Excerpt: Aimee Parkison, "Mouse"


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"Mouse," by Aimee Parkison

Even though I am wealthy, I still long to partake of the simple pleasures. It doesn’t cost me anything to eat a mouse. I like that: saving money and nourishing my body at the same time.

In the beginning, the other kids thought it was neat, what I did to the mice. They liked to see me stalking—but then some of them got angry when they found out why I was catching the mice behind the stage. Some kids wanted to keep the mice as pets, but I wouldn’t allow it.

Nothing ever really dies, just as nothing lives without killing. Don’t you think this is true? I once did.
Did I forget to mention that I am no longer alive? I was never me, not the way people thought I was.

I was a mouse full of mice, but people kept forgetting my name.

That part of me will never die.

*  *  *

Forgive the way I consummate my love for you, I say to the ghosts of mice in the night. Forgive my absence, the loss of hunger. Their ghosts, like the ghosts of all rodents, are sound—squeal, squeak, rustle. The ghosts are inside me, moving like a lover. I am never alone and never have been alone since I began feeding.

Best of all, I remember the soft vibrations against my palms, the helpless shivers against my lips. 

*  *  *

Now that I have found a lover—a male lover with long white hands—he wants to know why I hunger for rodents. (I have talked about mice in my sleep.) I try to tell him why, but I don’t know how. Will he leave me as others have done, or will I leave him, now that he knows? I look at his small dark eyes and wonder what it would be like to marry him.

“Okay,” he whispers. “You can tell me.”

“No,” I say, planning my return to the school, needing to see it again before it’s destroyed. 

“I won’t judge.”

He holds me in the kitchen until I finally get up the courage to say, “Because you won’t feed me.”

“We just ate.” He laughs, pointing to the candlelit food displayed on fancy white plates with golden rims—the gourmet cheeses on an antique silver tray, the chilled white wine in crystal glasses, the fresh pomegranate and kiwi, kale salad in hand-carved wooden bowls, bowtie pasta with basil, and grilled salmon. “You hardly touched your dinner.” 

“I know.”

“You said you weren’t hungry.” He seems wounded, wincing, recovering as he stares at the food on the table. 

“You don’t know what I like.”

“I cook for you all the time.”

“I have to show you,” I whisper, too softly. He can’t hear me.

“I was a chef for fifteen years.”

“I have to show you how to feed me.” I touch his hands, stroking the long white fingers. The muscles of his neck begin to tremble as I lean my face into his fingers. I lead his fingertips to my lips, slipping them inside my mouth so that I feel his nails graze my tongue. 

He shivers.

Read the rest of this story in Unstuck #3.