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It was just a regular afternoon like any other day. There was really nothing interesting going on in the neighbourhood. I was doing my regular routine—washing dishes while listening to the local radio station. I would have never guessed what would happen next.
Then, a small red blur moved across the kitchen floor in the corner of my eye.
What was that? I thought.
Deciding it was nothing, I tried to return to doing the dishes. Then I heard a scratching noise coming from the bottom of the garbage can, as if something was trying to claw its way out. But as I approached the garbage can, the noise became more and more quiet. I was only one more step away from the trash when the noise stopped, so I stopped, too. Staring at the top of the trashcan in complete confusion, I had to think.
Maybe the neighbours cat got in here. Maybe it’s a squirrel.
I could have thought of so many reasonable explanations while standing there in my kitchen. I never would have guessed what was going to happen next. There were a few long seconds of nothing but quiet and stillness, when suddenly the creature jumped out of the garbage and got too close to my face for comfort. I tried to focus my eyes on it but it moved too quickly. Then it was gone. I looked around the kitchen and couldn’t see it anymore. This was when I started to notice something strange was going on. For some reason, I thought it looked like a red weasel with antennae.
Then the scratching noise continued, but this time it from under the fridge. Knowing my eyes were playing tricks on me, I grabbed the broom and went to see what it a really was. So I sat down on the mediocrely clean floor and gently put my broom down next to me. With little hesitation, I brought my head down to see what exactly was under my fridge. At my astonishment, all I could see were two golf ball-sized glowing eyes in the darkness. Still trying to make sense of this animal, I watched as the eyes grew larger. It was approaching me! I scurried away from the fridge in pure reflex.
Before I settled, it peeped its bright coloured head out from under fridge and spread tiny wings from both sides of its head. This little monster is certainly no animal I have ever seen before! It looked at me for a moment with its head down, then it raised its head and puffed out its chest as it waddled towards me. Very suddenly, I threw my broom at the intruding lizard. It stopped, staring at me as I stared at it. I suppose if I had to relate it to any animal that I knew, I would say weasel or maybe a small otter. But it had scales instead of fur and its eyes sat on top of its head like a snail’s does. It looked like it would have belonged in water, only if it didn’t have that one hoof. I felt like I was starring at a toddler’s creation of mixed creatures drawn in red crayon.
Then the monster abruptly spread out all five of its feet at once and landed flat on its back. Its eyes shrunk in size and folded inside its head. I immediately took this as a trick, as if he was playing dead. However, it was hard not to notice its belly. I leaned over it to take a closer look, and it was exactly what I thought. It was white fur. I wanted to touch it, its belly looked so soft. I brought my hand in closer and closer towards the motionless creature. Then I softly began to rub its belly. It jumped in fear and screeched as it ran back under the fridge.
That’s when I realized I needed to take a picture of it with my cell phone. Maybe I even discovered a new species. Maybe it would make me rich. When I looked under the fridge to get its picture, it had somehow vanished. It also somehow managed to take the broom with it. I was tricked! I looked all around the kitchen for it. I even checked the ceiling. I was just starting to think I had gone crazy when the audio on the radio suddenly increased in sound.
“Attention all listeners!” An authoritative and almost unfriendly voice suddenly came on the radio. “We have received a recent message to warn the public about a potentially dangerous animal in the area. A lab rat has escaped Sturr Co. after being exposed to very dangerous chemicals. The rat has been reported to be an unusually large size and may have red scales growing on her back. If you see this animal, please call the police immediately. It is also important to make sure that you do not touch the animal under any circumstances. I repeat, do not touch the animal under any circumstances."