Tuesday 7 January 2014

A Rat's Life

The sun slowly set over the deep dense green jungle and beyond, the crest was slowly being devoured by the ever- darkening aqua blue sea; time to become active. The household would soon be quiet.  The human occupants go to bed early as they get up before dawn to work in the adjacent plantation.  Their footsteps are a constant reminder that danger is not far away. Though having said that Ratso did feel rather secure in the space below the wooden floorboards where there was only enough room for his friends, family, insects and the odd spider or two.  This didn't mean it was always harmonious, oh no siree, many a time there were scuffles over territory and food.  Ratso and his family easily outmuscled the others and had done so for a long time now; maybe 6 months or more.  No, the only thing they were really concerned about were the humans above.   Making too much noise could prove fatal.  Too many fights or scuffles amongst the underfloor occupants would result in some form of human intervention. 

Over time members of the family and other clans would go out hunting for food and never return.  Rats' memories are not very long so, they were soon forgotten.  The daily struggle for life saw to that; no point worrying about others when your own survival was at stake.

The security of living under the floor boards had its downside, the heat was stifling always and it wasn't possible to leave during the day to find relief.  The cover of darkness proved the only safe refuge for scavengers like Ratso; true kings of the nocturnal household travelling far and wide to find nourishment for themselves and their families. 

The humans help a lot, of course.  They are the perfect species to be living with. Not very clean, they leave plenty of food scraps for the family to eat: a reliable all year round supply that never dried up. 

The muffled sounds of the humans above, dimmed into nothingness as the last of them went to sleep.  Waiting for another half an hour to be certain, Ratso started his nightly routine by forcing his body through a small gap between the skirting and the floorboards. The kitchen was in a greater mess than usual, plenty of pickings tonight.  

Saturday night was party night.  The human occupants didn't have to work the next day, so enjoyed an evening of free flowing beer, food and music. 

Ratso raised his long triangular nose to the air and like the king of rodents he was, perused the multitude of complex odours that hung in the air. One simply delectable smell caught his attention.  A strong sharp pungent irresistible  odour drew him to a corner of the house he had never previously ventured to.  So powerful was the urge to get to it that he ignored the usual offerings he would normally indulge in. 

Total darkness wasn't a hindrance when it came to finding food.  A keen sense of smell was all that was needed.  This delectable rat perfume was irresistible and drew him trancelike to his final destination. 

He hardly noticed the long steel tubular frame, but as his front paws reached up to finally grasp the prize that awaited him, the snapping sound of metal on metal brought him abruptly back to reality.  Turning quickly to escape, he realised the entrance was no longer there.  Confusion reigned as he ran around in circles in a fruitless exercise for freedom.   

The first glint of sunlight graced the tops of the trees like a sleepy ballerina  trying her first movements out for the day.   Foot steps from in front of the house purposefully strutted down the side path. A hand appeared from nowhere and Ratso suddenly became airborne inside his steel prison.

A loud splashed followed and Ratso felt his fur being penetrated with frigid river water, while a cold shiver of fear ran down his spine.  Lungs engulfed, bursting, struggling to obtain air. Head arched back, legs rotating at a furious rate, frantic mouth movements; then a calming gentle realisation, the feeling of giving in and enjoying the last sensation of settling onto a cushion of the finest duck feathers, sinking deeper and deeper until there was nothing else to remember. 

Rattus Rattus



  1. Haha... nice short tale. Love the name you gave him. R.I.P. Ratso.

    1. Thanks again Vincent, I spent the last few days as a rat catcher, so it came naturally.

  2. Alister, your ability to see the world from the perspective of the rat is extraordinary.

  3. Stressful imagination, poor Restore that is good name.


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