Library Rat
rating: +21+x

Pat. Pat. Pat. What is that sound? The pitter patter of tiny paws on a hardwood floor, weaving in and out of the shelves of the library around you. Ugh, PLEASE tell me it’s not-

“Hi!! What’re you readin’? Can I see? Are there pretty pictures?” Your thoughts are interrupted by the small, long, and relatively chubby creature as it rounds the corner at an unnerving speed and bumps into your legs. Its stupid little “face” stares up with you, no thoughts apparent behind its soulless eyes. You sigh.

The little fuzzball in front of you, impatiently winding around your legs like a dog on crack, is technically your problem; though, admittedly, you do wish on the occasion that it wasn’t. Its name is Wumbo, and it's the young Masked Canine your good pal Lochan convinced you to adopt. Its actual gender is entirely a mystery to you, with its strangely high voice and odd little body; though, it does seem to like it when you call it by male pronouns. Doing this certainly does clear up any confusion, so, you do, much to his pleasure. Also, he now screams if you don’t.

Never have you seen a creature so… ridiculous. Like, his face is literally just a mask with a goofy smiley face- are those… crayon marks? Where the hell did he get crayons?

Wumbo, becoming too impatient for an answer, grabs your leg with all four of his weird little paws. Each of them have rat-like fingers, wrapping around the folds in your pants. It’s kinda creepy, honestly.

“Look!!” Wumbo whined, lifting up a tattered, poorly kept book barely held together by… glitter glue? “Look what I made!! Let’s read MY book!”

You flinch as his tiny hands heft up the monstrosity of a “book”, narrowly missing your face. Wow, this thing is covered in glitter. It’s crunchy. You don’t even want to touch it, nevermind the hopeless attempt at reading it that would be sure to follow. You don’t think Wumbo even knows his ABC’s, nevermind his spelling.

WHAP. There it is. This time, Wumbo hit you in the face with the crusty abomination. If you don’t read it, he will scream. God, does this thing scream. It’s why he’s so fat. All he does is scream.

“Looooooook!” Wumbo pulled the book back again, close to a hissy fit.

“Alright! Fine! I'll read your book! If you hit me with that thing again, I’m gonna be pissed and then I won’t ever read it for you.” You cave in as you put your hand between the book and your face. A wise decision, as with Wumbo’s excitement came his long, hard-hitting tail as he turned and jumped off of you to sit on the floor.

“Yes!! Sit here! Read! I wanna show you my pretty pictures!” Wumbo hopped around on his hind legs as he carried his creation over to one of the shelves to lean against. Setting down the book, Wumbo sits down next to it. Well, as close to a sit as you can get with an overly-excited toddler, basically. As you walk over, he’s practically jumping with excitement. You start to sit down next to him, positioning your back towards the shelf to get comfortable, but as you do so, Wumbo snatches up the book and bounces into your lap like the ball of rat he is before you even hit the floor.

Falling awkwardly against the shelf with the oddly heavy Wumbo in your lap, you do your best to relax as Wumbo scoots himself further onto your legs with his book, clearly struggling to open it through the copious amounts of glitter and glue. You wince as an upsetting amount of glitter crumbles and lands on your lap, knowing you will be finding the horrible little sparkles everywhere for months. You sigh, but Wumbo has finally peeled open the book, clearly having glued many of the pages together.

“Okay! This my book! Look at how pretty my cover is!! Sparkly.” Wumbo stared at the glitter encrusted page of the book for a moment before looking to the first page. He points at the scribbles and looks up at you, somehow excited by them. “Look! By Wumbo! That’s me!”

It definitely does not say that. Realizing Wumbo is still staring intently at you, you nod your head and mumble some sort of “wow” or other sound of feigned amazement. This is going to be a very, very long trip to the Library. He gives a small wiggle of excitement, and looks back down to struggle with the next page.

“Oh! Oh!! Look! This one is of me and my bestest friend! He’s kinda fat.” Wumbo lifts the book up, and points at a sad little doodle of what you can only assume is Wumbo and his… friend. He’s drawn a rather round circle for its body, though you can’t exactly tell what it is supposed to be. “I dunno what his name is, I just call him trash eater because he eats trash. Oh! And look at that one! I drew a snake!” He pointed to a random line on the page. I mean, if you squint your eyes and tilt your head…

He moves onto the next page before you can say anything about this 'trash eating friend' of his. As he turns the page, you realize he’s glued a ripped piece of paper onto it. It appears to be an art page, with the words “Warning” and “Undead” written on it. You try to decipher it further, but Wumbo has clearly scribbled all over the page, obstructing most of the ghoulish figures and words.

“Uh, where’d you get this one, Wumbo?” You reach around him to point at the suspiciously glued page. “Is it from a newspaper?”

“Wha?” Wumbo’s head tilted and leaned into the page, uncomfortably close. “Oh! That’s from a pretty book I found! It had lots of pretty art, and I wanted some of it in my book too!”

You blink at the ridiculous little creature in stunned silence. A book. From here? He ripped a page out of a book in the fucking Library? You take a moment to compose your thoughts.

“And you… weren’t caught harming one of the books? The staff didn’t even try to punish you for it?” You ask him slowly. Wumbo just stares blankly back, not a single thought in his tiny mind.

“The what?” Not even a half second later, he’s already turned back to his book to point at all of the nonsensical scribbles. You just stare at this ridiculously stupid creature, trying to understand how he’s survived this long.

“Ooooh look at this one!” Wumbo’s entire body rocks backwards, holding the book above his head once more. The book is still angled downward, so only Wumbo can see this “amazing” thing. He flips over, finally revealing several pictures glued onto the page.

“A nice man took pictures for me! Lookit how pretty I am!!! That’s me!” He fawned over the images, clearly obsessed with them. Somehow, you have a feeling Wumbo’s basically rediscovering everything in the book at the same time as you. Looking at your watch, you realize you’re going to be late for your meeting if Wumbo doesn’t stop gushing over himself soon. Wumbo carefully peels off two of the images and hands them to you.

“For you! So you don’t forget to come and see me!!” You feel a twinge of guilt as he says this, and you start to pocket the two glitter encrusted pictures. “I even drawed us on the back! Wait! Lookit!”

“Okay, okay.” You pull them back from your pocket, and turn them in your hand. On the other side, there’s what used to be more scribbles, though now they were ruined by the glue that wumbo used. You decide not to tell him this. “Very nice, bud.”

“Aren’t they pretty?” He tilts his small head thoughtfully to the side, before going back to flipping through his book. You can’t help but feel a sense of fondness for the little guy. He may annoy the life out of you, but…

“Ooh.” You hear Wumbo softly mumble, and look down to see he’s stopped at a page with a small shard of a mirror glued on. “This one’s my favorite.”

Gently lifting Wumbo off of your lap, you set him aside, gently patting the top of his head. He doesn’t even seem to notice, as he’s too wrapped up in his own reflection. You step away, and give him a slight wave to check and see if he even realizes your departure. He doesn’t. You feel bad.

As you walk down the dark library, you take the two pictures out of your pocket and stare at them for a moment. Just for you. He made them just for you, and you’re walking away from him again. For a brief second, you almost think of turning around, picking him up and taking him home. It’s a bad idea, you know, but you still can’t help the passing thoughts of the total and utter chaos Wumbo would cause back home. It’s… safer for him here. Yeah.

You put the pictures back into your pocket and keep walking. You’re already going to be late.

“Bye, dad.” The tiny voice echoes through the shelves behind you, and your heart breaks.

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