(This uses a triangular sequence to determine the number of words per line, and per paragraph https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangular_number. A couple of the longer lines seem to wrap as well - not clear how to resolve that with this editor.)
whence it came.
glare at me
and whiskers chuff away.
and heavily stomp.
“Get you gone now,
beast, and forever hie away.”
its nose twitches,
“It cannot be done,
I’m so sorry to say.”
And I’m perplexed and ever vexed.
“How dare you?
What insolence is this?”
Such a cheeky little mouse
defying me in my own house,
I simply cannot stomach this at all.
I beg you,”
says the fluffy runt.
“I am poor and famished,
and you have so much bounty.
Just a little nibble, tittle, and jot,
a slice of yellow heaven, a pungent triangle.”
it’s always cheese.
I feel pity swell.
I cut a cheddar chunk,
an orange sliver, crumbly and sharp,
and hand it to the starving rodent.
“There there, of course, a triangle is fair.
And now you’ve had your fill my friend, adieu.”
and then: “But.”
But? Is there more?
“What of my wife, sir?
She’s dwindling fast, the poor lass,
and dearly needs a bite as well.”
A hungry wife? Well that’s certainly no good.
I grab my knife and measure the cheddar anew.
“Camembert, sir, if you please. Her tastes are quite refined.”
and give away.
“Is that all then?”
The mouse pockets the cheese
and squeaks, “I’ve two children also.”
I sigh and raise my knife again.
“Gouda for my girl Eileen, her favourite kind,
and brie, my boy Maurice – he can’t do without.”
I cut again and once more, my cupboard running bare,
my plans for French soup abandoned, and my toast left unadorned.
“I’ve cousins some,
arriving from all over,
and aunts and uncles too.
A mouse-ish wedding we will have
so cut and cut more triangles, sir,
of edam, feta, parmesan, and gruyere and blue,
and for the kids, a queso sauce, and cream–”
I scream! My shaking hand cramps from the endless cutting.
“How many more?” I fretfully ask. “How many kin have you?”
“Oh more, sir, a great deal so, from countries far and wide.”
fill the air,
a thousand tiny feet.
Around me are a legion,
a million mice carpet my home
and drape the walls with beady eyes
and swishing cobra tails. They sniff and whisker
and debate which cheeses are best, and argue ceaselessly.
Then I hear my guest, “Keep cutting sir! More cheese!
We need halloumi by the load and much Havarti and Swiss.
Cottage by the bucket, and Muenster by the barrel. And above all
we need the cheese – that glorious, sumptuous, blissful cheese – that everyone calls cake.”
my sorry eyes,
I hack my knife
so hard the counter splits.
The mice, they cheer and jeer
and hurry me along. Each new cheese
I cut into a slice and then again
diagonally; two perfect triangles filling the mice with glee.
“More!” they shout, their squeak a roar, a deafening tide
of joy. “More, sir, don’t lag behind! We hunger ever so!”
They pass me a new, bigger knife, and tip my fridge over,
and produce a better cutting board – big, industrial and made of stainless steel
– and shout “Our appetite keeps growing! Just cut and cut again, another cheesy triangle!”
What to do?
My arm goes numb
and my back aches so.
I cannot keep this pace up,
but my guests do goad me on.
I fear what happens when I run out
the last of all my cheese. Will that sate
the little beasts? Or will their hunger just keep growing?
Each time I blink there’s even more mice by the dozen.
They walk on stilts and fill the air, hanging from tiny ropes,
a million million eyes on me. They bet each time another triangle’s cut
to see who gets the prize; and those who don’t just roar their ire:
“Cut faster, man, and harder! More triangles for us today! You’ve done okay so far.”
“How much more?”
“More and ever more,”
he says, and they cheer.
“I’ve given you an inch already–”
“–and we’ll have a mile. You see,
we like your home and we’d simply hate
if we had to chew the walls. You agree?”
I don’t want them in my walls, yes, I concur
that cheese is the better of the two. “And,” he says,
“a small known fact: that mice, though small, are fond of meat.”
Of meat? I wonder what they mean. What next? A slice of ham?
Or chicken drumstick, turkey leg, bacon rasher, sausage, steak or big tin of spam?
My fridge is nearly empty as it is, and held little more than my cheese.
I may have a can or two of sardines in the basement, or tuna and beans.
all around me.
