once been real.

I was a tiny baby. My momma and I were outside for the first time in our lives, abandoned by our human. It was cold, like Hell. It was beginning to rain, and my momma was trying to keep us warm, my sisters, brothers, and me. One by one, my helpless family stopped mewling. Then they stopped breathing. I watched as they went silently into death one at a time, my momma clutching each one and trying to warm them back to life, only to lose another to the weather and the cold ground. We were in the front yard of my momma's owner's house. They had kicked her out for having babies. They had abandoned her - just put her outside and left her (and us) to die. And we were dying. I remember wicked hunger stabbing my teeny stomach. I no longer had the strength to cry. I didn't know what was happening, but I knew that in a little while, I would be like the others...blue and cold and still.

My momma clutched me to her, and I was latched onto her nipple, feeling it run dry, as she begged the Mousegod to spare her last child with all her heart. I felt her tears hitting me on the top of my head.

Then I woke up, desperate for any way out of the hell I fell into when I slept. I thought I was at the end of my wits. I couldn't take it.

I watch more and more TV to escape. I ignore Scratchy when he wants to play or train, which is all the time. He's a pest. I don't know why I made him my squire. It seemed the right thing to do, but he annoys me so! Sometimes I lose my temper and tell him to go away in a harsh tone. I don't know why he makes me so angry. When I do this, he goes and runs circles all night, at blurring speeds. Just runs in circles. All night. Nothing else. It reminds me sharply of the disturbed mice in the lab. The mice that had nothing to do, and went insane because of it. At the time, I didn't give any thought to Scratchy's plight. He couldn't run on a wheel; he couldn't go in a straight line. He can't really play on toys, or balance on ropes. He can't enjoy most of the things we other mice take for granted. But in that time of dark depression, I was only thinking of myself. I think that's how it works. If one could get outside themselves and gain perspective, they might free themselves of depression. But the very nature of depression keeps the victim focused on the pain. On themselves. I don't know. It's just a theory - one of many I think about during the long, empty hours of the day.

I write stories. I've written several. I wrote one about a mouse who never had fresh water in his life - had never even seen it except once, as a tiny baby. All his life he wants only to have fresh water, to taste water that isn't spoiled or old, or contaminated. He never gets it, and in the end, dies of old age having lived a life of abuse and neglect. When he passes to the other side, a nice mouse meets him by a beautiful, flowing river, and tells him, "Don't worry, little mouse. Now you'll have fresh water always."

My stories are all tragic like that. Sad. Depressing. Kinda beautiful, and kinda profound, maybe, but they seem sad to me. I don't think them up - they just come to me. From where, I don't know.

My drawings are the same. I can't draw my momma anymore, even though I ought to draw her in Heaven, happy and peaceful, or something like that. I really wanna. Instead, I draw sad, dark things. Too often. So I decided to us my willpower and draw better things. I tried to compromise. I created a comic book character called Amazing Mouse. Amazing Mouse can do anything he thinks he can - the catch is that he has low self esteem. So the book is about his adventures in trying to think he's okay. In the process, he bases his self esteem on how his public treats him, which, in turn, is based on how many good deeds he does. But...he needs the self esteem to do the good deeds! Cool, huh? He's kinda trapped in this never ending loop - a Catch-22. I've written and drawn the first issue. It was so much fun I think I'll keep doing it - maybe even send it off to get published! Nemo said he'd help me with that. He has envelopes, stamps, and all that - addresses of publishers, and the human said he'd help me too. Everyone likes the book. Maybe I'll be famous and rich.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

I did another story I really like called Angry Mouse. Here it is.

Angry Mouse by Squibble

Once upon a time there was born a little mouse who wanted only to find a loving human who would treat it nice as a pet. Instead, he was sold as snake food. But the snake wouldn't eat the terrified little mouse for some reason, so he was flushed down the toilet.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

The little mouse survived almost drowning, and wandered in the wilderness until it was almost dead from thirst and exposure. Finally, some kids happened across the mouse and took it home. The mouse was overjoyed. Finally, the kind humans would treat it right. Pet it, love it, give it treats! But the kids abused the mouse, flinging it across the room, letting their cat play with it, and making it swim around in the bathtub until it had no strength left to swim. They would always save the poor creature just before it died so they could have more fun the next day. At night it was frigidly cold and the mouse had no nest. In the day it was unbearably hot and he was placed near the window, in the sun, with only a tiny, ever changing strip of shadow to protect him. The mouse tried to be good, to lick their fingers and smile and be cute, but all he ever got was cruelty in return. He tried hard not to hate them. He said to himself over and over, "not all humans are bad...I'll find the ones that are good. I will."

