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Vincent the Vole
Part III


Vincent standing on stairs.jpg

The girl with the blue eyes arrived home early from school that day. But there was no skipping, dancing, or tripping along the pavement. Her hurried footsteps told Vincent there was something very, very wrong. He felt his heart jump to her uneasy, fearful steps.

Vincent scurried to the bottom of the basement stairs and waited, and waited, but the girl with the blue eyes never appeared. He waited till the sunset outside, to where, not even the moon or stars dared showed themselves.

The thunder grew closer. A woeful sound of wailing filled the streets. A sound reminiscent of a thousand green-eyed cats. Vincent shuddered. He was not overly fond of cats, especially the black, long-haired cat that lived in the apartment across the hall. For this reason, Vincent rarely went upstairs, for on occasion, the front door had been left open and the green-eyed cat had slipped inside. But Vincent was desperate to find out what had happened, and as the blue-eyed girl had said on occasion. ‘Courage starts with the smallest courageous step.’

Vincent tentatively ascended the stairs and was near the top when thunder rattled the building. Dust fell from the basement rafters. The windows shook and items fell from the shelves. Vincent looked at the dolls whose eyes screamed with fear. Vincent glanced longingly at the door, then with a vole-ish sigh, proceeded down the stairs.

He hadn’t got far when the basement door flung open. The blue-eyed girl and her family rushed past him down the stairs. Vincent scurried this way and that to avoid being trampled underfoot. One of their shoes caught Vincent, and he was knocked off the steps. He fell and fell. Not because of the distance, but because for a vole, a little way always seems like a lot, when you are so small.

Vincent closed his eyes, feeling the wind over his fur and waited for the sudden stop. But to his surprise there was none, only the soft pillowy feel as he landed inside an open sack filled with dolls winter clothes. The ones the blue-eyed girl put under the stairs for the winter. Vincent clambered from the sack and saw the family huddled on the dusty red leather couch in the corner. 
There was another Thunderclap. The room shook and another wave of dust drifted to the floor. The family’s embrace tightened.

“My dolls!” screamed the blue-eyed girl, and before her parents could stop her, jumped from the couch and gathered up her dolls in her arms. 

“Vincent! where’s Vincent?” She said frantically, looking through the dolls house. 

“Who’s Vincent?” said her father, climbing from the couch and leading her back to her mother. 

“My Vincent?! my precious Vincent,” said the blue-eyed girl, bursting into tears.

Her parents looked at each other, confusion on their faces, wondering who this mysterious Vincent was. After a moment, her father smiled and drew her closer between them. “He will be fine. he said, giving his wife a wink,  I’m sure Vincent is resourceful individual and will always show up when you least expect it.” 

Her mother’s eyes smiled. Her husband’s words reminding her why she first fell in love with him. She gave him a kiss on the cheek. Their love overflowed, covering the girl with the blue eyes between them.

 Vincent hurried to the red couch, on hearing his name and climbed up the spiral wooden leg and slid through the gnawed holes. Holes that he himself had not gnawed, but were left there by some very naughty mice. 

Vincent squeezed himself through the gap between the cushions and nestled himself between the dolls and girl, resting his paw on the blue-eyed girls tear streaked cheek.
The girl looked into Vincent's eyes, then with a smile, closed her eyes. It wasn’t long before her breathing deepened and she was soon asleep. 

The thunder rumbled through the night. One thunderclap shaking the room with such force, the basement light winked out with a ‘ffiztt,’ plunging the basement into darkness.
But even with all the noise, the blue-eyed girl never stir, safe in her parents arms, surrounded by those she loved.

The next morning, Vincent woke to find himself in his bed in the doll’s house. The sun streamed through the dolls house window. Vincent thought that was a bit odd that the sun would be doing such a thing, then realised the doll's house had been placed near the basement window. 'What a kind girl,' thought Vincent. To do such a thing.

Vincent leapt from the bed and looked for the blue-eyed girl on the couch, but her, and her family were not there. He did find the dolls though, sleeping peaceably in their beds in the other room of the doll's house, but thought it better to let them rest. 

It was at that moment that he heard the voice of the blue-eyed girl upstairs. She sounded upset.

Vincent scurried along the secret passageway in the basement wall that came out above the fire mantle piece.  The sound of the blue-eyed girl’s voice driving him on.

He exited through a broken vent above the mantlepiece and peered out from behind one of the many family portraits.

The parents were talking to a stranger silhouetted in the darkened doorway. The mother sobbed quietly while the father listened intently, comforting his wife with one hand, the other hand holding a suitcase. 

Vincent gasped… 

They ALL had suitcases!

Vincent scurried back to the dolls house and gathered up his possessions into his little suitcase. He scurried back to the main floor, this time exiting through a vent beneath the couch near the door. 
He arrived just in time to hear the girl begging her mother to say goodbye to the dolls and ask Vincent to look after them till they returned. 

She begged and begged, but the parents took the protesting girl by the hand and led her out the door.  
Vincent ran after them. Suitcase in hand, but it was too late, the door closed behind them. He tried to slip his suit case under the door but it wouldn’t fit. He heard the door lock behind them and their fading footsteps. The sounds of the blue-eyed girls desperate pleas for her to ask Vincent to watch over the dolls, fading with them.

Vincent threw the suitcase aside and squeezed under the door, but it was too late, the family were gone. 

He began to chase them but stopped when he saw the black cat peering through the open door across the hall. Its green eyes flashing its unsavoury intent.

Vincent scurried back under the door and stood with his back pressed against the door, tears rolling down his furry cheeks. His chest heaving with fear and dread, the sounds of the green-eyed cat prowling outside the door.

Vincent stayed like that for a long time. Finally his breathing slowed, his tears dried, the last words from the blue-eyed girl filled his mind.

With a sigh, Vincent picked up his suitcase and slowly headed to the basement. 

He unpacked his suitcase. Put his clothes into the little set of draws beside his bed. Washed away the salty tears from his face in the little bedside basin. 

He looked into the mirror above the basin for a moment. Tears began to well up in his eyes but he choked them back. He gave his reflection one last look in the mirror, then with as much courage he could muster went to tell the dolls the sad news.

He would keep his promise though, to the girl with the blue eyes. The dolls would be his mission and his promise to her. He would tend to them till she returned… 

To be continued…

Before I finish this latest instalment, I would like to end with a positive note.
It is always darkest before the dawn, and sometimes in our darkest moments it feels as though there will be no dawn. But as the sun always rises to scatter the dark, so goodness will always rise in our lives. It may take a little longer, but our dawn will always come. 

Picture created with AI

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