Not a single squeak,
peep, chirp, snuffle, or twitch.
All ten billion eyes on me.
“Meat,” says the mouse, “my good sir.”
And all their mouths drip with fresh saliva.
“No hard feelings, sir, but we’ll have our fill.
Keep the triangles of cheese coming, and cut them well,
or we’ll gnaw the cutter who’s surpassed his purpose. It’s recycling.”
My throat’s gone dry, I swallow hard, and get back to slicing.
I feel their eyes crawl on my skin and hear their slobber drip.
How did I get into this mess? How did the day turn so awry?
The sun was nice this morning and I never feared that today I would die.
I ponder all the plans left unfulfilled, as I cut another triangle and toss it to
the mass of mice. Another dozen slices of smooth mozzarella, another score or two of crumbly asiago –
I swallow hard.
The tense mice shift,
my fridge a barren void.
“Thank you, sir,” says the mouse.
“You’ve done quite well, but that’s all.
We’d love more cheese, but now we’ll feast–”
“Wait!” I cry, interrupting the beast. “A moment please.”
“Well?” he arches an irritated eyebrow. “What is it then?
Hurry now, for our stomachs rumble so, and our young hunger.”
Think fast! I think I’ve done my good deed for the day
and don’t relish ending up a mousy meal. But what can I do?
There’s a billion billion of them, stacked so tight they run floor to ceiling.
If only I had more cheese for just another triangle or two. But that’s it!
“Mouse!” I say. “There is more cheese!” He frowns and scans the fridge, empty and lifeless.
“Not here, but at the store! I’ll grab my wallet and drive down, and return with more!”
The mice agree, and I flee across the sea. And the house, I put up for sale, as-is.
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CONGRATULATIONS MR. P …ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ …ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ…ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ …ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ…ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ…ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ …ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ…ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ…ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ…ᘛ⁐̤ᕐᐷ
Heh :) Thank you, Deidra!
I keep finding your stories nice
This was so much fun to read. It looks like visual art too. I like the triangle pattern being part of the story in the imagery of triangles of cheese. Writing it must have done your head in, counting words each time. I’m not really a numbers kind of person so that would have irritated me. I’m interested in how you worked through the challenge, your process if you will. I totally admire the way you are able to make the bizarre so accessible for us mere mortals who enjoy your stories.
Thanks, Michelle! Once I settled on the pattern, counting was easy - initially. First is just a single word, then 1+2, then 1+2+3. Things fell apart on paragraph 7 or so onward, where I kept forgetting which paragraph I was on, and therefore how many lines I needed and how many words per line. Counting them was still easy in principle, but it was also boring (and confusing, while simultaneously trying to write an actual story) - which is a recipe for human error. So I got around it by writing a little Python script to validate the text for...
Congratulations on the win!
Thank you :D
Michał, the role reversal happens quickly in the building of triangles, one from the next larger each time, just like the mice who multiply each time. I am fascinated by the mice taking on a very human trait of strength in numbers and threatening/demanding what they want or doing something to the MC's home or him. The tone and voice of the mouse change in triangle 10. “I’ve given you an inch already–” “–and we’ll have a mile. You see, we like your home and we’d simply hate if we had to chew the walls. You agree?” I had a "Willard" mome...
Oh, that's a great take! But yeah - while we can absolutely live in harmony with other kinds of animals, it behooves us to remember they *are* different, and have their own ways of going about things. Thanks for reading this triangular story, Lily :)
Michal! This was honestly a delightful read. It actually made me think of an episode of "Cabinet of Curiosities" or the "Twilight Zone". While it's quite humorous, it also dances in the realm of horror. I really enjoyed the format! The triangle structure of the story matching the theme of cutting triangles of cheese was a brilliant and creative take on this prompt! Well done my friend! <3
Thanks, Hannah! Yeah, I can see some horror vibes :) The story is definitely a product of its form - I'm glad it worked out! A very unusual experiment this week.
Congratulations Michal. Not just a good story but a massive achievement from someone who cannot do math to save his life!
Heh, thanks Kevin :)
Hahaha! And that's just for the subject matter! I had Coraline in the back of my mind as I read this hip hop romp of yours. The construction was incredibly well-done; for me it was like taking in an entire world made up of Lego pieces all fitted together. I'm just not sure how you managed it, but I do know how much I enjoyed it. Great.
