It is one minute before midnight, and you are in a sleazy hotel room, with nothing but a vibro-bed and the all night porno channel to keep you company. You have had a hard days travel in your journey to Alaska to work on a dangerous fishing boat, and at this point you begin to doubt the sanity of the decision...

"Is it worth the $15,000 I'll make?" you say to yourself. It sure sounded like a lot of money when you read the ad.

"Three months in Alaska! Work on
the open sea! $4,000 a month, with
a $3,000 bonus if you stay the
season!!! It's hard work, but
it's HARD CASH!"
You wonder what will really happen on the boat; you've heard stories about people dying, but you also heard they were doing stupid things, ignoring safety to try and impress the Captain. You wonder if you will be able to take the work. A lot of waiting, then 6 or 7 hours of bone crunching activity, hauling in the nets and dumping them in the hold, and dealing with the ones you don't want... You worry that you might get sick and have to stop work or have an accident, or...

A knock sounds at your door! You notice that your light is flickering! You notice that there is no light outside, that even the incessant buzz of the neon sign outside has ceased.

The knock sounds again. A cold heavy knock, as if God him/herself were here to tell you that your pizza had arrived, but it was cold, but you still have to pay for it, either with exact change, or by signing over your soul.

You answer the door, opening it just a crack. The wind blows suddenly, throwing you back. The door slams into the wall, as if to cue the Sudden lightning! In the glow of the lightning you see a figure, standing its full 3 inches in height, cloaked in the darkest robes. Fear clutches your throat!

"The Hamster of Sorrow!" you screech, scrabbling backwards like a crab that has seen Annette Funicello's breasts fondled one too many times. It laughs its soul chilling tinkly laughter. It twirls its tiny scythe, a cruel imitation of Death. It advances on you, telepathicly projecting its voice into your head...

"You have never forgiven you little brother for coloring your stuffed cat! YOU have never told your friend Billy where you left his skate key! YOU have never helped your mother plant the begonias, even though they always die half way through summer! YOU have never told your father about the dent! OR the gasoline! You never told your girlfriend about the picture you bought of her from Vinnie the lecher. You never gave your teacher an apple or even a handful of moldy raisins! YOU took a sick day to watch a ball game! You washed your car during a heat wave! You waited too long to catch that sale at the mall!"

It paused, apparently for dramatic effect.


With that you got up and with all the terror in your soul fueling you, you raised a foot and <STOMP>!!!!!!!!

"Eeeeeewwwwwwww," you think to yourself, as the lights come back on and you feel the squishy remains of the hamster beneath your foot.

But in the distance you hear a wheel squeaking, and the great water bottle tapping the cage, and your heart jumps, because it knows; you may have killed a hamster, but you can never kill the "Hamster of Sorrow"...

Copyright © 1993 David Charles Todd