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October 2017 Writing Contest: Minstrel's Tricky Treat

Minstrel's Tricky Treat
By RazzBDazzle #102779

Minstrel the mouse, Mayor of Olde Foxbury, merrily emerged from the tavern where xe had spent the evening and, as of now, most of the night. Xyr tummy was very very full with all the good food and drinks that had been on offer, for Minstrel had been the guest of honor at a grand harvest party! In celebration of the bounty that Olde Foxbury's farms had enjoyed, an excited group of villagers had put together the event, and had made sure Minstrel had gotten everything xyr heart desired. Good leadership deserved no less, and even though Minstrel had started out being modest in accepting the honors (and the treats) the little mouse had risen to the occasion and feasted with gusto!

Perhaps a little too much so.

"But it's just one night after all, and it was so delicious!" Minstrel squeaked to xemself dreamily as xe leaned against the tavern door, still thinking back on all the good stuff xe had partaken of, as well as all the singing, dancing and music. "This is really what Olde Foxbury is about! A life of simple delights and fun. I love it so!" The mouse hoisted xemself forward and stumbled a bit, feeling the weight of xyr tummy as xe started off into the dark, dark night toward home. On the way, still under the influence of the night's merriment, Minstrel began speaking in a sing-song voice, giving word to xyr thoughts.

"Ah yes, Olde Foxbury, where even the deepest darkest night holds no terrors, for we live in a place of safety and good cheer, and as long as I am mayor, I shall make sure-"

Minstrel stifled xyr words with a squeak and stopped frozen with one foot held aloft, whiskers vibrating with tension and tail stick-straight. In the darkness ahead, underneath the inky shadows of a tree, were shining two glittering feline eyes rimmed in blood red with two smaller eyes above them. Minstrel blinked and looked again, but now the eyes were gone, if they had ever even been there. For good measure, Minstrel stayed still for a moment more. When xe finally summoned the courage to breathe again and start walking, the now-nervous mouse had a laugh.

"It's amazing what a little too much tiredness can do to the imagination, ah-ha, tee-hee," Minstrel chirped as xe took xyr lute from xyr back where it hung and started strumming a tune for courage. The mouse walked along without incident, sure that what xe had seen had been nothing but fearful fancy. Soon, humming along with the music turned into singing, and Minstrel's voice echoed gently around the deserted cobblestone streets.

"Olde Foxbury is a joyful place,
Be you queen or jester,
We've lots to eat and lots to drink
No other town can best her,
And on her march to happy days,
No evil shall arrest her!
We've got no strife, we've a lovely life,
And best of all, no-"

Minstrel stopped cold and stared in disbelief, for in the gap between the black shapes of two nearby houses, silhouetted by moonlight, stood a figure in a top hat, leaning confidently on a cane, a thick cat's tail coiling behind. Once again, there were those shining red-rimmed feline eyes, and above them, two smaller round eyes that goggled without direction. Cat ears completed the silhouette like devil horns. Then, as quickly as the figure had been spotted, it seemed to melt sideways into the shadow of one of the houses, gone.

Minstrel instinctively stayed completely still, watching the empty gap between the houses with xyr heart pitter-patting with a tempo that any drummer would envy. The night was silent except for a gentle wind rustling the trees, and Minstrel wondered, could xe REALLY have imagined that? Or, more to the point, could such a vision exist outside of imagination in such a nice place as Olde Foxbury?

"It was a little TOO perfectly scary," Minstrel whispered tensely. "I've always had a bountiful sense of make-believe, so probably I'm just winding myself up. I'm sure-"


Minstrel screeched and leaped into the air, arms and legs and tail flailing as xe swung xyr lute around like a weapon in response to what had been a very loud noise right next to xem! When the mouse finally saw the broken lute string sticking off xyr trusty instrument, xe realized what had happened and burst into relieved laughter. Minstrel had gotten so tense xe had dug xyr clawed fingers into the string and caused it to break!

"I simply MUST get home and get to bed before I imagine myself into an early grave," Minstrel sighed, chastising xemself for being so easily panicked. Xe bent over to pick up xyr hat which had fallen onto the street during the excitement. "One thing I certainly don't have to worry about around here..." Minstrel stood and plopped the hat on xyr head with satisfaction, "Is that scrawny twisty-whiskered ruffian." Minstrel nodded with a satisfied smile.

"Well I won't be scrawny in a minute," a horrible hissing voice said from the shadows nearby. "Cause I'm gonna have a harvest feast of my OWN..."

Minstrel 's eyes went wide, and xe whipped around to see red swirling feline eyes with goggling round eyes above them staring from the darkness just nearby, and worst of all, below both pairs of eyes, a grin of glittering yellow fangs.

The feline eyes narrowed. "Boo."

Despite such a full tummy, Minstrel really impressed xemself with the sheer speed xe was achieving in xyr mad dash toward home, and though xyr ears were perked for the sound of anything behind xyr, xe never once looked back!

"Mouse rule number one never look back until you're sure," Minstrel gasped as xe turned the corner onto the street where xyr home waited with its porch lantern shining welcomingly. Xe hightailed it the last few house-lengths, ready to burst through the door and bar it from inside. It wasn't to be, however, for a figure wearing a top hat surged out from the shadows, blocking the lantern's light.