The mouse skittered to the corner of the room, ruffling a stack of papers along the way. He looks up in disgust, his eyes glazed over from concentrating so hard on his work.

“Damn it, not again.” He mutters, shaking his head. He thinks about pounding his hand on the table, to scare it off, but then he sees another sentence that’s not quite right and he’s lost again.

The mouse sighs and squeezes through the hole in the wall. She skitters and darts around the pipes, deep into the bowels of the house. The piece of cheese stolen from the top of the kitchen counters is locked away safe in her mouth, ready to feed at least two of her babies. Then she’ll have to go back for more to feed the rest.

The house quiets for the night. He’s still awake, still staring at the screen and muttering to himself. She skitters out again, her nose out of the hole first, sniffing at the air to determine if its safe. Then she sees them. Slices, large slices of cheese. Left out on the counter, on a plate. She salivates just looking at it.

He stands and closes the laptop. She darts out toward the counter. As he walks into the kitchen she stops, and for a moment, their gazes meet. He growls, she grimaces. The pull of the cheese beckons her, fights with her will to live. Then she’s off, her legs pulsing with energy.

He reaches for a knife, and he’s charging towards her. She can see the glint of anger in his eyes. He moves swiftly, for being so large. She darts forward and grabs the hunk of cheese with her sharp little teeth. It slows her down, just a little, banging against her cheeks and her little legs, but she is determined. She darts behind a glass jar of flour.

Pow! He smashes through it looking for her. But she’s gone. She used that for cover then darted to the end of the counter while he was busy slamming his fist into the jar. She skitters down the side of the counter, using the broom as her racetrack.

Her momentum propels her across the kitchen floor, straight toward his office. His reams of paper are neatly stacked around the room. “Oh no, you don’t!” He bellows, chasing after her.

It’s too late. She’s on the desk, running across it while ferociously whipping her tiny tail knocking over piles left and right. “Damn it!” He curses, dropping the knife to catch the falling piles. The ones he can’t catch litter the floor like fallen leaves. He drops to his knees muttering, “I was so close. So close.”

She takes advantage of his stunned state and makes for the door. She gives herself a wide berth, and sticks to hugging the walls until she’s in the kitchen again. Then she makes a beeline across the kitchen floor for her little hole.

She moves fluidly around the pipes and through the walls to her babies open mouths. She drops the cheese and languishes, watching them eat.

Above her, he’s stalked out of the house. His mission: the hardware store. The peanut butter jar sits idle on the counter. But not for long.

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