Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Halloween Trick-or-Treat: Maria and the Ghost Mice

I wrote this story out for my five-year-old niece, and she loved it. My five-year-old niece has a stuffed, black, kitten, who wears a witches' hat, that she loves for Halloween. She has named this kitten Maria. When I babysit her, we end up creating fun little stories about Maria, or any of the other hundred stuffed animals she has. Since Maria is a Halloween decoration, I came up with an wonderful little Halloween story titled Maria and the Ghost Mice. My niece loved the story. And so, I'll share it with you for a Happy Halloween.

Maria and the Ghost Mice
By Eric A Hopp

Once upon a time, there lived a little kitten named Maria. She was an all-black kitten with green eyes, orange whiskers, and a pointed witches’ cap. Maria’s mistress was an old witch, who lived in a creaky, deserted mansion in the outskirts of town.

Maria loved being a witches’ cat. Every day, she would go seek out the plant herbs and ingredients her mistress, the old witch, would need to make her potions and spells. After she gathered the herbs, Maria would then perform her favorite job—catching mice! Maria would prowl the rooms of the old mansion, using her senses to locate where the mice were. Then she would flatten her body against the floor, like coiled spring, and then pounce on the mice, catching them with her paws. Maria would then take the mice outside into the fields and release them, where they could live happily and eat the field grasses, rather than nibbling on the spell herbs inside the old witch’s pantry. Of course, there were other times that Maria would have little mouse snack between chases.

But Maria’s most favorite time was Halloween Night, when the old witch would invite her witches’ coven to the mansion for a Halloween party of celebration, spell casting, and scaring trick-or-treaters. “Now Maria,” the old witch said. “The mansion has been decorated in spider webs and jack-o-lanterns. The table has been set with Halloween treats and spell ingredients. I’m going out tonight to scare some trick-or-treaters.” Maria’s mistress pulled an old broomstick out of the closet. “But I’ll be back soon with all our witch friends, and together we’ll have a wonderful party. I want you to watch the house for me, and make sure that the mice don’t eat all our treats and spell ingredients. Can you do that for me?” Maria proudly gave an affirmative MEOW!

The old witch smiled, and then gave Maria a scratch behind her ears. “That’s a good kitty. Take care of the house for me. And watch out for the ghost mice—they can be very troublesome.” And with that, the old witch flew off into moonlit night on her broomstick.

Ghost mice? What are ghost mice? Maria wondered. With that, she began her patrol of the old mansion, looking for mice. But going through room after room in the old mansion, she couldn’t find any mice. That’s strange, Maria thought. The mice always wanted to come out of the field and live in the old mansion, where they could nibble on the food and the spell herbs. Maria strolled into the dining room, where the table was set with Halloween treats, spell ingredients, and a bubbling cauldron of apple cider.

Just then, Maria saw a shadow out of the corner of her eye. She crouched, and then slowly crept towards the shadow. Maria then discovered that the shadow formed into the shape of a gray mouse, which was oblivious to the stalking witches’ cat. Maria slightly wiggled in anticipation, and then pounced on the gray mouse—MEOW! Maria caught that gray mouse!

Or did she?

Maria looked down at her paws, and saw nothing. The mouse escaped! She looked around the room. Where did that gray mouse go? She looked back down at her paws. Slowly, a ghostly head rose up through her paws to look up at Maria—a ghostly head of a little gray mouse! The gray mouse laughed, “Hee! Hee! Hee! Silly kitty! You can’t catch us! You can’t catch us! For we are the ghost mice!”

And with the little taunt, the ghost mouse ran through Maria’s paws and across the dining room, with Maria in pursuit. Maria pounced again with the intention of trapping the little ghost mouse right at the wall. But then, the ghost mouse ran through the wall! BAM! Maria slammed her head right into the wall, where the ghost mouse ran through, bumping her nose! Maria rubbed her nose for a moment, and then looked around the room. Suddenly, she saw another ghostly gray mouse right by the dining room table. She ran towards the mouse, with every kitty intention of catching and eating that mouse. The ghostly gray mouse looked at Maria, waved, and then floated up into the air and on to the dining room table. The ghost mouse laughed, “Hee! Hee! Hee! Silly kitty! You can’t catch us! You can’t catch us! For we are the ghost mice!”

Maria was very angry. She promised her mistress that she would take care of the house and protect the Halloween treats from these mice. And now the mice were on the dining room table, about ready to eat those treats. Maria jumped up on the dining room table. She saw the ghost mouse sitting at the edge of the bubbling cauldron, cleaning his face. Maria crouched, and then pounced on the mouse—MEOW! The ghost mouse completely vanished in front of Maria’s eyes, as she flew towards the bubbling cauldron. WATCH OUT! Maria fell into the bubbling cauldron of apple cider! SPLASH! Quickly, the little black kitty jumped out of the cauldron and landed, sopping wet, on the dining room floor. Maria could see ghostly mice appearing all around her. “Silly kitty!” the ghost mice taunted. “Chase us! Catch us! Again! Again! Again!” The ghost mice danced around Maria. “We will wear you out! Out! Out!” Maria slammed her paw down on a ghost mouse, but her paw went straight through the dancing mouse’s body. The ghost mouse laughed, and then continued singing, “Wear you out! Out! Out! Then the brown mice can feast on Halloween treats!”

Maria sat in the circle of dancing ghost mice. “How can I catch a ghost mouse, when my paws go right through them?” she asked. Maria thought for a moment. “I can catch live mice with my paws because I’m alive, but I cannot catch ghost mice because they are ghosts. Perhaps there are ghost kittens that can catch ghost mice because they are ghosts! I must find the ghost kittens!” Maria ran out the dining room. The ghost mice cheered happily, “YES! We’ve driven the kitten away! Three cheers for the ghost mice!”

Maria ran out of the mansion, and into a small pet cemetery, located behind the old mansion. There, she found an incredible sight. Maria saw ghost cats and kittens chasing and pouncing little brown field mice that were running through the pet cemetery. “Help us!” the ghost cats cried. “The living, brown field mice are taunting us, as they dig into our graves. We can’t drive them back into the fields where they belong!”

Maria suddenly had an idea. “I will drive the living, brown field mice back into the fields, where they will not bother you. And in return, you can help me drive the ghost mice out of the mansion, and away from the Halloween treats.” The ghost cats agreed, “Yes! Yes! We’ll do it.” And so Maria chased the brown field mice away from the pet cemetery, and back into the fields, where they could continue to live and eat the field grasses. “And now,” Maria smiled. “Let’s get rid of some ghost mice.”

Back in the dining room, the ghost mice were still celebrating at how they drove the kitten away, when Maria walked back into the dining room, alone. “Hello again.” The ghost mice taunted. “Have you come back for some more punishment from us?”

Maria smiled, “Yes, I’ve come back,” she said. “And I’ve brought some new friends with me.” Suddenly, the ghost cats leaped through the dining room walls and surrounded the ghost mice.

The ghost mice shrieked. “It’s the ghost cats! Run away! Run away!” The ghost cats drove the ghost mice out of the old mansion, and back into the fields where they also belonged.

Maria thanked her ghost cat friends. “Now my mistress will come back with her witch friends, and we can have a wonderful Halloween party. Would you like to join our party?” The ghost cats agreed. And so for the rest of the night, Maria and the ghost cats celebrated Halloween with the witches.

The End.

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