Small Stories
By Ronnie Rabbit

-Dedicated to Deborah Walley

Wincing, the young blonde mouse dragged herself another step up the side of the hill, and muttered, "Figures."

Another foot. "Volcano. It has to be a lousy... stupid... volcanOW-" she paused, squeezing her eyes shut, and dragged herself higher.

It had been like this for... a long time. Longer than she could remember. But here she was, finally, on the top of the stupid stinking hill.

"Fat lot of good it'll do me," LaWhiney muttered, resting her back against a lonely bit of shrubbery, and looking out over what was left of tropical paradise. Unless one had a fancy for expanses of lava in various states of bubbling and cooling, there wasn't much to recommend it as the location of a swinging beach party with Frankie Avalon.

LaWhinie looked around at the pathetic little hill she'd managed to climb up. How long had she been dragging herself up the side, using every ounce of strength she had? And what did she have to show for it? Maybe a few extra minutes before the lava-

"Oh my gosh, what are you doing out here?" an alarmed voice said from somewhere... over her? What the heck? LaWhinie thought, shading her eyes as she looked up. She stared, then blinked, then gaped in shock.

As the smell of fire and brimstone assaulted her, she beheld a floating, flapping bat-winged figure, dark and silhouetted against the sun. LaWhinie groaned. "Oh, yeah, swell. That's just great. Geez, can't you at least wait until a girl's dead before you sweep her off to her final judgement? For the love of-"

"Um. Oooh, you're not Gadget," the figure said, cocking her head to the side. She apparently needed to consider this for a moment, then she decisively dropped to the ground. And 'she' it was; without the light behind her, LaWhinie could see it was a female... with incredibly bad fashion sense. "Let me get something for your leg- I'll, um, oh, I wish the others were here and not saving the other animals, I'm no good at this- I'll chew a branch off the tree here, and make a whosis! Yes! And then I'll fly you out of here... why are you looking at me like that?"

"Let me get this straight," LaWhinie said, crossing her arms. "You're with... Gadget... and those other gentlemen she hangs around with, right?"

The bat nodded eagerly.

"... I'd rather go with the bat demon."

"Oh. I haven't seen him," she said vaguely, wresting a passable brace off of the shrubbery with hands... wings... LaWhinie couldn't exactly tell... and a few well placed bites. "Pfft! Ptooie! But that's okay, I'm here now, and I can save you instead."

Tired, hot, hurting more than she could ever remember in her life, and about to be saved by the Rescue Rangers, LaWhinie closed her eyes, and said slowly, clearly, " I'm not going."

The bat girl blinked at her with those big, liquid eyes of hers. "Not...?"

LaWhinie took a deep breath, and said softly, "I'm not worth saving. Whoever you are. Just... just get the heck out of here, okay? I'm-" she swallowed. "I'm hurt too bad. I'm n-not going to make it, no matter what you do." Her voice got a little softer, and her eyelids blinked again, more sluggishly. "Not worth... trying, anyway."

The bat paused a moment, then came over, and started carefully affixing the makeshift splint around the mouse's leg. LaWhinie bit down on her lip, hard, squeezing her eyes shut, as somehow, impossibly, the pain managed to get worse.

"It does look pretty bad," the bat said softly. "But we're going to try, anyway. We have to."

"Why?" LaWhinie snapped, her words as hot as the burning island around them. "I tried all my life, and it didn't do any good! I've got nothing! Nothing! No one- no one even knows who I am-" she choked, her eyes watering. She must be delerious, telling some stranger all this, but it just hurt, and she was so, so tired. Furious, she beat on the wing of the creature in front of her, trying to knock her away, but she was too weak. "It won't matter," she sobbed. "I'm nobody. Nobody. I never did anything important! I was just another pretty face for a few years, that's all-"

Her hands shook on the bat's fur, and she whispered, "No one will even notice when I'm gone."

The bat cupped the mouse's chin, lifted her head back up, and said in that wonderful, soft, sleepy voice, "I will."

She gently stroked LaWhinie's long hair as she said, "It only takes one voice. You don't need to save the world, or even your one small corner of it... or be known by everyone... or be powerful, or... or anything. All you need to be remembered is to have one voice, one small voice, to tell your story. I have mine... I have people who love me, now, I know," she said tenderly. "And now you have yours."

The bat kissed her forehead. "No matter what happens," she said, "you have my voice, now. Someone will remember."

The bat girl flapped her wings, lifting up off the ground, and held out one of her footpaws. "Please- fight. Fight until the end. You are worth it. But if you don't make it... you still have a voice."

LaWhinie stared at the outstretched paw, feeling the world slipping away from her. She was still tired, and it still hurt, hurt more than anything, but-

She reached upwards.

/I knew a girl once./

/She wasn't perfect. She wasn't a great inventor, or detective. A lot of people would say she didn't do anything much with her life at all./

/I'm not one of those people. My name is Foxglove./

/I'm her voice./

/This is her small story./

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