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Deal 1355: Road

She was trapped now. This was going to be an ending to forget, and she was sure her friends had already forgotten her. Here she was, trying to cross her third road when the rats rose up from the ditches and kidnapped her.

Sure, they said things like “you can’t do that” and “you won’t survive”.

But she had already crossed three roads so far!

She knew she had to cross this one too.

Even if it was four times the size.

Even if the vehicles were going far faster than she had ever seen.

Even if there were fences on each edge, and another one in the middle.

She was going to cross that road.

But possibly not now, now that she’s a captive of the rats.

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Deal 1344: Birdy

I turned a corner and found myself in the back room of a tux shop. Everywhere I turned, there were penguin suits, waiting for penguins to wear them. The line of wet footprints going out the door where I had come in seemed to indicate this was a hopping joint.

The rat behind the counter looked at me askance, probably because I didn’t belong there at all. I’m not a penguin. Nope. Not a penguin. I guess a rat can’t be successful without keeping some control of his business. I can respect that. But I’m still no penguin.

When his phone rang, I took that opportunity to get out from under his beady-eyed gaze.

The wet footprints led to the fish bar next door, which I found was crowded with half-naked penguins.

The flightless birds look even sillier without their suits.

I suppose I’ll have a fish cocktail, then wander on my way before they figure out I’m an Orca.

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Deal 1341: Trap

She had done her homework. She had her silver key, found the hidden door, and had a goal in mind. She was ready.

The key faded as the lock turned, so that she could not remove it to use again. The door opened easily, on a dark corridor, with only a quiet rustling as a clue to its destination. The went in.

The further along she went, the louder the rustling became. Her imagination began to play tricks on her in the dark. The rustling sounded at first like dry leaves in a pile stirred by a soft fall breeze. Then it began to sound more like a predator moving quietly through a leafy forest. Then she reached the end of the corridor, and found a room larger than she could easily see across filled with ducks.

A few lanterns provided enough light to see that the ducks were all standing shoulder to shoulder. The rustling was caused by the occasional duck stretching or grooming. As curious as she was, she still knew she had to cross this room to reach her goal. So she gathered her skirt up and stepped out into the sea of fowl, walking boldly toward a door could barely see on the other side. The ducks quietly shifted as she moved so that although it looked like a dense carpet of duck backs, she was never at risk of actually stepping on a duck.

At the far wall, the door easily opened, and let her into another large room. This one was filled with geese sleeping comfortably with similar rustling and occasional quiet honks. The geese didn’t object as she moved, so she crossed their room without further incident.

She paused at the door, suddenly uncertain about her progress. Both the ducks and geese had been a complete surprise. She wasn’t prepared for too many surprises. This time as she reached the door, she noticed the shelf full of devices. The shelves extended as far as she could see, and a little ways down there was a break as if she could pass behind. She moved that way, leaving the geese forgotten behind her as the shelves became all that she could see.

The devices also rustled and whirred, with quiet ticking from some. There was also an occasional quiet scurrying sound, as if a rat had an urgent need to cross her path without drawing attention. This went on and on. The floor slowly shifting from barn to linoleum tiles at the same time that the ceiling shifted from open rafters to standard issue suspended acoustic tiles with the occasional off-putting fluorescent light.

She left the shelving behind, crossing a small open area to a door marked “Director”.

She opened the door, stepped inside and admired her office.

Now she was truly trapped.