An update on how little Oscar is doing. In this short, he is around 16 years old.
“So that’s why I haven’t seen you in a few days,” Oscar remarked quietly. He couldn’t help but smile at the sight before him, and he was relieved. He had worried his friend might have gotten snapped in a trap somewhere in the dusty corners of the motel, only to be thrown out with the trash.
The truth was wriggling around in the fluffy nest of fur, lint, sawdust, and scraps of string. Oscar heard the muffled squeaking and inched forward to get a closer look. The mouse he knew, a descendant of the first mouse he ever met, squeaked in greeting and twitched her nose at him like Rita long before her so often did. Oscar held out a hand and let her nuzzle his arm with ticklish whiskers.
Once he’d said hello to their mother, Oscar couldn’t resist sitting down at the edge of the nest to greet the new arrivals. The mouse pups noticed him and crawled closer, their little noses poking out of the surrounding fluff before they emerged further.
They only had soft fuzz all over their bodies, rather than a full coat. Oscar brushed a gentle hand over ears that hadn’t even fully rounded yet and tiny backs that were so fragile he could feel their rapid heartbeats. The pups squeaked quietly, sniffing avidly though they couldn’t yet see him.
Oscar’s scent, after their mother’s, would be one of the first things they ever knew.
“Four pups,” he counted softly with a grin. Four new residents of the Knight’s Inn motel. Two of them at the most would stay once they were adults, he guessed. The mice didn’t crowd themselves in, simply because of resources.
Oscar had learned a lot about the habits of mice over the years. At sixteen, he’d known mice longer than he’d gotten to know his mother.
One of the pups had grey markings on her pink skin where her fur would be darker than the usual tan. She squirmed her way closer until she tumbled onto Oscar’s lap, her stumpy tail twitching back and forth and her tiny paws searching for purchase.
“Oops,” Oscar said with a chuckle. He picked up the little mouse, not even an inch long, and shifted her over so she was upright with her front paws on his leg in case she wanted to wander off of him again. Instead, she poked her little nose at his side before settling down with a tired squeak.
She was just in time for her brother to crawl into Oscar’s lap after her, and Oscar had to laugh. “You pups will overrun me,” he told them. Their mother squeaked and sniffed at Oscar’s face, tickling him with her whiskers. As he had with her when she was just a new pup, he was proving to be a very good babysitter.
In no time at all, Oscar had three mouse pups crowded onto his lap while the fourth rested in his arms. Every chance he got, Oscar tried to meet the mice as early as he could after litters were born. They imprinted on him, learning his scent, and he welcomed his new neighbors. Oscar rubbed behind their soft little ears, for a moment letting himself feel peaceful as the new baby mice rested on him.