The Midday Nap
By Persephone

A/N: I wrote this for my Creative Writing class, and it got entered in a festival, so it must be pretty good...please r/r

There was once a young mouse whose greatest fear in the entire world was to be eaten. His fear was understandable because the tiny mouse lived only twenty feet away from the largest lion on the planet (or so the tiny mouse thought). The lion had only seen the mouse once in the whole time they had been neighbors. He informed the cowering mouse that if he ever saw him again, he would become a snack. The mouse never took the chance of being seen again. Now, this lion was a creature of habit, and every day he made his way down to the small meadow between his and the mouse's homes. There he would lie, basking in the sun, for an hour-long nap.
The mouse, being a nervous, timid creature, always ran and hid behind the giant, old oak tree that gently shaded his house. He did not doubt that the second the huge lion spotted him, he would be eaten.
Today was no exception to the rule. The lion meandered out of his den into the meadow, and fell right asleep. The mouse ran terrified to the old oak, and jumped with surprise when he realized that he was not alone. A large snake lay napping between the jumbled roots of the oak.
"Hello," hissed the snake, opening one eye lazily.
"H-H-H-Hi," the little mouse stuttered nervously.
"What's your rush?" the snake asked, both eyes open and alert.
"That h-h-huge lion out there w-will eat m-m-me if he ever spots m-m-me." The little mouse barely got the words out due to his anxiety.
"Really." said the snake, with an expression of wholehearted concern.
"Uh-huh,"the little mouse replied, nodding his head furiously.
"Well, we'd better not let him see you." the snake said in such a friendly manner that the mouse was genuinely surprised.
"You, a snake, would help me?" the mouse said, unable to keep his shock hidden. The snake only made a shrug-like motion and smiled. Then the two unlikely companions sat beneath the oak , talking, until the lion awakened, stretched gracefully, and wandered back into his den.
"Bye!" the tiny mouse called over his shoulder. The snake said the same, and slithered off to the woods. The next day, when the mouse made his daily dash to the oak, the snake was already there. The mouse was happy to see him, because he already felt a deep kinship with the reptile.
"I was just thinking of you." the snake said in reply.
"W-W-Why?" the mouse asked, ears perking up. The snake had an eager look on his face.
"There is a beautiful, shiny bead just laying out there in the open." The snake exclaimed, gesturing towards the meadow.
"A-A-A bead?" the mouse asked, eyes shining with excitement. All mice love beads, especially shiny ones.
"Yessss." the snake hissed out, flickering his forked tongue. "Why don't we go over there and pick it up?"
"But the lion's over there." the mouse said dejectedly, torn between two fighting emotions.
"I'll watch your back." the snake said.
"Alright." the mouse said trustingly. He bravely stepped forward, and started walking to where the snake said the bead was. He had only gotten a couple of feet when he turned around to see if the snake was still behind him. The snake, still close behind, was staring at the mouse with such an openly ravenous expression in his eyes that the little mouse knew at once the cruel trap he had played right into. The mouse realized, in one horrific flash, that the lion had never been the real threat. The snake, who pretended to be his friend, was going to be his demise, not the openly threatening enemy. Just then, the snake bit down, and swallowed the small mouse in one gulp.

Moral: There is more danger from a pretended friend than an open enemy