Today’s writing prompt and my response.
Last day of this week’s challenge! The tale begins here.
intimacy cheese stool: use these three words
The giant mouse glowered. ‘Don’t know anything,’ it insisted. But its whiskers wavered.
‘How about,’ Miriam said, smiling slyly, ‘I fetch you a nice lump of cheese, and then you can tell me what you know.’
The mention of cheese perked the creature up. ‘Promise you’ll come back?’
‘Promise you’ll tell me everything?’
A pause. ‘Ok, but it’s not a lot.’
Miriam decided she had to take that risk as she walked quickly back to the house, cut a wedge of cheddar, grabbed an apple, and hurried back. She expected the mouse might have gone, although where it could go she had no idea. Out in the open, looking like that, someone would capture it, and the next thing it would be on TikTok, perched on a stool, earning a fortune for its owner.
Hmm. Maybe Miriam needed to get on social media after all.
‘So, mouse. Twenty years ago, what did you see happen to Dorothy?’
The mouse nibbled the cheese, sat on the floor and invited Miriam to share the intimacy of this moment of confession by sitting next to it.
She did, and waited.
‘I was in the kitchen, an ordinary mouse, minding my own business in Dorothy’s larder, when the husband came home, rolling drunk as usual.’ The mouse bit into the apple, swallowed. ‘Usually Dorothy would sneak up to bed, pretend to be asleep, but he caught her out and, for once, she stood up to him.’
The mouse held out its coat-clad sleeves, and squeaked, ‘Drunk again? I’m sick of your drunkenness. You’re a nightmare and what I wish for you is that your own drunken nightmares all come true! And then she turned her back on him.’
And now the mouse ran its hand down its waistcoated chest. ‘That was when I turned into this. Big surprise for me too, finding out what the stuff of hubby’s nightmares was made of!’
‘Oh!’ Miriam gasped. ‘You’re a nightmare! Makes sense.’ She gazed at the mouse, nodded. ‘And then?’
‘And then he grabbed her from behind, tossed her on the sofa and stuffed a cushion in her mouth, shouting about what a nightmare she was and he wasn’t having any more of it.’ The mouse shook, remembering the horror.
Miriam shook too. Poor Dorothy, what a way to go.
‘And I guess he bundled her in the car and drove her to the canal. Horrible.’
‘I don’t know,’ the mouse said. ‘Because the brute got hold of this big blue plastic bag, shoved it over my head and lugged me down to the shed. He made that hole in the side hammering a hook in and hanging the bag there, all the time muttering about nightmares having to be dealt with, and he’d see to this one in the morning.’
‘But he never did?’
‘No. I reckon he was so drunk he didn’t remember me. Or decided I was simply a nightmare.’
‘And he would have been terrified of being caught for Dorothy’s murder.’ Miriam could understand that. She sighed. ‘So now I know that none of all those other theories were right.’ She patted the mouse on the head, which made it twitch. ‘But no-one’s going to believe a nightmare, are they?’
‘But you’ll come and live with me?’ the mouse said. ‘We could be very happy together, with all this cheese.’
‘No,’ Dorothy said, smiling. ‘But you can come and live with me and you can have all the cheese you want. Do you know anything about TikTok?’
Find Cheryl’s flash fiction and short stories here!