Again Tonight–

the floor is swimming in mice, their brown silky backs waving toward the bedroom door, a solid mass of them running for the opening. They are beautiful, he thinks, and trails his fingers through their fur, hanging his arm down over the side of the bed, watching the moon silver the hair in ripples as they race under his hand. You do not scare me, he whispers to the dark, while the mice cover the floor like a living carpet. Night after night they do this, moving from a hole under the window across the land below his bed and out to the hallway. From there he does not know where they go. They are an army and they are marching toward a battle he wishes he could see. Night after night he watches the stream of them, hears the soft thrum of tiny paws across the wood, sees the colors of bodies change from brown to gray to black to red-eyed white. The flood slows to a trickle, and finally the last mice come out of the wall. As they pass under his hand one stops, runs up his arm, and whiskers in his ear—come, come with us—and his heart pounds and pounds but he does not move. And then they are gone.

Judy French is a writer and teacher living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her prose and poetry have appeared in The Colorado Review, Vestal Review, and Opium, as well as other journals. She is a graduate of the Warren Wilson College MFA program.