Milton’s Quest–Inspired by Kristi West

And now for another great story idea from Kristi West. Kristi has had the winning story idea 2 weeks in a row…can she go for a threepeat? Well, if you haven’t yet, check out the other 2 stories that were inspired by her ideas. Scourge and Cake. Here’s her newest story idea (she had some help from her hubby Drew)…

Milton is a small brown mouse.

Setting: In a castle where his home happens to be.

Conflict: He needs to get past the cat to the dungeons where a cheese hoarding rat has his girlfriend held hostage.

Get ready, folks. This one might just be a tear jerker (ha ha)

Give ear! Give ear to my tale of dastardly felines and ignoble rodents! Pay heed, dear friends, to the romance of one mouse and his darling love, his life, his lady.

Who is this mouse of much renown and fortune? Who could it be, this hero of epic lore? Who has the honor and courage to face even the fiercest of foe?

Well, actually, it is I. Milton. The very runt of my litter.

Yes, I am a hero. You had no idea, did you? Most people don’t. They see the thick lenses in my glasses and the pocket protector and think, “yeah, that mouse can’t do anything”.  It is true, I’m not knight material. But, you know, love can make just about anyone climb to the top of impossibility. It can make the weakling possess the strength of determination. And love can take a dolt and transform him into a man with the wisdom of the owl.

(editor’s note: glasses and pocket protector for a medieval era mouse? Hmm…not exactly historically accurate.)

I raise my glass to you, Love! For, if not inspired by your power, I would have been doomed to remain alone, in the castle, eating moldy cheese and stale bread crusts.

(editor’s note: Milton goes on and on like this for a few thousand words…edited for your enjoyment. This mouse is really long winded.)

So, where was I?

Ah, yes. I, Milton would like to share with you to tale of my legendary voyage and epic battle against the evil tyrant cat and the greedy rat.

It all began one day, long ago…last week (come on, a mouse doesn’t live very long).

The home of my childhood is but a hole in the wall of a castle. Lowly serf mice that we were, we survived on the meager scraps from the table of the humans. We would scurry about their large, fetid feet. You know, people are so fussy about rodents being filthy plague spreaders. At least we have half a mind to lick ourselves clean several times a day. I mean, humans, come on. Ye’ll stink.

(editor’s note: it should be noted that Milton is from the south of his imaginary land…”ye’ll” is typical in that vernacular for “you all”. Also common in that region: moonshine and banjos)

Scavenging for food off the floor was our livelihood and our service to the lord of the manor.

“With all these mice about,” he’d said. “I was able to rid the castle of all brooms. These silly, little creatures collect everything that touches the floor.”

For generations, we have served that lord.

(editor’s note: it should be understood that, considering the length of pregnancy for a common mouse (18-20 days), a generation of mice would switch over every few months or so…therefore, Milton’s family was only in service to that lord for about 1 year)

Last week, whilst ridding the banquet floor of, what came before my beady little eyes? Be still my heart as it flutters with love even after all these seven days. But I met eyes with the beauty for which I’ve been searching all of my life.

(editor’s note: So sorry to interrupt again…but you need to know that mice only live for about 2 years. But, undomesticated mice live only 3 months…so, really, our Milton hadn’t been searching for THAT long)

I saw her from across the room. She walked briskly across the floor, carrying far too much food for her strength. When she saw me, she stopped and gasped just slightly. She could hardly bare to look away from me as she carried the food. I knew in that very moment that I was dangerously deeply drowning in love.

(editor’s note: It is actually impossible to drown in love. Love is not a liquid. It is also not a solid, for that matter. Although it might be a gas. Science has yet to weigh in on that issue)

If only, dear friend, you could have beheld her with your own eyes. You would see her beauty. Her downy cheek. The deep brown of her eyes. The brilliant curve of her body…

(editor’s note: In order to prevent any gagging on the part of the reader, the following 1,000 words describing Milton’s “love’s” appearance has been removed. Suffice it to say, she was his type.)

