Mouse Tower

In the town of Mainz the sun shone undauntedly upon the burning flesh of the beggars in the town centre. Casual and fanatical, the crowd watched as the fires gradually enveloped the skin of the suffering. It was a hot afternoon for those being blistered, and those watching the blistering alike; there was little else for the villagers to do than observe people being burned alive. Later many would go home and fornicate due to the unchanged lack of general activity.  For the time being however, watching people being burned would pass the time contentedly.

Archbishop Hatto looked upon the scene with coolness and disinterest upon his face, yet upon his heart danced a fervent awareness. He saw the bubbling of flesh and the blackening of bone; heard the screams of the beggars growing more incomprehensible as their bodies grew more disfigured. Some carcasses shrunk with the heat, others still barely alive fought against their restraints. The flashes of fire licking at the heels of the persecuted reflected in Hatto’s eyes, and suddenly he could not control himself. He had burned these men, and they were leaving this life in a horrific and violent fashion. He rose to his feet…

‘Listen to my mice!’, he exclaimed with delight, ‘Listen to my mice squeal!’

The night brought with it dreams of fire and demise. Rolling in unconscious ecstasy, Hatto recalled the screams of the beggars as their skin grew tighter and burst, exposing their innards which trembled under the incredible heat. He dreamt of their faces melting and their mouths, dripping with skin and blood and fear, trying to scream, and producing only gargling noises as the acid from their stomachs boiled and rose into their throats. Hatto yelled at the crowd to hear his mice squeal, his subjects to listen to his rodents die in a fit of fire and anguish; ‘Listen to my mice squeal! Listen to my mice squeal!’. Utter pleasure, unmitigated joy! But then another dream… Hatto felt the drone of the town square fall further into the distance and he was pulled backwards into the very room where he slept. He heard scurrying at the door, hastening and frantic. All of a sudden the mice were upon him, clawing at his face and gnawing at his clothes. There were hundreds of them, perhaps thousands, and he ran- not to escape the mice, but to feel the excitement of the chase; the cheap thrill of his impending doom.

Hatto ran to the tower in the middle of the Rhine and  began to ascend the stairs. Behind him he could hear the violent scurrying of his pursuers. He slowed as he reached the top, afraid that they would not catch him, but he need not have worried. They swamped him at the final step, engulfing his body in the warm embrace of  a cruelly delightful end, fabricated with teeth and claws.

And alas, Hatto sharply awoke from his dream, but in a haze of nausea and satisfaction. He would say that punishment of the body rectified the soul for the union with God. The lewd smile upon his face told of other intentions.

The next day the Archbishop gave the order for the tower in the Rhine to be coated with pigs blood; an unusual request by most standards, but logical when weighed against the peril of burning. The servants climbed to the very top of the tower, slitting the throats of pigs and allowing the blood to ooze down the stairs. The servants found themselves swathed in blood, and many slipped and fell to the bottom of the tower. Death awaited them here, nestling in the blood of swine. Hatto did not find reason to have their bodies removed. They were dead, they would attract the mice faster. They would serve their purpose in death more so than in life.

As evening fell, the servants were ushered from the tower. Hatto remained at the top, heart palpitating with the knowledge that soon his body would be ripped into pieces. His torch illuminated  his platform- the cold tower below his body felt like a stage from which he would make his way into death, into everlasting life, into an eternity filled with pain and misery. The servants left the doors to the tower open as they left, displaying the inner sanctum of the tower filled with blood and the bodies of their fallen friends. Many wondered about the intentions of their Archbishop, and many knew that the blood would attract the mice, almost too large in size and ferociously hungry for human fatality. They waited patiently for the piece to commence.

By nightfall, the hordes began approaching from the sewers and from the barns. Attracted by the scent of blood and decaying organs, they made their way to the foot of the tower. The doors had been left wide open and the stench of death had made its way across the town.  The villagers did not shut their windows in disgust, but instead watched with morbid curiosity; they had finished making love, their appetites were ravenous for death once more.

Atop the tower Hatto had fallen to his knees, looking down the staircase with eager anticipation. He could hear the mounds of mice crawling in, such as in his dream, crushing the bodies of the fallen with their tiny feet amplified by ten thousand. He lay himself down where the trail of blood ended, and waited. And here he waited, eyes so awake and resting upon the moon which flew above him, soon to be clouded by the gentle ripping by fur of death.

And so an hour passed, yet the mice had still not come. Numb from the cold night air, Hatto found his feet and peered into the tower, yet the darkness had made it so that he was unable to see the glorious wreck of human life which lay at the bottom. Knowing that should he approach the hordes himself that his dream would not be realised, Hatto took his torch and threw it down the centre of the tower. The villagers watching intently from their windows would see flashes of light as the torch descended, though the slits in the tower’s exterior, punctuated by intervals of cold stone. And upon reaching the bottom, all including Hatto could see the grotesque display: thousands of gorged mice, feasting on the remnants of the deceased. Their eyeballs ripped from their faces and lips torn away and devoured. Little remained of the bodies, and those rats which had gorged themselves first had fallen lazily to the bottom and had been crushed by those above; exploding casually and combining into a great mire at the bottom of the tower. Those mice still alive were too engorged to climb the stairs and instead lay in the repulsive soup of human organs and mice remnants. Hatto’s position revealed to him a great, writhing mass of death that he so wanted to be a part of. The villagers instead saw a pool of innards and blood, pieces of hair and skin, and bile and fat congealing and trapping alive mice; their rampant squeals not unlike those of the burned beggars. To them, it was exhilarating… the torch suddenly ignited the pools of human and mice fat which swamped the tower, setting the entire scene ablaze. The tower was alive with the burning irony of death. Many of the villagers applauded.

