The Rat's Secrets

Story by Muskwalker on SoFurry

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#6 of Reflections on a Rat

I am Mel Tzourick and I am Mister Rockwell's personal servant.

People ask me sometimes what it's like to work for Mister Rockwell.

Well, at his home, I prepare his meals, take charge of housekeeping, and make sure his sexual needs are gratified.

At his office, I file his papers, manage his appointments, and make sure his sexual needs are gratified.

(Mister Rockwell firmly believes in mixing business with pleasure.)

Everyone knows this, of course.

When they ask for details, I usually tell them I couldn't say. To avoid giving them the wrong idea, I tell them that this is literally true, partly because there are such things as non-disclosure agreements, and partly because I happen to be fond of keeping my kneecaps intact.

(There are just some risks a smart bear doesn't take.)

When I try to explain this, the questioning inevitably continues with: If he is so dangerous, then why work for him?

The answer, which is also literally true, is that I owe the rat my life.

I tell them it is literally true, and yet somehow the next question is never "How in debt could you have been that only your life could pay it back?"

It's early afternoon and I am responsible for fetching Mister Rockwell's lunch, which is to say, I am escorting his 1:00 appointment to his office.

(I occasionally wonder whether the rat carried on his indulgences before magic came into the world. I am not sure whether I would prefer that to be the case or not.)

Today's poor victim was a rather chunky little rabbit by the name of Cavington who'd seen Mister Rockwell for a more conventional appointment last week. Mister Rockwell had not taken an interest in his case, so had scheduled this date to close business with him instead.

(I'm always amazed at how few people come to be aware of the dangers of working with Mister Rockwell until it's too late. Of course, he meddles with everyone's minds, but surely someone must catch on without him knowing?)

I ushered Mister Cavington into Mister Rockwell's office and shut the door, locking them in together--it was not often that someone was able to escape the rat's control, but it has been known to happen. I went to the front desk and sat down to my own considerably more conservative lunch.

(I know when you're reading my thoughts, sir. I can tell when I hear you laugh.)

There was no one else in the office to hear the rabbit's yells as he faced his fate. I sighed and ate my sandwich, imagining the scene going on inside. Sometimes he'd toy with his meals. Sometimes his hunger would lead them to a more direct end.

I thought of that thick, thick tail wrapping around his desperate prey--or his powerful arms lifting the rabbit over his head, giving him a view of the deep maw he'd be forced into...

I was rarely invited to watch, which raised the most conflicted sense of jealousy in me. Not that I didn't want to join in--not per se--but Mister Rockwell's attention was the only personal interaction I got most days, outside of work.


(Of course I loved him. How could I not? But...)

The sound of struggle coming from the corner office ceased. Any minute now and the buzzer at the desk would sound, calling me back to work.

I stared at the desk phone and made a resolution I didn't dare think about.

Instead, I thought about work.

Work, yes. As I stood up, I thought hard about an email I'd been putting off writing. City Hall was not fond of our work in the least and had a tendency to be bureaucratic and return any forms that weren't 100% to their strict guidelines.

There were two flights of stairs between Mister Rockwell's office and the parking lot and I proceeded down them automatically as I let my mind grapple with the prospect of papers to scan, cleanup to do, arranging tomorrow's lunch appointment...

I was halfway through the parking lot before I thought I felt the rat's inquisitive touch at the corner of my mind--what am I doing?

I broke out into a run before he could take hold of me, straining to get as much distance as I could. If I could get about half a block away, he'd have trouble controlling me. After about a mile, he shouldn't be able to reach me at all.

I ran for the metro station.

Not for the first time did I wish that I had a more useful ability than the one that regularly ruined my blood sugar levels.

I descended the stairs, panting hard, scanned my pass and kept running. The nearest train was just ready to leave, and I squeezed through the doors to take a seat, holding my breath till we were finally underway.

Why did I do that?

I mean, sure, obviously everyone wants some kind of freedom. But this was walking out on my life, my paycheck, my personal safety... There are just some risks a smart bear doesn't take.

I looked at the other occupants of the subway car, most of whom were staring with boredom at the tunnel walls as we sped along.

Maybe I could go back?

Was that even my thought?

Please come back.

Obviously it was. Rockwell saying 'please' wouldn't have computed at all.

My phone buzzed a text message: him, of course. I reached to turn it off quickly, and couldn't stop myself from glancing at the notification.

And my eyes wouldn't focus on the words, and I was afraid he had me.


I felt a sudden disorientation and shoved the phone back in my pocket, reaching instead for the hips of a burly lion who was standing in front of me, and buried my face in his belly.

He looked down at me with some astonishment, and for a moment I wasn't sure if he'd push me away or encourage me, but in a moment he seemed to lose all consciousness of onlookers and pushed me down towards his crotch.

