He was my very first mouse and I had a lot to learn. I remember it clearly, that night before I went to bed, I slipped a small strawberry into his cage as a surprise. They’re nocturnal, so they play all night and sleep all day. For the most part. I felt good that he’d love his surprise.
When I got up the next morning, I went to Corduroy’s cage just to peek in on him. Did you know mice are even cuter when they are asleep?
Unfortunately, I wasn’t greeted by a cute little sleeping grey mouse. Instead, I was greeted by blood. Blood. There were blood stains all throughout his cage. That white fresh bedding I had mentioned before was stained from one end of the cage to the other. My heart jumped into my throat.
What could have happened? Nothing could get into his cage, I made sure of that. So, did he have some type of episode during the night? Did he get sick? How could such a little mouse, have this much blood?
I ripped the top off the cage and threw it. I pulled his mouse house up, but he wasn’t there. I began to gently sift through the bedding until I found him curled up. I’ll be honest, when I pulled him out of the bedding, I thought for sure he would be dead. How could he not be? But as soon as I cupped my hand around him, he began moving. I pulled him up quickly to look him over. He seemed quite startled.
Get in line.
From what I could see, there was no blood on his coat. Just a startled little mouse. I flipped him over to look at his belly. Nothing. Just little feet flailing about. Sorry, Corduroy. There wasn’t a drop of blood on him, he seemed fine.
My next thought was, did he throw up blood? Do mice throw up? I didn’t know! I was going to have to call someone. Then the thought occurred to me, what if something else was in his cage and it died. Even though I knew nothing could have gotten in, I searched away. I gently filtered through the bedding again until I came across something I could only describe as a small, bloody, organ of some sort.
WHAT WAS HAPPENING?
I was beyond freaked out at this point as I held this ‘organ’ in my other hand. There was nothing else in the cage! What did Corduroy do, eat whatever it was and leave an organ as a warning?
It wasn’t until I got a faint whiff of strawberry, that I realized what had happened. What I was holding in my other hand was not a small organ, but what was left of the inside of the strawberry I had left for him the previous night.
Apparently, little Corduroy enjoyed is SO MUCH that he felt the need to spread the juice all over his cage. And leave some for later. I dropped the left-over strawberry back into the cage with a loud exhale.
For a brief moment, the thought crossed my mind that maybe I should stop writing thrillers.
I turned to Corduroy, who had grown still in my other hand. There he sat, clinging to my thumb, judging me and my life choices up until that point.
I couldn’t blame him though. I’m not sure what I would have done if someone had jerked my front door open, rushed in, and jerked me out of my bed while I slept. Then to add insult to injury, flip me over and yell, “Are you okay?”
Maybe I will try another genre.
I adopted Corduroy after that and he lived happily with me until he crossed the bridge, two years later.