Hatto felt nausea overcome his body and he backed away from the apex of the staircase, unable now to watch his glorious death being decimated. His reality had not lived up to his fantasy, and suddenly this impossible realisation had caused  the Archbishop‘s soul to become troubled. He staggered back in the dark, and without the glow of the torch now eradicating the bodies of thousands below him, he found his way accidentally to the very edge of the tower. Here, he teetered and wrestled with his great weight, unsure of whether he had ever woken up from his dream; the Rhine below him was welcoming and unforgiving. He closed his eyes and allowed himself to fall backwards, dreaming of a death that was long and sorrowful. This was his dream. This had been what he had lived for. As his body smashed on the rocks below the tower however, his death was cut short. A sharp crack to his skull caused his brain matter to seep out onto the rocks, attracting the gulls and other scavengers of tragedy. His fantasy was not realised, even in his very last dream. His death had come too quick.

The mice had driven him to his death, and for days the villagers crowded around the tower and watched his body decay  upon the rocks. Their executor and architect of murder had gone… and by this, they were greatly saddened. But still, his body provided a means of entertainment during the hot summer weeks.

Once he had decayed completely, they would go back to fornicating.

24 thoughts on “Mouse Tower

  1. ANNA!!!!!! You’re like the second person that knows this, but me n you yeah, we’re like homies, like bad ass bros from the back streets of Derbyshire yeah. That’s why I’m like tell you yeah, I’m out of my overdraft and in credit by £2k :)


    1. PETE! That is awesome, awesome news! So happy for you! A big, boozy night out is in order. White Russians are on you ;) Genuinely really pleased for you though! Hopefully from now on you will become the King of Credit, and have a crown made of £20 notes and the Queen’s teeth :D

      And uh, just between you and me like, I am currently £800 in my overdraft. Accursed new house bills! Also, the guy from Severn Trent Water is trying to get me to pay for the water for another address… that doesn’t even exist. Seems legit, right?


    2. Mhm I’ll have to come round with my boys n shit yeah, I’ll bring some bats n tings n I’ll mosh this cracker from STW up! No doubt you’ll be raking in the dough though so long as you don’t go wild :)


    3. I’m just holding out for that (possible) payrise at the beginning of April… I can barely afford Cornflakes until then Pete, CORNFLAKES! They are the stuff of life.


  2. I read this this morning while I was on the bog, phone in one hand, cigarette in the other. Utter bliss :) This story was well sick, I could see the entrails and blood! I don’t know what I’d do if you’d got eaten yourself, my Monday mornings just wouldn’t be complete!


    1. I don’t know what I’d do if I got eaten, either. I’d be SO ANNOYED. It’s just the kind of thing you don’t want happening, especially at 06:30 in the morning.


  3. Welcome back Anna. I know you say you’re not ready for a book, but keep all your stories in a safe place. At a later date it would be easy to put together a book of short stories. What I love about your writing is that so few stories are the same. Every story is a wonderful new begining and a grand adventure. I had to look up the historical perspective of the story, and the mouse tower. Your story at first seemed to be a journey into darkness, and insanity by Hatto. The story brought forth the cruelty of the times, and the harsh lives people lived. It also showed how due to this life, people could become cruel and indifferent themselves. The preciousness, and concern for individual lives was lacking. Thank you for another great read.


    1. Oh, Patrick, your comment is so lovely! I do have a collection of all of my stories on a document nestled somewhere in my hard-drive, but everything I publish I read back later and know there’s so many things I’d change. Until I can get past that, or at least be satisfied with the majority of my writing, I daren’t even dream of being published! Part of the reason I continue to publish anonymously is still that I am never 100% happy with the stories that I write. I realise that being 100% satisfied is probably an impossibility, but I’d still like to take the time to be more certain. Everyone’s kind words and support always increase that percentage as each week passes, but I’m not quite there yet… I’ve only published 27 stories on WordPress. I always think that once I’ve published a hundred or so, I hopefully might be a good enough writer to entertain the idea.

      I am nowhere near your level yet, Mr. Dykie! Put I’mma gon’ chase you :D


    2. The fact that you can see where you need to improve those stories is a good thing. Remember that even a professional writer will have copywriters and editors proof-reading their work prior to anything being published.

      The few stories I have put out have all had significant changes made to them between me first finishing them and then publishing them.

      When you first finish a story it is almost a case of ideas being put down on the page. The story is not really there until all the fine-tuning is done afterwards.


