Of Mice

The two brown mice scurried near the edge of the “massive” thirty foot cliff. The noon sun beat down on them quite unlike a racist cop, but still quite hot regardless.

The smaller of the two, named Star, sniffed the air and commented, “All right. This spot is absolutely perfect. Bring it out Boto.” She loved bossing her younger brother around.

Boto, the larger mouse disappeared behind a jag in the cliff. After a moment, an object construed out of bits of leaves and sticks poked its head from behind the jag with Boto struggling behind.

“Set the glider right here,” Star pawed at the dusty, flat surface by the edge

Boto heaved and pushed. “You know, you could stand to help sis.” The plane slowed to a rest in front of Star.

Star stared at her beautiful creation basking in the warm sun. Two carved out indentations in the thick branch of balsa wood served as seats for her and Boto. Two sticks formed the frame of the wing. It took weeks just to find the perfect shape. Pine needles tied large leaves to the stick framework. Star used a broken piece of plastic for the tail, and as the finishing touch, a simple system of rubber bands granted control over the plane.

Star climbed up the side of the plane and looked down on her younger brother. “C’mon Boto, I’m dying to try this out.”

“You just had to say that, didn’t you,” Boto sniffed. “Hmph, dying to try this out. You know something bad is going to happen.”

“Even if something goes wrong, we’ll land in that stream down below. It’s a very safe stream.”

“I uh, um hm… mice can’t swim very well.”

“Mice can’t talk either,” Star snapped back. She reached in her primitive seat, pulled out a white package and tossed it to Boto. “Take it. It’s a parachute I made out of some tissue I found.”

Boto grabbed it and hopped into the seat behind Star. “Mom is going to be so mad at us.”

“Awesome!” Star exclaimed, ignoring Boto. She grabbed the rubber bands hanging from the wings. “Ready?”

“Yeah, sure I guess,” Boto responded. The two of them sat in their seats with Star poised to start and Boto just waiting in the back.

“Um, how are we starting this thing?” Boto asked.

Star pawed at her whiskers. “Oh. Didn’t think that far ahead. Never thought I would finish this plane to be honest…”

Boto panicked and began clambering out of the seat. “Didn’t think ahead?! Didn’t think! Didn’t think, I’m getting out of here.”

A gust of wind picked up the plane like a piece of garbage twirling in a highway and hurled it over the side of the cliff.

Boto’s panic turned to legitimate fear as he hung onto the side of his seat, trying not to fall.

The plane twisted and turned. And plummeted.

Star yanked on the rubber bands. She felt the wings give way with an audible snap. A twig broke and smacked Boto on the head. He lost his grip.

Boto felt a curious plummeting feeling in his stomach. He felt a plummeting feeling everywhere in general actually. The feeling was due to the fact that Boto was indeed plummeting. Boto scolded himself for not listening to his mother, then remembered the parachute Star gave him.

Tissues are great. People can use them to blow their nose, dry stuff, apply cosmetics, and the list goes on. What tissues can’t do is suspend a large mouse free falling.

The tissue ripped while Boto desperately tried to hold it together. Typical Star, Boto thought to himself, he should have learned by now that she’s nothing but trouble.

Something wrapped around Boto and halted his descent. His sigh of relief turned to that of fear when the grip tightened. He looked up to see a hawk, screeching like hawks do.

Boto squirmed and tried to escape, but the hawk’s grip tightened like iron shackles. Boto’s fear turned to dejected acceptance. “You know what,” he murmured. “Fine. Fine. Shouldn’t have expected anything pleasant, I’m at fault here.”

Meanwhile, Star splashed into the stream. She struggled to the surface, gasping for breath. “Well,” she managed between gasps. “That didn’t go as planned.”

The remains of her plane drifted nearby. She swam over to the floating balsa wood and clung on for life. The stream was not as safe as she thought, and actually rushed along at an alarming rate.

A screech pierced the sky. Terror filled Star’s heart as she recognized the sound of a hawk. She glanced up expecting to see a hawk diving at her, but instead saw the hawk carrying her brother away.

The terror melted to guilt. Boto wasn’t moving, was he dead? She shouldn’t have brought him along, he never did like heights. What would she tell mom and dad? She just wanted to share an adventure with her brother, and now…

Well, and now a current pulled Star underwater. She still had her own problems to deal with.

While Star drowned, Boto attempted a conversation with the hawk.

“So anyways, I tell her,” Boto said to the hawk. “I tell her, it’s nut for sale!” Boto laughed heartily and glanced up at his captor.

“I said, it’s nut-”

“Ooooooohhhhhh mah gaaaaaaawwwwd. Shut up. Shut. Up. Okay? Just. Okay? Shut up,” the hawk shouted in a shrill voice. “I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to make me think you’re cool so I won’t eat you. I’ve eaten some pretty cool critters. And let me tell you, you are not a cool critter.”

Hurt, Boto fell silent and started sniffling again. He thought his joke was funny…

Boto felt the hawk shift weight, and they began their descent towards a camphor tree. The hawk dropped Boto, and he fell with a thud into the nest.

“Time to eat up – now hooooold up a moment,” the hawk glared at the lone chick in the nest. “Penny? Where did Nick run off to this time.”

“I don’t know mama, he’s trying to fly again,” Penny chirped.

“Awww naahhhh, not again! Penny, make sure mousey don’t run away,” the hawk took off with furious beating wings, murmuring under her breath, “Oh I am gonna show that boy.”

Boto ran to the edge and tried to clamber out of the wall of the nest.

“Don’t bother,” Penny spoke out. “Momma built this nest real sturdy.”

“Ack!” Boto fell, and trembled in the corner.

“Don’t worry, I’m vegetarian,” Penny said.

Boto paused his trembling for a moment. “Come again?”

“I tell mama that I don’t eat meat, but she won’t have it. I just let Nick eat the hunts. I usually go for more healthy, vegetarian options. It’s also more friendly towards the environment.”

“So you’ll let me go then?”

Penny laughed, shaking her whole fuzzy body. “My brother’s going to eat you. He’s already learned to fly, so he’s gonna trade me some berries or something sweet.”

Penny peered down at Boto, her sharp beak coming dangerously close to Boto. He tried to back away, but the nest prevented escape.

“Have you…” Penny breathed in a threatening manner. “Ever tried grapes? They’re really good I think. I’m not even sure if hawks are allowed to eat grapes.”

Boto felt so nervous his heart beat at over 900bpm (average for mice is 500bpm for comparison). Was this a trick question? What was he supposed to say?

With a loud snap, the collection of twigs broke beneath Boto’s feet, and he landed in a lump of grass twenty feet below.

“C’mon, let’s hurry!”

Boto climbed out of the grass, and saw Star standing nearby covered in grass. Relief swarmed over Boto. He ran up to her and gave her a mouse hug, whatever that looks like.

“Star! Oh am I ever so glad to see you! How did you do that?” Boto asked. “Break the nest I mean, I assume that was you.”

“Mama! Mama!” Penny screeched from above. “The food is getting away! Mama!”

“We can catch up later, but we gotta outrun a hawk,” Star scampered away.

Boto followed behind. “And how are we going to do that?”

The two of them dove between some shrubbery, and found themselves at a stream. The remains of Star’s plane, modified to be more buoyant, floated in the stream. A long blade of grass tied it down.

“Hey Boto, check out my boat,” Star said with pride.

Boto looks at the camera and gives a goofy grin. “Here we go again!”

Star smacks Boto. “Stop that! You know that I hate it when you do that.”

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