Pervasive Pests


dumortier_icon.gif weasel2_icon.gif

Scene Title Pervasive Pests
Synopsis Killing rats and good conversation don't often go hand in hand.
Date April 19, 2019

Providence - Pasture


They’re everywhere.

In walls, under houses, in wood piles, in barns, in the ground…everywhere. And their main goal in life, beyond survival, is to make life more difficult than the good people of Providence.

Clara Winters is perched on a fence near an old shed with firewood piled high, fiddling with a stick that has grown smooth from repeated nervous manipulation over what may possibly have been years. She’s here for the rats — not that this is apparent by her current presence, dark eyes set on the wood pile. Her ability has become quite profitable here, with those who tend the land eager to rid themselves of the pervasive pests.

Every so often, a terrified squeaky shriek issues from the pile of logs and kindle, as yet another rat loses its life. Each of these squeaks prompts a small smile from the Musteloid telepath, and a small utterance of, “Good mink,” that can only really be heard at close quarters. Occasionally, her hand snakes into her pocket, pulling out a bit of rabbit jerky, which she quickly pops into her mouth.

Beyond the scope of the woodpile and the shed there lies the farmland, the village, the spread of a tiny civilization. There is grassy pasture behind that fence she's perched herself on, the cloudy day holding onto a fair warmth of spring. A lone little cow munches away at a distance.

The tiny wails of despair have attracted one lone curious turkey buzzard that circles oh-so lazily.

Somewhere, surely, other rats are listening and hiding.

Predators make for nervous days and the mink's new career has been deadly. One little rat squeezes out an escape from under the edge of the shed, popping out and taking off with a bounce into the tall weeds behind the fence, squeaking in terror.

The last Weasel had looked, the field the rat takes off into was only home to that mild-mannered cow.

Not as much, anymore. The cow remains, oblivious, a diminutive figure clad in hood and leather standing out dark between scrub-bush at a further distance.


There is protocol for the escapees. Weasel spots the fat little creature making a beeline, and lets out a small whistle. No verbal commands are given, no gestures; despite this, suddenly a little brown and white creature is off, bounding after the rat at a loping gallop that is far faster than the short legs of the Least Weasel would suggest. Ron earns his keep, too, even beyond catching rabbits for supper.

As the tiny creature sets upon the little rat, proving itself to be the most savage, if tiniest, predator around, Clara’s brown eyes catch on the hood-clad figure, brows raising a bit as she sizes the distant figure up. Small, smaller even than the already tiny Musteloid telepath, but that doesn’t mean much — they could have training like she has. Still, her hand reaches down, unbuttoning the clasp that keeps the knife at her ankle securely in its sheath.

This is a friendly community, though, so despite the precautionary measure, a smile plants its way across her face, and the young woman waves a hand in a brief wave.

The scene up ahead is enough to draw the person's attention, head following the parting of grass as the weasel goes diving for the rat. They don't look back until catching the girl's wave from afar, tugging at peripheral vision. With the commotion, the cow goes bleating unhappily from the scene, tail up at a trot.

For coming from nowhere in particular, there sure is a ruckus when a stranger shows up. Hands remain at the sides, visibly hesitating before lifting a hand- - no waving- - and starting tentative steps closer. On closer inspection there's a variety of gear too; mostly packs. A crossbow, unbolted. Riding boots. An inexplicable tuck of wildflowers in a chest pocket.

Dark eyes flit about over the various gear, brows raising. Is she somehow a welcoming committee? Or is this one of those roaming militia types that protects the land? Whatever the case, she pushes off of the fence, landing easily on the ground and crouching down as the tiny weasel drags its prey back by the tail.

After a moment, she reaches down, and the creature promptly scampers up her arm and onto its shoulder, licking blood from its little maw. Ron is transitioning from his winter to his spring coat, with little blotches of brown starting to creep into the snowy white. A quick glance is cast toward the wood pile, assessing the status of the hunters within — the death shriek of another rat meets the gaze, and the girl smirks. “Good mink.”

Then, her gaze is back to the other figure, straightening up to her full height of…one inch taller than her fellow tiny person. “Hey there. Lovely day, isn’t it?” Clara is good at a great many things; conversation isn’t one of them.

At Weasel's descent and stoop, the stranger pauses, stopped until she stands again and reveals only a tiny critter. Manners don't seem to matter for a first impression, as no move is made to tug away the hood keeping sun out of crystal blue eyes. What Clara can see past collar and gloves is pale skin, a braided plait of blonde hair against chest.

"That's what you greet an armed stranger with?" Despite the seraphic features, Weasel's answer comes with some tang and a faint twist of an accent. The second part is warmer and a balm for the first. "Yes. It is."

