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The Fearless Hunter


Margaret B. Davidson

 


Copyright 1999 by Margaret B. Davidson

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Aristotle didn’t come to bed at all on Tuesday evening. Mary awoke a few times during the night and could hear him racing in circles around the living room and kitchen floors. She said a silent prayer that the devastation wouldn’t be too great by morning. She was especially anxious about her lovely blue and pink Oriental vase. It had no significant value, but she had become attached to it nonetheless. The fact that Aunt June’s ashes were in there had little to do with it. She just liked the vase. Mary was thinking about getting up to check on the situation but, before she could put thought into action, she fell asleep again.

That cat toyed with the mouse practically the whole night through. When he first spotted the creature he rushed at it with back arched, fangs bared and claws extended. His tail was so puffed up that it looked more like that of a squirrel than a cat. He let the mouse escape, but only momentarily. He crouched, peering at it through glittering, green slit eyes and then, tired of the stalking, he gave forth with a bloodcurdling yowl and leaped three feet in the air before descending upon his prey. Taking the bounty in his mouth he shook it with feral fervor, and then dropped it to the floor. Aristotle circled around it a few times, then proceeded to prod it with his paw. Once more he circled his prey, deep guttural growling noises emanating from his throat. Then he batted it halfway across the room. It landed awfully close to that vase, but Aristotle spent no time considering the consequences of an accident. He raced at the mouse and began circling what, by this time, must surely be a corpse. A few more circles and a few more proddings must have convinced the hunter that his prize was indeed dead. He took it between his jaws, transported it into the bedroom, and plonked it down on Mary’s pillow. Then, fully satisfied with his night’s work, he fell asleep at the end of the bed.

Meanwhile, out in the kitchen, there was more activity. The family of mice who had made their home behind the refrigerator was wide awake and thinking about breakfast. They had been watching as Aristotle swaggered past their nest on his way to the bedroom. They pricked up their ears and listened for fifteen minutes. Satisfied that Mary and her abominable protege were sound asleep, they ventured forth from behind the refrigerator. Warily glancing back toward the bedroom door a few times, they edged around the kitchen, keeping close to the wall and then darted over to Aristotle’s food bowl. Each mouse took a mouthful of Friskies Dental Diet, and quickly scuttled back to the hole. After about an hour of work they had hauled in enough of a hoard to last them several days. This was just as well because the sun was coming up, and they could hear Mary getting out of bed. They heard her exclaim, “So that’s what you were up to last night, Aristotle. Chasing that dirty old cloth mouse again. I should get you a new one; this one looks as though it’s losing its stuffing. I’ll go down to pet store and get you one this very day.”

The mice, their little pink noses twitching, looked as though they were snickering to themselves as they prepared for their feast. Of course they didn't know a thing about that pretty pink and blue vase that was lying shattered amid a pile of ashes on the living room floor.

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