The Unsung Hero

Moumita Dutta posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-48 on 2023-01-24

The aroma of delicious food wafted through the only opening of my room- a tiny hole. I went closer and peeked through it. The world outside looked like a kaleidoscope of changing colours. Shiny and dull objects zipped past my eyes. I retreated, scared.  I checked my babies. They were squirming in pain ‘cause of the rising hunger. Yesterday, my search for food ended in vain. We slept on an empty stomach. And today, the usually desolate area is buzzing with activity.  They are many in number. How will I get past them? What if someone spots me? I’ll end up dead, and my body will be disposed of in a stinky dungeon only to be abused further. I felt miserable.  No, I can’t sit back. I have to fight my fears and step out. I’ll do all it takes to keep my children alive. I glanced at my babies. Hang in there, sweeties! Mama will return soon with food.  I scanned the ground thoroughly. They were eating and drinking happily, but not a single morsel was in sight. How careless of them to not drop a piece for the lesser mortals! We are the dejected lot, but we too, have the right to live. I waited patiently, wishing for them to fault.  Splat! Bingo! I somersaulted with joy as a small chunk dropped on the floor. That would do good for a day, but fetching it would be challenging. Fear took over for a moment but failed to overpower my determination.   All I need to do is dodge the prying eyes and stomping feet, grab it quickly, and run for my life. I have to be watchful. One wrong move and my kids will be orphaned.  I mapped my route and ran at lightning speed as if Mihos was after me. I secured the crumb between my teeth and lingered. The way back looks safe. I’ll follow the same path. Anyway, they are too busy to notice me. Mama's coming home, sweeties!  Thud!  I looked up and stared innocently.  Within seconds, I found myself trapped in a rumpus. Everyone was running hither-thither without care. How can I, a tiny benign mouse, scare the hell out of these robust sapiens?  Squeak! Someone stamped on my tail.  Squeeaakk! My head...   I can’t die here. Not today. Slowly, I slithered through the maze of scurrying feet and took refuge under a chair. I’ll make a run from here. Nothing can stop me from reaching my kids.  This time, I ran so fast that even Bastet herself would’ve failed to catch me. I didn’t stop until I was safe within the walls of my room. And all this while, I never let go of the morsel for once. The ruckus couldn’t slacken a mother's grit.  While my children savoured the crumb happily, I felt proud and contented that I didn’t fail my kids.  Will they ever honour my efforts once they grow and evolve? I wonder if it’s too much to wish for!    Glossary: Bastet and Mihos - Mihos was the son of Bastet, the Egyptian goddess of cats.   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!