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

The mouse was finally given by the kids to another child, who was going to feed it to another snake. The kids wanted to watch the mouse die horribly. But just before the sad mouse was flung into the cage with the snake, the sister of the snake owner screamed and batted the mouse out the window. Hurt and frightened, the mouse fled back to the pet store, hoping to get a better owner. He climbed back into his old, familiar cage, that dirty, hostile place - and competed for food and water against the other mice until new hands took him home.

This time, he thought he had made it. They played with him, have him popcorn and some toys. He was happy for a few weeks. But soon, they began to ignore him except to throw popcorn into his cage on occasion. He longed for their touch, to play on their shoulders, to hear them talk to him sweetly as they had once done, but they had forgotten him. He began to starve. They stopped feeding him and gave him no fresh water. He had only popcorn, which wouldn't keep him alive. Finally, they let him go (kicked him out) into the cold. It was snowing by then.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

Still, he said to himself, "All humans cannot be bad! I will find the few that are good."

He sat out there in the cold, freezing to death, until finally some humans came and took him home. He was full of hope, and gazed into their faces lovingly, promising them he'd be the best mouse they ever had if only they'd show him any kindness at all. But these humans turned out to be the worst of the bunch. They experimented on him, poking him and prodding him with needles and blades, cutting him open and sewing him back up again. They put him in a tiny, seven inch cage with nothing at all but food and water. No toys, no other mice, and never a kind word. Never.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

After many months of this, the mouse was worn and sad. He wanted to give up and die.

Still, he said to himself, "There must be one. One kind human. And I will find him. I will."

So, when the time came for him to be euthanized, because he was too old to be any use in the experiment any more, he squirmed out of the human's grasp and ran away. The humans tried to catch him, but he was too fast. He made it away, and returned to his cage at the pet store, because he knew no other home.

A new set of hands took him, and though he tried not to get his hopes up, he couldn't help it. He desperately wanted this to be the kind human. He sang to the human and wrapped his tail affectionately around the human's fingers, and made no attempt to escape at all. The human smiled at him and seemed amused. Could this be the one? He's smiling at me, the mouse thought. His little heart raced at the though of finally eating a treat, or sleeping in a nest box lined with soft cotton.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

But he was put in a gravel-bottom cage to be a snake's dinner.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

Oh, how the mouse cried. He cried and cried. His whole life was spent on hopeless fantasies. There were no kind humans! He snapped when the snake came for him, and let all his fury out at once. He killed the snake, bit the human viscously when it reached in for him, and ran off.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

Then he went insane, and embarked on a mad spree of long repressed rage. He went to snake holes and beat them up. He went back to the pet store and beat those snakes up too. He kicked owls and hawks out of their nests with their babies. He frightened cats and dogs. He bit small children as well as adults. He lurked in the shadows at shopping malls and leapt upon unwary passersby. He especially liked the big, fat, screaming women. Them he terrorized muchly.

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He lived like this, barely eating, barely surviving, and caring nothing at all for his life, for many months. Because he had nothing to lose, he was a fearsome creature, throwing himself at his enemies without fear. In time, the entire city lived in mortal terror of this psycho mouse.

But the mouse was crippled inside, and couldn't die. He was sad. He had given up all hope, and now he was old. He had come almost to the end of his time, and he grew sick. He could not keep fighting, taking wounds, and bearing scars as he had when he was young. His life had been wasted chasing dreams only to find torment and pain.

So, sitting on a windowsill at the mall, he waited for some cruel human to crush him to death and end his miserable, joke of a life. He sat there, sick and hungry, all day. No one would come near him, even to kill him. Finally, he fell off the ledge to the hard concrete below, and lay there waiting to die.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

A pair of hands picked him up, but he had no strength to bite them. He did not want to be food for a snake. He hated snakes. But now the choice was no longer his. He was too sick to fight back.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

The human took him home, and gave him medicine. He put the mouse in a big, clean cage with lots of toys and a nest box lined with soft cotton. Each day, the human would come and speak kindly to the sick mouse, who could only lie on his side and watch.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

When the mouse was recovered enough to bite, he did. He bit the human a good one. He made that human bleed!

But the human just petted the sick mouse and said, "Poor little mouse. I know you've been through awful times. I'm sorry." Then he gave the little mouse a Cheerio.

The little mouse couldn't believe it. He refused to believe it. It had to be a trick. It just had to.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

But as the days passed by, and the mouse got better, the human always had kind words to say to the mouse, and always came bearing treats. He faithfully gave the mouse his medicine, on time every day, and petted the mouse, even if it bit him. By the end of the week, the human had band-aids all over his hands, but he still spoke softly, and still picked the mouse up.

It slowly dawned on the damaged mouse that he had finally met his kind human.

And, knowing this, he knew he was loved. He could feel it in every corner of his sad heart. He licked the kind human that night for the first time. The human kissed the mouse in return. The only kiss the mouse had ever had.

It was the next morning that the kind human came and found the mouse, curled up in its next box, with a smile on its little face. The mouse had passed away of old age.

(Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)