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View Full Version : Dimension X, Mystery Rat Story. 2,300



hvysmker
October 8th, 2014, 04:17 PM
Prologue: To readers that haven’t read my previous Mystery Rat stories, Thomas Ratstein was a thieving rat back in the time of Jesus. He was caught with a pouch filled with stolen gems and thrown into the Jerusalem jail.

While there, through a misunderstanding he bit the left big toe of Jesus, who happened to be incarcerated in the same cell.

For biting the toe of a god, Jesus and the Supreme Rat conferred and sentenced Thomas to spend eternity, or until the second coming -- whichever comes first -- helping both rodents and humankind when either find themselves in impossible circumstances. Sort of an ancient and open-ended community service.

To that end, he was given godlike powers. The rat, at first, thought it a laughable punishment. After a couple of thousand years of dealing with idiotic humanity, Thomas has changed his mind. He’s almost forgotten his real identity and is now known only as the Mystery Rat.

Oscar Rat
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“Mama. Mama. There’s a huge human outside. He’s knocking the town down,” the little ratlet screamed out in fear.

Indeed. Outside on Oscar Ave., the monster crawled on hands and knees, punching gloved hands into mud-brick buildings comprising the underground rat city of New Chicago. Behind him, fires burned among large piles of rubble sprinkled with the bodies of dead and dying rodents.

As the frightened ratlet watched, the horrible creature advanced toward her apartment house.

From her vantage point, she was unaware of a large gray rat watching from a nearby alley.

That rodent held no fear in his eyes, one bright red and the other an angry green. He stood heroically, on sturdy legs, waving a hand at the monster. As a yellow ray sped from extended digits to encompass the intruder, the human shape shrank rapidly to rat-size, growing fur and a tail in the process. Such was the power of the Mystery Rat.

Overcoming their panic and shock, myriads of adult rats ran toward the cowering figure. Before they could tear the murdering creature apart, the mysterious savior stepped forward.

“Leave it be,” the brave rodent ordered. “Are you rats or nasty humans? Even such a killer deserves a trial. We’ll see how this murderer fares in a prison cell alone with Bubba the Molester.”

Once the city police took the murdering former human into custody, the mysterious benefactor disappeared, another disagreeable task finished. Or so he thought.

The Mystery Rat was present the next morning, though invisible, when the prisoner was interrogated. One night with Bubba had softened it considerably, the creature unable to sit on a sore butt or even stand straight with bowed legs.

“What’s your name?” Sergeant Greta Ratski asked, glaring down at the vicious killer.

“Gerald. Gerald Merlin. You can’t treat me this way. I’m a human.”

“You were a human. I don’t know how, but you’re now a rat, and our captive.”

“So? Kill me. You rat bastards will anyway. I hate rats, all rats.”

“We’re not vicious humans. We don’t kill prisoners,” Greta said. “But I hope you had a good look at sunlight yesterday. You’ll never see it again.” She glared at the prisoner. “How did you find New Chicago? We’re well hidden and underground.”

“Screw you,” he answered, rubbing his sore butt.

“That’s Bubba’s function.” She laughed. “Sore, are you? Good. Get used to it. Bubba says he loves you.”

“Morgana the witch will get me out of this. She gave me a list of all your rat cities. Ms. Le Fay also hates rodents and will send more of us to wipe your civilization from the face of the Ear--”

“Who’s this ‘Morgana’?” Sergeant Greta jumped on the name. “Where is she?”

“Morgana was a rival of my ancestor, Merlin the Magician. She’ll find and rescue me. Just you wait and see.”

The Mystery Rat had seen enough. He'd heard of her before but thought she'd died. That witch was a threat to all ratkind. Later, when the killer was left alone at lunch time, he entered and read Gerald’s mind.

Morgan Le Fay had been an infamous magician back in the wayback times. She'd been a sometimes foe as well as friend of King Arthur of Camelot and a full-time adversary of the famous Merlin. The mystery rat learned that after the death of Arthur, Merlin had fought a final battle with the sorceress and banished her to another dimension.

Technology and magic cannot exist together. As one ascended in power, the other was forced into recession. The age of technology began with the harnessing of steam power, expanding in the Industrial Revolution to force magic to fade into oblivion ... except in Morgana’s dimension.

For thousands of years, the banished magician has held sway there, slowly going mad -- crazy from enforced loneliness for her own kind.

Until, that is, Gerald had built an electronic portal, inadvertently entering that non-space and meeting Morgana. She wanted to return, would do anything to come back to the Earth. Gerald had, wisely, not shown her his hidden entrance.

Not trusting her, he’d made a deal for the list of hidden rat cities and had been in the process of testing it when captured. New Chicago was to be his first and last effort. His hatred for rodents wouldn’t allow him to leave without tearing the city apart.

The Mystery Rat now had that knowledge -- and a mission to destroy or contain Morgana. It was necessary if he were to save both ratkind and humanity.

***

That dimension proved to be a dreary cold environment, shifting purple and yellow sands covering the ground as far as he could see. Vegetation was sparse and strange, colored in ... well ... colors. Along with harsh primary shades, there were others that the Mystery Rat had never seen before or imagined. As he walked past a large orange and grayish bush, its fronds reached out to clasp him around one leg.

While the broad soft leaf gently caressed the Mystery Rat's furry cranium, a voice formed in his mind. “Hello,” it said in a sad female voice. “I like you. Do you like me?”

He smiled, pushing the foliage off. It had been blocking his vision. Other fronds took its place, more and more of them. As he struggled to escape, they multiplied and became insistent, until he found himself fully enclosed in gently caressing flora. A sweet smell invaded his nasal passages, along with a sudden urge to lie down in the sand and take a short nappie.

