One in three hundred twenty-five. That’s how many people go missing and don’t come home in a year. The crazier part is, that’s the same percentage that a herd loses to predators on the Savannah. Kinda raises a question, doesn’t it? Who or what is hunting us? I’m in a unique position to find out for you, it turns out. Do you know why? I’m missing. My name doesn’t matter anymore, so don’t worry about it. I guess you need something to call me, so let’s go with Mouse. As of right now, I’ve been officially missing for two years, five months and fifteen days. I was twenty-four when I went missing, gone out for a night on the town with friends and never came back. My friends have no idea what happened. I was there one minute and gone the next. I’m putting this out there hoping maybe someday one of them will see it and understand, know what really happened.
The night was cool but the smoke and sound in the bar were starting to get oppressive. The same skeez-ball had been trying and failing both to stand up straight and flirt with me pretty much all night and I was sick of it. I was just going outside to get some air, I’d be right back in. There was a woman already standing out there, dressed all in leather and lace. I’ll never forget my first sight of her, with just the barest hint of the tattoos that run all the way up her arms and down her back showing, just tiny hints of black feathers. Her hair was jet black and cut in one of those gorgeous asymmetrical bobs. In short, she looked like death in heels, but if death had just walked off the runway. She turned to look at me, tapping the ashes off her cigarette and smiled. Her eyes were the purest green I’d ever seen. Not even an emerald looks that bright.
“Hello there, little mouse. Escaping your playmates?”
“Wh-what? No, I just wanted some air.”
“Really? I saw you in there, off on the edge and they did nothing to help you with that…I hesitate to call him a man. You deserve more respect than that.”
“Um…thanks? Yeah…I should…I should go back in. My friends are wai-”
The air started to feel heavy and I wanted to run. Something was very, very wrong. If I was a mouse as she’d named me, her’s were the cat’s paws entrapping me. I didn’t even think. I couldn’t, really. The next thing I knew, I was following her as she led me away. Parked just around the corner was a red and white corvette, one of the old ones. Every inch of it shone and I remember the smell of the leather and thinking just how comfortable it was as I buckled myself into the passenger seat. I think I fell asleep. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Well, that’s just how it happened.
“Wake up, little mouse.”
All around me was silkiness, soft as lying in a cloud, and I was reluctant to move. Slowly, I opened my eyes and looked up at the woman I’d left with. That’s when it all hit me.
“You…you kidnapped me!” I pulled back, trying to get as far away from her as I could. “You’re some kind of…of…murdering psychopath and you drugged me and…”
“Oh, you silly little thing. I’m far worse than that. Now calm yourself and come eat. You should get cleaned up as well and take some time to get used to your new home.”
“This isn’t my home. You’re crazy and I want to go home.”
I could feel the hot tears pouring down my face as I glared at her. She sighed slightly and shrugged.
“If you don’t wish to eat, I shan’t force you. But you ought, little mouse.”
She left me alone. I don’t know for how long. All I had were those four walls and that soft bed. There were no books, no tv, no phone, nothing. There weren’t even windows or a door. That was the strangest part. I couldn’t figure how she left. Not until she came back, anyway.
“Little mouse, I’m back and I brought you a pizza. You must be famished.”
I sat up and watched her walk in through a door I was certain hadn’t been there minutes before and just as she’d promised, she held a pizza box. Standing slowly, I went to take it from her and then sat on the floor with my back to the wall.
“Thanks, I guess.”
“You should be careful with that word around here, pet.”
“I’m not your pet,” I snapped.
“You still don’t understand where you are and what I am, do you?”
When I looked up to snap a retort about her being crazy, I froze with my eyes wide and mouth hanging open. She glowed subtly from under her skin and her ears had lengthened and came to a point. The most startling change was the wings, all made up of black feathers like a raven.
“Y-you…you…wh-what? What are you?”
“I am one of the Fair Folk, pet. And that is why you can’t go home.” She knelt in front of me and stroked my cheek gently. “Years, years I’ve been watching you. When you and your mother ran from the man who called himself your father, I was there. When you were in school, awkward and learning to be yourself, I was there. I eased you through your nightmares and guided you to your dreams. And now, I have finally come to collect my due. Did you not once wish that someone would make things better? That someone would just take you away?”
I don’t know if it was a spell or if I felt I owed her or what, but I didn’t ask her to bring me home again after that.
My name is Mouse and I’ve missing for two years, five months and fifteen days. My ears come to a point, though they’re still short. I can’t quite weave a glamour yet, but I’m almost there. My mistress saved me from the world of men, brought me away into her world. But I am still the mouse in her feline games. They are the hunters, these Fair Folk. But not all who hunt seek to kill. Some intend to save their prey.