To Paul

By Elizabeth Ricker

Author's Note

Well, this is what happens from reading too much NIMH fanfic. I decided to write my own. Scary thought, eh? But considering all the time constraints on meself, I thought I’d stick this little thing out there to begin with. More than likely will build on it, but I’ve got so many stories lurking around my compy that I’ve gotta finish a few before I start. . . . Or maybe not.

Anyhow, as a newcomer, I thought I’d just say hi. So . . Hi!

Er . . . that was graceful.

Feedback verily appreciated. Contact me at

Part One

Hi there.

It’s been a while, my dear. I keep wondering what it must be like for you, out there, all alone. I never will understand why you left the Valley for that ‘sanctity of shadow-trees’ – it sends a shiver down my back just thinking about it. All those vicious predators – wolves, owls, and the like. I know none of us are normal, but we do have our limits, dear. That is why we all live together. Together, we fight -- to mangle some poor human’s words. Forgot where I read that in the Library, unfortunately.

How could you ever live like a normal rat, my dear? You’re not normal. I’m not normal. None of us are normal. We are greater than what our ancestors were, don’t you see? They and we have created something beautiful out of the chaos of this natural world – the colony, and ourselves.

I suppose I miss you.

Damn you.

I’m sorry. I usually don’t go off on these tangents, yet sometimes, when I get broody . . .

Perhaps it is the babe. Oh, yes – did I ever tell you? After you disappeared over that valley rim, Marcus took me in. Dear, sweet Marcus. How scandalous it must have seemed to the colony – the whole fiasco. I faintly remember the furtive stares and hushed voices on entering certain rooms. But, I didn’t care. I missed you. You abandoned me. Fortunately for you, I don’t hold much of a grudge, or I might take a pack and hunt you down out there in the wilds like some uncivilized brute. Frankly, you deserve a good thrashing.

But anyhow. After you left, Marcus took care of me, as I said. The babe was soon born -- my beautiful, beautiful babe. I named her Rose, after the blood-red blooms we’d always seen blooming amidst the wild ivies and berries and flowers on South Ridge. Remember, my dear? I remember. I remember the beauty and that sweet scent and that sweet, sweet light.

My little Rose. And Marcus loves her as his own, too – because you would not and won’t and otherwise she would have no father. She’s growing quickly. I love her eyes. She has your eyes. So beautiful. I see so much of you in her. It’s a pity, really. And you’ll never know her. I won’t let you hurt her, like you did me. You abandoned me. You hurt me. Even so . . .

I loved you. I guess I still do. But Marcus loves me, too. I think I knew it, long before I professed my own love to you and that whole mess I’d rather not think about. And I guess I love him, too. Yes. I do love him. And he gives me what you could not – comfort and compassion and tenderness and warmth.

The babe is due soon – perhaps within a week or two. The doctor, fuzzy old Silas, predicted it for this Friday, but I hope not, since it’s the Festival. Ah, well. Perhaps it’d be good luck, for the little babe to be born then. I hope it’s a boy. I’d name him Matthew – after your father. Too bad you aren’t more like your father was. And if a girl . . ? I’ve always loved the name Caroline. Reminds me of a gentle spring rain, for some strange reason.

Goodness, have I rambled on. I’ll just roll this up and send it on – a good thing the industrious minds of the Valley have invented a rather clever way to make paper. Such useful stuff, I must say. And Jeremy’s such a dear to deliver this little note to you. Jeremy claims, with quite some pride, to be a direct descendent of the famous Jeremy of old – you know, the crow we learned about in our studies that helped Mrs. Frisby and our ancestors when they were still at the Rosebush. Don’t know if any of it’s true or not, but I humor his pretensions – such a nice fellow, Jeremy. He said he met you one day, out in the woods. Says you’re doing fine out there, living on your own. Says you’re quite the enigma among the common creatures of the wood.

I suppose you like it out there. For me, I have my Valley and my children and Marcus and the Greenhouse. I rather think I’ve got the better end of it all.

Farewell, my dear.