A mouse named Moby was gathering the poison that the exterminator scattered. He picked it up with his mouth, and placed it into the pouch he had cleverly harnessed behind him. Several other mice were doing the same.
Moby was lean and white with a long pink tail. He worked quickly, biting down lightly on the pellets, turning, and dropping them behind him. "I have to feed my kits," he muttered. "I have to feed my eleven little kits." He grabbed another pellet.
Just as he was lifting another pellet, he heard a deep voice (well, deep for a mouse anyway). He turned around to see a large black mouse with a crooked tail. The mouse was old, with scars on his ears, thinning fur, and no whiskers. Moby cowered in fear. The priests had told him that Black mice would hurt him. Everybody told him that black mice would hurt him.
"I lost my family to a trap," the big mouse told him, shedding a tear. "My kits ran in, and my ma'am, always the protective mother ran in after them."
"I'm sorry for your loss," said Moby in a squeak that was sympathetic but confused.
"Well," the big mouse said, composing himself, "I only have myself to feed now. You said you have eleven kits?"
"I do. They're the most wonderful little things. All going to grow up to be just fantastic mice."
"I have a way of getting much more food than I need. I could give you some for your kits."
Moby didn't know what to say. He stood himself up on his back paws. "Thank you!" he squeaked. "What might the name of my kits' hero be?"
"Carle. What's yours?"
"Moby. I'm a modmouse. Why don't I take a bit of my latest brew and get you a drink?"
Moby dropped the pellets he had collected into a new container of the hot water that dripped from the air conditioner, and grabbed two nutshells. He filled them with an old brew and brought one to Carle. "I'm guessing you're a fooder ?" he asked.
"I am. I used to take extra so my kits could grow big and strong..."
"I'm so sorry. What a horrible natural disaster. How did it happen?"
"The kits were chasing each other around when one ran into a closed-top trap, and the rest followed. My ma'am heard them, and sprinted after them, but no one was saved. Just the little ones didn't weigh enough to set it off, but when my ma'am went in, it snapped on them. They were killed that very kaun." Carle began to cry.
Moby scrambled over and rubbed his head against Carle's in an attempt to comfort him.
"It's too bad that life is like that."
"Why did Man have to make those things?"
"He makes good and bad. Life is good and bad. Not all mice can move on at 36 mauns. Some just have to go."
"But why did it have to be my little ones who didn't get the chance to meet the Man and become perfect beings like Him?"
"I don't know. I wish I did."
"What a terrible disaster, for such little kits to die in a trap."
"Have you talked to the priests about it? They might answer some questions for you, make you feel better."
"No. Maybe I should. It must all be a part of Man's plan. Yes, I'll talk to them. Maybe they can help."
"Good for you. Do you want some more Kol to take home with you? I think you need it."
"Sure. Could you put it in a pouch for me so the priests don't see me with more than my ration?"
"Of course. Wait right there, Carle."
Moby rubbed Carle's head another time, and scampered off into the collections area to find a pouch. He dipped it into the old brew, and filled it with as much as it would carry. "Take this home with you, and enjoy."
"I'll bring you some food for your family. Will you be collecting in the 2 corner again tomorrow?"
"Yup. Best of luck to you, Carle. Talk to the priests. They can help."
Carle walked off towards the rations station to gather his food and allotted Kol for the daun.
Moby scampered back to corner 2 and started collecting again. Carle seemed nice, he thought. Nothing like the black mice he had heard of. Although he did take extra food, which was against the Claw. But he was helping him. So genuine. Such a good mouse.
He reached his pellet quota, added them to the brew, and began towards the rations station himself.
"How many kits?" the priest asked him.
"Eleven," Moby told him, like every day.
"And a ma'am?"
The priest gathered a pouch of Kol and food, and handed is to Moby. "Next," he meowed.
Moby peeked inside it. There were only 6 crumbs. He considered going back, but knew it would be to no avail. He sighed, and counted the Kol. There were 13 large shells of that. He closed the pouch, and dragged it back to his family's quarters with his teeth, dejected.