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

Cutter Hays

The Great War
Day 2

(Copyright 2006 Cutter Hays)
The reason for the enemy's waiting has become clear. We need to eat and rest. He does not. Our forces are divided in half as we fight day and night. By night, he throws everything at us, while more of his forces from the city keep coming at us from behind every day, nipping at our heels as they attempt to join his wretched command. By day he harasses us with small guerilla attacks - hit and run tactics, and assassination attempts at our officers. We have sent companies back for food and water, and to have the house build carts for such things. This has further divided our forces. We made a grave error in hoping this would be a quick fight.

We continue to dig trenches, build walls, set traps, and do everything we can to gain an upper hand. Move for move, he matches us with the appropriate counter. He is toying with us. His first charge was only a test, and an appalling one - for he could afford to cast aside so many mice just to see what we might do, and he did so without hesitation. We are clearly up against a master tactician, as brilliant in every way as I or even my father. We are using tactics from medieval literature and Roman history. When I bitterly cursed our enemy for knowing them, my father pulled up to my side and rebuked me for not expecting it. "After all," he said to me, "he was there, in ancient Rome, in Old England. He probably started those wars too."

His words left a foul taste in my mouth and a tightness in my chest. How can we fight a commander that has seen it all first hand? How can we win against a being billions of years old? He probably created many of the tactics we are using against him. But these thoughts are self defeating, and I laid them aside to take up my smarter thinking. We must win. There is no other option.

The second night we rallied the rats to build us a bridge as well - two of them. We used them to cross eight companies on each side of the river, a hundred yards up from their camp, and attack from behind. It worked well at first, but the rear of his encampment was guarded by the monsters. Even in full retreat, we lost four companies in minutes. Nothing could stand against those beasts. We could not blind them or slay them as if they were normal. I suggested to my father we try the same tactic with him and me leading the rear assault, but he said he had to maintain a presence at the front line. I understood then why the monsters did not attack. They could see the light of Excalibur from where they stood, a hundred feet away. They could not approach it. There is still hope.

(Copyright 2006 Cutter Hays)

This night we have tried well over a hundred tactics, engaging the enemy over and over in battles all up and down the river. We have lost seven thousand, including the rear attack attempt. They have lost twenty five thousand. We would be doing well if it were a normal engagement, but he treats his troops as expendable as they truly are, being already dead. One might think this foolish in any command, but he seems to replace them as quickly as he loses them, and this is meant to shake our morale. We wonder how many he has underground. It is a daunting thought.

The troops have returned from the house with supplies, and were immediately sent back for more. No one can drink the river water; it is clouded with blood both red and black. I have not slept yet. My father and commander seems to need no rest at all with that blade in his hand. I see the delight of being healthy again in his eyes ruined by the necessity to spend it in this war.

He would rather be running on his wheel.

Today a company from the war came to the house to get supplies. They had orders for Vulcan and the others to make carts the rats would tow back to the front line. We all worked steadily for hours, even the humans. We built carts, new catapults in a new design by Vulcan, and the master smith sent a mouse pistol to the front line for Percival. They exchanged words with us about the war and how it was going. They told us the enemy has ten times our number. I started to wonder how in the world they had gotten that many, but then I remembered the labs. Just the lab I had been in alone had thousands of mice. Abused, sick, hurt mice were everywhere. There was no shortage of them. The black mouse just waited until they shuffled off the mortal coil, and filled their bodies with ...some wrong force, and out they came. His supply was limitless, while ours was immeasurably small.

They said my master fought like a Mousegod, and never tired. I longed to see it. I was bitter that I could not. By the time they left it was almost dawn. The drugs are still making me slow as ever. I wonder if they will ever wear off.

(Copyright 2006 Cutter Hays)

The human does not leave his post except to help the supply caravan. He sits there on his bench and eyes the fields with worry and bitterness on his face. I know what he's thinking. Where is Nemo? I wonder it myself. It's been many days since he left. He wasn't anywhere near as strong as he was the first time. Anything could have happened. I thought to reach him in my sleep, but the stupid Xanax makes me sleep without dreams. It's like being in nonexistence. It's a bit scary at first, and then there's nothing to be scared of at all. But Nemo could be dead, rotting in the field, and we would not know. Stupid drugs.

I cannot stop thinking about my master. I return to the thought every ten seconds. I fear it will drive me mad. I tried to sneak aboard the returning supply caravan, but unbelievably, Mike was there to stop me. Suddenly, out of nowhere. He just strode up and grabbed me as the caravan left the wall perimeter. I bit him, but it didn't matter. He set me back upon the porch and vanished.

"You better help us!" I yelled after him, but people just looked at me as if I was a loon (as usual). No one else had seen him.

Since I was awake during the day anyway, I stayed awake. I caught Shiva and Thor building weapons, cleaning their guns and armor.

"I don't suppose if I order you and the rest to follow me to the front line it will happen?" I asked them with my slurred speech.

Thor's eyes bugged out. Shiva shook his head.

"No way, dude."

"Why not!" I chirped. "Squibble's Horde indeed!"

Thor leaned close. "Man, it's orders from the very top. Nemo, and your master."

"We'd rather go against you than them any day," Shiva commented, reloading his rifle. "Nothing personal."

I was tempted to make them regret that, but I knew in my state I could not begin to. Also, it had been a long time since they were boys. I don't think those old tricks would work on them anymore. As if reading my mind, Shiva turned his head toward me and slowly shook it, never once breaking a smile.

"What's the real reason?" I said.

"Because they think you're some sort of hero in the future," Thor said.

"They told us that without you, it all turns to poo," Shiva said.

"Ummm... look around boys!" I exclaimed. "What exactly is it doing now, huh?"

They looked around.

"Pretty fine I'd say," Thor said.

"Yep," Shiva agreed. "Not too bad."

I squinted and ground my teeth together. "Yeah, but can you say that for our families?"

They said nothing.

(Copyright 2006 Cutter Hays)

The Great War: Day 3