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 Post subject: Legacies of NIMH Prologue
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:27 pm

Mrs. Brisby took in a deep breath-and exhaled. It was a wondrous thing to breathe with ease, without any trace of fear or anxiety.
The nightmare she had been living since Timothy first came down with a fever was finally over. And the most miraculous thing of all was that she, a simply field mouse, had woken herself up. But not without a little help.
One of her blessed helpers sat with her now. She and Justin shared a sun-warmed rock atop a hill. Down below the dawning sun cast a warm glow over the Fitzgibbon farm.
“NIMH will be here soon,” she reluctantly broke the peaceful silence.
“And they’ll find nothing but an old rose bush,” he replied, a small measure of pride warming his voice. The other rats had already left for Thorn Valley, Justin temporarily staying behind to tend to the Brisby family.
“How are you feeling, Mrs. Brisby?” Justin turned his upper body to her. Although his smile was still in place his eyes were worried.
“I’m fine,” she replied genially. “A little light-headed but I’ve certainly been through worse.”
She had hoped to get a chuckle out of the rat but he remained silent. Last night was a blur of memories, the farmer’s house, Nicodemus’ death, Jenner, the cave in that nearly killed her children.
That moment had been unbearable, her throat closing, her heart stopping and her entire body going cold. She had been determined to save her children or be buried with them.
And then the Stone was before her, beckoning and warm and Nicodemus’ words echoing in her ears: Courage of the heart is very rare. The Stone has a power when it’s there.
Touching the Stone had felt like dipping her hands in fire but the pain hadn’t repelled her. Instead she clutched it tight and a burning presence weighed down her bones. The presence had seemed to challenge her, she felt dared and mocked. But then peace flowed through her veins, acceptance, and something voiceless whispered what she needed to do. When her children were rescued the presence vanished and she was left drained, her consciousness slipping away.
When she awoke she was in her bed, her three children snuggled around her and Timothy safely in his own bed. She found Auntie Shrew in the kitchen, fixing tea before she went on to her own home. “The rat that carried you in here is waiting outside,” she said with a note of dislike in her tone.
And now Mrs. Brisby sat with her friend, ignoring the pang of grief that told her he would be gone soon.
“How are you hands?” he asked, eyes trailing to her paws that rested on her knees. She couldn’t hold back a wince, lifting her hands, palms up. The fur had been singed, the skin bright red, proof she had wielded the Stone’s power.
“They sting a little, but its fine,” she reassured, “I’ll have Teresa help me bandage them when she wakes up.”
Justin wordlessly took her hand, careful to avoid the burned flesh. “You are really something else, my lady.”
She smiled at him, feeling a blush rise. Justin was far kinder than she would’ve imagined considering his harsh origins. She would sincerely miss him.
“Thank you,” she replied, “Not just for what you said, but for everything. You saved my life; I wouldn’t be here without you.”
He returned her smile, “You don’t give yourself enough credit. You single-handedly saved the rats of NIMH last night, as well as the lives of your children.”
Mrs. Brisby’s eyes fell to the gray stone, “I wasn’t able to save Nicodemus.”
Justin told her not to blame herself for his death but guilt still plagued her. Nicodemus had been wise and kind; he had felt like a father to her even though she had only known him for a short time. She would always be grateful he gave her closure for Jonathan’s death. But he only died because he had helped her and she would always blame herself for that.
Justin’s soft sigh broke her from her thoughts, “I need to be going; they’ll need my help settling into Thorn Valley.”
Mrs. Brisby nodded, fearing a sob would escape her. “You will be safe won’t you?”
He winked, “Of course, you are looking at the new leader of Thorn Valley. You don’t have to worry about me, Mrs. Brisby.”
“Elizabeth,” the word fell off her tongue without her permission.
Justin, having stood up now halted, his hand still holding hers, “Pardon?”
“You should know my first name, it’s Elizabeth.”
“Elizabeth Brisby,” he tasted the name. “It suits you perfectly.”
“Just, I-” she couldn’t express her gratitude and fondness through words. “Do you think you’ll ever come back?”
His smile was apologetic, “Probably not, Mrs-Elizabeth. Thorn Valley is our new home; we no longer have a place in this farm.”
She wasn’t asking if he’d ever more back to the farm, she was asking if he would come back to see her.
“But I do hope I’ll see you again,” he added, his black eyes holding a tender light.
“I do as well,” she replied, “But just in case…”
Ignoring the twist in her gut she removed the now cool Stone from around her neck, offering it to Justin who looked both confused and interested.
“Keep it,” she urged. “I no longer need it, and it’s all you have left of Nicodemus and-and Jonathan.”
Justin’s throat moved as he silently swallowed, but he accepted the Stone with a formal nod.
“And,” she added, a shy smile rising. “It can be something to remember me by.”
“How could I forget you?” Justin asked. But before she could reply he pulled her into a gentle hug.
“You are my hero, Elizabeth Brisby,” he breathed in her ear, “And it was a blessing to know you.”

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