Needless to say, I fell for her quickly. But was mute whenever I found occasion to speak with her. I would merely gaze at her. Often, without her knowing. If she scurried through the castle, I would follow just to be near her. Many nights I would sneak into her room to watch her sleep and wonder if she dreamed of me as I constantly dreamed of her.

(editor’s note: We do not condone stalking. It’s creepy and not romantic in the least. We regret that Milton found it acceptable and necessary to do so.)

Listening to her talk to her friends, I gathered that her name was Brunhilda. Ah. Brunhilda. No sweeter name ever did grace such a beauty. Such poetry in that name. Such a light and dancing lilt. Minstrels could not do the name Brunhilda justice even with the most flowery of song.

My very own Brunhilda.

And after only having her in my life for a few days, she was gone. Seemingly vanished. Like a vapor in the wind. A phantom in the night. As an ephemeral mist that dissipates before one can but hold it…

(editor’s note: Milton goes on to list 27 terrible metaphors. Just terrible. Sickening, really.)

Rumor had it that my very own, lovely Brunhilda was trapped in the dungeon. Alas! Alack! Forsooth? What injustice! How could such a lovely creature be mistreated so? What could she have possibly done to deserve such abuse?

I knew in that very moment that there was but one thing that I must do. I knew that I must rescue her.

My quest would not have been advised if I hadn’t collected plenty of gear for my long journey. A sword, extra food, some kind of potion that rendered all who drank it some kind of altered state. I packed them all in my satchel and was on my way.

(editor’s note: His gear consisted of a toothpick for a sword and the potion was a small sip of wine. Also, his long journey was only a few hundred feet. I will, however, give Milton the benefit of the doubt. Poor little guy had some short legs.)

My first obstacle was at the entrance to the dungeon. It was there, a ferocious feline named Ed resided. He was the stuff of legends, eating as many as 4 mice in one gulp. None had ever vanquished him. I feared that I would just be one of his many meals. However, my life was but little payment that my Brunhilda could be rescued. And, so, I confronted my fear.

“Avast, yon feline!” I yelled, jumping in front of Ed. “I do not fear you, sir. Nor do I respect you.”

“Do you know what avast means, little mouse?” Ed asked. “It is an instruction to cease. To hold fast.”

“And what of it?”

“Did you happen to see what I was doing when you approached? I was, in fact, doing absolutely nothing. Therefore, your command of ‘avast’ was unnecessary.”

“You will not prevent me from entering the dungeon!”

“Of course not. Why would I prevent you? You, my dear friend, are delusional.”

“But what of your carnivorous desires?”

“Oh, that? You, no doubt, have heard of my mouse eating exploits.”

“That I have,” I said, thrusting my sword in the air.

“Lies. All of them.”

“Why should I believe you?”

“Because, dear sir, if I ate a mouse I would be dreadfully ill. I am, after all, lactose intolerant.”

(editor’s note: I feel silly even mentioning this, but, I must. In medieval days they didn’t know what a lactose intolerance was. That condition wouldn’t be commonly known for another 500+ years. But, then again, there is no such thing as a talking mouse.)

 And so the cat let me by. He did, however, request a sip of my potion. He told me that it would help him relax. It was a small price to pay in order to find my dear Brunhilda.

The dungeons were a dank, terrifying place. I’d known many a mouse who chanced a journey into the dungeons to find extra morsels on which to snack. And those mice were never seen again. It’s been said that they found mazes and mazes of cheese and were lost within them.

I traveled deeper and deeper into the dungeons. I heard a voice echoing against the brick walls.

“Must find more…” the voice said. Over and over. Again and again. It was a haunting voice. Mournful.

Soon, I arrived at the maze of cheese. It was stacked from floor to ceiling, from wall to wall.

(editor’s note: Milton certainly is a wordy little mouse. He goes on describing the maze, how he got lost for a matter of minutes…which to him seemed like years. Finally he encounters the builder of the cheese maze. A rat named Montgomery.)