(It's unfair. He can't just have everything by forcing it to be so. That's no way to run a life.)

I got off at the station on MLK with the aftertaste of cum in my mouth and tried to think what to do, now that I had gotten away from him. I couldn't go to my old place; I had surrendered the keys, and I didn't think Devina would have been pleased to see me, even if she happened to be home at this hour.

Anyway, Rockwell knew where it was--and that also would have ruled out my parents' place, if certain of my past choices hadn't taken that option off the table long ago.

I never got any time off, so the only people I knew anymore were those in the rat's social circle. Surely no chance there.

How could I let myself get so isolated?

My life hasn't been mine to control.

I kicked a newspaper aside as I went down the sidewalk and watched the pages flutter as it came apart.

"Hey." I heard, from somewhere behind me. "You look like you're going through hell."

"None of your business," I said.

"Actually, it kind of is."

I turned, with some apprehension. It was a large gorilla, standing outside what appeared to be a worship center of some kind.

(Buzz, buzz, went the phone in my pocket.)

I didn't want to give Rockwell another opportunity to take charge, so I pulled the phone out and looked at it, trying to fight the sensation that it was the last thing I should do.

The message was again unreadable.

I shook my head, trying to clear it, and found that I'd wet my pants somehow; warmth was spreading down my leg.

I was blushing red under the gorilla's gaze. "I don't think you can help me."

He looked at me a little sadly. "Suit yourself. You know where to find me if you change your mind."

I turned the corner and noticed a Coffearius across the street. I decided to sit and dry off and have a coffee and be miserable.

Yes. Stay in one place and be found.

(Ring, ring.)

I pulled out my phone again. There didn't seem to be any way around it.

"There you are." Mister Rockwell's voice was not angry, which was encouraging. If you were in trouble with him, he'd always make sure you knew it. "I'm coming for you. Don't move."

I didn't move.

The afternoon grew darker, as clouds gathered.

My coffee was cold by the time the rat took a seat across the table from me. "Feel better?" he said.

I shook my head. I wasn't even sure what had happened. I was supposed to be serving Mister Rockwell, and instead I'd chosen to run away.

"Feels terrible to leave me, doesn't it?" The rat gave me a dark smile. "You don't want to do it again, do you..."

"Of course not sir! Why would I want to be anywhere else? I belong to you."

"Good cub. Now say it with your real feelings."

My head felt clearer somehow. "Mister Rockwell... I don't have anywhere else to go."

"Correct. What does that tell you?"

"You're the only one there to take care of me."

"Correct. Will you remember that next time you feel like running away?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good cub. Be happy again."

I shivered a bit. "Mmm..." I couldn't tell if a spell had just been broken, or if one had just been put in place, but my heart was indeed lighter. "Yes, sir."

Rockwell sighed, looking up at the ceiling with the sort of lonely expression you often see on the kind of person who treats everyone else's minds as ... apps to play with. And though the coffeehouse was busy at this hour, no one else would get to see this, even if they looked.

"Mister Rockwell..." I said.

He didn't turn to face me. "I do allow you to see a good deal more than others. Do not cause me to regret it."

I took the hint, and the feeble profession of affection I'd been about to make died in my throat.

"Let's go home, cub."

Mister Rockwell's dinner was far more conventional than his lunch had been. I'd always been moderately decent in the kitchen--one good remnant of my younger years' socialization--so I was more likely to serve as the rat's chef than as his entree, even with the other factors disregarded.

But Mister Rockwell was a rat of excessive appetites, and he'd barely cleaned his plate before he had his phone out, trawling the Internet for a filling dessert.

He knew I was jealous--how could he not?--but my flavor was a little too strong for him, and I rarely drew his attention in that way anymore.

If it were anyone else I would've--I would've been braver, or I would have walked out. But I had no say with Mister Rockwell, and I knew he knew, and he only kept me here because he liked it this way.

A weird doubt at the corner of my mind: he did like it this way, didn't he? Mister Rockwell was always in charge, and he always had things just the way he wanted them.

...and yet I never heard him speak of his emotional needs.

There was the small sound of Rockwell putting his phone down. "Tzourick. Out."

"Mister Rockwell, I--"


I found myself standing outside before I could even think of finishing my sentence. I should see a movie, I thought. Maybe two of them. And then maybe hide under a chair all night and catch tomorrow's matinee as well.

My feet were already moving, and whatever train of thought I'd had earlier was forgotten.

About half an hour later, a thickset cheetah drove up to the house and met the rat at the door.

Forty-five minutes after that, a pair of huskies arrived, welcomed by a considerably rounder Rockwell.

The next visitor knocked, and had to let himself in. This one put up a fight--its shouts could have been heard outside, if anyone had been around to hear.

Even in victory, the rat was still not satisfied.

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