When Rats Fly
Bria, Age 11, Elko, MN
Have you ever seen a rat? One that has a very large nose? I bet you have. I bet you have not seen the rat that could fly, have you?

I was traveling one day across a very large bridge when I came across a man. This man happened to be selling strange items...one shoe without a pair, a dog leash, and a rat. Now, why would a man wandering a lonely, long and large bridge be selling a shoe, a leash, and a rat? I was very curious. I am a curious girl.

I walked over unable to make out who it was. I tripped and fell on my right leg and stumbled into the man's cart. The rat fell on top of me and the mysterious man walked away as if not a single thing had happened. It was like he had not even noticed his rat was missing. I stumbled back to the right side of the bridge still carrying the rat. How could I let him go? He did not have a home any more.

The man was gone. I took him home, poked holes in a box and kept him there. I did not tell anyone, for I felt confused. This rat had not given anyone knowledge of truth. I felt it in my bones. But, of course, he was only a rat.

I took the small rat back to my little room and hid his box in the closet with a slice of tiny cheese in the corner of it. I set him in there while I waited to think. I named him Sniffles, because of his large nose twitching and sniffling. I know you are not supposed to name animals you find, because you will become too attached to them to let them go. I had a feeling I'd be keeping this certain one.

"I wish you could talk." I said to the rat, or ‘Sniffles.'

It would be interesting to see where he came from. At least, I thought it was a he. So I went searching for the man. The man who had Sniffles. The man who had the rat.
I ran off carrying Sniffles in his box. I went to the first place I had in mind. There was somebody pushing a cart on the terribly long bridge. There was only a shoe and a leash now. I quickly ran up to the man.

"Excuse me, but where did you get this rat?" I asked.

"My, that ain't my rat. My rat's right here." He replied. "He hides lots o' times."

He pulled out a small gray rat from behind a box. If he did not own Sniffles, who did? How did he land in my hands?

I woke up the next morning with a note. The note was written on the palm of my hand. It said:

"DO NOT FEAR THE STRONG AGED RAT
HE IS NOT CRUEL, HE IS NOT BAD.
HE HAS A SECRET, SOMETHING PROUD.
A SECRET YOU SHOULD NOT MESS AROUND.
THIS RAT CAN FLY. WHY YES HE CAN.
PLUS YOU WILL NOT EVER
KNOW WHO I AM."

I was stunned. For this had surprised me on many levels. I had to prove to myself it was true. I took Sniffles outside and threw him into the air. The interesting thing was, he did not come down. Why, he just flew away. I have never seen him since. Now it is clear. The rat had flown into my hands. I will never forget the rat. I will never forget Sniffles.
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