Never Say Die – A Tale about a House Rat (Chapter 1 – Almost Drown in a Tortellini Soup)

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“Tclok, tclok”, the big hand of the grandfather clock is slowly passing the minute markers and reaching to 12 while the small hand is now coming to pointing exactly at 10. Ding! Ten o’ clock! Around this hour, the rats always come out of their holes in search for food.

Mama rat scurries about – she passes through the living room, dining room and finally she enters into the kitchen. She knows the kitchen is the best place to find food. The owner, Lucy, is always forgetful about storing the food in the refrigerator. Nowadays, she has lost her enthusiasm about doing kitchen chores; not like 40 years ago when she just got married to her husband Matthew.

As soon as she is in the kitchen, her senses starts to guide her. She could smell cheese, yes cheese for her young children who needs to grow up fast. Up she go, scurrying up the table leg and onto the surface. Aah. The smell of Swiss cheese. She rejoices when she has at last found something to eat for her young ones.

Now, the only thing is to get her children to come fast before the owner store it away into the refrigerator. She goes back to the tiny nest and wakes her children, “Up! Up! Up! One cheese for everyone.”

In the tiniest voice that only mouse can hear, she whispers to her children,”I’ll go and check and see if Mr. Kurt, the cat is asleep?”

Kurt, the cat is sound asleep next to the owner’s couch in front of the fireplace. The bright red fire dances around the fire wood, radiating out warmth and making Kurt feels cozy.

Mama rat hurries into the living room to peep on the big beige cat. She swiftly passes by from about 7 feet away taking care not to come near any more than that. She stops for about 3 seconds, making sure that the cat is sleeping before she runs as fast as her four feet could take her to the nest.

When she goes back to the nest again, her children have already woke up. Mama rat says the names of each of her 3 little mice, “Ruby, Huey, Pips.” making sure that all three are following her.

Big brother Ruby blinks his eyes that are still small as he is still freshly awaken. He sniffs the air smelling for delicious food that will soon fill his tummy, and his whiskers move a little.

Pips, the sister, licks her hands, with saliva; she combs the fur on the head clean, then she licks the fur on her body, her tiny hands and feet.

Huey, the youngest of them all, grinds his teeth and yawn for he is still feeling sleepy. Ruby and her sister, Pips, have the same red eyes just like their mother. Huey, on the other hand, inherits a pair of brown eyes from his father.

She cautious them, “Mouse traps. be careful, children.” as they pass by mouse traps that are laid there cleverly by Mr. Matthew, the houseowner.

The owner keeps 3 cats to regulate the population of the rats in the house. If the 3 cats aren’t there watching the house, the rats will breed faster. Their population would explode this house and they are certainly to do more damages.

His 3 pet house cats are Kurt – a brown eyed cat with gray fur and black stripe; Roger – a white cat with some light brown patches. Roger’s left eyes is blue and the right eye is green; and Champ – a yellow eyed dark chocolate cat with some light brown patches.

Mama rat bids her children, “Hurry, hurry, we must be quick before the cat comes around. Quick, my children, up the table.”

Huey saw some food on the floor and becomes tempted to it. He stops following his mother and brother and sister and starts heading towards it.

Fortunately, mama rat is keeping an eye on her children and she quickly notices that Huey is not with them. Mama rat gives admonishment, “Huey, what did I tell you, follow mama.” Holding Huey’s hand, she takes him to his sister, and instructs her, “Pips, hold your brother’s hand, come with me.”

Ruby reaches the top of the table first. Pips is the next to follow. Then, Huey and the mother rat also climb up. Now, they see the cheese. Hastily, they grab the small cheese crumbs that are scattered around the big cheese and swallow down the throat as fast as they can. Other rats who are also out and about searching for food found the table where the cheese lies. They start to make lots of noises fighting to see who is the first that get to the cheese.

These rats are not pleased to find their food have been taken by other rats they are not familiar with. They start to make snarling noises to chase them away. Sensing danger, the mother rat says to her children, “Quick, this way.” They scram away down the table. Huey is too slow and still hesitating to leave. He wants to have some more of the cheese.

Luckily, the mother rat comes back and grabs Huey on the neck. She and Pips scurry down the table and head straight to the living room. Mama rat runs around the living room and finds shelter inside an old TV cabinet that has a hole on the partition board.

Ruby becomes nervous. He looks here and there searching for a way to escape. He knows that he could cross the clothes line and find a safe shelter in the crack on the opposite wall. Seeing that there is no other route to escape, he climbs up the wooden oven cabinet and jumps onto the clothes line.

Ruby has a phobia in slacklining. He mumbles to himself, “Not the line.” Fear interferes, there comes the thought, “What if I fall off the line? The cat may be waiting down there to eat me at any time.”

A second after saying this to himself, his thought flashes back to the good advice that his mother has given him, “Just remember what mama says, be brave but not bold. Always move forward, and never look back. Keep going.”

Roger hears noises in the kitchen and he knows the rats are stealing food again. He walks on his soft paws looking here and there to see if there is any mouse around. Then, he saw long tails on the table. Its the rats!

He turns his head and spotted Ruby walking nervously on the clothes line. Failing to maintain a balance, Ruby falls off leaving him hanging on the line. He realizes Roger, the cat is just beneath him. He cried out, “Help, mama! Oh, my! What an unfortunate day.”

Roger meows, then make a long growling sound. He stands up on his hind legs and tries to catch Ruby in his right paw. Fear mixed with anxiety runs through Ruby’s entire body and he drops from the line. He scurries straight, climbs up the wall, follows the PVC pipe to the left and squeezes into the small wall crack for safety.

