A story of epic proportions by Daniel Sniadecki.
This is a true story.
With our lodging accommodations in Haiti being quite rugged, it was there that many of our finest memories were produced. The setting of an unfinished house with no power, water, and holes in the wall directed our evenings…our fate was not our own.
This unfinished building—let’s call it the compound—was settled in the back of a field with the nearest water source being a 10-minute walk away and cows that grazed freely all around. Every evening the sounds of animals and mysterious other creatures filled our ears as we did our best to rest our minds from the day.
It wasn’t until the second week did we come to realize that we were not the only ones dwelling in this pile of bricks, but it also belonged to many spiders and rats!!! The spiders were easy to demobilize because they stayed in one spot and didn’t scare easily.
In no time we had stacked the bodies of many an arachnid. Although we were visitors in their house, it was us who took dominion. The spiders, however, were the least of our concern as the rats made their presence far more known in the cloak of night, robbing us of our precious rest.
One evening we saw a rat scurry across the floor from under our pallet beds. Before we had a chance to realize what was going on, it dove into a hole in our bathroom. This only prompted our male instincts to go to war with the furry demons. At day’s end, the only thing that mattered to us was the war raging in our compound between man and beast.
We would come home and quickly grab our weapons of choice, so that, if stealthy enough, we might reap carnage!! A broom, a machete, and a broken pallet board, that when swung, delivered a deadly blow, became our favorites in the most sinister of ways.
Approaching slowly, we entered our room positioning ourselves strategically and blocking any means of escape for our furry foe. With a loud clamor, we scared the rat out of his hiding place and watched him run for his life. His fate rested only in his wits as he dodged our blows and danced around our obstacles.
Just as swiftly as he had come, he was gone and the torment of our loss boasted loudly in our ears at the end of our first battle. Night after night these agile vermin managed to remain unscathed and despite our best efforts, we failed to claim a victory. For the men in the trenches, the only means of survival is the hope to fight another day. With fire in our eyes and vengeance in our hearts, the drive for blood fueled us to block every hole in our compound so that escape was not possible.
The next night came quickly and with weapons in hand, we stepped into battle yet again— we were out for blood.
We approached slowly to the door of our room, careful not to disturb the rat prematurely for we knew exactly where he would be; under my bed in the northeast corner of the room preparing himself for what could be his final day. In position, a loud strike of the broom was laid on the bed in hopes of stirring our tiny enemy and, like clockwork, there he went.
The victory was not ours yet because we had done this part a thousand times prior. He scurried from my bed to Charlie’s, narrowly missing the swing of Charlie’s weapon of death before evading us into another room across the common area.
We remained in pursuit, finally trapping him under a new pallet. Our hearts pounded so loudly you could hear it over the voodoo drums off in the distance. Tonight would be the night we laid waste to the vile creature that had so greedily robbed us of our sleep. The room he ran into was a much smaller field of battle giving us the advantage in the war that would remain in our hearts forever. We managed to maneuver him into a corner where we could focus our eminent airstrike.
This young warrior had a lot of fight in him and his bravery was admirable even to us, giants of the Free Land. He dodged left and then right before sprinting between our feet and out of the room in which we had trapped him, evading us for the second time that evening.
But he was far from triumph, for we had thought this battle through to the very end. Our cunning hearts combined with the rage of our sleepless nights would be the deciding factor on this starry evening. The rat pranced into the common room only to be met by a beam of light so daunting that it could have been sent from Gandalf the White, but was only the fruit of a well-placed flashlight.
To the untrained eye, it was only a small weapon in our arsenal but to those trained on the field of battle, this torch could be the sole reason for our success. Quickly he turned direction, heading right into our final ploy: the kill room.
Now the kill room was a bathroom off the eastern side of the compound. It had been the site of our demise in prior battles due to the numerous routes of escape given to such a small-bodied creature. So once again we knew his plan of evasion and had the route blocked before he could even get there, making this room the last bit of brick he would see in this life.
He sprinted valiantly from us as his shadow from the torch made his appearance larger on the walls. His only fault of running this fast was that he was giving himself into the hands of death at a rapid pace. Not a half a second behind him in hot pursuit was a lad named Paul the Mighty. Though the oldest of the three giants, he was no less cunning, for it was his efforts that would ultimately seal the fate of this rebellious creature.
With Crocs sliding on the dust-coated pavement, Master of Death, Paul, and his machete, led the way in haste. On the heels of Paul the Mighty was giant number two, who we shall call, Charlie, Lord of Broom Strike.
Before being roped into the trade of broom wielding fury, he had gained victory on the greens, sending little white balls flying through the air in the hopes of catching a birdie. This trade had prepared Master Charlie for war. His strikes were precise and powerful, giving anything that entered his path a punch like that of the great Ali.
His skill was unmatched and it is him that we can thank for the disorientation of the four-legged swine from hell we now know as a rat. The third and final giant watched from a distance as his comrades did as they were trained before he stepped up to do what needed to be done.
He is known as Daniel the Merciless, for his unorthodox way of seeking the blood of his enemies. He carried a piece of a broken pallet that had a bone-chilling whip to it when swung quickly. For some, this would be too difficult to bear, but for him, it was a perfect combination of fury and precision.
Havoc was at the gates and hell awaited its next resident. In an instant, all hell broke loose in the kill room. Just as predicted, master rat attempted to dive into his hole but instead was met by the heel of a rubber Croc and the tenacity of one Paul the Mighty.
In all my years I have not seen such commotion over pestilence but believe me to be true when I say, this was the closest we had gotten in seven long weeks to victory. There was nothing that could get in our way of winning this battle now. Dust was flying, weapons were swinging, and the smell of victory was dancing in our nostrils. It was pure pandemonium.
In came Master Charlie; his broom tightly gripped as he wanted his share of the scoundrel. After taking his first blow from Paul, master rat was, one can only imagine, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for a mere second. He suddenly snapped back into action and his mind caught up with his feet, but the truth of the matter rang loud…he had nowhere to go.
Back to Charlie, with a warrior’s yell and a swing of his broom of death, master rat took his second strike, this one totally disorienting him. The undertaker’s call began to sing. This blow from Charlie was one that no vermin should’ve been able to survive. This rat was damn near invincible…but not quite.
Again, master rat found his bearings and headed for his only way out, which was the same way he came in but he was met by the very dweller of the bed he lived under. Daniel the Merciless stood there eagerly awaiting his opportunity to join the fight and boy, did he get his chance.
Full of hope and the torment of knowing this was his final chance, master rat made a mad dash for the door but it was too late. A swing from Daniel the Merciless had already begun and in the blink of an eye, the whip of a broken piece of pallet wood laid waste to master rat, claiming his life and putting his soul on a one-way train to the gates of hell, escorted personally by the three giants from the Free Land.
And just like that, the battle was over, cheers of victory roared and a restful night awaited the three.
Over a span of seven weeks, the war raged on. Although this rat was the only one slain, it was enough to fill the hearts of three young men just trying to do the Lord’s work deep in the country of Haiti. Countless rats escaped their prow and there were many sleepless nights following this historic battle. Even so, the triumph and the story will always be enough.
DTS School Leader