A rattle comes from the shed, drawing an eye. "Yours, I take it?"

“I mean, if you were going to shoot me with that thing, you’d have probably loaded it when you were further away.” she points at the crossbow, “At this point, I’d have my knives out before you could load it, probably, and then it’d be a matter of who is better at hand to hand and who has better access to other weapons.”

The girl, who is unaccustomed to being taller than other grown people, allows a shrug to roll over her shoulders. “But you don’t seem inclined and Providence hasn’t shown me any ill will, so I’m not really itching for a fight.” She studies the shorter person, brows raising a bit.

She glances toward the shed briefly, nodding. “Minks. Vicious, murderous little shits. They love killing things, so I help them use that destructive energy for a good purpose.” She focuses on the wood pile for a moment…and seconds later, one of the dark little creatures emerges, the head of a fat rat gripped in its mouth. It drops the rodent, peering up briefly at the guest, before disappearing into the pile of firewood once more.

"Right." Weasel's answer earns a more critical raise of brow; it's easy to see that she's very young, though, so maybe that's how Providence kids do it. On minks, there is only a bit of a tilt of head when the young one comes popping out with its prize.

"I've only seen one outside of a furrier. Never met a mink coat I didn't like, though." There isn't a laugh, so it's difficult to tell if they are kidding or not. A hand finally brushes back the hood, the sun clinging to blonde hair.. "So you live here? Or nearby?" It's an easy hop when the fence is scaled and boots land on the shed-side and out from the cow field.

The girl wrinkles her nose at mention of a mink coat — clearly, she finds nothing tasteful about the joke — if it is one. “My brothers and sisters and I freed all of the animals in a fur farm on Staten Island a few months back. Then we burned it.” She gestures toward the pile of firewood. “One of the minks in there, Minerva, is a rescue from there. She was pretty sick, but I helped her get better.”

She shakes her head at the question of where she lives. “No, I’m just a visitor. Kind of. Right now I call the Safe Zone home.” She reaches up, scritching the brown-and-white weasel on her shoulder. “Been spending a lot of time out here the past month and a half, though. Cities are difficult. Not enough nature.”

Clearly the idea of raiding a fur farm doesn't particularly phase him. Ah, that's nice.

"Good for you." It's passive, and not mocking. If that's what she wants to do with her time, all the power to her. "I've heard some mixed things about the Safe Zone. I've heard Park Slope is nice, though… but here I agree with you." Weasel gets a crooked smile as he sidles over to the logpile and hefts a piece into his hand, rolling it over once.

"Not enough nature." The chosen log crackles and splits down the middle, grass fading at his feet as a sprout of green comes squirming out like a worm from an apple. It stretches up in the sun, tangles of tinier capillaries spanning outward. "Hm. This was an old one." Hence, firewood.

“Park Slope is nice.” The girl nods slowly. “I stay there when I’m in town. It’s quiet and people don’t go there.” That’s apparently a plus. Another rat shrieks out from the wood pile as the shorter fellow grabs a piece of the wood, another victim to the murderous tendencies of the minks hunting them.

Her brows widen a bit at the trick, before she grins. “Oh shit, that’s awesome,” she murmurs, leaning up against the fence. “You control plants, I guess. Bet that’s really useful, ‘specially out here.” She glances out across the pasture, to the cow that has settled back in to graze. “My ability isn’t so flashy. I’m an animal telepath, but as far as I can tell, I can only talk to Musteloids. Raccoons and weasels and skunks and stuff.”

"So I see." The wood is tossed over the fence into the grass; the spread of roots worms into the earth, furrowing and binding. A sapling breaks free, small but stalwart, up through the broken wood. It stills there, in silent gratitude for the second chance.

"At least those are ubiquitous. Could be worse. Could be a kangaroo telepath. You'd only have opossums or some such." Blue eyes lift back to the girl, showing an aged look before a hand extends, barest of manners at the moment. He's been on the road a while. "Rene. Dumortier." Hence the hues of an accent. "I'm with the transplants from Sedro-Woolley. You will see me around. It's been a long trip."

The girl’s eyes follow the suddenly sprouting log, brows raised a bit. That’s pretty awesome, actually — she’s certainly impressed, at least. After watching for a moment, her gaze moves back to Rene.

His remark on her ability prompts a small laugh. “I think opossums are cool, but it might be pretty lame to only be able to communicate with them.” She glances to the little weasel on her shoulder, then back to Rene. “These guys suit me better, anyhow.” The introduction is met with a small bob of her head. “Clara Winters. Good to meet you.”

"Likewise." A way of saying it with a bigger degree of neutrality. Though the grass has yellowed dully at his heels, it hasn't turned to dirt. He turns a glance down to it after releasing Clara's hand, reorienting his eyes upward to the weasel at the girl's shoulder. "Seems that way. Nicely pocket-sized to boot. I can relate."
It's sort of a compliment.

