The temple was silent as Carle walked in. The draperies of the Cat Cottage® hung down like waterfalls in each corner of the heavily adorned room. Unlike in the rest of the basement, the air was sweet. The arabian purple fabric cast a warm light across the little room. Carle hadn't been to the temple in mauns. Needless to say, he was impressed.

His crooked tail twitched with wonder as he looked around the room. At last, his musing was interrupted.

"May I help you?" Constantine asked, mewing seductively.

Carle spun around. "I... I'm looking for con- consolance?"



Constantine uncurled himself from the ball his body was wrapped into and slinked towards Carle, grinning mysteriously like the Cheshire cat. "Tell me," he cooed, curling back up again in the other corner.

"W-well," Carle began, "I lo-lost my f-f-family last maun."

"Yes," Constantine responded in a sly voice. "The little black mouse whose kits and ma'am ran into a trap.

"That's me. I was w-wondering if you could tell me why it was me."

"What do you mean by that, little mouse?"

"Why did my ma'am and kits have to die? Why wasn't it someone else's?"

Constantine cracked a grin at his own brilliance. "Because you're black."

"Why? Why does that make a difference in freak accidents."

"How old are you, mouse?"

"33 mauns."

"Do you remember what you learned in school when you only had 5?"

"A little."

"Then you might recall that the man sees everything, and is involved in everything."

"I, yes, now that I think about it."

"You're a black mouse."


"Black mice break the Claw."

"N-n-not me, sir."

"Don't tell me that when you had a family to care for, you didn't bring them extra of, what was your job?"

"I'm a fooder."

"Yes. Don't pretend you never brought them extra food."


Constantine smirked. He had caught the little mousie. "Do you know what happens to mice who steal from the priests?" he asked, stretching out his claws. "When you break the claw, you get the claw!" he shouted and whipped his well-armed paw at Carle.

Carle tried to run, but the blades that adorned Constantine's foot slashed through his shoulder. He screeched in pain.

Constantine slinked closer. He stuck his face inches from Carle's. The little black mouse with the crooked tail and no whiskers w\as shaking violently. "This will only hurt a bit," he cooed, and, with a flick of his head, dug his long, shiny teeth into Carle's tail. Carle began to wriggle as fast as he could manage. Still, his diminished force, even as a large mouse, barely phased Constantine, who, placing Carle between his paws, pulled off his tail and spit it out onto the pillow, now bloodied. Carle's shrieks were quieter now, not because he was in less pain, but because he no longer had the energy to express his profound pain.

"Please!" he squeaked. "Please! Spare me!"

Constantine now reached his mouth down to the little squirming vermin. "Legs are my favorite," he informed Carle. "Tails are too bony and bodies too bloody, but legs have just the right amount of meat on them, especially in a plump mouse like you." He plucked off the arm of the screeching mouse like King Arthur, pulling the stone out of the sword. Carle's blood spurted out across the lavender pillow as he squeaked his agony.

"Just kill me now then! Just kill me! Spare me the pain!"

"Ah," the cat grinned, "But it's too much fun this way, hearing your little rodent squeals for mercy." He pulled off another limb, and another, and the last, swallowing each with a slight bob of the neck and a gulping noise.

The mouse that once scared Moby lay limbless, without a tail, helpless on the pillow, creating red stains everywhere he rolled. He still wriggled with all the might of his little abdominal muscles. He wondered if this was how his ma'am felt in her last moments. He gritted his long, tiny teeth as Constantine came in for a bite at the torso. "This is it," he thought. "This is death. But how is Man so cruel to let me die like this?"

At last, Constantine bit off the poor little mouse's head. He then swallowed the torso, and left only the bloody little tail laying on the purple pillow, turning it pink. Constantine washed his face off with his paw, and walked out, satisfied, upstairs to brag to his father.

The End

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