The Legend of Thomas the Rat Basher
As the ancient tales tell, there was once a young man, born of an unholy book, named Thomas Dylan McPhee. Our young hero; tall, stocky and with a head of curly black hair, was trapped in a nightmarish stronghold owned by a lethargic succubus for the better part of his childhood. Even as a child though, Thomas was a strong and capable lad. He escaped from the menacing, black walls of the succubus’ fortress.
Fleeing several villages over, he moved in with what was as close to a family as he could dream of; his father, Jason, and Jason’s wife Joanne. The couple bickered often, but the family held together by strings. His younger sister, Rebecca, was still more of a child than he, however, and despite their typical sibling rivalry, our hero Thomas felt very protective of her.
Since a young age, Thomas had dreamt of becoming a Knight. In this land, however, Knights needed to accomplish a heroic feat to earn their title. Coming from a shaky family and with little money or upbringing, young Thomas’ dreams of becoming a Knight were but a faint fantasy.
However, life carried on, and eventually he was cast into the void of his teenage years. Like most boys his age, he attended school, fell for a girl, was heartbroken, experimented, and struggled to find himself in the harsh world.
In his 10th year of schooling, a few months in, he came home to a letter on his doorstep. Thomas picked up the small envelope and carefully examined it. No name or return address was to be found. He opened the front door of his tall, pale-white home, and walked inside. Sitting down at the end of the room, he carefully slipped open the letter. Pulling out a piece of folded parchment, he slowly undid the folds only to see three words written in black ink. “I found you,” they said, scrawled quickly with a rough quill. Panicked, young Thomas sprinted down the stairs to his bedroom. He crumpled up the note, and with a lighter, burned it to ashes. “She’s found me?! How?!” muttered Thomas to himself in fear. “No, no, it can’t be. Just friends being silly, it must be.” thought Thomas to himself. Putting the thoughts out of his head, he sat in his bed and began to relax, writing tales of legendary heroes and villains, dreaming of the future ahead of him.
Much later that evening and well after sunset, Thomas reclused to the soft chair at the foot of his bed to watch some television. Reaching for his remote, he saw something out of the corner of his eye. It was a rat! A massive, filthy, skin-tailed rat, nearly the size of his arm. In a swift reaction, he reached for the heavy lid of a container and brought it down on the beast with the strength of a warrior. “Joanne! Bring me something sharp or heavy!” shouted Thomas at the top of his lungs. Stunned, the abomination of nature he had just dashed began to quiver in pain and shock. An alarmed Joanne dashed down the stairs, a hammer in hand. “Catch!” she cried, throwing the improvised weapon of war to her stepson. With the fury pent up from years of being trapped with the vile succubus, Thomas brought the hammer down on the appalling creature. Again, and again, and again, Thomas bashed the rat in the skull. After a moment, it was assuredly dead. Gasping for breath, Thomas dropped the hammer to the floor. “B-bring me a bag, Joanne.” asked Thomas. Joanne nodded and trotted back up the stairs, returning with a white trash bag. Thomas picked up the disgusting beast by it’s sickly skin-tail, and tossed it into the bag. Without a word, he walked up the stairs and out the front door of his small home. At a deliberate pace he walked across the parking lot of his housing complex and to the dumpster across the street and tossed the dead creature inside, shutting the rusted metal hatch behind it.
After the event with the rat, Thomas had begun to hear repeated shuffling in the ceiling above his bedroom. At first, he dismissed these rustlings as nothing but the piping. But as the days went by, he began to grow more and more suspicious of the noises. Much to his distress, odd droppings began showing up in the house, On the floors, in cupboards, and in his room, they could be found. Boxes of food were found chewed through and partially eaten. Now, despite his prior victory, Thomas was faced with yet another challenge; a second bad rat, lurking and plotting against him.
With the little money he had received from his job at the local market, he purchased poisonous and deadly traps for the rat. Cleverly hiding them in the nooks and crannies of the household, Thomas hoped that the rat would make a fatal mistake whilst going about it’s mischief. However, as the days and weeks went by, the happenings continued and the traps proved to be of no avail.
Meanwhile, the rat’s plot was working. Thomas’ family was falling apart. Joanne, stressed and infuriated by the rat droppings and ruined food, divorced with Jason. She blamed him for the rat’s presence, and on top of the already-shaky foundation of the family, their structure collapsed. Joanne began to leave at night and not show up for hours, even days, to come. Rebecca was sent off to the next region over, as well, leaving Thomas isolated and alone with nothing but his thoughts and his tormentor.
One fateful night, Thomas simply could not sleep. At 4:30 in the morning, he could hear the rat in the ceiling. The shuffling grew louder, and more intense. Angrily, Thomas leapt from the covers of his bed and stormed upstairs in nothing but his undergarments, hammer in hand. His feet pounded on the floor as the stormed into the kitchen. “Come out you bastard, come and get me! There can be only one!” he screamed at the top of his lungs. Then, there was a shriek from inside one of the cabinets. Thomas squatted down and whipped the door open. Before his eyes laid the rat, caught in the metal clasp of a trap. Squirming, screeching and wiggling it’s horrible tail back and forth, the beast tried vainly to escape. With one quick swing from the hammer in his right right hand, the rat was dead. Thomas fell to his knees, letting out a cry of pure joy. “It’s over! It’s FINALLY OVER!” he bellowed to the skies. Opening his back door, he cast the bloody corpse of his foe out into the wilderness with a hearty pitch. Exhausted from the adrenaline of battle, though, Thomas immediately went to bed.
The next morning, word of his triumph had spread all throughout the land. When he arose from his home that morning, he was greeted with a parade from the town. Carried by the crowd, they took him around in a precession in his honor. The crowds carried Thomas down the main street of his small village, where the lord of the land was awaiting him, sword in hand. Setting him down carefully, the crowd retreated into a circle around the two. “Thomas, your triumphs against the forces of the Succubus’ rats has brought great honor to our land, and for this we return the honor to you. Kneel, Sir Thomas the Rat Basher.” bellowed the lord. Blushing with pride, Thomas knelt before him. The lord of the land tapped Thomas on both shoulders, and granted him the honor of Knighthood.
And so goes the story of Thomas the Rat Basher, who rose from humble, difficult
Beginnings to become the most prestigious hero in the land. Legend has it that he stays vigil to this very day, watching over the innocent who cannot protect themselves from the menace of the bad rats. May his spirit carry on forever.