Ratty Clerk

“This is all a huge misunderstanding, I didn’t touch the perfume, I swear!” I know this sounds like a poor excuse, but I was just shrunk to the size of an apple and I was talking to someone who might kill me by just by stepping on me , not the most helpful environment for witty banter. “Oh, a liar as well as a thief I see; Excellent, just the type of person I was looking for, you will fit right in.” “Fit in where?” I asked. “Don’t worry, I will explain later. Now would you be so kind, and not move for a bit, it will make things much easier for the both of us.” And with these words, he…or it…or whatever it was removed a small rug from the floor, revealing a small tiny-person sized hole in the floorboards. Well not really a hole, it almost looked like a spiral staircase. “You want me to go down the staircase?” “Oh, don’t be silly. That would take ages. No, no, no; I want you to jump.” Now I enjoy adventure as much as the next person; maybe a little more, but I somehow wasn’t in the mood to jump into an unknown hole in the ground on the request of a weird clerk. I decided to express my emotions on the matter with a nuanced exclamation of shock that went something like this: “Are you out of your bloody mind!?” Needless to say the clerk was obviously impressed by my display of eloquence, but my layered question unfortunately went unanswered. Instead, the clerk grabbed a broom and said: “I see that I will not have your cooperation. Very well then, the hard way it is.” And with these words he swept me right into the hole. I was falling for a very long time, and during this time my mind was filling with questions: “Will I fall to my death? Is there an afterlife? Will they let me return as a ghost and haunt people after I die?” Questions of utmost existentialism as you can see; however they too would be left unanswered. I wasn’t conscious during the impact, so I don’t what I fell into and why I survived, but I awoke in straw bed in a house where the walls were made out of mud. There wasn’t much else to see there: a table with a shining lamp on it, some other wooden furniture, and few dozens of other straw beds. There was also a round wooden door, behind which I heard an array of voices. Since there wasn’t much to deduct from this room, and the voices were incomprehensible, I decided to upon the door and find out what the hell was happening around here. As I opened the door I was welcomed by the queerest of sights: A large room with many tables and chairs filled with carousing individuals eating various types of cheese and drinking some strange liquor. Oh, and I forgot to mention, those individuals were all rats. As I stepped in, the whole room went silent and every rat turned towards me. Then one of these rats got up off its chair and spoke. It was the voice of the perfume clerk: “Ah, you are finally awake, splendid. Now that you are here, I can explain what is going on.” Now I have seen a plenty of weird things, but I have to say that I would never imagine a talking rat having the word splendid in their vocabulary. I always thought that if rats were to talk, they would sound more like lower class people; you know something like: “I’ll shank ya mate, I swears on me mum.” But who am I to judge. Anyway, I didn’t quite know what to take from this, so I began the questioning: “Am I still small? Are you the clerk? Who are all these other rats? Where am I? What business do you want with me?” I would ask more, but the damned rat stopped me right when I wanted to ask the good stuff, like where did it learn to talk, or why he has the word splendid in its vocabulary. “Yes you are still small, You are in the City of Rats and I will explain the business in a moment. As for the other two questions, they are more…difficult to explain. You see, I am the clerk, but so is every other rat in this room. we form a sort of a… hive mind you could say. I see you do not follow, let me show you.” And as the rat said this, another rat rose up and continued in the exact same voice: “You see we together form one intelligence, we are individual, but our minds are connected on the basic level.” Another rat rose up: “It’s so we could blend in your world, as our kind would not be the most welcome” The first rat took the word again: “But let’s not confuse you any further, before we get to the business at hand I have one more thing to say, welcome to the City of Rats.”

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