It wasn’t until a large toothy mouth emerged from its depths that the rat became alarmed. His powers kicking in, a single swipe of a strong hand tore the plant apart. As he watched, bits of it screamed in his mind as they scampered into the distance.

One of the smaller of the torn branches crept forward to touch him on the leg. “You’re mean, you know? And you don't taste good, either. I’ll tell Morgana.” Then it, too, scampered away.

Seeing something tall and shiny in the distance, the Mystery Rat proceeded in that direction. After what seemed like hours, he found he was no closer. Since one direction was as good as another, he shrugged and changed his by a few degrees. Each successive step seemed to encompass miles. Three of them brought him to what he found was a city ... a city made from crystals. Not believing the experience, he shuffled back three steps, to find the city far in the distance. Three steps forward and he was there again, its spires shooting far above his ratty head.

“Pssssst!”

He turned quickly, ready to defend himself. A rat, or rather a rat’s head, was showing above the sand.

“Get in here before Morgana sees you,” it said. “She hates us.” He saw it was a pretty female of his species, speaking Old Rat, a dialect from his own childhood in the Early-Christian era.

Following the rat-girl, the Mystery Rat found himself in a tunnel. They emerged inside the crystal tower. The feeling was surreal, since parts of it were transparent, others solid, and the rest translucent. Although the floor was solid enough, other sections were transparent, still solid but seeming to be missing. He could see far up the structure, though not to the top.

“It would take us all day to climb up there,” his new companion told him. “And we’d have no reason for the journey.”

“I was told she hates rats. I’d think she’d have killed all of you by now?”

“Morgana tries, but we’re very good at hiding. Oh! And my name’s Joanna. What’s yours?”

He was forced to pause, dredging up very old memories. “Thomas. Thomas Ratstein.”

“Well, you should have seen this place before that sorceress arrived. It was nice back then. We never had wars. There was no fear and plenty of food. We still have holographs of that time. Morgana changed all that.

“At first, she used her magic to help us. I’ve lived over a thousand of our years and am only considered middle-aged. Then, with no others of her species around, she slowly went crazy. We never know what she’ll do next. These towers sprang up, magically, overnight and might be gone tomorrow. Two moon cycles ago, this place was nothing but forest.

“During the last few days, she’s torn up MegaMountain, looking for a way to get out. A human came from somewhere around there. I wish she would find an exit and leave.”

Impressed, the Mystery Rat looked around. It was beautiful inside the tower, while consummate evil seemed to wait outside the crystal walls. One thing the rat had learned over the centuries was that things were rarely as they seemed. There were more sides than two or four to any problem.

“I destroyed that entrance and the machine that made it. I didn’t need it to get here.”

“Then why are you here, Thomas?”

“To do something about Morgana Le Fay,” he told her. “It appears she’s a threat to both our worlds.”

“What can one rat do?”

“We’ll see. How can I find her?”

That was when he noticed the ground shaking, like from a minor earthquake. The crystal tower shook as in a strong wind, back and forth. Crystalline shards landed around the two rodents.

Joanna screamed as a shadow fell over them and a loud thundering voice spoke.

“I smell a rat,” it thundered. “A nasty dirty filthy ... RAT.”

Unperturbed, the Mystery Rat motioned with one hand, blasting a section out of the tower. He stepped outside to face the human sorceress.

“You make one hell of an entrance,” he called up at a fifty-foot-tall figure, one apparently made of the same crystalline structure as the tower. “If you want to talk, come down here or I’ll go up there.”

“Uppity little rodent, ain't ya? Why should I talk to you? I spit on you scum.” Indeed, a glob of moisture fell, almost splashing the now angry hero.

“Okay. Your choice.” In seconds, his body expanded to her height. “Now what do you have to say? Why are you so mean to these creatures?” Growing another few feet, he looked down on her and continued, “From what I’ve read of history, you were once a healer, even treating King Arthur, himself. What can have turned your nature so evil?”

The female figure backed up three steps, looking up into the rat’s beady multi-colored eyes. Seeing compassion in them, her gaze fell as she slowly sank to the form of an ordinary solid human female.

The Mystery Rat also shrank down to that size, reaching over to pull her to his furry breast, tail curling around both their shoulders.

“I’m so lonely,” she stuttered, tears in her eyes. “Merlin sent me here. He doesn’t like me. All I wanted was to be my Arthur’s consort. Nothing more. I even promised to give up magic for dear Arthur. But Merlin considers me a rival. Now I’m so alone, for these many years.”

“You have these rats for company.”

“They never accepted me. I gave them magical gifts, such as longevity and gracious living. They still giggled, laughed and joked about me behind my back.”

He saw Joanna hiding behind a crystal pillar, spying on their conversation.

“Is that right, Joanna? Doesn’t your society welcome lonely strangers? I thought all rats did?”

Joanna shuffled her back paws. “Well ... See? She IS a filthy two-legged creature.”

“The only one in your land, a stranger in need of solace. And you had the unratlike nerve to reject her? Is that right?”

Joanna lowered her head and nodded.

“You don’t deserve to be rats. Now ... you go. And don’t ever ask for my aid. I’m ashamed to be of the same species.”

He turned back to Morgana. “I knew it. Things are never as they seem.”

“How can you help me,” she asked, blubbering weakly, “if you destroyed Gerald’s entrance? And, even if those rats were nice to me, I still wouldn’t trust them. I need to be around my own people.”

“I can arrange that, Morgana Le Fay. My powers can take you back to your world, but not with magical powers. You must leave them here. In any case, they wouldn’t work there. In that world, technology now holds sway with no room for magic.”

And that’s what the Mystery Rat did. He brought Morgana back with him, sans magical powers, where she now works in the Medieval Section of the Chicago Historical Museum.

The End.
Oscar Rat