    3. This is very true. I worry that I’m much too likely to flail around however if someone tries to edit my work. You see those floaty fish at the top of my blog? I drew those. I am a perfectionist, no? :D


  4. Hehe! I might know these mice! …crushing the bodies of the fallen with their tiny feet. What a shallow and meaningless death for Hatto! At least the mice drove him to it. Poor fellow. Maybe someone was good enough to preserve his decay in time-lapse photography.

    Lovely story! “…attracting the gulls and other scavengers of tragedy.” ♥♥

    Moving is full of surprises. :) I hope you are settled in or at least close.


    1. Thank you Annie! And I have about finished moving in. I just need to wait for the boything to join me in three months time… oh, the crippling loneliness until then! At least I have a jellybean machine though. That’s all you need when you’re lonely :)


  5. Excellent, and Splendid and All Words of Praise I do Bestow upon thee, lol

    This is a Great Piece Anna… It definitely felt like another time… And the Depraved manner in which the Archbishop went about his deeds, does ring a certain bell as to the Sick Whims that Peasants had to deal with, with these “People of Power”. (On that note, did you ever see “The Name of The Rose” with Sean Connery… I would Highly Recommend it. To Quote Wikipedia “It is a historical murder mystery set in an Italian monastery in the year 1327, an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory.” It’s a Great Mystery, and demonstrates the Depravity of the Catholic Church via the Inquisition for one.

    Ah, here’s The Plot “Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and his novice, Adso of Melk travel to a Benedictine monastery in Northern Italy to attend a theological disputation. As they arrive, the monastery is disturbed by a suicide. As the story unfolds, several other monks die under mysterious circumstances. William is tasked by the Abbot of the monastery to investigate the deaths as fresh clues with each murder victim lead William to dead ends and new clues. The protagonists explore a labyrinthine medieval library, discuss the subversive power of laughter, and come face to face with the Inquisition. William’s innate curiosity and highly-developed powers of logic and deduction provide the keys to unraveling the mysteries of the abbey.”

    Back to your Story, I Loved the Part where the Torch was falling in the Tower and the Peasants could see the Flickering of Light as it fell… Also, this piece supplied the reader with the Wrong Doer getting his in the end… Which always brings with it a certain sense of satisfaction… It also reminded me of some Old Horror Films, busting with depravity… Good ones… Dark ones.

    And this was a Long Piece, which is just awesome, as like I’ve said before, your Worlds are Addictive… So it was nice to Spend a bit more time within one.

    Great Job Anna, so Glad you’re back (my apologies for the long reply, lol… Nothing new)



    1. Thanks DarkJade! I will have to have a look into that film at some point- although what with it beginning with a P, my OCPD will probably only let me watch it once I’ve watched all the others alphabetically beforehand. Get back to me in a few months :D


  6. Terrific imagery, tension, and a good sense of a distant time. Sort of a historical nightmare. I really got into it. You have conflated two places to a small degree, possibly on purpose. Hatto II was the archbishop of Mainz, but the Mouse Tower on the island in the Rhine is in Bingen, not Mainz. (Mainz has a tower, that of its Cathedral, but it’s way atop a hill and construction had barely begun by the time Hatto died in 970.)

    Since he didn’t actually die from being eaten by mice, you are free to play with that legend as desired. I expect the locals WISHED he had been eaten alive. He had the monopoly on grain, and priced it so high people were starving. Hearing they were about to revolt, he tricked a bunch of them into a barn with a lie that the grain was stored there, locked them in and burned down the barn. Nasty character.

    Mainz certainly had its share of evil executions though. In 1349, 3000 innocent Jews were burned, having been blamed for the concurrent appearance of the Black Death.


    1. Hi Mikey! I wrote this story based on the historical curiosity ‘Mouse Tower’. I did not want the Archbishop to be eaten by mice, however; I rather fancied that it was he himself who would rather indulge in such a fate. Moreover I liked that the idea that the villagers themselves were no nicer than the Archbishop, and that the unflappable enjoyment they gained from death would be matched only by their enjoyment of fornication! Thus as a historian I have perhaps failed somewhat in my representation of events (or of the fable in any case), but as a story-teller I hope you can forgive me :) My story was intended only to be a re-interpretation, and I might have let some facts listlessly fall to the side. But who needs facts when there’s mice nibbling at your eye sockets? :D

      Thanks so much for sharing the real ‘Mouse Tower’ details though Mikey, for the people that would like to read into it further!


  7. Forgive me for trying to use British English. “Ah, erm, would you perhaps mind, sometime in the next few years, writing a book? I would very much like to own it and read it.”
    Did you know where you were headed when you started writing, or do your characters surprise you?
    Definitely worth waiting 2 weeks for. Do you try to give equal drinking time to several of your favorite mugs?–because they do feel a wee bit left out, you know, if you don’t give’em their due.


    1. Ah, I would so love to write a book! I just don’t feel at the moment that I have enough experience with writing to even think about persuing that idea just yet. In a few months, perhaps, but right now I’m happy to have Archbishops get eaten by mice on the internet :D

      Thank you for your lovely comment anyway, trailertrashdeluxe! It warms my heart as much as this instant porridge, on this cold morning.


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