"Mine, not so much." Rene puts his shoulders back and whistles across the fence, a sharp, loud noise. The rattle that comes out of the treeline far beyond is the tick-tock of wooden wheels, hoofbeats with it. A laden wagon and a big horse, saddled up despite his load. It doesn't seem to bother him.

“Some of them. Raccoons definitely aren’t. They like being fat, greedy little assholes.” She sounds like she has experience in the matter — and like it’s not so much of a complaint as it’s just a statement of fact. After a moment, she reaches up a hand, pointing at the tiny creature on her shoulder. “This is Ron Weasley. The mink you saw a minute ago is Minerva.”

She turns to peer at the sapling once more, then her eyes catch on the wagon, brows raising. Mostly, the horse. “Oh man, he’s huge.” The admiration in her voice is easy to detect — while she is closest to the Musteloid superfamily, she can’t help but admire equines.

"Potter fan I take it." Rene raises a brow before hopping up onto the fence as the horse plods up. "A huge idiot, you mean." He says it with affection; lovable idiot, not dumb idiot. The cart comes rolling with, packed with different kinds of items, salvaged and not. One box stamped with the red cross, another packed tight with 'seeds' scrawled on the side. Other things, then, parts and pieces and things worth trading.

One hand digging into his shoulder pack, Rene suffers the horse when it ambles up and shoves that big velveteen nose under his arm.

"Give me a second, doofus." The tiny blonde is dwarfed, yet bosses around like he isn't. Rene pulls free a handful of greens and small carrots, giving the horse one as a distraction and holding the rest close. The tubers twitch alive against his chest, leaves unfurling as the carrots attempt to find dirt.

“Might’ve read them when I was a kid,” she replies, grinning a bit. “Mostly, it seemed like a proper name to give him. I also have Pepe Le Pew — guess what he is.” She chuckles. “I think he’s somewhere around here making some babies.” This remark is accompanied by a slight straightening of her posture, as if she’s a proud mama.

She then turns, leaning against the fence and watching the horse. She notices the other stuff in the wagon, but for now the horse has her attention. “His intelligence doesn’t matter, he’s gorgeous.” And so, so big, especially to the girl who is only an inch taller than Rene.

After a moment of hesitation, she puts her hand forward. “Is he friendly? I’ve not really had much experience with horses.”

"Not sure if I needed to know that about your skunk, but alright…" Rene peers down from his perch, noting the small lift of pride. Ah, let her have it. "Yeah. We get on okay, don't we- -" A carrot disappears into a chomp. "Can't say the food doesn't help. He's a big dumpling. Most of the time."

The way he says it sounds a little heavier, though hard to pin as to why.

The horse tips his nose towards the girl, nostrils big and huffy when he smells her hand. Soulful eyes that have mastered begging for treats. She'll feel a tap against her shoulder as Rene extends the tuber end of a carrot for her to take.

“Hey, Pepe Le Pew is fresh stock, all the way from the wilds of Canada.” She laughs at the remark, though, shaking her head a bit. “Plus, have you seen skunk kits? They’re the cutest little things. In any case, we’ll know how successful he is sometime in May.”

Dark brown eyes lift up to the enormous creature, her hand gently pressing against the velvety-soft fur of his nose briefly, and then up to his cheek. “You are a truly magnificent dumpling, sir,” she coos to the horse; judging by the look on her face, she is quite pleased with the opportunity.

The offered carrot brightens her expression even more, and she takes it with a thankful smile to Rene, before offering it out to the creature. “Man, I love my stinkies, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world…but I also really envy anyone who gets the ability to talk to these guys.” As she offers the carrot, she strokes the horse cheek reverently.

"I have seen kits and smelled mom, so I don't think I have a desire to repeat that." Rene's offer of the carrot is accepted without question, which gets a hint of a closed smile. "The stablemaster the others brought with them; the really gigantic man? I think that is what he does. He should be there with the militia."

While Weasel feeds the horse and scratches his face, he fixes her with those big eyes and flicks his tail, ears forward. Cronch.

"His name is Arrius, by the way." Arrius hears his name and munches in Rene's direction. He passes another carrot to Weasel.

Weasel doesn’t seem to care where the carrots come from — Rene has a pretty interesting ability, so she’s sure that Arrius is well fed. “I should try and meet up with him, then. I always kinda get along with other animal teeps,” she replies, gently scratching up behind the giant horse’s ears. “I wonder what their voices are like.”