“You have quite a bit of cheese here, Montgomery,” I said, lowering my sword. I perceived no threat in this rat.

“You think so?” He looked around. “I still feel like the place is empty. I need more. More. MORE!”

“Have you ever thought about cleaning things up a bit?” I sniffed, breathing in the odor. Like feet mingling with food.

“Don’t you dare touch my cheese!” Montgomery’s voice became shrill. “I will rid this earth of you should you even think twice about manhandling my cheese!”

(editor’s note: Should it be ‘mouse-handling’?)

“Help!” A small voice echoed slightly off the cheese maze. “Help me, someone, please!”

“Who is that?” I asked.

“The last one who meddled with my cheese.” Montgomery sneered. “Some little kitchen wench. Came down here to clean things up a bit. Well, I taught her. She was so afraid of me when I backed her into that corner. And now she is powerless, behind a wall of cheese! Bwahahahaha!”

(editor’s note: Bwahahaha is over used on many things from Facebook comments to YouTube videos. This must be regulated.)

“Was it…could it possibly be…Brunhilda?” My heart beat with fear and my stomach clenched with anger. “You wouldn’t dare terrorize my own love.”

“Your love? Oh, that’s rich. A female like her would never give a first glance at you. You are nothing more than an undersized brown mouse. And a nerdy one at that.”

“I have but one question for you, Montgomery.”

“And what is that?”

“Do you ever eat the cheese?”

“My lovely cheese? Of course not. I could never. It would be like eating my very best friend.”

“Then, prepare to meet a very hungry friend of mine. Ed! This one’s dairy free!”

Ed, the famished feline, came running. He swerved a little and giggled a few times, slurring his words and professing his love to me. No matter, he came and in one gulp ate the lactose empty Montgomery.

“Thank you, dear friend,” I said.

“My pleasure,” he burped. “Ah, he was delicious.”

“Help me!” I heard the sing song voice of my Brunhilda.

“Is that a duck being squeezed?” Ed asked. “Or is a bunny being attacked?”

“No, silly cat. That is the voice of my lady love.”

“You are the strangest mouse I’ve ever met.”

“Help! I’m stuck in the cheese!” she yelled.

I followed the song of her voice. I found the wall of cheese that held her captive.

“I am coming my dear!” I had but one choice. All that was to be done was to make a feast out of that wall.

After hours and hours of chewing, I finally broke through. I saw her face. She smiled at me. Oh, the miracle of it all.

Then, after all this time, she finally put her lovely hand on me. She scooped me up and brought me close to her pink face.

“You are the cutest little mouse I ever seen,” she said. “I will keep you forever and always.”

Be still, small heart. Be still.

(editor’s note: Hold on…she scooped him up. Brought him to her pink face…is Brunhilda human?)

“I shall keep you in a small box in my room. And you will be called Speck forever and always.”

Brunhilda set me on her broad shoulder and walked over and around the cheese maze.

And here I am, in the very rapture of true love, living in a small box right beside my very own love.

Happily ever after.

(editor’s note: I’m not sure what just happened there. But I feel it necessary that I take just a moment to apologize to all of you who read this.)

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10 thoughts on “Milton’s Quest–Inspired by Kristi West

  1. You had me smiling at “Give ear” (harkened me back to Mads days) and laughing not too much further in. Love the editor’s notes! Thanks for the much needed laughs 🙂

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  2. Hilarious! Thanks for writing this. Will be out internet connection range for a few weeks. Won’t be able to vote, but will enjoy catching up on the stories when I return.

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  3. ‘Twere a lovely story, likened to the tales of talking mice to which my adolescent mind was drawn to in those far off days of yore. Even tried my hand at writing my own, but never could figure out how to end them happily, when the life of a poor, little rodent is fraught with misery and short besides. Excellent work! And hilarious asides from the editor do much to enhance the joy of the reading.

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