Subterranean Tales: The Gluttony of Harold The(o) Rat

by admin on August 10, 2011

Subterranean Tales

The Gluttony of Harold The(o) Rat

All he wanted was a few more nibbles on the delicious chicken bone and look what it had cost him. The odd thing was that he didn’t need the extra food. In the past couple of years Harold’s body mass had increased drastically, forcing him to have to squeeze into the tiny crack in the subway wall that he had called home since birth. He remembered in skinnier times how he used to scramble along the tracks with unparalleled speed, darting in and out of the wooden rails with an uncanny ease, his tail whisking behind him, flailing about from all the movement he created. Now he was fat, bloated and not a quarter of the speed he used to be. Giving his present predicament, this last statement was all too true.

The sad thing was he was only about seven to eight feet away from his destination, his home. Harold’s home was only six by six inches; a crack in the wall formed over time from stress and piss poor construction on the developers part. In the five years of his existence, he hadn’t known any other home. He took great pride in knowing every nook and cranny around his crack, a necessary survival tactic on these tracks. His eyes roll in the direction of the one and only place he has ever called home and he makes one last effort to reach it, scraping his front claws along the railways filthy concrete surface but it is all in vain as his hind legs aren’t responding as he would have expected. Confused, he stops, taking a moment to gather his wits.

How could this have happened to him? In all his years on this earth, nothing like had come close to this, this… well, he didn’t know exactly what this was, it had all happened so quickly. Harold had been in rough situations before: Fending off younger males from trying to take over his home, evading the humans with the fluorescent orange and yellow vests who occasionally tried to capture and poison him (he had become aware of the strange, odd smelling food they sprinkled around his home and knew better than to eat of it. Many of his kind had grown ill, acting erratic and in the span of a single day, stopped moving all together, even after he had nudged them with his own body), and the biggest obstacle, the trains.

The trains were easy to avoid for the most part. He could feel the vibrations given off from the rails and ground almost a good five minutes before a train pulled up to his home, making for a more than easy escape from the gigantic, roaring metal monsters. From the safety of his home he watched them approach, white eyes lighting the otherwise dark tunnels that he ran through daily, noise increasing as they would slow down right in front of his crack. With a high pitched scream and one final lurch, it came to a grinding halt, releasing and picking up humans, transporting them to wherever humans go and live. He had watched this same orchestration of humans and trains for as long as he could remember, never being in either one of their paths when they appeared or came remotely near him.

Even with the accumulated knowledge of his many years on the tracks he had still managed to bring on his current dilemma. He hears a scraping of claws not too far from where he is, almost as if another of his kind were sneaking up on him; perhaps another younger rat challenging him for his home once again. He uses his fronts claws to turn his body around to face this potential new threat but only manages to turn a quarter of the way, as if something was holding him back, pulling him. He bares his teeth showcasing two rather large, rather sharp front ones as a means of intimidation against his enemies; a tactic that has served him well in the past.

But there is no enemy. There is no threat. The only thing Harold sees is the lower half of his own body with its hind legs convulsing wildly with a mind of their own, kicking and clawing at the floor beneath it, a pool of burgundy tinted blood underneath. The hint of a severed spinal cord along with a burst stomach stare back at him, entrails leading directly to his torso. It was his own intestines that had prevented him from turning completely around, their yellowish, thick, knotted cords coated with a light sheen of blood, the only thing holding his two halves together. Surprisingly, he feels no pain. The train had managed to splice his body almost surgically in half without so much of a yelp of pain from him.

All this over a piece of chicken; a bone no less. It can’t end like this, he thinks as his one primal survival tactic kicks in and he starts to turn his head the last quarter inch towards the strands of his innards and bites down hard. There is no pain as he gnaws through the rubbery substance before him. The fur around his nose and eyes are soon caked in his own blood and small bits of innards as his chewing then spitting of his insides continues. After a few minutes, his entire head is coated with the remains of his stomach, liver, lungs and blood but this doesn’t stop him, the chewing frenzy continues. In the background he can hear a commotion of sorts briefly halting his attempt at freedom. With a turn of his head, he looks up to the top of the platform where humans of all sizes have stopped to stare and point at the determined rat below. A bright flash of light temporarily blinds him as a small boy snaps a picture of his efforts; probably for show-n-tell at his school come next day. Back to work.

Unfortunately for Harold, that pausing would be his undoing as whatever brain functions that remained vanished in that last thought and action. His arms relax, his eyes gloss over and like that, he is no more. Harold who once fought off two younger males at the same time over feeding rights to half a bag of peanut M&M’s (it had cost him a small patch of fur from his left hind leg), who once fucked upwards to eight or nine females, spawning close to ninety offspring, who prided himself for surviving so long on his own, done in by a three day old piece of chicken. The bone is less than two feet from him as he died on the very tracks where he was born.

Less than a minute later, another rat appears, surveys the scene, scampers over to the severed remains of Harold giving him a once over before proceeding to the bone lying in front of him. He opens his mouth producing a set of his own large teeth and drags it backwards to a small six inch crack just as the vibrations of an oncoming train are felt through its small paws and feet. Perfect, he thinks as the train arrives, white eyes lighting the otherwise dark tunnel.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Pixie 09.18.11 at 11:46 am

Another good one:)

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