Well, September has kicked off to a good start. To cut a long(ish) story short, I now have no rats of my own, and am just down to the two foster rats. I lost Ren a couple of days ago, my favourite rat probably ever, literally the day after we lost Milo, the funny little rat I took on for a friend not even three weeks before.
It’s going to be very weird when the foster rats leave. I’ve been keeping rats for four and a half continuous years now. I’m so used to having them around. Feeding them, talking to them, cuddling with them, and just having them out to run around the living room has all been part of my daily routine for a long time now. I’m used to having animals around. With the exception of my three years at university, I’ve always had animals in the house.
So I don’t know how long my pet keeping break will be. I might well get more rats in a year or so, but for now I’m tired of being constantly in and out of the vets’, tired of having to be on guard for any sign of a crackle in their breathing, or red staining around their noses. My fucking bank balance is tired. Really though I’m just tired of losing them all the time. I love rats. They’re one of my favourite animals for sure. But they only live 2 years on average. It’s not really enough time, not when you get attached to them, and there are some rats, like Ren, that you get attached to very strongly in a very short space of time.
Tomorrow I’m going in early to the tattoo studio to get something to commemorate Ren, and all of my rats. Pretty basic, just a little rat paw print. I’m a bit excited and a bit nervous. My first tattoo hurt a lot more than I expected (to everyone who ever told me they don’t really hurt, I hate you and I want your lack of nerve endings). I feel like I need it though.
I’ve got a week long holiday now and not much planned so I’m going to spend most of it writing. I’m working on a paranormal story (surprise surprise) that I really like. The characters are really jumping out at me and I find myself just wanting to sink into their heads and get their story down on paper. It still needs a bit more planning plot-wise, but everything else, all the characters and relationships and internal drama is pretty much already there with very little effort on my part. So I’m looking forward to not having to do anything else but that for a few days.
This week has kind of sucked. My oldest rat, Deci, died the other night. I knew it was coming, but I thought I had more time. I always think I have more time than I really do with my animals. Maybe everyone does. I’m going to miss that crazy old rat. When I got her, I really wondered what I’d let myself in for, because she was so frightened and bitey and I had exactly zero experience with that sort of behaviour. I’m so glad I did get her though and persevered because she was amazing, and she ended up a very trusting and confident rat. Never really normal though. I don’t think I’ll ever meet another rat as weird as her.
Rico’s gone as well now. He’s found his new home, which is great, but the lounge feels kind of empty without him and I keep having to check myself because I’ve gotten used to him being a part of my daily routine. I’m pretty lucky with the home I found though, because he’s gone with my aunt and uncle in Wales, so I’ll get to see him now and again, and I know how good they are with animals. He’ll have loads of space and other bunny friends. It’ll be great for him up there. For a while they weren’t sure they wanted another rabbit, but my aunt and cousin managed to convince my uncle, and he totally fell in love with Rico as soon as he met him. Who wouldn’t? I’m getting lots of updates about him already, and apparently he’s already settling in and is having a great time running around outside, eating grass and cuddling with his new humans. He hasn’t met the other buns yet because his hormones haven’t settled from his op, so that’ll be next month. Fingers crossed it all goes well! It sounds like he’ll also have his own pet, because my dad said something about a blind chick that lives in with the rabbits. Why it doesn’t live with the other chickens, I’ve no idea.
It all feels very quiet here now, but I still have my Ren, and the new foster girls I picked up the other week. The newbies, Mahogany and Porcelain, are quite skittish as they haven’t been handled much before, so I’m taking things quite slow with them. They’re used to me stroking them now. Well, a bit. Not so much with the picking up though. Hopefully by the end of next week they’ll be more at ease with it all. We’ll see.
As you know I’ve a not-so-short story coming up in LT3’s The Bestiary collection, which I think will be out around November time.
My story is called The Dog in the Mist and is set in Devon, utilising a whole heap of local folklore.
Dorian is unlucky. He’s lost his parents, his best friend, and now he’s lost his gran as well. And to top it all off, he’s being stalked by a dog—a dog that’s bigger than a dog has any right to be, a dog that brings death in its wake. Soon, Dorian will learn that all the things he pushed from his mind, all the stories he was told as a kid about faeries and ghosts and monsters, are real. And maybe, just maybe, they can help him reclaim some of what he’s lost.
The Dog in the Mist centres on Dorian, and his missing friend, Evan. It’s written in limited 3rd present and uses a shit ton of flashbacks, which are maybe my favourite part of the story, just because they were the most fun to write ❤
The main reason for this whole post though, aside from the rough release date, is to say ‘Hey, check this out!’
This is the art for my story, drawn by the lovely V. Rios. Look at the shiny eyes! So cool.
Three weeks ago I picked up my rats from the breeder. They were six weeks old, tiny and completely adorable. At nine weeks, they’re still fairly small and adorable and they’ve gotten used to me now. I think they finally like me! Even if I do keep teasing them with the curtains (which they seem to be fascinated by and keep trying to grab a hold of).
Annoyingly, they’re most active just as I switch the light out and go to bed, but I’m getting used to it now and all the rattling and crashing coming from their cage doesn’t keep me up as much.
Lilith, the black smooth one, is a real pain to handle, because she’s so damn fast and I never know where she’s going to go next, but she’s so cute and fun. I’m certain that at some point I’m going to lose her and there’ll be a big kerfuffle moving furniture and boxes to find her. As soon as I open the cage door, she’s trying to jump out at me, which means her sister, Eve, is sometimes overlooked a little. She’s the quieter, shyer one, and I don’t think she’s entirely used to me just yet. She still gets a bit scared if I move too quickly, and tends to just huddle in the inside of my cardigan when I get her out. She likes her food though, so I figure that if I give her enough treats when I have her out, she’ll be happier with it. And then she’ll hate me when I have to put her on a diet because she’s getting too fat :p