The Rat under the bed

"Did you see that rat!"
"Rat! Where? Where is it?"
"It went under your bed." I grinned about it as I bent to look below Atul's bed. Of one thing I could boast, the area under my bed was cleaner than Atul's.
"Bloody ass! Now it'll loiter around and dirty the place. Why do you keep the door open, damn it!"
"The bigger question is, why did it take refuge under your bed?"

Atul and I were room mates during first year of our college life. There had been minor incidents of rat infiltration in neighboring rooms which involved some efforts by the inmates to scare the thing away. This time it was in our room and we were not prepared to handle the situation.

While Atul sat on his bed, doing something on his laptop, it continuously occurred to me that a rat was sitting under him, and occasionally I looked under his bed for some movement of that rat that might give away his specific location. None.

"Did it leave already?"
Atul looked up from his laptop screen, shrugged as if pretending not to care, then got back to whatever he was doing. It then occurred to me, if the rodents could climb walls, this one under Atul's bed could climb up the wall behind him and stun him.

"Bhanu, my good neighbor, little help required."
"Anything for you buddy! Give me five minutes."
Did the rat just cross from below the study table towards my side of the room? I wondered as I sat on my bed waiting for Bhanukiran.
"Yeah buddy, tell me." Help had finally arrived.
"We have a rat situation."
"Where is the rat?"
"Under Atul's bed."
Bhanukiran started laughing boisterously. Atul gave him a no-nonsense look.
"The good news is that Atul is unperturbed." I further added with a grin.
"I can't seem to find a rat below this bed." Bhanukiran reported as he looked below the bed from the wall side of the bed.
"Neither can I." I said as I stared below from the other side. "No sign of the infiltrator."
"Looks like it left. Enjoy!" Bhanukiran said and walked out of our room.
"Maybe you scared it off Bhanu." I said which he safely ignored.

"We must use this to kill any rat that invades our privacy in future."
"What is this?"
"Its a rat poison. It probably works on humans also, so we must wash our hands after handling this."
"I won't take the dead body out after the rat dies in this room."
"The advertisement says that it eats the poison, then goes out and dies, so don't worry. Now, we need some eatable to wrap around this poison cake."

"What's the smell about." Atul and I just entered our room after lunch, two days later.
"Maybe we didn't leave the windows open so the room feels suffocating."
"It smells like something died in here."
"The door was locked, what would possibly have come in and suddenly died?"
Then it occurred to both of us.
"Where is the smell coming from?"
It was coming from under Atul's bed. Probably it was the same rat from last week only who had died. Upon further investigation it was discovered that the rat had entered Atul's travel bag which was open and contained some of his clothes. The rat had probably consumed the poison before taking shelter in his bag. We had unknowingly locked it in our room, so it couldn't go out to die, as the advertisement had claimed.

That evening Atul took his travel bag outside the hostel, threw it in a garbage dump, put some kerosene on it, and left a lighted matchstick into it, burning the dead rat and all his clothes in the bag.