Once upon a time there was a little girl named Hannah. Her family had just moved to a new house on a street with a cul-de-sac at the end. One day she decided to take her dog for a walk to check out the neighborhood.
As she walked down toward the end of the street, she noticed a house that was unlike all of the others. It sat up high on a hill, towering above the cul-de-sac. Its old purple paint was dingy and peeling. The weeds in the yard were tall. Some of the windows were even cracked and broken. It looked like no one had lived there in many years.
As she passed by the house, her dog began to make a low rumbling growl. Hannah stopped and listened. The dog was staring intently at the mailbox in front of the strange house. It was all black and looked like it was 100 years old.
Hannah suspiciously walked closer toward the mailbox. As she got closer the dog began to bark. She popped open the door of the mailbox, and peered inside. It looked empty except for some very old, ripped up mail. As Hannah reached her hand inside the mailbox, she felt a strong BITE on her hand!
She yanked it back as fast as she could while yelling “Ouch!”. She looked inside the mailbox again, and this time saw two red glowing eyes looking back at her. Before she could even guess what it was, a black, mangy rat, jumped out and landed on the ground by their feet. It hissed at her and the dog before quickly scurrying toward the nearest sewer grate and disappearing.
Hannah ran back to her house, holding her hand. When she got home, her parents asked her what happened. They decided they should go to the emergency room, in case the rat had some kind of disease that would need to be treated right away.
As they arrived at the emergency room, Hannah and her parents walked up to the counter to check-in. The receptionist said they should grab a seat and wait their turn. But when another receptionist saw how bad her hand looked, she immediately said “Oh no, she needs to be seen right now,” and directed Hannah and her family to an private office.
By the time the doctor came into the room, Hannah’s hand was turning purple around the bite marks. The doctor took one look at her and said, “Oh no, this looks serious! Tell me what happened”.
As Hannah was telling the doctor all about what happened with the rat and the mailbox, the doctor’s eyes were growing wider and wider, with a look of uneasiness on his face.
He then asked, “Tell me, did you happen to see what color the rat’s eyes were?”.
“Red”, she answered.
“Oh no! I can’t believe it’s happened again!” the doctor remarked in disbelief.
Hannah’s parents were very confused and a little worried. They asked what he meant by ‘again’.
The doctor told them how he’s had several cases exactly like this one in the last week.
“It’ll just be easier to show you,” he said.
The doctor walked them all down a long hallway with double doors at the end. As they went through the doors, there was an enormous room with gray walls. A long metal stairway led them down to the gray floor. At the far end of the room, Hannah noticed a huge curtain, almost as large as the entire wall behind it. It was covering something.
The doctor explained to them how every case he’s seen this week involving a bite from a rat with red glowing eyes has always resulted in the same outcome. As the doctor pulled back the curtain at the far end of the room, he said “They all turn into rats! And not just regular sized rats. They’re still the same size as people. But they’ve grown fur, tails, claws, and even whiskers.”
Hannah’s mother fainted at the sight. Behind the curtain was a huge rat cage, constructed for people-sized rats. It had tubes to run through, large wood shavings to dig in, even a giant wheel to run on. It was quite an impressive thing to behold.
Inside the cage were 5 other rat-people, tunneling, burrowing, running on the wheel, and even some curled up together for a rat-nap.
They checked Hannah into a room in the hospital where they would take good care of her during her inevitable transformation. The doctor assured her and her parents that a special team of rodent scientists had flown in from all over the world to study the disease and to try to find a cure as quickly as possible.
Well as the days went by, Hannah began to change. First her skin began to grow thick, dark hair, until it was covering all of her body. Then whiskers began to sprout on her cheeks. Her fingernails became longer and pointier like claws. And finally, after a week of being in the hospital, she had grown a full-sized rat tail.
The doctor had Hannah moved to the giant rat cage, so that she could get exercise and play the way a normal rat-person should. Her family visited her every day. They even brought bags of carrots to feed her treats through the holes in the cage. They all had hope that soon the scientists would find a cure.
Elsewhere in the city, a man was working in the sewers, fixing a broken pipe that was leaking under the street. He was up on a ladder, when suddenly, he heard a noise of soft splashing coming from beneath him. Before he could turn around and look, he felt a BITE on his butt!
He yelped out in pain and swung down the wrench he was holding, hitting the thing off his butt. He climbed down the ladder to inspect it, and saw that it was laying still, on its side, on the floor of the sewer. As he got closer, he could see that it was a very strange looking rat (this was coming from someone who comes across rats every day in the sewer). That’s when he noticed its red glowing eyes through the slits of its eyelids.
He had a feeling this rat was very important, so while it was still stunned, he grabbed it by the tail and through it into a small cage. The sewer worker immediately drove it to the nearest animal control center. The people there had already been alerted by the team of scientists to keep an eye out for such a rat with red glowing eyes.
Once the scientists were able to do research on the rat, they discovered that it contained a very unique strand of venom in its mouth. They used this to create an anti-venom, and immediately began delivering it to the hospital.
It was finally Hannah’s turn to receive the cure, so they transferred her back to a hospital bed, and administered it right away. Within a few hours, her tail started to shrink. Then, her hands returned to normal. Soon after, her fur fell out, and you could see her skin again. The last thing remaining were her whiskers. After a few days they began to fall out, one by one. All of them, except one single whisker fell out.
After she went back home, her parents tried to get her to trim the last whisker but she thought it was cool, so she kept it. Maybe she would pluck it eventually, but for now, it gave her a nice prop for scary stories to tell around the campfire that summer.