By Sarah L.
Grade 11, Montana

˘Ha! I found you, Harry!÷ Margaret Ann shrieks as she finds me during our riveting game of hide-and-go-seek. ˘You cheated, Margaret Ann!! You counted to five, and Steve and I barely had time to hide anywhere!÷ I playfully yell back. I squeeze out of the castle and scurry over to my water. I tilt my head up so my mouth can reach the little metal nozzle looking down at me. Margaret Ann, Steve, and I all share the same cage. ItĂs not bad, though, like living in a tiny crowded cage. Ours is very spacious with lots of comfy bedding. We have our castle, similar to one found in a fish tank but much larger. We also have those tubes snaking around the perimeter of the cage, sometimes crossing in the middle. TheyĂre great for hide-and-go-seek! Then, thereĂs the wheel. That ominous wheel. It towers over us, glaring down at us as if to say ŠI dare you.Ă Margaret Ann and Steve have been on the wheel, and they love it. They think that me being scared of the wheel is absolutely ridiculous. I always try and explain to them that I do live up to the common assumption about us¨I am a very scared mouse. That thing, that ˘play÷ thing, is nothing more than a large, heavy piece of plastic about to fall on my head and crush me. IĂve tried before to muster up enough courage to face it, but every time I end up backing out. Steve and Margaret Ann are always trying to get me on that thing, but I do such a good job at retaliating that they give up. That works for me because then I donĂt have to keep defending myself against them and say the same thing to them over and over again. The three of us really enjoy living together. We were all adopted from the same Mouse Adoption Agency (MAA). IĂm just about to turn two while Margaret Ann and Steve are both four and a half. I have a handsome, sleek coat of gray fur, although I like to refer to it as silver. Margaret Ann has a combination of tan, long fur with white speckles and a white tail. She is a very out-going, opinionated mouse. Steve is a black, short-haired mouse with a gray chest and white on his back and the tips of his toes. He is a strong mouse with an unbelievable caring heart. Our lives, probably contrary to popular belief, are not boring at all. In fact, they are quite the opposite. We have so many activities to choose from everyday¨the possibilities are endless! I hate it when those ignorant humans assume we have such a boring life and our life must be terrible because we have nothing to do. That is absolute gobbledygook! Anyways, enough of ű ˘Harry!÷ Steve yells at me to come eat dinner. Oh dinner! So, of course we get that generic mouse food sometimes, but most of the time we get a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains. ItĂs quite delicious. The three of us enjoy it greatly. No meat though¨it upsets our stomachs. As we sit down around the food bowl, we talk about our days. ˘Well, it started off very well. I got a great night sleep¨the new arrangement of bedding IĂve got going on is great, you should try it!¨but then I was exercising on the wheel and I slipped and fell. I have a bruise right here, I can show you,÷ Steve tells us and proceeds to lift up his left leg to show us the bruise on his outside calf. ˘ThatĂs terrible!÷ Margaret Ann exclaims. ˘I told you! I tell you over and over that the wheel is just an accident waiting to happen!÷ I chime in while chewing on a sunflower seed. ˘Oh, put a cork in it, Harry,÷ Margaret Ann barks at me, looking at the hurt expression on SteveĂs face. ˘Steve, donĂt listen to Harry, what does he know? He canĂt judge that wheel¨heĂs never even set foot on it!÷ ˘I knowÓ butÓ letĂs just drop it,÷ Steve mumbles. I feel really bad so I apologize to Steve. ˘I was way out of line there, Steve. Margaret Ann is right; I have never been on it so IĂm really in no position to talk.