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Bart The Rat
'One Scary Night'
Michael A. Nielsen
One day Bart
was very hungry, and very bored. He paced around
the dirty hole his family called a home. His
stomach grumbled and growled but every time he
thought he could get away with sneaking into the
pantry, his little brother Jerry would yell out,
"Mom, Bartís heading for the cheese!"
Needless to say Jerry would receive a quick slap to
the head and a sock to the gut, but the result was
the same, Bart would be back to pacing and thinking
of food. "Bart, why donít you go outside and play
with Roger Fieldmouse and leave your little
brothers alone!" came Motherís yell.
Well his friend Roger was gone to his grandmother's
and Farmer MacGregorís Cat was on the loose. But it
was only after another half hour of stomach pain
that Bart finally decided going out was the only
thing to do.
Keeping low and in the grass, Bart scurried past
the old tire swing and down by the rusty pickup
truck. The whole time he kept his nose to the
ground searching for even the slightest scent of
old rotten food. To his despair there was nothing
to be found. Suddenly an idea popped into his head,
ĎWhat about the sewer pipe?í
Now Bartís mother had forbid any of her children
from playing around the old sewer pipe. She said it
was dangerous. She said that deep down inside lived
the sewer monster and it preyed on young curious
rodents. Sure the pipe was scary, but it drove Bart
nuts with the alluring smells of food and at the
moment Bart was so hungry he would even risk the
monster. He immediately changed his course and
headed straight across the cornfield.
Halfway there he came to a clearing and was
surprised to see Gwendolyn Brownmouse and her
snotty friend Chelsy Mole having a tea party near
the Coke bottle.
"Where you headed, Bart?" Gwen asked.
"None of your beeswax." Bart huffed and then
belched in Chelsyís direction.
She bowled over but somehow kept her teacup in
hand. "Youíre fat and disgusting Bart!"
"But kinda cute..." smiled Gwendolyn beneath her
pretty brown fur. Bart continued on until she
yelled out, "Wait Bart, want to have some of this
He stopped dead in his tracks and spun around, his
beady eyes narrowing on a large clump of carrot
cake resting on a penny and suddenly drool formed
on his lip. But just as he came near, just as his
greedy rat hands reached out to tear into the tasty
pile, Chelsy Mole grabbed for and took the entire
morsel swallowing it in one amazing gulp. Both
girls began to laugh out of control.
For a moment it seemed that a tear might form in
Bartís eye. The pain in his belly was excruciating.
He fled from the clearing, swearing that Chelsy
Mole was the devil and Gwen her evil handmaiden.
Twenty feet from the pipe Bartís hopes suddenly
began to rise. The smell of rank food was thick in
the air and it drew him like... well like a rat to
rank food. His little legs began to move faster,
hurling him across the clumps of grass and rocks, a
giant grin spreading across his chubby rat face. He
leapt full stride against the pipe, thrusting his
arms as high as he could and barely caught his
sharp claws at the edge of the hole in the top of
the pipe. Pulling with all his might and calling
upon a sudden surge of adrenaline he performed a
feat that could never be repeated... he pulled
himself up. From here he could peer down into the
darkness. A blast of odor hit him warm in the face
and Bart began to cry. Giant, wet, tears of joy.
He glanced around at his surroundings. It had taken
him some time to get here, already the sun had
reached its full height and was slowly making its
way to the western hills. "I will make this fast,"
thought Bart. "A quick chunk of corndog, or a fine
meat stew and then I will be out and heading home."
He lowered himself into the warm, slowly moving
sludge. It was like climbing into a large vat of
gumbo soup. Bart dipped his face half into the
soup, opened his mouth wide and began to swim,
inhaling as much as he could without choking. "I am
in heaven!" he thought to himself as his plump rat
body floated downstream, further and further from
the exit. With each yard it got darker and darker
but at the same time Bart would come across bits of
burrito and old melon and random balls of soft
brown substance and it was not until he was in
complete darkness that his little,
smorgasbord-retarded brain finally clicked and he
realized he was in danger.
It was dark, too dark to see and the flow was
beginning to pick up speed. He turned upstream and
began to swim as hard as he could. Clumps of food
and sewage bombarded him and it was all he could do
to thrust it aside and keep pumping his hind legs.
And then a sound rumbled up from the darkness and
Bartís heart sank to an all time low. It started
out as a gurgle like something trying to yell with
a full mouth of oatmeal, but quickly turned into a
long, blood-curdling howl. Every hair from Bartís
neck to the tip of his tail stood on end. His heart
skipped a beat as he raked forward with his claws
into the liquid darkness. Looking over his shoulder
he thought he could see it moving up the pipe
toward him, its long slime covered snout barely
capping the sewage, its dark glossy eyes glaring at
him as he madly paddled
away. The sewage monster! It was real!
The creature began to close the distance, the walls
pounded as its tail lashed about, dirty brown water
erupting from its wind pipe in a cloud of spray.
Bart began to sob, his eyes welling up with tears
and sewage. His arms were heavy and tired and his
left leg formed a sudden cramp. He cried out like a
little girl, like Chelsy Mole when she fell at
school and broke her little toe and just then he
turned the corner and there before him not more
than thirty feet away was the hole in the pipe. It
was dusk outside but it still offered a slight glow
which washed across Bart in a sea of hope. He began
to make promises to the Great Rat that if he could
just muster the strength to make it to that hole,
to be able to pull himself to freedom that
he would never beat up on his little brothers
again. He would never steal cheese from the larder,
he would say hi to that little crippled kid,
Horace, and he would even smile at Gwendolyn
Brownmouse, although that last promise was no real
The prayer seemed to work and he found sudden
strength in his limbs. The sewer sludge became his
playground and he was the bully as he pulled his
body with long powerful strokes. The sewer monster
roared as its prey found new strength. Bart could
hear it splashing behind him, slowly, slowly
gaining ground. Something banged against the wall
just to the right of him. He felt spray and saw
droplets forming on the surface of the water behind
and to the side of his head and still he vaunted
on, until right as he closed in on the exit. Just
as his form moved into the tiny circle of moonlight
as it glistened brightly on the seething tide, Bart
felt a large, powerful tentacle wrap around his
little rat leg, his screams of terror muffled as he
pulled beneath the surface.
Bart kicked and punched and clawed until he could
do no more and finally went limp, clenching his
eyes closed as he waited for his doom. The creature
pulled him to the edge of the pipe and climbing up
it held Bart out over the liquid, obviously sizing
him up before it swallowed him. Bart was already
weeping and in that moment of terror he could not
hold his bladder and began to wet himself. But the
creature didnít eat him, instead it began to laugh,
a big jovial, belly-shaking laugh. Bart forced his
eyes open and found himself face to face with Old
"Why Bart, it looks like you have peed yourself!
Perhaps I should take you home and let Chelsy clean
you up!" Old Man Mole was chuckling, a long evil
chuckle. He lifted Bart out of the hole, hauling a
large sack of assorted morsels for the entire Mole
Family. Bart sheepishly said thanks and took off
for home, promising himself and the Great Rat that
he would never return to the sewer pipe again.
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