Sometimes, bodily functions can be a huge pain.
There you are one moment, asleep (probably the best sleep you've had in a while; the sort without dreams) and the next you're aware of yourself and the fact that you have to use the bathroom.
All at once, you're annoyed and dismayed. You stretch and look out the window and see that it's still dark out, then you grope for your phone in the dark and check the time. 2 am.
After giving in to a brief curse, you become aware of other stuff. You hear the telltale rustling of cockroaches going through the trash you were supposed to throw away, and even though they're quiet, you're aware of the gecko and you hear scuttling from somewhere in your apartment and you're both relieved and extra-anxious.
If it had been quiet, you'd have been left even more anxious about the fact that you don't know where they are. But now that you hear them you dread seeing them and you can only hope that when they see the light they just leave you alone.
You stubbornly wait for a few minutes, pushing your legs close together under the blankets till they nearly lose all feeling and then trying to shift to a more comfortable position so there's not as much pressure on your bladder.
You give in and stand eventually, of course. But you prefer not to resist even when it obviously won't do you any good.
You put on the light on your phone and then scan the area around your bedroom. As expected, there are cockroaches everywhere. You get up and stamp your feet while doing so until the sounds pause.
You walk as quickly as you can to the bathroom door and point the light at it; you can see the cockroaches scuttling in the cracks to avoid the light and the unlucky (or most likely dumb) ones just staying in place, like deer caught in a car's headlights.
The rat noises have stopped already.
You rap on the bathroom door so the ones inside know you're there if they don't already, then you push open the door so it yawns wide open and then point the light into the bathroom.
Once everything is relatively safe, you walk in as fast and as calmly as you can while being as far away from the door and walls as you can manage. Then you use your foot to open the toilet because there might be strays hiding there.
You pee as fast as you can and you don't sit of course (because you're not stupid) and when you're done with your business, you flush and close the lid with your foot and nearly run out of the bathroom because your nerves are nothing but tiny strips of grated carrot at this point.
You haven't lost your head yet though, and so you scan the room with the light so nothing shocks you by jumping or flying down on you from the walls or the ceiling.
Then you spot it.
Or it spots you.
It's white, is your first impression of the thing. At first, you think it's a huge nymph of a cockroach (because you saw a colorless white roach when you were younger), but then you tell yourself not to be silly because its beady eyes are red and the white thing is undeniably fur and it's impossibly perfectly balanced on the wall even though it doesn't look reptilian and you're not a complete idiot in a horror flick and you'd be able to tell that it. is. not. normal. at. all. even without the fact that it is staring back at you.
You don't scream; you don't even gasp. You were holding your breath nearly the whole time and taking shallow breaths when you did breathe anyway, and of course, you expected something to go wrong like it always does. You only allow yourself the luxury of cursing bodily functions.
In any case, the weird rat is staring at you and you're staring at it and all you can do is swear numerous times in your head and you hope it doesn't move or do anything because then you'll be able to get to bed. You know you won't be able to sleep, but you'll at least be on the bed where there's an imaginary barrier that things don't normally cross and you can at least hope it applies to the revolting rat thing too.
"That's not very nice," is what you hear in your head next.
You swing between hysteria and panic because on one hand you're having your first supernatural encounter with a talking albino rat and on the other hand, you're having your first supernatural encounter with a talking albino rat that is most likely psychic.
You decide to panic calmly.
All this time neither you nor the rat thing (you decide to omit the "revolting") have moved a muscle and you're getting tired so you decide to talk to (think at?) it.
"What do you want?" is what you ask.
"To eat your spirit toes," it says.
You have no idea what that means but you know you're scared of rats because you're afraid they might nibble on your toes and you're very generally protective of your spirit and yet the thing wants to eat both.
"Will that hurt me?" you ask.
"No," says the thing "But you'll be immobilized for a few days, or you will feel extremely uncomfortable."
You think about it for a second. You think you would have let it if you didn't have a general rule against being eaten. And you have trust issues. And you're not a complete idiot and not only because of that old saying about smelling a rat.
You ask if it absolutely has to have yours and whether it would be interested in eating someone else's. Or several someone else's. You hope it catches your mental wink.
The thing answers in the affirmative but says that it is trapped in my apartment and cannot move in the daylight.
The deal is set.
You know all the people in the building who you disapprove of on account of their leaving their doors open at night. You also have a tote bag that was foisted on you by your mother.
You take it elsewhere and point out several more elsewheres.
When you return to your apartment, you lie on your bed and you hold your phone (whose light is still diligently on) like a weapon and you don't turn it off and you don't sleep.
You don't sleep for a few weeks after that, not until you move into your new apartment. The apartment you start looking for the day immediately after what you later refer to as "The Incident", even before you hear that a few people downstairs suddenly lost the ability to walk and will probably never walk properly again.
You don't know this as you lie in your bed keeping watch. You lie there missing the sleep you were woken from, alternately cursing bodily functions and praising God for them, because sometimes bodily functions can let you cut deals with albino rats open to bribery.