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Fiction Suspense Horror

Cookie considered herself a connoisseur of mice. She preferred adult mice of a certain age, nice and plump. She liked females better than males. And she preferred the darker to the lighter-colored gray mouse. Also, paws down, Cookie far preferred mice over birds when it came to playing the game. Mice were better at it. 

Cookie would wait at the back-garden wall every evening around dusk for the game to begin. Her tail would twitch with anticipation as Cookie spotted the first stirring of the ivy, signaling the mice were making their way down the green, ropy plant, hiding behind big, flat leaves, thinking they wouldn't be discovered. Hah!

 This October evening it was raining. Big fat drops were coming from the sky. Eleanor, her human, didn’t open the door to let her out.

            “It’s raining,” Eleanor said, stating the obvious. “You’re staying in.” 

            Even from inside the house, Cookie could smell the rain in the air. That would only make the game more interesting. 

            “I need to get out,” Cookie meowed insistently  

            Eleanor ignored her pleas, not even turning her direction, but continuing to watch the box with moving pictures. Eleanor did this most nights. This was her game, Cookie realized, and she’d been playing it practically continuously since that man—Cookie refused to say his name—had packed up and left. Since then, Eleanor also frequently cried herself to sleep, wetting Cookie’s fur in the process.

            Cookie repeated her entreaties, singing the song of her people, until Eleanor finally got up and walked through to the kitchen to the back door.

            “Seriously, Cookie,” she said crossly. “I can’t take it anymore.”

            Eleanor opened the back door and Cookie took off before Eleanor could change her mind. Sometimes she does that. She’d let Cookie out, then say no, she was going to bed and scoop her back in her arms before Cookie had the chance to escape.  

            Eleanor should really get one of those doors with the flap like she’d seen next door at the Mosley’s, but she’d heard Eleanor tell their neighbor that the raccoons would also be able to get inside. 

            “Those losers,” Cookie tried to tell her. “Raccoons won’t come in. I won’t let them.” But Eleanor wouldn’t listen. 

            Back to the mice. It’s a truth widely known that mice have poor eyesight. Unlike Cookie, who can spot the wriggling of the green ivy leaves from the very corner of her eye. 

            Let the games begin! What fun to pounce on any unsuspecting mouse who doesn’t even see Cookie coming. Not that she kills right away. What sport would there be in that? 

            Cookie likes to draw out the chase part of the game. She particularly enjoys taking the contestants to her favorite spot under the picnic table. After a while, she’ll turn her head away, pretending to show indifference to the game and letting her prey get away. She’ll let them think they’re home free. Then Cookie will pounce and carry them back. She’ll do this over and over again until she tires of the game or gets hungry and ends the game for that particular contestant. 

On this rainy Saturday evening, the backyard was darker than normal. Yet Cookie could still see quite well. Above the patter of the raindrops, she heard a rustling in the ivy. The game contestants appeared right on time, despite the weather. Would this be an appetizer? Or Cookie’s main course? She hadn’t decided, but her mouth was chattering as if she already had her teeth in a plump, warm, mouse body. 

Cookie was in parked in her favorite hiding spot—just behind the raised garden beds near the back fence and the ivy. 

The rain pelting her fur was coming down stronger now. She didn’t mind the rain. In fact, it’s a myth that cats don’t like water. They don’t love it—at least Cookie didn’t—but she didn’t mind getting wet in pursuit of her dinner. But the temperature was getting colder and the rain coming down stronger. A flash of light zigzagged in the night sky, followed by a loud boom that made Cookie jump up on all fours. 

Cookie would cut the game short. Only a few rounds tonight. She wanted to go back inside, where it was warm and snug on Eleanor’s lap. 

Finally! The first contestant was coming closer. The ivy leaves trembled, not just from the rain. It was time for Cookie to make her move. 

She pounced. She’d planned to leap onto the lower part of the ivy-covered back wall and snag the mouse with her front claws. 

But instead of hitting warm mouse flesh, her paws went through the plant and met the cold brick behind the ivy. No mouse. 

Had the contestant somehow escaped? 

No. Tricky devil. Cookie saw something moving and glowing near the bottom of the wall. 

She charged again. 

Cookie stopped short. It was like no mouse she’d ever seen. It was larger than normal and glowing white. Also, Cookie could see right through it to the garden wall behind the strange mouse. 

She batted at the mouse with her right paw. 

But instead of hitting mouse flesh, her paw went right through the ghostly body as if it weren’t there. 

Cookie tried again with her left paw, the non-dominant one. Again, rather than contacting something warm and soft, her paw went right through to the wet, ivy-covered wall. What kind of mouse was this?

The mouse didn’t move. It stood still, transparently glowing and glaring at Cookie with red, beady eyes. 

Cookie saw more movement at the top of the wall. Perhaps this contestant would be a better choice. 

The ivy rattled again. That was a good sign. The bigger the mouse, the bigger the quivering of the leaves. Cookie ignored the strange, glowing mouse and concentrated on the advancing contestant. 

When it emerged from behind a large ivy leaf, Cookie leaped backwards. This mouse too, was glowing ghostly white. It fixed its red glowing eyes on Cookie and bared its tiny teeth. 

Cookie wasn’t afraid. She leaped attempting to grab it in her mouth. 

Instead, she bit down hard, her top and bottom teeth snapping together, her mouth empty. The ghostly mouse was still there, twitching its long skinny tail and staring down at Cookie. 

