Vincent the Vole
Vincent the Vole sat in his usual spot in the top left corner of a basement window, nestled in a vole-sized hole he had nibbled in the screen mesh to rest his soft downy tummy on.
He would wait there all day after he had preened and cleaned himself and had his usual breakfast. He would even return after dark, if it was a cloudless sky, and gaze up to the glinting stars and silvery moon that peered between the solemn buildings that formed the outside world.
Those that passed by on the street above took no notice of Vincent. The rhythmic clipity-clop of their hurried shoes following the rhythm of the day.
On the rare occasion someone did glance down, usually from the insistent tugging of their wet-nosed dog, their distant and sad eyes never lingered long enough to see Vincent’s vole-ish smile, before with the tug of the lead, they continued on, only the dog’s backward glance seeing the way it faded as they turned away.
Vincent didn’t mind though. The war had taken its toll on everyone, and even though the buildings were being rebuilt to the ringing of stone and hammers, pulleys and mortar, like a symbol of hope and healing to the town, the memories still lingered in the eyes of those that remained.
I guess, thought Vincent, people take a bit longer to heal than stone.
By now, you may be wondering why Vincent sat there in the same spot every day?
Well, that’s a curious story, and even curiouser from its beginnings…
I will start from the beginning, which seems a good place to start, even though that’s not where I began.
As with some stories, but not all, something bad happens. That does not mean to say it ends badly, just that it may start that way, but we always hope that from that bad beginning, something good will come. It may not be at once and more bad things may happen, but bad things don’t stay bad for long, and good things don’t happen for long either, all we can hope for is that there are more good things than bad things in our life and through the bad things, we will grow stronger to enjoy the good things more when they come into our life and even make the bad things seem less bad when then come.
As I said, some stories begin with something bad happening, and Vincent was no exception.
Vincent had very few memories of his family. He was only a vol’ing when he lost them. His last memory was of his mother’s hand, her grip, desperate and fearful, as she dragged him along a shelf of assorted dark and scary dolls before hurriedly hiding him in a dusty doll's house. He felt her soft arms around him, her wet tears on his cheek. She said something to him, but her words were stolen by a shadow with green eyes and he never saw her again.
Vincent hid deeper into the depths of the doll’s house as the shadow paced in front of the doll's house, a flash of green peering through the windows at every turn.
Scarcely daring to breathe, Vincent watched from the shadows until he could no longer keep his eyes open, for he was only a little vole, and the alluring blanket of sleep overwhelmed him.
The next morning, Vincent awoke with a fright. The doll's house lurched this way and that, rising from the ground into the chubby arms of a greasy, fat man with a bulbous red nose, his stringy black hair combed over a his balding head. his breath laboured, and I might add, unsavourily unpleasant, as he awkwardly struggled to carry the doll’s house.
From the surrounding shelves, the dolls looked on. Their eyes full of pity for the poor vole and what would befall him as the greasy fat man lumbered towards the front door, unwittingly taking Vincent like a prisoner to his final end.
From behind the dolls a green-eyed shadow smiled a cruel farewell.
Vincent stifled a squeak.
The door opened before him. The light of the day flooded in. Vincent thought he heard a hiss from within the building and pictured the green-eyed shadow skulking deeper into the shadows, out of sight of the light.
Vincent thought this was his chance to escape and ran for the little doll's house door, but at that moment the greasy fat man tripped. The lurching so violent that Vincent lost his balance and rolled back into the doll's house.
The greasy fat man managed to right himself and with a groan lowered the doll's house into the trunk of a waiting car. Vincent’s last image was of the gaping hairy nostrils of the red nosed man and the last unpleasant smell of his unsavoury breath.
The force of the landing rolled poor Vincent into a doll's house sized clothes cupboard, the door slammed behind him trapping poor Vincent inside.
The trunk slammed shut and with a whine and a cough the car pulled away, bumping and bouncing to the rhythm of the road. The drone of the car drowning the sounds of Vincent’s terror until he was overcome with fear and fainted.
Vincent didn’t know how long he was asleep for but awoke to the sound of a girl’s gentle voice speaking softly to him… or was she speaking to something else?
Vincent freed himself from the confines of the clothes cupboard and tentatively peered out through the front window. He found he was in a basement, not unlike the one he lives in now, in fact very much like the one he is in now, for as you have already suspected, because I know you as the reader are very intelligent and know theses things, it is the one and the same.
In front of the doll’s house sat an assortment of dolls, but unlike the ones from his former abode, these seemed festive, dressed for a summer’s day, sitting like ladies on a patchwork quilt, a decorative china cup and saucer in front of each of them.
At the head of the group, pouring tea into each of the cups, sat an auburn-haired girl in the most summery-est frock, her soft blue eyes looking at each party goer in turn, nodding very adult-like, as adults often do.
The girls blue eyes flashed in Vincent’s direction. Vincent felt his heart stop in his little chest and darted back into the doll's house, but it was too late…
“Hello, Mr. Mouse.”said the girl. Her voice the sound of fragrant flowers on a warm summer’s day.
Vincent felt the eyes of the dolls turn to him and slipped deeper into the doll’s house. He would have stayed there if it was not for the fact of what the girl said. The thought of being compared to a mouse was too much for him, my apologies to any mice reading this, or to those that own a mouse, but voles are very particular about getting things right, and to be told you are one thing when you are another is very discombobulating for a vole, so with as much vole-ish courage as Vincent could muster he lifted his head high and stepped out through the front door.
To be continued…