He knew that enticing aroma. A mixture of fragrant peanut butter. It was a change of pace from yesterday’s bread loaf, and didn’t require chewing through the plastic bread bag to get it.
But Tick knew the risk. That aroma was attached to a trap. Tick could see the big steel bar. One nibble the wrong way, and that bar would come crashing down on his head. Instant death.
No. The aroma couldn’t hold back. Must have. Must taste.
One nibble. Nothing. No danger.
Two nibbles. Nothing. The hoop stayed put.
Three nibbles. And suddenly, Tick could feel the sliver of peanut butter give way under his nose. In an instant, the hoop activated with a snap.
Wait. The hoop landed across Tick’s body. It didn’t hit him in the head or in the neck.
The trap activated, but it didn’t kill him.
But Tick knew he had only moments to escape. The trap made a very loud whacking sound, and whoever laid the trap would surely come to investigate.
Wiggle. Wriggle. Ugh. The bar was heavy. Tick squeaked in pain.
But slowly… ever so slowly… Tick slid his furry body down the side of the trap. I can do this, he thought. I can escape the clutches.
It hurts so much. But escape meant so much more.
One chance. Almost there.
Push. Wiggle. Push. Wiggle.
And after a few agonizing minutes …
Tick pulled himself free from the mouse trap.
I’ve got to get out of here, Tick thought. Got to warn the others. We need to escape.
There’s an escape hole in the kitchen. If Tick can get to the escape hole, he can make it to the basement, where his family and others of his kind lived in the shadows. Perhaps it is a time to find a new home, Tick thought. I have to warn the others.
There’s a panel behind the fridge. The humans will never catch me. And I’ll be back with my brothers and sisters, and we’ll declare war on this human. We’ll bring the fleas and mites on our backs to infect his children. We’ll chew their food and cause it to spoil. We will breed faster than he can kill us.
Got to keep moving. Got to escape. The hole in the wall is just behind the fridge. Tick can see it.
But as he scurried closer to the wall, Tick felt a numb pain in the back of his neck. Just some pain from trying to escape the mouse trap, he thought. I’m almost there. I can recover and heal with my kind. Just a few scurries away.
Tick thought of his family in the basement. The loved ones that he planned on impregnating as soon as he got to them, to share his vermin seed and propagate an army of mice against this human usurper. My numbers will be legion, Tick thought. My children shall avenge my injuries. And my grandchildren will sing of their deeds. It is not over.
Ow. More pain along his neck. But he can’t stop now. The escape hole is within sight. Just a few steps more.
Just a few steps more. He can see freedom. Freedom and revenge. Tick will not be dissuaded.
As he is about to crawl into the hole, he feels a stunning blow upon the back of the neck; a blinding white light blazes all about him with a sound like the crack of a whip – then all is darkness and silence!
Tick was dead; his body, with a broken neck, lay motionless under the hoop of the mousetrap in the kitchen of the home on Owl Creek Avenue.