The Grue had lived at the edge of Desiree's forest for the better part of three decades. Until very recently it had lived undetected but this all changed the day Claire chased her escaped hamster into the darkness beyond the tree-line.
“Mom, have you seen Rupert? He’s out of his cage again!” yelled Claire to her mother who was down in the basement working on the computer.
Rupert, Claire’s pet hamster, was as adept at escaping from his cage as he was at removing large chunks of flesh from the fingers of unsuspecting parents. Desiree had proof of both, evidenced by a large emergency room bill and two weeks of antibiotics.
“No sweetie…” she replied and then quietly mutters “but if I do, he isn’t gonna be happy.” Subconsciously she gently nurses her still bandaged right hand.
Claire leaves the basement stairway to begin her search for the missing Rupert. The last time he escaped she found him in her mothers bedroom so she heads there first, of course that was two weeks after his escape, but still.
Flipping on the bedroom light, she stands in the bedroom doorway and slowly scans across the room looking for signs of her wayward rodent. During his last escape, he appeared while she was laying on the bed watching television so she decides to see if it will happen again. It can’t hurt to try! Claire leaps onto the bed and punches Animal Planet into the TV remote control.
“Crikey! She’s a loud girl!” speaks the voice of Steve Irwin in response to the loud screech of the American Bald Eagle sitting on his outstretched arm.
Rupert must have heard it too because as the eagle screeched again, he darted from underneath the bed and made a beeline toward the open space beneath the bedroom dresser. Clair leaped down in an attempt to catch him but Rupert was faster. “Mom, I have him cornered under your dresser!” screamed Claire.
Only a few seconds later, Desiree is at the doorway but she refuses to come any closer. Bitten once, shame on Rupert but bitten twice, shame on me. Instead, she calls on her other two daughters Eleanor and Hannah.
With Claire and Eleanor on each side of the dresser, Hannah pushes the dresser away from the wall, hoping that Rupert will flee and one of the other girls can catch him without incident. But, this doesn’t happen. Rupert is nowhere to be seen.
“Where did he go?” asks everyone simultaneously.
It was only a moment later when Claire noticed the tiny hole in the baseboard. Laying on the floor she could see that the hole went clean through the wall and there was daylight on the other end. From the outside, she found the hole conveniently located next to the clothesline attached to the side of the house and that spanned the entire distance between the house and the edge of the tree-line.
This is the first part of a short story I started long ago but I never got around to finish. I no longer remember where I was going with it but it sounds like it was going to be fun. My only story note on it reads:
In case you're wondering, the real Desiree was a very fun and interesting friend of mine from many years ago. The cover artwork is based on the amazing view from the back patio of her Northern California mountain home. I have no idea what ever happened to her so I will just blame her departure on the grue.
Where should this story go? Leave comments below.