Opposing Parties

With one eye he watches you through the narrow crack between the small door and the jamb. His knuckles turn white around the grip of his knife and he wants to scream for you to leave but knows it would ruin everything. He is so close, he has come so far and is now so close. He holds his breath and begins to feel the thump of his pulse swelling in his temples.

You don't like mice. Hate them. One must have gotten itself under the sink, which is good on one hand because it may have went for the trap under there. On the other hand, it might be alive and come scurrying out when you open the door. And even if it's dead, you have to dispose of its filthy, wretched little corpse. You suppose either choice is still better than waking up to it scratching around under your covers in the morning.

The man lets out his breath then inhales so painfully slowly he feels he might as well have just kept holding his breath. The guy who lives here left the room, but not the same way he came into it. Something isn't right. Was he discovered? Will he be killed, or maybe held at gunpoint until the police arrive? No. He won't let it happen. By morning the search will have died down and he can head over to the trail, grab the bag, and live happily ever after. Jenny will never have to go to school without lunch again. It still pained him every time he thought of how she'd come home crying that day. What kind of kids would make fun of someone for not having food? No. Never again.

You walk into your living room and pull the poker off its stand next to the fireplace. If the mouse is dead you'll just scrape it straight into a bag with the poker. If it's alive, you'll beat it into nothing but a crimson smear. Unfortunately, the bags are under the sink with the mouse. Well, you suppose if its dead that you'll have time enough to grab one. You just hope to God the mouse didn't get stuck in the box of garbage bags somehow.

The darkly clad man hiding under the sink can hear you coming. He wonders if you went to get a weapon to kill him or hold him in place. Had he been seen? If not, perfect. He figures he can breathe quietly and slowly for another few minutes before asphyxiating. The discomfort is worth the prize. If he's been seen, well, he'll do what he has to. Never again, he tells himself, then hears your quiet footsteps and holds his breath again.

You step around the corner into the kitchen and look at the door from afar. From your hand dangles the three foot poker and you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror hanging above the sink. How sinister you look in the gloom! You look just right for a horror movie. Or maybe if it was a sword, you would play a knight. Charm thoughts, but there is work to be done. You hold the poker out in front of you as you approach the doors under the sink. A few feet away you stop and listen for any telltale rustling. You don't hear any, but as the cupboard doors burst open your first thought is, This is going to be one hell of a mouse.

The End

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