The Grim Squeaker
By Barbed Caress
The Death of Rats was not happy. He was not sad. He rarely was either of those things. Yet he was content… usually.
Today was a day he was not content. There was a little niggling in the dim recesses of what passed for his soul. A certainty he should be somewhere… else.
Yesterday a mischief of rats got up to some. 'SQUEAK' he laughed at his own joke. It was one of his favorites after all. The local rat catcher tripped down some stairs into a basement, breaking both legs and an arm. He was extremely disappointed to find himself surrounded by the mischief. After they had expressed their disapproval of his chosen profession, the man seemed annoyed his guide to the after life was The Grim Squeaker instead of The Grim Reaper.
The Death of Rats held no animosity to the rat catchers or their profession. His opinion on the matter was very 'circle of life' sort of thing. Yet the rat catchers universally seemed offended when he showed up to escort them to their duly earned reward.
So today was a rare day, an easy day, a day with time to consider 'things'. The rats who would have died due to the poisons and traps set by the now deceased rat catcher, instead of needing his attentions to ease them on their way to the afterlife, now lay sleeping off their respective meals.
But there it was, that niggling irritation in his soul.
Which translates roughly to, 'Well, I guess I have time to investigate. I just need to find a good mouse hole. And where is that damn raven? Never around when I need him.'
Seeing several mouse holes in the baseboards, The Death of Rats chose the largest. There is no reason to walk on all fours unless absolutely required' he thought. Crawling in this robe was quite annoying.
Concentrating on that soul irritant, he stepped through the mouse hole and disappeared from discworld.
'It worked!' Peter thought gleefully.
Looking around quickly he noticed everything was so far away, so high, so out of reach.
Yet he was happy, for those same objects provided shadows to hide him. His family was not well off and he sometimes had to go to bed hungry. He always had something to eat, but sometimes not enough for a young boy growing into his mature body. But now! Somehow an orange had rolled under Sirius' bed. It was HUGE! He could eat on that for days! Now he would never be hungry again. His small portions during the summer, barely sufficient for a young man, would be a daily feast for a large rat.
The Death of Rats looked upon the very strange rat before him. Three young men surrounded him but were not threatening in any way. In fact, it looked as though they were cheering him.
"SQUEAK" he pondered aloud.
Pulling an hourglass from his robes, he looked at it and then the rat. It was definitely the right hourglass and this rat was the irritant, although that seemed to be fading now he had found it.
"SQUEAK" he asked the rat.
"WHO ARE YOU AND WHY HAVE YOU CALLED ME?" Peter heard coming from the shadows.
Whirling and looking closely he could barely make out the form. It looked like a small rat skeleton standing upright, dressed in a dark robe. Peter shook his head and looked again. It was still there.
With a loud squeak of his own, he jumped toward James as he transformed back into his teenage body. The results entirely predictable as he and James tumbled to the floor followed by Remus and Sirius, who has tried to prevent their fall.
"What the hell, Peter?" James yelled as he picked himself and Peter off the floor.
"I thought I saw something"
"You wouldn't believe me."
Remus left the group to look under the bed. Seeing nothing to account for Peter's fear, he inhaled deeply.
"I don't see anything scary under here, except Sirius' cleaning skills. Why is there an orange under your bed?" Remus asked.
"I might get hungry. The kitchens are a long walk in the middle of the night."
"Well, I don't see anything scary and I only smell the orange and 'rat'."
"That's it! I saw a rat skeleton dressed up like Death!" Pettigrew yelled.
"You saw a … Peter, maybe the transformation affected your perception? It was your first time. You just need to get used to it. There is nothing under here. Really. Come look." Remus soothed.
Peter did just that, slowly approaching the bed and looking under it from far enough away to not be dragged under the bed by some skeletal arm. Nothing. There was nothing there. Well, nothing that looked like what he saw.
"FUCK!" Peter screamed as Sirius grabbed him and pushed him under the bed.
Sirius was rolling on the floor, laughing at Peter. James was trying not to laugh at his friend's reaction and Remus smiled slightly and shook his head at Black.
"That wasn't funny!" Peter yelled as he scrambled from the bed.
"You're right," Sirius managed to say through his laughter. "It was HILARIOUS!"
As James and Remus gave in to the giggles, Peter crossed his arms and sulked.
"SQUEAK" he said. It was obvious now. The boy who could become a rat would be his one day. Looking back at the hourglass it seemed unlikely it would be anytime soon. This was not on his regular route… Looking at the glass again, he was tempted to try to break the glass now. It would be efficient. If he left without this soul, he would just have to come back again…
"SQUEAK" he said with resignation.
Turning away, he re-entered the mouse hole and disappeared from Pettigrew's life.
AN: This is basically a random idea I had during dinner recently and someone said I "have to write that", so I decided to give it a try.
It will be just a few chapters, less than 10K words when fleshed out, I think.
If it draws enough interest, I'll finish it.
If not, I'll probably throw together another thousand words or so to describe Peter's eventual departure from this world.
Let me know what you think and mostly, do you think I gave a good accounting of The Grim Squeaker's personality?