The next daun, Moby sat waiting in corner 2 for Carle to come by with food. The dimly lit, dusty space had a dirt floor that covered Moby with a tan film each time he stepped. The poison container from which he was gathering sat in the corner. A deep forrest green and tan, its aesthetics appealed more to humans than the mice. As he waited, Moby gathered the sweet, pungent pellets, careful not to consume any as he picked them up: he knew that in large quantities they were fatal. He gingerly lifted each little deadly pebble and placed it into his pouch.

However, he grew impatient. Where was Carle? He started to wonder if he had been played, if Carle only wanted extra Kol, if he never intended to bring his food, or if his tragic story and pained sobs were even real. Moby wondered what kind of psychopath could make up a story like that, but remembered, Carle was a black mouse, and, as the priests said, black mice were criminals.

At the end of the day, Carle still hadn't come. Moby was disappointed. He slouched over to the food station and gathered his rations. They were even smaller today: only four crumbs. And still, there was more Kol: nine shells. "What, are they trying to kill us?" Moby mumbled. He wondered how his family was ever supposed to survive on these rations, which made him even angrier with Carle. Was his name even Carle? Who was this heartless mouse anyway? He was worse than most black mice! He was a criminal more than any he's heard of– a criminal of the heart. Not only had he stolen Moby's Kol, he also stole his earnest trust in mice to help other mice. Moby was furious.

He angrily scuffled back towards his family quarters, taking a different route. He missed his turn by the boiler, so he ended up walking by the temple. However, he heard voices, and, for fear of being accused of idleness, he cut around back. The thick, dirty air hung heavy in his lungs, and he could barely breathe. The back of the temple was one of the dirtiest places in the whole basement. Moby squinted as he scuffled through. As he stepped, he felt a strange twist beneath his feet. At first he figured it was a wire, but it was too squishy for that. He sniffed it and jumped back. He was standing on a mouse's tail, and a rotting one at that. He rubbed his eyes and stepped back. It had a crook in it, three quarters from the end. "Carle," he whispered fearfully. He noted the blood on it. "What happened to you, Carle?"

His eyes grew wide and showed the whites on the sides, and his nose turned cold, and stopped moving. He turned back and scampered back out in front of the temple.

There, two priests sat, in deep conversation. When they saw him, they stopped. "What brings you this way mouse?" asked Maurice.

Moby started. His little paws left the ground for a second. His whiskers shook like palm trees in a hurricane, and his nose moved up and down like a pendulum in an earthquake.

"What's wrong, little mouse?" Maurice asked. "Cat got your tongue?" He and Valens, the priest beside him cracked up. When they settled down, Moby was still shaking. Maurice came over and laid a large paw, claws retracted on Moby's little back. "It's okay. You can talk to us. The guidance of Man can always make things better."

Moby continued to shake, but managed to squeak out a few words, "What happened to Carle?"

Maurice put on a somber expression. "You mean the black mouse with no whiskers?"

Moby shook his head.

"He lost his kits and wife only a maun ago. According to Man, he just couldn't bear it anymore. He threw himself into a trap."

Moby shed a little tear. "He was a good mouse," he told Maurice.

Maurice sighed sympathetically. "Good mice don't kill themselves," he said.

Moby hung his head and walked away, not even realizing that he had forgotten his bag of food. His view of Carle having done a 180º, he was too absorbed in the self pitying sorrow that comes with the loss of a friend to hear Valens snicker.

He came home empty-handed.

The End

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