by Keira Andrews
Rats. Claw licking. Whisker tweaking. Tail curling. Rats. They live above me. I can hear them each night. Their weight shifts over creaking panels. I lie beneath them. Listening. The ceiling groans. The rats pace. Waiting.
Dad says the mousetraps will get them. Each morning he brings down the untouched bate. Gramps was the one who suggested the poison. Poison in bowls in the attic. Yet still, no corpses to be found.
The rats have been getting heavier. The ceiling moans louder. My parents can’t hear them anymore. But I can. The rats play above me. I can hear them walk.
But rats don’t walk. Can they? And surely it isn’t one step at a time.
Now I lay in the darkness on another moonless night. I begin to realise that rats scuttle. They scurry across attic space. They eat food on trays. They flee when threatened. But the rats play above me. I can hear them. Groan. One pace. Creak. Another foot follows.
It’s been like this for as long as I can remember. The rats pace at night.
Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Close your eyes and drift right by. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. It’s only the rats playing in the attic tonight. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Ignore the footsteps pacing by. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
The attic door slams open. The metal ladder slides down.
I am awake. The rats have come to play.
About the author:
Keira Andrews grew up in North Yorkshire countryside and has always loved to write – often as an alternative to schoolwork – but thought it was just something to fill her time. After re-writing chapters of Thomas Hardy’s ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ into a tale about mermaids – to understand it better for her exams – Keira began to think of taking writing more seriously, and is at present studying Creative and Professional Writing at Nottingham University, armed with a black book full of story ideas, short stories, poetry and flash fiction. She is also ‘playing about with a novel-length piece of work based in the medieval era’.