Fiction Experiment: Garga Seeks Treasure

In an effort to get some practice, experience, and confidence with my fiction writing, I purchased A Year of Creative Writing Prompts. Below is one of my attempts from today’s assignments. They provide a five-minute exercise, a mid-day exercise, and a dinner time exercise. I decided to kick these out all at once, just to get rolling. Will post these as I think the warrant sharing. The trick for me will be to insist on the discipline of daily writing, even if it’s someone else’s assignment.

Midday Prompt

Write from the perspective of a mouse in a cupboard

Garga had made his way up the bumpy-textured but perfectly vertical cave to the hole he’d started the previous day. The cave he’d reached through a gap in the sharp siding of the Human Cave, a place of infinite dangers but remarkable rewards for the bold. The scent told him the effort would be worth it. Indeed, it was driving him nearly insane with hunger. The scent he’d left behind the day before told him he’d reached the right level, so he paused in his climb, his rear claws pushing into the wall behind him while his foreclaws held on for dear life as his mouth went to work around the perimeter of the hole.

He had stopped the hole yesterday when he’d seen a shaft of bright light spear his red-rimmed eyes. The light hadn’t stopped him, the loud barking and banging of humans on the other side of the hole had.

Today the hole was dark but still there, a tiny crater corrugated by his two front teeth. The wood was soft, its taste varying slightly as he chewed through the pressed layers. Garga wasn’t interested in the wood. The soft dust would fill his mouth bit by bit, get vomited through his forepaws, down the shaft of the cave, and land in an unpleasant mess many body lengths below him. The drop did not terrify him. He would reach the sweet smell, or he would not. Garga was fatalistic that way.

The crater became a hole through which he might stick his head. And if his head could go in, claws and squeezing and sheer will power could often do the rest. The little warrior grasped the hole’s edge with his foreclaws, his rear legs hanging in midair until the slumped down onto the surface of the cave wall, found purchase, and dug home.

More clawing, more chewing of the strange wood. Garga pushed himself weakly with his rear legs, relying more on his foreclaws, which now had a good grip on the inside of his well-chewed hole. Gnawing some more, his claws pulled feverishly at the edges of the hole, determined to pull him forward.

With his head and arms through the hole, the rest of the effort was a matter of squirming his soft, grey furry body forward. He ignored complaining ribs, rear legs now thrashing in airy panic over the shaft he’d struggled so hard to ascend. Halfway through, he lunged forward, his claws finding little purchase on the smooth flat surface on the other side of hole. Fortunately, he was at least on a level with it, so the bulk of his miniscule weight gradually rested inside the hole, not over the shaft.

The frantic scamper of his claws stopped instantly at the sound of something in the distance. A thump shuddered the floor onto which he now struggled. Garga had no way to make himself invisible. He could only rotate 90 degrees and attempt to curve himself toward the wall. That seemed to do the trick. He wedged himself into the long edge of the shelf, behind what appeared to be a smooth, inverted crater with a curious loop extending from it in the scant light above him.

Whatever the thump was did not repeat. If he heard a human barking, it, too, had ceased or moved away from him. Now on his left side, he pulled himself forward more and more, his rear claws finally reaching the edge of the hole and completing his passage into this dark human place. Every move from here on would be a mix of stealth and speed. Years of avoiding owls and snakes outside had honed the skill that was already in him.

The scent was maddening now, filling the air with the overwhelming sick-sweet smell of bee honey, a treat he’d only rarely encountered outside, at extreme risk. Now it was here, in a quiet, clean human cave, flowing free…somewhere.

Garga’s nose and hunger warred with his fear of detection. The food was so close!

His nose led him to the edge of the flat surface and into the face of another wall. However, this wall moved slightly upon running into it. The scent was below, that was clear now, and tantalizingly close. He pushed forward against the moving wall a bit more, emitting as loud a peep as he dared, waiting for the return to come back to his radar-like ears. Three or four body lengths to the floor below. Possible!

Garga reached between the floor and the wall, finding that the floor below him was thin, within the span of his forearm. Turning around, he pushed out the moving wall with his hind legs, feeling it give. He squirmed backward now, allowing his legs to dangle over infinity once again to reach his goal.

Eventually he reached the point where he hung over the edge of the floor, the moving wall pressing insistently but not painfully against his back. Wasting no time, he let go, trusting to fate. As he dropped, the moving wall pushed forward just enough to knock him forward onto the floor below, where his long-sought treasure lay. He took a quick dozen breaths to still his heart, then returned to the task at hand.

Confident now, Garga advanced toward the source of his joy, moving past smooth containers or rocks or mountains…he cared not. He only knew that through the minimal light cast by the gap between the moving wall and the floor far below, he could see a puddle of something that was unmistakably the source of his excitement.

Unafraid now, Garga tiptoed to the puddle, immersing his snout and foreclaws in the viscous ooze. Honey indeed! Possessed by the scent now, he belly-flopped into the mess, gorging himself on the sticky puddle, coating his paws, snout, and belly in the sweet stuff, uncaring about predators now that he was feeding. He ran his tongue up the side of the smooth container from which the honey leaked like a slow-motion fountain.

Much to his surprise, he smelled something else even more delectable nearby. A small pile of a pile of fruit thicker even than the honey sat on a short metal shelf hanging over a shallow platform before him. Pulling himself away from the honey, Garga gingerly moved his paws onto the edge of the platform, then the sharper-edged platform where the soft mass of fruit-scented jelly awaited him, tempting beyond belief.

He had enough time to place his paws on the jelly shelf and bury his nose in the jelly before he felt the trigger mechanism let go and the spring-loaded swing arm flipped toward him. The second it took for the trap to spring was not long enough for Garga to back away, his mind addled by a sugar-powered brain and satiated belly.

Garga died happy.

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