Isaac trudged down the dirt path. It felt like he’d been walking for hours. But, the scenery hadn’t changed. Tall grass everywhere. And then, finally, he walked into a clearing.
A giant shoe towered over him, as tall as a house. There was a hole in the heel with uneven edges, as though something had been chewing on it. But what would chew a hole in a shoe, and why?
As he walked a little closer, he could hear tiny, high-pitched voices. “I’m hungry,” one said. “Me too.” “And me.” “Me three.” Other voices joined in.
And then, a mouse looked out of the hole in the heel of the shoe. It was a large mouse, as big as Isaac. It climbed out of the shoe and looked at him with dark eyes that didn’t seem to blink at all.
Little baby mice scurried out of the shoe and pulled on the mouse. “Mommy, I’m hungry,” one shrieked, and then the other little mice started crying that they were hungry too.
The little mice were as big as dogs. Isaac had always wanted a dog, but couldn’t have one. Was he allergic to mice, too? Would his parents notice if he brought home a giant mouse? He could hide it under his bed.
He looked again at the hole in the shoe. Maybe his house couldn’t handle a giant mouse. His parents would notice if giant holes started appearing everywhere. Mice must have very sharp teeth.
Suddenly, Isaac felt a little nervous. He looked at the mice. The mother mouse looked at him. “Children,” the mouse said. “I think he has food.”
“Who?” “Where?” The children asked.
“Over there,” the mouse said. She pointed at Isaac. “I can smell it.”
Isaac’s mind nearly went blank with fear. The little mice began to run towards him. And then he remembered the sour berries in his pockets. He pulled one out. “Here,” he said. “Food. Go catch it.”
He threw the berry far away into the grass beyond the shoe. Several mice ran after it. He threw another and another until he was out of both berries and mice. Then he ran down the path, as quickly as he could.
It was too bad he couldn’t keep one of the little mice. They could play catch, just like a dog. But they had those sharp, sharp teeth. And of course eventually, they’d get bigger. As big as the mother mouse.
Isaac remembered the dark eyes and shivered. No, he didn’t want to take home a little mouse. Even if they could play catch. Right now, he’d just be happy to get home at all.
If he grew back to his normal size, maybe he’d pop right out of this potted plant world, wherever it was, and back into the lobby. Stairs and elevators had worked before. What else could work like that to make him grow?
A ladder? A witch’s broom? Maybe he could find a nice rope with a hook at the end and he could carry it around with him. Or a flying carpet.
Isaac looked around. Tall grass everywhere. At least there weren’t any hungry mice or ants. He sighed and kept walking.
As he walked, he started to hear a tapping sound. It sounded like someone was knocking on a door somewhere nearby. Perhaps they could give him directions? Isaac hurried down the path towards the noise.
Finally there was another break in the grass, and the ground to the left of the path sloped downwards into a round, shallow hollow. Four large speckled eggs were nestled together in the center of the hollow. Isaac looked up and around, but didn’t see the mother bird anywhere.
He was about to hurry on, when he realized that the tapping sound was coming from the eggs. And then there was a sharp cracking sound, and a small hole appeared in the closest egg. The tapping stopped, and an eye peeked through the hole and looked at Isaac.