Other Stories in this issue

The Mechanical Rat

by Lawrence Buentello

About the Author: Working in multiple genres, Lawrence Buentello has published over 100 short stories and innumerable poems in journals, magazines, and anthologies, many of which can be found in several volumes of collected fiction and poetry. He is also the author or co-author of several novels. Buentello lives in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas.


Everyone loved mechanical mice, according to Yazzi—tiny white creations, a wind-up motor covered by faux white fur, a leather tail and button eyes. The old mice were powered by a key and metal spring, but contemporary versions used tiny batteries and computer chips. Yes, cats loved them, kids loved them, those sweet, furry toys rolling across the floor in imitation of their natural counterparts—so why not build a more robust model?

That’s how it started—he really made it sound as if he were fabricating something delightful.

I only saw him occasionally, usually in passing as I entered or left my house, but once or twice he’d let me down into his basement where he crafted his projects. Today was one of those special occasions. All the parts to his current project lay waiting for assemblage: coils of wire, tiny gears, copper pinions, pieces of bent metal. Pliers, scissors, solder, and a pair of drills lay next to these items, a collection of materials that had assisted in the creation of some pretty bizarre toys.

Story Comments

Dec 31 - Susan Rickard


Feb 6 - Tatiana Claudy

Awesome! I could not stop reading because the story captivated me. I suspected that there would be a twist at the end, but I could not imagine that it would be such an unusual twist! And I really like the theme of friendship. I am waiting for another story!

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