She takes the next carrot, holding it out for Arrius with that same mesmerised look. Don’t mind her, she’s really the most in her element when she’s around creatures of all kinds, even if she can’t talk to them like she can talk to her stinky creatures. “Arrius is a handsome man.” She glances to Rene, grinning. “You sticking around here? I’d love to visit with you and this wonderful guy again. I’m definitely coming back around here again.”

"It took me months to get here, so yes. I'm sticking around. Followed the trail from Sedro-Woolley after the others." Eileen, the gang. "I'll be visiting the safe zone but not living there." Rene's explanation is steady and unhurried, bootheels on the fence wood below. He looks up as a second, wetter nose pokes up from beside Arrius. It's the cow. Of course, he obliges the fuzzy thing with a carrot too.

"He's handsome until he finds a mud hole."

The girl turns, grinning over at Rene. “I hoofed it here the first time I came out, so I feel you on the long trek — though yours was definitely longer.” She chuckles. “When you find yourself in the Safe Zone, look me up, I live in Park Slope with my sister. I can probably give you a quick tour of the place, if you want.” Though she’s been considering migrating out here herself — it’s a difficult choice.

The girl laughs softly, gently patting Arrius on the neck. She really loves this horse, that much is clear. The cow is offered a laugh and a small scratch atop the head. “At least he’s not like Minerva. She like to go swimming, then she uses me as a towel, whether she’s clean or not.”

"I do well enough on solo tours. But thank you." The blonde man does file it away, however, light eyes seemingly transcripting it to his memory. Animals at his front and wind at his back, Rene tips a look to Weasel. "I bet that stinks like hell, doesn't it? Yes, I'm glad he's not a mink. And that he doesn't try to dry himself on me." Instant death sentence. The horse is approximately twenty of him.

"No idea where I'll be staying once I put my heels down. I'll figure something out. I'm not much for bunking around a lot of people. I need space." His mouth curls in a new grin, aimed at nothing in particular. "Maybe a treehouse or something." Is he kidding? Maybe. Maybe not.

“I mean, she’s no spring rose,” Clara says of Minerva, “But she doesn’t smell as bad as you think. Now when she sets off her stink gland.” The young woman shudders a bit. “She can’t aim, but she can smell about as bad as a skunk when she sprays.” She chuckles. “Usually I just constantly smell a bit like a ferret, unless I’ve freshly washed my clothes and haven’t had her on me for a while.”

She tilts her head toward the man, smiling. “Oh man, I feel you there. There’s a reason I’m not staying in the housing they offer at the Safe Zone. Bunch of crowded-ass trailers packed in tight.” She shakes her head. “The only reason I stay with my sister is because she’s my sister. I’d have moved out by now if not.” She shrugs. “But then, I’m just as happy with a tent as I am with a roof. Beds are nice, but I don’t need one.”

The mention of a treehouse prompts a soft laugh. “That would be awesome, actually. High up, hard to sneak up on.” Rene is officially cool in Weasel’s books, also.

The talk about musk and stink glands just seems to make Rene uncomfortable. His skin crawls a bit. Whatever floats her boat, he supposes. Horses may not be roses either, but they don't spray it.

"Wow, trailers? And they've still got the housing lottery? That's ridiculous. No wonder you stay there…" Rene shrugs back, hand moving to steer his horse's nose closer so he can scratch between the eyes. Hit the spot. "It has pros and cons. You're a lot closer to the weather, trees do break, that kind of thing. Not good for your back, either." Hammocks aren't too spectacular. After some good scratches on the ear, the tiny blonde hops down from the fence and makes his way to his wagon. "I've got to hit town before long, but… if you see me, don't be a stranger." Somehow he doubts she would. Rene scales up the side and sits down on the front edge where a small bench is nailed on.

"Maybe I'll let you look through my stuff."

At the very least, Weasel seems to notice the discomfort — it’s quite okay, Musteloids aren’t for anyone. “Yeah, fucking trailers. It’s awful. Park Slope is way better, there are a ton of empty houses, and while it’s not been rebuilt, there’s also nobody around to regulate what you can do with it.”

She gives Arrius a few more pats and scratches, and if he’ll allow it, she gives the enormous beast a kiss on the cheek.

“I definitely won’t be,” she replies, grinning. “I’ll be around for a week or two at least, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other around.” She smiles, dropping down off of the fence to tend to the minks, who have been busy murdering rats this entire time — the frequency of the shrieks is diminishing.

“Was nice meeting you, Rene.”

Arrius, of course, loves the attention. He gives Weasel one last push with his nose before Rene tugs his lead to angle him around. The agrokene watches as she hops back to her minky business, light eyes difficult to read.

"Likewise." Rene listens to those progressively lessening squeaks, sparing a smile as the draft horse turns the cart around. "Au revoir, Clara."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License