Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Magellan the Mouse

Magellan the Mouse
By Valerie L. Egar

Momma Mouse had six babies, but right from the start, she recognized one was very different from the others. Five fell asleep after a bedtime story. The sixth one stayed awake asking questions. Why did frogs turn into princes and not mice? Why didn’t Red Riding Hood know the wolf wasn’t her Grandma?
Before his eyes opened, he crawled out of the nest to explore.  Frantic, Momma Mouse found him stumbling around the attic near a hole that would have carried him who knows where. She scolded him, carried him back to the nest and decided to name him Magellan after the explorer.
When Magellan’s eyes opened, he spent hours discovering every nook and cranny in the attic. He found a small hole to enter an antique trunk and had fun nibbling on some old newspapers and a woolen blanket. He sunned himself in a patch of light that shone through the attic window. He played tag with his brothers and sisters, frolicking back and forth across the floor.
“Shh!” his mother warned.  “The people don’t know we’re here.”
Magellan and his brothers and sisters grew quickly. Each one of them found a spot in the attic to make a home and raise a family, but not Magellan. “I want to see the world,” he declared.
His mother wasn’t surprised, but she worried. She explained as best she could about cats and people, traps and hawks. The attic was a safe place for mice, but the outside world wasn’t safe at all. “Come back any time,” she told Magellan and hugged him. With that, Magellan scrambled between the walls to find out what was beyond the attic.
He fell with a thump and when he landed, found himself in a room so bright, the light almost blinded him. He liked the feel of soft carpet under his feet. Slowly, he walked along the baseboard, sniffing the air. He heard voices and took cover under a bureau.
Magellan peeked out from beneath the bureau and saw a bare foot the length of  twenty mice. Humans were huge! He watched the feet walk back and forth and heard cloth rustling.  The next time he saw the feet they had shoes on. The room fell quiet.  Magellan stepped out from underneath the bureau and looked around.
He climbed onto the unmade bed.  The covers felt warm. “Mmmm, nice.”
He bounced up and down on the pillows.
Magellan felt hungry and decided to see if there was anything good to eat anywhere.
He skittered down the hall, though the living room and into the kitchen. He noticed a big bowl of food on the floor filled with crunchy treats, perfect snack food. He jumped in the bowl and started to nibble. It was delicious, better than anything he’d ever tasted.
 Magellan looked up and saw two green eyes staring at him. He froze.  If he didn’t move, would the cat leave him alone? He saw the cat’s tail twitching.
The telephone rang. Just as the cat turned its head, Magellan flew out of the bowl and dived behind the kitchen cabinet. Safe! That was close.
He found a hole in the wall behind the cabinets and climbed through it to another place in the house.  “This place smells funny.” The floor was cold concrete. Shelves lined the walls filled with tools and paint cans. “I don’t like it in here.” Magellan looked for a way out and squeezed under a door.
Green grass as far as Magellan could see.  Sun warmed him. He ran through the grass and into a garden. Daisies towered over him. The scent of roses tickled his nose. He nibbled a few seeds he found.
All of sudden the sky darkened and fat drops of rain poured down, pelting Magellan. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed. Cold and wet, Magellan ran for the house and squeezed back under the door.
Magellan made his way back to the attic, carefully avoiding the cat. “I have seen the world,” he announced to his family. “Interesting as it is, I can tell you, there’s no place like home.”
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Copyright 2019 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied, reproduced or distributed without permission from the author.
Published August 10, 2019 Biddeford Journal Tribune (Biddeford, ME).