The Tail of Magnus Mouse
The Tail of Magnus Mouse is an illustrated story of Magnus Mouse's fall from glory and how he deals with starting a new life and later the adventures that take place in this post apocalyptic world where domestic animals have evolved and mice are at the top of the food chain. The story unfolds organically with the artist's own real-life experiences and emotions influencing each frame in real time.
Magnus Mouse started as a quick sketch for Inktober 2016 and developed into a story, and our story begins with Magnus in the peak of his youth, on his way to becoming Roller Skate World Champion.
Where our story goes... I still don’t know, but I hope you’ll stick around to find out with me! (And maybe give your input and ideas along the way - the story is still being written and who knows... you could change Magnus’ future.)
After a tragic accident crushed Magnus Mouse's dreams of becoming Roller Skate World Champion, he felt he had lost his life's purpose and developed a Cheese addiction as a coping mechanism...
Magnus hit tough times after losing all his friends, family and money to his cheese addiction... But as he sits on the damp, cold pavement - collecting his coins and his thoughts - he starts to realise that he can't go on like this.
As he stares, hypnotised into the shop window desperately reaching in vain, Magnus slowly comes to his senses. The few coins in his pocket compared to the sheer price of cheese, forces him to make a hard decision: buy a tiny piece of cheese and starve or buy bread and live. Not a tough decision to you or me, but for Magnus it was momentous.
"Bughhhh bland bread..." he huffs, inspecting the crust before the first bite. *crunch - munch* "eh Not that bland, but not nearly as tasty as cheese!.. but pleasant, hmm comforting actually..." and after he ate his fill, for the first time in nearly a year, Magnus' mind was no longer consumed and clouded by cheese. He started to wonder and remember and think about what his life had become, what he had chosen to become, and started to feel the feelings he was so desperately avoiding. He became flooded with emotion. As his body started trembling and his eyes filled with water, he let out a wail that echoed down the alley. Then, after hours of self-reflection, he curled up into a ball and fell asleep. Little did he know that deep in his belly, the tiniest little flame (nearly smothered by all the cheese and self pity) began to shine, ever so slightly, brighter...
Magnus, in better spirits, was feeling adventurous and took a spontaneous Tin Tube to the Central City Garden. In the haste and hurry he landed up on the wrong platform and was on a tube straight to the Apex district. There is only one non-stop tube to and from the edge of Apex district everyday and Magnus had to spend the night on the streets. The Cat gang and Dog gang fight like, well... And at night the scavengers prowl the lanes for easy pickings. Magnus, terrified, darts in a different direction every time he sees a shadow. Exhausted, he finally finds a sheltered nook and hides for the night.
After waking up in a damp cardboard box Magnus thinks to himself “Just because this place is filled with predators doesn’t mean that The Apex district is dangerous. Yes there are some rough cat and dog gangs around here, but surely they don’t eat mice anymore? There’s nothing left for me back in Mousetropolis and there are lots of mice who live and work here in the Apex District. Maybe a new start is exactly what I need… Be brave Magnus, maybe this is exactly where you need to be. Are you a mouse or a mite?!”
After walking around the high streets for a few hours, Magnus comes across a very promising sign in a shop window. “I wonder what they specifically need a mouse for...” he thinks to himself as he proceeds to open the mouse door.
The Apex District was built to suit the three main species who live here so there are different sizes and models of most things including doors, chairs, computers and even structures designed specifically to be able to accommodate all sizes at the same time (which is pretty tricky to do). Not only are they different sizes, but they have different traits. Like the door for example, the mouse door has a round door knob because mice evolved to have opposable thumbs (which gives them a bit of an advantage), the cat door has a handle they can push down and the dog door has a ball that they can pull because dogs are very playful and use their mouths as much as they do their paws.
Standing at the threshold of the shop door, Magnus stops for a moment to assess this unfamiliar scene. 2 cats and a kitten are at the counter. The cats didn’t really acknowledge him when the door bell chimed, but the kitten looked at him with a curiosity that gave Magnus chills. Hesitant (and fearful), he steps forward and closes the door behind him.
Magnus isn’t used to seeing such enormous structures indoors because in Mousetropolis most things are mouse sized. He notices stairs that look meant for mice and walks toward it while trying not to make eye contact with the mischievous looking kitty.
Standing at the base of the stairs looking up, his eyes struggle to focus on the very top.
The kitten keeps trying to paw him as he goes up, but he keeps looking straight ahead determined not to let the fear get to him.
He reaches the top and waits for them to finish. The cat beside him says “Thanks Audrey.” As the cat walks away Audrey looks at Magnus questioningly. They stand in silence for a minute (which felt like forever to Magnus) and he finally musters up the courage to say “Hello, I saw a sign on your window saying you are looking to hire a mouse. Would you be able to please tell me about the position?” She looked at him first for a short while before saying “Step into my office. “
Audrey stared at Magnus for what, for him, felt like an hour when only a minute went by and then abruptly said “Right... sending skates to Mousetropolis for repairs or upgrades takes too long and costs too much. So I need a mouse to work on the rocket skates and run errands for the shop. You don’t need any experience. You start tomorrow, 7am. You may leave”. Magnus was used to a very different standard of interview and just sat there wide eyed with a million questions running through his head, if he said anything at all he’d have to choose his words very carefully, but Audrey impatiently raised an eyebrow so instead of asking any questions he thanked her and left.
Magnus has always been the kind of mouse who gives it his all for every task he’s handed, that’s why he’d always been successful in everything he did and the same goes for his surprising new job as a skate technician.
Since starting this job 6 months ago as an errand mouse he’s been able to create an entire workshop space for himself while learning to fix and even engineer ‘rockets’ for the skates when he was only meant to be servicing them. Adjusting to this new life hasn’t been easy, but he’s been able to carve out his own little piece of it and lay the foundations for a future he could never have imagined...
Sometimes a set of mouse skates will remind him of his glory days as a famous pro skater and Magnus would feel a sense of longing for the time when he seemingly ‘had it all’. Holding onto his past and to things he can’t change is what made him spiral out of control in the first place. But now he’s learnt that resisting his present circumstances only makes him more unhappy. And so, although he may still have these fleeting solemn moments, he knows that happiness can only be found by accepting what he has in the present.
Accepting what he has knowing what he had and lost is hard, but it’s the only way he can move forward and build a new life for himself and who knows - maybe it will be an even better one...
Spring has come and with it a sense of renewed hope and fresh beginnings. Magnus has started to feel that little ball of energy in his chest spin comfortably again. All the uncertainty and anxiety now replaced with contentment and acceptance. Word has gotten out that there’s a mouse skate maker in Audrey’s Emporium and mice have started to frequent the shop. On this particular day a very interesting mouse visited the shop and Magnus could tell that she was a city mouse. City mice had a certain metropolitan air about them and Magnus instantly recognised those same traits that he had once possessed himself. Normally these mice were a bit stuck up, but she was different, even though he could tell that without a doubt she was definitely from Mousetropolis.
As she entered the store she walked directly to the shelf closest to where Magnus was standing and fixed her gaze on a pair of skates that were the same colour as her green waist coat. She pointed to them and said that she was passing through and had broken her skates somewhere not far from the Emporium. She said that she liked this part of town and she might stay for a bit.
Illustrated and written by Salma Price-Nell.
Editor and co-author Terrence Nell