Cookie leaped again, mouth open. This time, she was rewarded with a mouthful of wet ivy leaves. Disgusting. She shook her head to free herself from a vine that had wrapped itself around her front incisor. 

The ghostly mouse seemed to laugh at Cookie. 

Then she heard more rustling from the ivy. Cookie looked up. She could hardly believe her eyes. Dozens of glowing, ghostly mice were climbing down the ivy wall like an advancing army. Their red eyes glowing red. Their bodies translucent. They were marching towards Cookie. 

Cookie backed up. Her fur stood up along her arched spine. 

She didn’t like this game. Not one bit.

Cookie retreated, backing up while the army advanced towards her. Cookie jumped straight up when she stepped on the garden hose. She thought it was a snake. Then she turned and ran through the garden, sprinting up the steps to the back door, and started frantically calling for Eleanor. 

The wall of ghost mice was advancing towards Cookie. She thought a few in the front looked familiar. The fat guy she’d caught last week and couldn’t finish. He was quite a good contestant and well worth the struggle.  

And there was another lighter gray one, Cookie recognized. She’d just had babies, and Cookie vanquished a couple of those as well. The mama mouse was probably the best opponent she’d had in a while.

Onward they came toward Cookie. Their glowing red eyes glowering at the trapped Cookie. 

Cookie wouldn’t admit it, but she was afraid. The fur on her spine was standing even straighter at attention. There were too many of them and only one of her. 

            “This is not fair!” She tried to tell them. “This is not how you play the game.”

            The skies had opened up, and the rain was now coming down in sheets. But this didn’t slow the ghostly army as they advanced up the back steps to where Cookie was meowing at the door. Where was Eleanor? Had she fallen asleep? 

            What if she’d left the house? Cookie remembered Eleanor had been swiping this way and that on her phone. She’d thought it was a fun game and tried to swipe, too. And Eleanor had laughed. 

            The army of mice kept advancing. There were probably near a hundred of them with their evil eyes all focused on Cookie. Line after line of ghostly mouse were making their way towards her. 

            Cookie called for Eleanor as loudly as she could. 

            There was still no sign of Eleanor.

            She couldn’t have forgotten Cookie, could she? Not tonight of all nights.  

Repeatedly, she yelled for Eleanor. 

            The white, glowing mice were getting closer. The mother mouse she’d caught bared her teeth at her. She was just a few inches away. Cookie turned her head. She couldn’t look. 

            And then, just as she was about to leap from the porch and take her chances, the back door opened. 

            “Cookie, you’re soaking wet!” Eleanor said. 

            Cookie darted inside, not looking behind her.

            “Quick. Shut the door!” She yelled at Eleanor.

            Cookie flew past Eleanor in the kitchen and ran straight into the living room.

            “Cookie! You’re getting mud everywhere!” Eleanor yelled.

            Thankfully, Cookie heard the back door shut. Her fur, which had been standing at full red alert mode, relaxed. Instinctively, without thinking, Cookie began to perform her nightly ablutions.  

Eleanor came to help, holding out a paper towel to wipe her muddy paws

            That was close, Cookie thought, as she settled onto the soft blanket Eleanor kept for her on the couch. Cookie continued with her ablutions, swatting away Eleanor’s offer to help with the paper towel. 

            Soon sleep overtook her, and Cookie drifted off to the sound of the picture box and Eleanor talking on her phone.

            When Cookie woke up, Eleanor had gone. The house was dark and silent. Had Eleanor gone out? Or gone to bed without Cookie?

            Cookie listened for any signs of the mice army. Fortunately, there weren’t any. 

            Though she was starving, Cookie didn’t dare go into the kitchen for a midnight snack. Instead, she made a few biscuits with the soft blanket and then settled back down to sleep.  

            Cookie was woken by the front door opening and the sound of Eleanor laughing. More sounds coming from another human. It was a man. But not the man who’d left. Then the light in the living room went on and Cookie blinked from the bright light. 

            Cookie yawned and leisurely stretched herself on the couch. She didn’t want to appear too interested in this new person and didn’t acknowledge his presence. 

            “You have a cat?” the man asked. 

            Oh, he was perceptive, Cookie thought, a real winner.

            “Yes, that’s Cookie.” 

Cookie allowed Eleanor to scratch her head.

            “I’m very allergic,” the man said. “And I didn’t bring any allergy medication with me.”

            “I didn’t know that.” Eleanor sounded almost apologetic about Cookie’s existence. “Poor you. I’ll just put her out.”

            Then she scooped Cookie up and brought her into the kitchen. Eleanor opened the back door.

And before Cookie could protest, Eleanor deposited Cookie on the back porch and shut the door, oblivious to the ghostly army waiting on the porch. 

October 22, 2023 22:46

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2 comments

Barbara Arbogast
18:27 Nov 03, 2023

That was such a wonderfully creative story! I love the way you made everything a game, as it would be for a cat. The army of ghost-mice was fantastic! I'm looking forward to reading more from you.

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Shirley Medhurst
15:45 Nov 03, 2023

Oh Christina, I didn’t just like your tale ; I absolutely LOVED it! (Wish REEDSY had a ‘love’ option) I’m so pleased I found it. What an original take on the prompt: a ghostly army of mice 😂 Also, you nailed the writing from a feline POV purrrrfectly (sorry, couldn’t resist that one 😁) Cookie’s thoughts were excellent too- I especially liked this one: « You have a cat? » the man asked. Oh, he was perceptive, Cookie thought, a real winner Please carry on writing, can’t wait to read more like this…

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