Death Rat Encounter: A Tale of The Backrooms
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fig 1.0 (A sketch of a death rat found within a wanderer's field journal)

The following was an account of a wanderer's encounter with hostile death rats, within the Halls; reported by Jared Brickston of the Rotten Tree Ridge Outpost, during a yearly interview. Submitted into the database by the UNCB on November 16th, 2022.

"My name is Jared Brickston and a few weeks back, I was tasked by the outpost to head about 15 miles westward, to the Carpeted Wetlands1.

We discovered that this area of the Halls has been a prime location for foraging mushrooms, moss, reeds and whatnot. That place is also chock-full of skinless carp and pescathorian catfish; easily enough to fill up a couple nets, and feed our small community for weeks. As a result, whenever food stocks run low here, someone from this outpost has to go out of their way to trek through that dank carpet hell, to resupply for us.

In this particular case, that person had to be me, heh.

For the voyage, I took a torch, a lighter, fiber rope, fish netting, foraging baskets, fishing bait, and dried Skitter rations2. I also made extra sure to bring my spear and my wooden framed scrap shield along for the voyage. I then loaded all the supplies onto our communal hall trekker, Adira's3 saddlebags.

During the couple long, tedious hours it took to get to the flooded halls, not much happened. It was far too quiet for my liking, that's for sure. Though, I did grow suspicious at seeing rows of holes along the upper parts of the walls, as I got closer to my destination4. Those features were not there the last time I checked.

With the haunting cries of crested looners5 nearby, I knew I was just about to reach the waterline. The fluorescent lights became extremely dim along the flooded carpet-bed; I halted the hall trekker I rode on, tied her rope to one of the metal pipes jutting from one of the walls, and begun to dig around in the saddlebag for the torch and lighter; along with some other gear for foraging and defense. After this, I began to light my torch as I approached that dark swamp.

The resource gathering went alright at first: gathered a few shrooms, caught a few fish. However, at some point I encountered a young death rat, who was eagerly trying to claw its way through the netting to get to my catch. Of course, I wasn't going to let a little fleabag cause us to starve, so I tried to shoo away at it a little.

After that a couple more death rats emerged from the reeds beside me, then more from a hole in the rotten wall across the room. Their eyes glowed red with alertness. Either they were particularly hungry and territorial that day, or they didn't take a liking to me picking at their youngling, but they were unusually hostile on sight.

The thing about death rats is that they're unpredictable little bastards: they'll pounce at sudden points, perform jukes, and attempt to flank from the sides. If they manage to land in a bite or a couple of scratches on me, I'd be sure to expect a nasty infection by the morning, which is also hell to manage.

So, there I was, nearly pinned against a wall - a torch in one hand, and my shield in the other as a swarm of death rats released an onslaught of attempts against my life. Their beady, glowing red eyes kept flickering, as they plotted their next strategy to catch me off guard.

I was able to hold them off for a time, blocking a couple attempted pounce attacks with my shield and burning the annoying little fiends who kept trying to bite at my ankles with the flames of my torch.

However, then they decided to scream. Those little bastards let out the most ear-grating screeches. Every second longer those screeches proceeded, my hands practically begged for me to drop my shield, and instead shield my ears from those wretched sounds; I couldn't stand it.. I had to force a way out of there.

The first opportunity I got, I slammed through a couple of them, and began to haul-tail back to the hall trekker I left out in the well-lit halls. I frantically tried all I could to untie the rope around the metal pipe Adira was attached onto, but I quickly resolved to cut the rope instead, out of desperation. Once freed, I hopped onto her, and began galloping outta there; I thought this nightmare would end there, but no… of course, it doesn't.

Somehow, it felt like every death rat from an 100-mile radius was swarming to get me. They began to pour out of holes in the walls - forming waves of scruffy, flea-ridden, ear-piercing vermin. There were multiple close calls where the horde of rats nearly caught up to the hall trekker and me, but I kept impaling any that strayed too close with my spear. Adira's powerful legs helped to trample the hell outta a couple of em' too, that's for sure. After what felt like an hour of fleeing, the flurry of death rats slowly resided.

Ironically enough, despite my concern about the food, I ended up returning back to the outpost not only empty-handed but with one less fishing net than what I started with. The community has been punishing me by appointing me to manure shoveling duties every day since so that has truly been a cruddy situation."

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