FathomOnline

 

 Fathom 2000

Cover

 

Inside Cover

 

Poetry

Vicki Combden (2)
Maud Alexandra Arthur (2)
Jennifer Lyn Durkee
David Lee
Ritu Malhotra
Kent Fraser
Cameron Thorne-Humphrey (2)
Gina M. Granter

Prose

Shawna Ferris
Jane Affleck
Phil Neville

[PDF]

Jane Affleck

 

 

Shared Accommodations

     We arrive every night and it is always the same. We go about our work until she wakes, bolts upright in bed, flings back the covers. Turns on the light, glares indignantly with beady, puffy eyes from her side of the room. Watches. We stop and wait, sometimes shying from the sudden brightness of the lamp, retreating into the shadows, behind a shoe or under the desk. Sometimes we’ll conceal ourselves from her sight, or leave altogether, until all is once again quiet and we can proceed with our tasks.
     Most nights we can work in this way, starting, stopping and starting again, several times over, until finally she rises from the bed to defend her property. To reclaim it and fortify it. One might think we were actually doing her a favour. After all, come and a certain night of each week, she will take this seemingly valuable property of hers and abandon it on the curb­side to be taken away with all the rest. So, it is evi­dent that she doesn’t want it. Yet she prefers not to have us dispose of it, or make use of it as we will. Instead we’ll seize this small collection of things and place it just out of our reach. On a slippery-legged chair on top of the sink sill [four unclear words] it’s not that we want all of it anyway, merely the few remnants of comestible items: an apple core, a raisin or two, oat crumbs. We take only what we need. It seems fair. It’s not much.
     Yet she does leave us something. She and the other tall one co-operated with some enthusiasm in providing us with a paltry amount of sustenance. Special feeding dishes were procured and an unimpressive quantity of a nutty substance placed upon them. These, about four in number, they dispersed throughout the house. Placed with such care and thought as to where we might most easily access them. Far from the prodding of their clumsy, blind toes, while obstructing our most frequented paths.
     Such generosity: at first we were overwhelmed - and taken in. The more clever among us were suspicious and waited for the less wary to verify the sincerity of the gesture. After all, this didn’t fall in line with their other behaviour.
     As it turned out, our doubts were well founded. To begin with, we mourned the loss of the unsuspecting victims: sometimes young, sometimes older, all weak. We watched with frustration, regret, and a deep sense of how weak we all are, as the tall ones gathered the small, stiffened bodies with distaste and disposed of them, placing them in another bag to be taken to the curb.
     Now, we are thankful for the service. Ultimately, this will be more beneficial to us than to themselves. Temporarily our numbers drop, but what doesn’t kill us, all of us, makes us stronger. They think they can rid their homes of we mice, but we shall never be eradicated. One day will be capable of outsmarting all their traps. We will find ways. There is always another way.

 

last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul