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The Campestris
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The Campestris
The campestris has simple goals; To find food for herself and her babies. But soon she is caught up in the circle of life that wll ultimately lead to her death.
[1,302 words]
Nad Anonymous Dark
Anonymous Dark (NAD) was born June 1, 1993. He is probably living in a small hut on the top of a tall, snow covered peak, far away from any goats or peasents.
[April 2006]
The Campestris
Nad Anonymous Dark

The rain beat relentlessly into the earth, soaking the dry sand of the Sahara with life giving water. As the clouds became thicker and thicker overhead, and a crash of thunder boomed in the distance, the hidden life of the desert revealed itself.

A small campestris poked its nose out of a fallen cactus. Its babies crowded behind their mother in awe, for the first times in their lives witnessing the rain fall on the Sahara desert. The small rodent sniffed at the air with its tiny snout. She could smell the change in the air, and was eager to go out and look for food to feed herself and her young.
Carefully, the rat tucked the babies away in a dry corner, and instructed them to wait as she went for food. Slowly, she climbed out of the dead cactus she had been using as a home. As she touched the ground, her ears pricked up. There was the sound of a snake, not very far away. The rat stood stalk still, its white and brown body blending in well with the sand.

The sound of the rain and thunder went on for what seemed like hours, and all the while the mouse stood still as a tree. Finally, after waiting for a satisfactory amount of time, the campestris assumed the threat had passed and scurried away in search of small food. And within fifteen minutes, the mother had found some small scraps of meat by an almost fully devoured carcass. She bit off a few fragments, and hurried away quickly.

But, as she scampered happily along the wet sand, a snake appeared from beneath the sand. The rat froze in its place, dropping the food from its mouth. She pleaded,

“Please don’t eat me, kind snake! I am a weak and hungry mother with babies at home to feed! Without me they will die! You can’t kill me!”

The snake slithered around her, shaking its tail in a rhythmic pattern, and replied with a hiss,

“Why should I let you live? I am a snake of logic and reasoning. If I let you prosper, I will suffer. Obviously, I am in a higher position than you, and thus I should take advantage of that.”

 The snake leaned forward, preparing to strike, and the mouse quickly shrieked,

“Wait! Take this,”

The campestris pushed forward the small bit of meat she had taken from the carcass of the dead animal,

“, Take this instead! I know it isn’t much, but it’s all I have!”

The snake looked thoughtfully at the meat lying on the ground, and without a word it gobbled it all up and slinked away. Thoroughly shocked and disturbed by this experience, the mouse returned home to her cactus with no food for herself or her babies. And for that night, they all slept on empty stomachs.

The next morning, the mother woke long before her children. It was still raining heavily outside, but the mouse’s stomach overpowered its fright. Quietly, so as not to wake the children, the rodent climbed out of the cactus and went off in search of more food.

On this day, it took the campestris an hour to find food, in the form of a bush with some delicious and juicy berries. The mouse approached the bush, and gathered in her arms nine berries to bring back to her house. But, as she left, a rather large and menacing lizard with a forked tongue sprang out from the bush and said in a loud, booming voice,

“Halt! This bush is the property of the reptiles of this desert, and thus so, any animal who takes fruit from its branches most pay a tax of six berries.”

The mouse cried in outrage,

“I heard nothing of this tax! I refuse to pay it!”

The lizard replied curtly,

“If you refuse to pay the tax implied on our berries, then you most leave them here and search for another bush.”

The mouse mumbled some curses and reluctantly handed over six of her nine berries to the lizard, who stepped aside and let her pass. That night the rain continued, and there was food enough for all the babies. But for the second night in a row, the mother slept without food.

On the third day, the rain had stopped and a wave of sweltering heat had fallen over the desert. The campestris could barely wait until nightfall, her belly aching. She told the children she was going to search for more food, and left.

After nearly three hours of searching, the hungry and tired mouse had still found no food, and decided she would stop for a drink at a watering hole, and then return home to her babies.

The mother looked around a little more, and soon found a suitable sized watering hole with a crowd of gazelles drinking from it. The rodent approached the large body of water, but as she leaned down for a drink, a gazelle thrust its hoof aggressively in front of the mouse and said angrily,

“This watering hole is reserved for members of this gazelle pack and their allies! A small, insignificant rodent such as yourself may never taint these waters!”

The old woman replied wearily,

“Please…I am very hungry and tired, and now thirsty. All I require is a small sip of water from this large pool of yours, and I will be on my way. I promise I will do nothing to bring harm to it.”

The gazelle replied dutifully,

“I shall not let a small and insignificant rodent such as yourself taint these waters!”

The campestris replied weakly,

“But I am not insignificant. I clean up the small messes larger animals leave behind, and keep the insect population from growing in numbers, which serves you in turn by keeping them away. Surely I deserve a small drink for my services to my superiors?”

“You rodents are all filthy vermin. You reproduce at a disgusting rate, eat all the food that us better animals need, and also drink all the water when the rain comes! No, you must find somewhere else to go and drink. Your so called ‘services’ mean nothing at all to me.” The gazelle practically spat.

The campestris could find no more strength to argue. She just turned around and walked the many hours back to her cactus, where her babies pestered her for not bringing any food for them to eat. The mouse did not argue with her babies, just went to sleep, feeling now hungry, tired, and thirsty.

On the fourth day, the clouds returned and it began raining some more. Without saying anything, the mother of the rats sulked out of the cactus, more out of habit then by desire, to go looking for more food.

This day was longest of all. The rodent spent until the skies began to darken looking for food to feed herself and her babies. And despite looking this whole time, the animal found nothing except the skeletons of other animals that had been picked clean by scavengers.

The rodent couldn’t take it anymore; she collapsed in the sand, at least two miles from her cactus, and lay there, letting the rain flow over her body. The creature’s chest rose and fell slowly, and she flittered in and out of consciousness. After an hour, the mouse heard the shrill cry of a vulture circling overhead, and looked up in time to see a gray bird swoop down next to her. Barley able to keep her eyes open, the rat pleaded weakly,

“Please…I must get home to my children…without me, they will surely die. I must feed them.”

The vulture looked unsympathetically at the mother, and said,

“Sorry, it’s not that I have anything against you, but I have kids to feed also.”

And even as the mouse gave its last cries for mercy, the vulture picked it up in its talons and flew off as a roll of thunder crashed in the distance.



"A lovely little story about nature and it habitants. The first paragh written beautifully that l wanted the rest that followed. And about survial too, how any mother will go out to search to feed the hungry mouths. Ithink that it was really good and l enjoyed it. " -- Amy, Hayes, UK.
"This story was very detailed and entertaining. I was intrested in the details and the lives of desert inhabitants. Keep writing." -- Joe Albrecht, N.Y., U.S..


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© 2006 Nad Anonymous Dark
April 2006

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