÷ ˘Thanks, Harry,÷ Steve looks up with a smile on his face. Margaret Ann sighs and continues to nibble her strawberry. We talk about the rest of our days. ˘MAAĂs stock has gone down considerably,÷ Steve informs us. ˘It just must not be the same as it used to be,÷ he says as he shakes his head and gnaws on an oat. ˘ItĂs a shame, really,÷ I comment. As we finish eating, I look over at the wheel and think about what Margaret Ann and Steve said to me. Maybe I do need to experience the wheel. Maybe I should experience the wheel. I quickly rid the thought from my mind. We all take turns at the water then head off to our separate corners to go to bed. ˘Night, guys,÷ I say as I situate my bedding to my liking. ˘Good night,÷ Steve and Margaret Ann say in unison. As soon as my head hits my pillow of bedding, I start drifting in and out of sleep. The thoughts of the menacing wheel fill my dreams. I wake up in a cold sweat. Sitting up, I see itĂs a little before the crack of dawn. I stare straight at the wheel and do not take my eyes off of it. ŠI will conquer my fear of this wheel,Ă I tell myself. ŠSteve and Margaret Ann are right. It is ridiculous to be so scared of this piece of plastic.Ă I slowly stand up, still groggy from my terrible nightĂs sleep. I stumble towards the wheel and look up at it. It looks even more monstrous close up. I take a deep breath and decide to fight my ultimate fear. I put one foot on a rung, slip for a second, and then regain my balance. Then the other foot. I start walking, very very slowly. ŠThis isnĂt so bad,Ă I think to myself as I bounce along. I actually find myself starting to enjoy this monster that is becoming less daunting by the minute. I start to pick up the pace, then go into a run. It is so much fun! Now I understand what Steve and Margaret Ann were talking about! Suddenly, I loose my footing. I topple and stumble for the rest of the wheel rotations until it stops rotating because I am stuck in it. My foot is jammed in between a rung near the bottom and the bedding of the cage. I have trouble breathing because one of the rungs is pushing itself into my neck with rapidly greater force. I start seeing double, and my vision blurs. I try to cry out, but barely anything comes out. Suddenly, I see someone running toward me. I think it is Steve trailed my Margaret Ann. ˘Steve!!÷ I yelp, well, as much of a yelp as I can muster. ˘Hold on, Harry! WeĂre coming as fast as we can!÷ Steve replies back. ˘Hurry, Steve, hurry!÷ I hear Margaret Ann say, although IĂm gradually losing my hearing at this point. They both rush toward me and hurriedly pull me out of the trap that I am in. Steve hovers over me saying, ˘CĂmon buddy, stay with us,÷ while Margaret Ann rushes to fetch the water. I close my eyes then open them quickly. I blink rapidly so as not to pass out. My vision clouds black for a good year, or so it seems. Then I feel my mouth being pried open and a cool liquid being poured inside. I open my eyes but just a slit. I see Margaret Ann is the one pouring the water into my mouth while Steve anxiously looks on. I sputter and cough the water out. I sit up with the help of Steve. I look at them, but I canĂt say anything. They can see the thanks in my eyes. Steve is the first to speak. ˘Harry, you nearly scared me to death. I think I can pretty much figure out what happened. You decided to try your hand at the wheel, didnĂt you?÷ I force a nod. ˘You know Margaret Ann and I are only pulling your leg when we make fun of you for that. We never wanted this to happen. IĂm really sorry,÷ Steve goes on. ˘Me too, Harry. IĂm so sorry that you felt pressured to do this,÷ Margaret Ann adds. I cough, and then manage to talk. ˘ItĂsÓ itĂs okay. It wasnĂt your fault, either of you. I did this to try and prove to myself that I could do it. I think I wonĂt be getting on that thing for a while. Maybe in the future I can have another go at it.÷ ˘Good idea, Harry,÷ Steve responds as he pats me on the back. ˘Hey,÷ he continues, ˘IĂm really hungry. How bout it, Harry, you up for a little breakfast?÷ ˘Yeah, I am. After all that I worked up quite an appetite!÷ I tell him. All three of us chuckle as they help me up. Then, with one of them on each side of me to support me while I walk, we meander over to eat breakfast.

Back to Other_Topics