little riggles

by Camille DaSilva © 2013

The air was alive with sound.

Boom!  Boom!  Boom!

Footsteps thundered into the floor, voices emanated through the air.  His ears tingled with it.  Giants!  Killer giants.

He was caged between smothering carpet and the floor of the wardrobe, which made a smooth mahogany hiding place above him.  The giants were all around the room, talking, laughing, putting on makeup and curling their hair.

He had to get out of there.  His breath quickened, his snout sniffed the air.  Fear twitched through his frame.  He remembered all that his mother had taught him about the giants, how his father had been tragically killed.  He had been unprepared for how early the giants would get up this morning.  The sun was not even properly shining through the windows yet.

One breath.  One blink.  And Little Riggles dashed across the floor, scampering, his claws digging into the tufts of carpet.  He heard a gasp, a scream as he passed.

Under the door, into the closet.  Darkness.  The smell of linen bedsheets.  Peace.  He knew this closet well, the hole in the wall that led to the drain that sent heat waves all through his little dwelling and lulled him to sleep.  He leapt into the hole, climbed down the wall, and crawled into the comfy nest of human hair and silk thread and dryer lint that he had built on the support beam underneath the porcelain bathtub.

He curled up there in the purple and violet lint, nestling down in the warmth of the hot water pumping through the water pipes, and Little Riggles drifted off to sleep in the sound of the shower.  Day was the best time to sleep.  Night, when the giants went to sleep, was the hour when he was free to roam.  He could climb into the pantry and eat his fill from the cereal boxes, tiptoe onto the pillows and clip off human hair for his nest, lap up water from the glasses on the night-table.  But now he must sleep.

The sun journeyed from the East, up high into the sky above Little Riggles’ head, and  then down into the West, shooting pink dye into the white fluffy clouds.  It was then that Little Riggles awoke from a vicious rumble in his stomach.  His nest had grown cold as the shower had cooled down, and now it was afternoon and he was hungry.

He sniffed the air curiously.  His snout twitched.  He sniffed again.

Cheese.

Yes, cheese.

His favorite kind.

He could taste it on his tongue.

He jumped out of his nest, listened behind the linen closet door, heard nothing.  The giants must be downstairs.  He slid underneath the door and onto the slippery tile of the floor.  The scent trail was so pungent that he could almost see it on the air, leading him in golden glory into the corner, behind the toilet.  He leapt for the golden cube.

Snap!  A violent pain shot through his tail, his tailbone cracked under the pressure.  He remembered how his father had died, caught in the great steel trap!

He was going to die.

He hobbled out from behind the toilet, gritted his teeth, could barely move his hind legs.  He could hear footsteps on the stairs, could smell the humans.  He dragged himself into the great laundry pile in the corner of the bathroom.

The door opened with a creak.  A tall thin giant with flaxen hair and huge green eyes leaned over towards the laundry pile, hands outstretched.  Little Riggles shrunk back in fear.  Suddenly the air was full of sound waves, sharp, screeching.  The human was screaming, yelling to the other giants downstairs.

Little Riggles used his last strength to dart out of the clothes pile, leaving hair and blood behind him, into the dark shadows underneath the cabinet.

Giants stomped up the stairs.  The floor shook.  Now there was not one giant, but three all looking down at him.

‘Ew, look at his little beady eyes!  It’s so gross!’ the flaxen-haired girl said.

‘He’s not gross!  He looks like a Beanie Baby!  Don’t kill him Daddy!  Just go drop him outside and let him be free,’ the girl with the nut-brown hair said.

The tallest giant, with a bald head and a great white beard, leaned toward him, his eyes snapping and his lips pressed together.  Great grizzly fingers reached out of thin air, grabbed the edge of the steel trap.  Little Riggles riggled furiously as he was lifted up into the air, hanging by his throbbing tail, seeing the floor move farther and farther away.  His life flashed before his eyes, black grains appeared before his vision.

He was going to die!

Somewhere in the echoing caverns of his little pink ears he heard the words, ‘I don’t know why the humane society hasn’t cracked down on mouse traps!  They’re so cruel.  Poor thing.’

‘I know!  What happened to little cages like the one Gus got in in Cinderella?’ the other girl said.

They were outside in the cold winter air.  The freshness woke him up, revitalized the pain in his tail.  Suddenly the steel pressure lifted off his tailbone and he fell into the dry garden, leaving his tail behind him.

He scampered away, as fast as lightning.  The giants lost sight of him.

He was free.