Thanks, Susan :) Now a story as Lego, that's a fascinating idea :)
Hello Michal! Hola Michal! Greetings from the Philippines! First off, congratulations on a well-deserved win! The triangle format is quite a romp. At 71, I have only come across 4 kinds of cheese in my life. My cupboard of cheese vocabulary could not have accommodated more! As neither could my wallet. I am afraid that the rodents could eat me out of the house and home! The humor jumped at me like a weird guest who later became a welcome intruder! It reminded me to set more mousetraps tonight!
Hello Athena! Greetings from Canada :) "a weird guest who later became a welcome intruder" - that's a great description! Thanks for reading :)
I absolutely was lost in this story. What imagination!!! Spectacular! Fantastic job of drawing the reader in with anticipation and suspense.
Thank you Kerry! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
Bravo sir for rising to this prompt. The lengthening sentences with verses building as they do actually works to create tension in this "kids" story. It's funny and foreboding at the same time. And a twist on the "cut off their tales with a carving knife" one might have expected!
Thanks, Laurel! It was hard finding a workable pattern for this prompt, but it was so delightfully weird I had to give it a shot. Glad to hear the story works! I'm not convinced it's my best prose - and there was a tendency to go to something more lyrical, except the constantly inceasing word/syllable count kept throwing that - but it was nevertheless fun. If anything, it underscored for me that paradox, where more constraints can free us creatively. Maybe it's because it changes the question from "what should I?" to "how should I?"
Yes! My first thought when I read the prompts was, "Uugh!" It felt so restrictive. Then suddenly, I had ideas for a bunch of different ways to do three of them and may still do a second story for fun (just not the math prompt. I leave that in more capable hands than mine). From my perspective, it was fun to do. I am not sure how well they read. Perhaps not the best prose or plots, but I know someone will produce a dazzler this week that will leave me in awe.
hahah! This was tremendously fun and cute, Michał! And technically demanding, but you certainly rose to meet the prompt, on this one! I also liked how visually pleasing it was. I gotta say, I wasn't a fan of this set of prompts, but the stories coming out of them are interesting and excellent. :)
Thanks, Wendy! This prompt stood out to me as it had such great capacity to be weird. It took a while to actually find a useable sequence though, since the whole number=words-in-paragraph can balloon very quickly. Exponentially, we might say. I had a really neat idea for odd squares, which would have handled the story-in-a-story-in-a-story prompt too, but I just couldn't get it to work and still be intelligible. Oh well. Triangles to the rescue. I'm glad it ended up being fun :) I'm not sure the prose could stand on its own, without the st...
Agreed, I keep eyeballing those other prompts, but there are so many good things coming out of them already, I might just stand down and enjoy the show. :)
YESSSS! Congratulations, absolutely the right choice for the win this week. :)
Thank you, Wendy :D
I loved it! Hilarious and so imaginative. Making a story like that must be very hard. CONGRATSSSSSSSSSS!
Thanks, Amy! There was definitely extra work involved, yeah. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
I found this story very amusing and clever. I thoroughly enjoyed it- you have a talent for this type of writing!
Thanks Charlotte! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
Hahahahahhahahahahahahaahahhahahaahhahahha I like your stories dahm GOOD CONGRATULATIONS for the win 👏🏆🏆🎖🎖
Thanks, Sultan! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
Congrats! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story!
Thanks, Ali! I'm glad to hear that :)
Your story is quite wonderful, very poetic. I love story poems and this would fit the category very well. It has me inspired to try this myself.
Thank you, Cynthia! I don't normally write poetry, but this format seemed to naturally lean that way - and it was an opportunity to practice. I'm glad you enjoyed it! And I wish you best of luck with your writing :)
Congratulations on your win, well deserved.
Thanks, Graham! I appreciate it.
Will your winnings fund another fifty stories on this site?
Or do you have other ideas?
Ha! For now, bit of both.
would you be ok with me making this into a comic for a class I'm in , I have to make a comic out of an existing story and I really loved yours!!
Hi Naomi! Please contact me at email@example.com.
Brilliant. A delightful read.
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
What a twist at the end! You deserve to win, very original, and yet reminiscent of Poe. Bravo!
Thank you, Odile! I appreciate the feedback :)
Perfection Michal, sheer perfection! Congratulations on the win!
Thanks, Jeannette! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)