Each Friday, I will blindly pick a picture card from the board game Mysterium, and set a timer for fifteen minutes. When the timer goes off, the story is done, no matter if I am done or not.
Gerald Mouse was busily rushing to his job at the sweater factory.
“I’m going to be late!” he said anxiously as his little mouse feet padded through the forest.
Gerald couldn’t be late again. Just yesterday Mr. Foxxington called him into his office to discuss his tardiness. He was kind about it, but Gerald wasn’t sure lightning was going to strike twice.
He was so caught up in his thoughts, Gerald didn’t hear the noise behind him. It started as a crunching noise off in the deep darkness of the forest. Then it got closer. Soon, deep breathing could be heard above a low rumbling.
Gerald started to feel uneasy and he shoved his hands in his coat pockets and began to pick up the pace. Even in his distracted nature, Gerald felt like something was off.
It wasn’t until he passed the red Brambleberry bush that he could see two eyes peering back at him. The eyes were larger than his entire body and where glowing amber. Gerald looked closer and could see something reflecting at him underneath the eyes.
It’s just your imagination, Gerald. You shouldn’t have stayed up late to read that scary book last night.
No matter, Gerald picked up the pace again. Now he was running more than walking on his back legs. Occasionally he would look over his shoulder. When he was satisfied that he wasn’t being followed, Gerald allowed himself to breathe a little easier and to slow his pace a little.
See. Nothing but your overactive imagination.
And that is when he heard it.
It was the low rumbling sounds again. But this time it seemed different. It was louder and surrounding him.
Gerald looked to his right and saw something leaning up against a tree.
Against his better judgment, the small mouse crept over to the object.
As he got closer, he could see it was a wide mouth jar that was about the size he was. There were streaks of mud on the outside, so he couldn’t tell what was inside from a distance.
When he was only about two feet away from the jar did, he notice there was movement inside.
Gerald stood on the tips of his paws and inched closer. He gasped when he saw small creatures floating in a clear liquid. They looked like light brown raccoons with long tails, but they were the size of large tadpoles. Gerald had never seen anything like it in his life.
He reached out his tiny paws to grab the jar, but it was too big and it fell on top of him, pinning him to the ground.
Suddenly, Gerald felt a net wrap around him, and he was flung into the treetops into a trap.
The low rumble happened again, this time, Gerald could sense it was getting closer, and louder.
Gerald squeaked into the woods for anyone to help him that was nearby. But the only thing that comes back was the low rumbling and the echoes of his own voice.
“Glad to see that you decided to join your friends,” said a voice in the shadows.
The only thing panicked Gerald could see was two large, amber eyes staring back at him.