Thursday, April 11, 2013

Naanaa's Story, part 4

(Yes Brother. Food.)
(Where? No bowl.)
(Ok Naanaa. Quiet?)
(Yes, quiet.)

Naanaa remembers.
Yesterday had been a struggle; he'd spent most of it in his bones, sleeping, unsure of his reality. Half here, half there. Then Mom had spoken to him and put a bowl of catnip beside him. His focus cleared; he left his bones.
Today, Naanaa remembers the tribe of pocket mice living under this shed.

Something is off.
The scent is there, behind the hay bale. Naanaa flicks his whiskers; why does the scent seem so far away?
(Muzi - )
(Come here. Quiet.)
Muzi creeps closer, long belly fur sweeping the hay dust in a careful path across the floor. He's trying to stay low, as though the food might be hiding above. Naanaa faces the hay bale as Muzi's face comes even with his. 
(You smell mice?)
Muzi's nostrils flare, curious. (No mice. No catnip.)
(No Muzi. Not mice from Mom. Real mice. Food mice.)
(Food mice? Eat mice?)
Muzi shifts his weight back. He's unsure of this idea. (From Mom?)
(No. Mice from Mom - toys. Real mice - food.)
(Mice - food. Not from Mom.)

(Not from Mom - how?)
(Catch mice. Like catching toy with Boy.)
(Catch like toy! Fun!) Muzi's tail is wagging and he has stood all the way up.
(Yes. Fun. First hide from toy.)
(Oh yes.) Muzi drops his chin and belly to the ground enthusiastically, long tail still sweeping the floor like the wing of a snow angel. 
(Now wait. Toy will get hungry, come for hay, horse food.)
(Then catch?)
(Then catch.)

It feels like forever, but Muzi is single-minded; focus is his forte. He is stealthy by accident. 

Finally, tiny whiskers emerge between the floorboards and the wall, from a hole barely the size of Muzi's nose. 
The whiskers disappear. 
(oh, sorry Naanaa.)
(Ok, wait. Quiet until caught.)
(Ok Naanaa.)

After a silence the length of a catnap, the whiskers emerge again. Muzi contains himself. 
Whiskers are followed by a nose, and eyes. Cautious, so cautious. The mouse smells cat, but only the kitten-cat, the not-scary cat. More hungry than scared. There's a pellet of horse feed fallen between the hay bale and the feed bag. Sweet, sweet scent - it overpowers the smell of once-here human and now-here kitten-cat. So hungry. The mouse takes tentative steps, then scurries to the pellet.
(HAHA!) Muzi's soft paw pins the mouse to the floor. The pellet spins into the corner. 
(Two paws, Muzi!)
But Naanaa's instruction is too late - the mouse careens out from under Muzi's paw.
Naanaa leaps to catch the disoriented mouse, but his claws - (I didn't miss!) - don't catch the escapee.
(Muzi, two paws! Claws! Here!)
Muzi's joyous pounce takes him over Naanaa and he lands squarely on his prey. Muzi closes his teeth around the captured mouse and shakes it like a squeaky toy. The resulting crunch surprises him, and he drops it. 
(Naanaa? Toys don't crunch?)
(It's ok Muzi, food crunches.)
Muzi's eyes light up, thinking of his bowl in the kitchen. 
(Smells funny Naanaa.)
(Eat it, Muzi. No more hungry.)

A roar interrupts Muzi's contemplation - Mom's Truck in the gravel driveway. 
Naanaa flinches.
(Mom home! Dinner!)
(Yes Muzi. Go home.)
(Mom like mouse?)
Muzi runs through the hole in the shed, mouse in tow, to greet Mom at the front door.

Naanaa fades into his bones, shaken.
(Altar-home), he thinks.
Sleep takes him.

1 comment:

  1. "he'd spent most of it in his bones" such a telling line...