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Friday, November 16

Awfully Familiar Update

I kept running. Where was I? Why was Black putting me in the Maze? It didn't add up. If he wanted me dead, he could have killed me at any time.

Think, think, think! Jacko had mentioned something about breaking and entering. This had to be a test, some sort of bizarre training he was putting me through.

"Goblin Hack and goblin Heave," came the high-pitched voice.
One day found they moved the cheese.
One got thin and one got fat!
So thin one eats the tasty rat!"

I couldn't recall having ever met a goblin, but then being only a few days old, it was understandable that there were gaps in my memory. Judging from Black's reaction, they were bad news. And given that Hack seemed intent on sharing his entire philosophy about eating me, I didn't want to ever meet a goblin face to face.

My heart was racing. I suspected I was having a full-rat freak-out, where I wanted to be everywhere and nowhere at once, and my muscles became so overloaded with commands that I ended up just cowering in fear. Even though I could think for myself, I was still a rat with rat instincts. If I kept this up, I would become a goblin snack for sure.

That was it! I was a rat, right? There had to be some advantages to being a rodent. If I'd been a rat my whole life it should come as second nature...

I twitched my nose. I hadn't really focused on my rat senses up to this point, because most of the time I was overwhelmed by them -- usually it was the stink of people. Too many hairy, smelly men in one room, all shouting at me, made it difficult to focus. Although I would never forget the smell of serpent.

Every object, every surface, had different smells and information. The walls smelled different from the floor, the floor smelled different from the air, the air smelled different from whatever the stains on the floor were, and I even picked up the faint smell of what must have been goblin. It smelled a bit like wet leather. Even the cage had a smell, although Black had since removed it; I could almost taste the metallic tang of the bars. But no scent of cheese. Cheese was pretty smelly, so I was surprised to not detect it.

Black had walked away and taken a seat somewhere high over the Maze. He was observing me.

I tried to ignore the fact that a cutthroat thief was watching my every move, that there was a goblin making up rhymes about eating me, and that somewhere in the rooms beyond was a one-eyed dog who really didn't like me all that much. I sniffed again, deeper, using my second scent organ, the vomeronasal. I didn't even realize I had it.

I picked up the scent of something else. Another rat! That must have been Switch.

Judging by the scent-marks he left behind, he was a young male like me. And he was stressed out of his mind. Like me.

I charged off in the direction of the rat. Maybe Switch would know where the cheese was.

If he was even still alive.


posted by Michael Tresca at 7:08 PM

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