Fiction Fragment Friday
This Weeks story is one of the most fun I have written in a while. It is from the perspective of a juvenile mimic that has been taken in as a pet of a fantasy adventuring guild. This character is an NPC in an online D&D game that I am running, but I don’t think you need any of the context to enjoy the story.
The little jewelry box skittered across the floor of the guild hall. Its four little feet grew from the corners and its tongue stuck out almost dragging along the floor. The length of the legs adjusted to stairs and furniture, so the little box was always level no matter what it was walking over. It sensed that something was wrong in the kitchen, and nothing would get in its way. This was its home and it had chosen to protect the big people that lived here. They were good to it and it would keep them safe.
The big people called it Mystery and it liked the name. The name belongs to it now and Mystery liked anything that belonged to it. It was a box after all and boxes are meant to keep things. They had made Mystery a soft bed out of a box and pillows, but most nights it slept with the female catlike big person. She was extra nice to it and Mystery liked being spoiled. The big people were constantly giving Mystery things to eat. Sometimes it would eat them and sometimes it would just put it in its internal storage to keep. Good boxes kept things and Mystery was a good box.
As Mystery rounded the corner into the kitchen it saw what was wrong. There was a rat in the kitchen sitting on its back legs looking around. With its magical senses Mystery could tell that this was not a rat at all. It was a being from another plane that was pretending to be a rat. This was not the first time it had snuck in at night. Sometimes it was a rat, sometimes it was a bird, and one time it was an insect. This creature belonged to the evil Wizard, and it was here to spy on Mystery’s big people. It was his familiar and he could see and hear through it.
Mystery thought back to how it had come to be with its big people. It once lived with family, but the evil cult had taken it to study. They brought it to this small town, but they underestimated it. At the first opportunity Mystery escaped and found its way to the guild hall. It was an empty building then. First came Gertrude who was some kind of giant bird lady. She was nice but did not really interact with mystery. Everything changed when the rest of the big people showed up though. They noticed Mystery. Gave it a name, fed it, and for the first time in its short life Mystery was happy. Then the evil people started coming after Mystery’s big people. One came in the night and tried to kill while they were asleep. Thankfully, Mystery was able to wake the big cleric using its telepathic abilities. The big people can be very strong when they know something is there.
Little legs adhered to the counter and Mystery climbed up to the top. It overlooked the floor and moved silently above the familiar. This was a hunt and neither hunter nor prey were what they seemed. Mystery leapt off the counter with its mouth open hoping to swallow the rat whole. The rat saw it coming and squeaked as it ran across the kitchen floor away from the box. Mystery’s little legs pumped as fast as they could chasing the rat, but it was just slightly faster. The rat ducked into the storage room and the box followed shortly after.
Mystery scanned the room looking for the familiar. It had to be in the storage room somewhere, but it had time to hide. Walking slowly, it tried to search every corner of the room. All the big people’s magical stuff was in this room, and it did not want this rat knowing what magical stuff they had. This seemed to be the familiar’s whole purpose. To find information on his big people. Mystery saw movement out of the corner of its eye and spit a corn cob at the movement. It had eaten the corn but put the cob in its storage just in case it ever needed it. The corn cob hit the back leg of the rat causing it to spin.
The rat came to a stop facing Mystery. Its teeth were bared and it hissed at the box. Little claws rubbed against each other on its paws. With lighting speed, the rat shot directly for Mystery with teeth and claws slashing. Chunks of wood went flying and Mystery brought its legs up to block the assault. The legs were softer than the faux wood of its body and the attacks hurt. Mystery’s tongue shot out and wrapped around the rat holding its arms against its body. The lid opened wide and sharp teeth grew from it. The opening doubled in size as the familiar was drawn kicking and squealing towards the mouth.
The rat disappeared in a poof before Mystery could swallow it. This seemed to happen every time it tried to eat the familiar. The wizard had dismissed the familiar so it could be called back. Mystery was pretty sure if it could get the familiar into its storage the Wizard would not be able to do this, and it could keep the familiar trapped away from its big people. As it was the familiar would be back again eventually. Mystery needed to work on its stealth so it could catch the familiar off guard and swallow it whole before it could be recalled. That would be some other night though.
Mystery continued its rounds patrolling the guild hall. It was proud of itself. Once again it had kept its big people safe, and they still had no idea that it was watching over them. They did not need to know, they just needed to keep caring for Mystery. They were good big people and Mystery was a good box. It finished its rounds and then snuggled up next to the big cat girl. It licked the side of her face and then went back to sleep. A contented purr could be heard from both of them.