July 27, 2010
Prompt: A long time ago in 1975…there was a generous…mouse…who had delusions of grandeur…and had very big feet. Hans ran down the corridor of the space ship, dodging the bursts of light from the enemy’s blasters. He dodged well and quickly, knowing if even one of them struck him, he would either be dead, or instantly unconscious…which, in his enemy’s hands, meant worse than death. He tripped over his oversized feet and fell to the deck plating, rolling gracefully back to an upright position, and continued running down the hall. The roll and recover maneuver had long since been perfected, as he’d been dealing with the problem of his foot size all of his life. Hans ducked around the corner and paused a few moments to breathe, his sides heaving as he pulled great gasping breaths into his lungs. He twitched his nose and whiskers, seeking for information on his pursuers. Yes, the cats were still after him. With a sigh, the mouse set himself in motion again, searching the metal for any breach at all which would offer a small bit of sanctuary to a person as small as himself. The door ahead had a large enough gap beneath it, and he slipped through it, though he had to practically dislocate his hips to wiggle beneath the door. He quickly found a nice corner to rest in while he regained his breath. Slowly, he regained control of his breathing and his heart rate returned to his normal low of 525 beats in a minute. A footstep sounded in the room, and he looked fearfully upward. A woman in a long white dress was pacing the room. She hadn’t seen him, and Hans was grateful. Women usually didn’t react very well, or very calmly when they saw mice, and if she raised a hue and cry over his presence, the cats would get him. Suddenly, her feet stopped moving. Hans froze. Don’t let her see me, don’t let her see me. His thoughts repeated themselves again and again in his brain, hoping against hope to cancel out her sight with his brain waves. Yeah, right, that sort of thing only happened in the movies. The woman bent down, looking him over. “Hello there, little fellow.” “Hey there yourself, toots,” he squeaked in answer, smoothing the rumpled fur on his chest. He’d always been proud of the thick lustrous hair on his chest. “Come here, little fellow, I won’t hurt you.” The woman bent and placed her hand flat on the floor near Hans. He moved forward cautiously, sniffing, and twitching his most excellent whiskers. Her hand twitched when his whiskers brushed against it, but Hans had learned long ago that this was a normal human reaction to the tickling sensation his whiskers caused, and not an indication of fear, or of impending harm to himself. He very slowly crawled up onto the woman’s hand, then held his breath fearfully as she lifted him to a much higher level, one from which he would certainly perish, should he fall. She held him near her face, looking very closely at him. “I don’t know how much you can understand,” she said, “but I recall reading that some species of mice are sentient, and have no trouble understanding human speech, though they can’t pronounce it.” Hans nodded his head vigorously up and down, to show her he’d understood her. Personally, he felt there were a great many humans who had trouble pronouncing human speech, but that was another matter for another discussion on another time and in another place. “I am being held as a hostage,” the woman in white said, “and I was wondering whether your small size could be of use in helping me escape my human captors. In return, I’ll gladly help you escape the cats which undoubtedly chased you in here.” Hans squeaked loudly, enthusiastically bobbing his head up and down in his closest approximation of the human affirmative signal, doing his best to indicate to the woman in the white dress that he would do all in his power to pull off a bargain such as she had suggested. The woman set him down on the floor, and he crept near the door. He sniffed with his tiny little pink nose, and flicked his whiskers at everything, taking in all of the available information about his surroundings. He felt the floor for vibrations, and cocked his ears in different directions, gathering the most minute sounds from all directions. The woman in the long white dress held perfectly still so as not to be a distraction to him. Hans really appreciated that. Most humans had no idea how much noise they made, even when they were trying to be quiet. Finding no sign of the evil imperialistic cats, Hans ventured out beneath the door. With a great leap into the air, he managed to activate the automatic door-opening device. The door swished open, and the woman in the white dress emerged without delay. She scooped Hans up and snatched a blaster up from where it lay on the surface of a desk. Hans wondered who had been so stupid as to leave their weapon just laying around, but he figured they would be the one in trouble, and not him, so why worry about it. At top speed, the woman in the white dress headed out and moved quickly down the corridor. She came to the door of a lift, and discovered she didn’t have a free hand to manipulate the door controls, so she hastily dumped Hans down the front of her gown so she could hold the gun with one hand and use the other for things such as operating the lift. Hans quickly maneuvered himself upright within the close confines of the woman’s bodice. She had been generously endowed by her creator, and things in his immediate area were in constant flux, but with some wiggling, he managed to find a comfortable place to ride, where he could safely hold on without doing any damage to the woman in the white dress. She made her way swiftly to her small personal spacecraft, and together they blasted off to the stars. Hans was very happy to have helped her out, and very grateful for the help she gave him. During the celebratory banquet that evening, Hans discovered the woman was a person of some importance in the current power struggle between some of the various factions of the humans. She called him a hero, and offered him a safe place to live ot the rest of his life, which he was more than glad to accept. That night, he crept to the computer, intending to tell his best friend all about his latest Grand Adventure. “Dear George…” his email began.