How he wound up on the floor was not a mystery. Things had always started off this way. For him, his father, and his father’s father.
Some creatures were made for the bottom.
Unlike the other mice, this one only slunk. While not particularly graceful, he hid with his body in a dwelling of artificial shoulders until he could feel somewhat safe.
The space between the cabinet and the dishwasher.
The shadow behind a fake plant.
The hole in the fabric of the living room chair.
He didn’t have to move quickly as long as he was covered so he never bothered looking for more space.
The living room was the same as all living rooms. Two couches and a table between. An ominous fireplace the cat sometimes sat in was always unused during the spring.
The kitchen was also the same. Other mice took refuge under the fridge, but the cat always found them. There was no reason to go out; the fear was too great. Cracks streaked the underside of Ikea shelving. The mouse preferred to stay in.
One day the house was quiet. No NPR. No pitter patter of paws. Just to see what the rest of the house looked like, the mouse struck out on his own. So brave he was, the other mice were shocked. So bold and dashing and handsome.
All at once he ran for the shelving and darted outside the chair. Through the kitchen and down the hallway he turned to the smooth black tiling. He had made it as far as the bathroom when he felt his body grow larger. Puffed out fur made him light as popcorn. The mouse was at last, unafraid.
From the middle of nowhere, he didn’t even hear it, he just felt the world flop over. Cadbelly, the odious white cat with one working eye, had batted him hard to the ground. His feet pointed upward with the smile on his face and he knew his anxiety was over.