Mrs. Lucy was awaken to the noises in the kitchen. She walks straight to the kitchen in her sleeping robe and found Roger sitting below the clothes line. She picks him up and takes him into the bedroom. After Mrs. Lucy shut her bedroom door, Ruby comes out from the small hiding place. The entire kitchen is now silent. Those naughty rats had all scram and not to be seen anywhere.

Ruby calls out, “Mom? Pips? Huey?”. He jumps down from the gray PVC pipe onto the floor. The naughty rats who had earlier fought for the piece of cheese make their appearances again. One of them teases, “Hey, Ruby boy, come over here. There is food here.”

Ruby did not give a second thought as he is hungry and couldn’t find anything else to eat. He has forgotten about how fierce they were a moment ago. He says in a cheerful tone, “Food, lots of food. Yummy.” In a few seconds, he gobbles up all the spilled macaroni on the floor.

Champ, the cat, comes in among the rats at this moment. “Meow!” To the rats, it is like hearing a loud lightning strike. They know their lives are in danger now and they run away to hide.

One of the rats screams in panic, “Help me! We’re doomed.” as he run around in a frenzy manner. At this moment, Champ has caught in his paw a rat. The rat in Champ’s paw cries for his life, “My life! No. Spare me. Spare my lifeee… Dew “huh”, rescue me.” Dew has no sympathy for his brother. He only care for his own lives like the others in his group. He replies, “I’ll run for my life.”

Ruby seeing what happened to the rat in captivity decides to be brave this once and save him. He hurries over to the cat’s hind leg and gives it the hardest bite. Meow! Scream the cat and he lets go of the rat.

The next thing Ruby did is that he climbs up the table fast. Mrs. Lucy is aroused by noises in the kitchen again. As she couldn’t sleep, she goes back to the kitchen and check out what is going on. When she turns on the light, she saw Champ staring at her with all the food mess around.

“Champ, what is all these mess? Look at you. You are a naughty cat. Into the crate you will go.”

Champ yowling, owner says, “No more whining.”

Ruby was hiding behind the plate when the owner reprimand his cat. After the owner is gone and the light is switched off, he comes out from the hiding place and starts to sniff around. There are some things on the table but Ruby don’t know what they are. He starts to sniff around. The first item that he smells is a bread loaf. He didn’t care much for the bread so he proceed to the next item.

Sniff sniff sniff sniff, it must be cooking oil. Sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff – Ruby knows this is onion. He gives the onion a small bite. Yuck! He feels like something shocks him and jumps up high. The onion must had tasted horrible in his tongue for there is no rat that likes onion.

Last of all, he comes to a big bowl of chicken tortellini soup. Excited to eat the content, he runs around the huge bowl. He runs around the table, looking for things that could help him to reach to the brim of the bowl.

He spots a cheese. “Cheese!” he cries out. The idea pops up in his head – he could use the cheese as a ladder to reach the bowl. He bites and feasts on the cheese as he pushes it towards the bowl. He gives the cheese another bite when the cheese is finally pushed to the bowl. He climbs up and sees its delicious content.

“Tortellini, yum!”

Jump. And into the soup he goes. Ruby forgot that he does not yet have any swimming skill. While he struggles in the water, he screams, “Help, someone help me!”

Thankfully, an eggshell floats to in front of him and he quickly climbs in. He is just relieved to have found a place where he could climb in and be safe from the water.

“Thank God, this is a lucky day for me.”

With the drowning problem cleared off from his head, he now thinks of a way to get to the edge of the bowl. He stretches out his hand as far as he could to reach for a vege stem. As he reach out for it, he also stretches his voice, “Eeek”.

However, before it is used to row the boat, it slips off his hand and disappears into nowhere in the soup. He looks around again to see if could find another vege stem. As he couldn’t find any, he uses his hand to row the boat.

About this time, the mother rat, Pips, and Huey are searching for Ruby. Pips calls in a loud voice, “Ruby where are you? Mom, have you searched the cabinet, and drawer?”

Ruby recognizes his sister’s voice and he immediately responds, “Pips, over here, help me!” Exactly at this time, he reaches out for a chive stem in the soup.

His sister cheers on him, “Hurry up, Ruby!” No matter how hard Ruby rows, the eggshell boat doesn’t move at all because the chive is too soft.

Ruby replies, “I can’t, the paddle is no use, Tell mama to fetch help.”

Pips shouts back to her mother, “Mama, Ruby has no paddle…the paddle breaks. Hurry mama hurry send help, he is drowning.”

Mama rat knows she will need the help from other rats in the nest. In a low pitch sound, she passes on a message to another rat that his son is danger of drowning and that she needs their help to overturn the bowl.

The rat spreads the message fast from one to another and soon they come out from every hole to help. They climb up the table and push the bowl, “1 – 2 – 3. Heave!” The bowl overturns and Ruby is flushed out of the bowl  in the eggshell. When the bowl is halfway to be overturned, Ruby sneeze and the contents of the bowl fly and stuck on his sister

Pips grumbles, “Ugh. Now, I have to go home and clean up.”

Chapters Navigation

Chapter 1 – Almost Drown in a Tortellini Soup

Chapter 2 – Ruby’s Mother Killed in a Bicycle Accident

Chapter 3 – Ruby’s Encounter with the Red Ants

Chapter 4 – O’lley Follows Ruby

Chapter 5 – Ruby Lets the Red Ants Have the Chocolate Wafer Roll

Chapter 6 – The Red Ants Help to Chase Away the Toads

Chapter 7 – Roxy is Alive

Chapter 8 – The Rats Moving House

Chapter 9 – The Rats Steals a Barge and Monster Truck

Chapter 10 – The Toads is After the Rats Again

Chapter 11 – The Rats Found Their Home at a New Island

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