The Rat King is a spooky creepypasta story about a girl who finds rats in her apartment.
By the beginning of October 1997, Ashley Gross was sure there were rats in her apartment. More than once, tiny rat droppings had greeted her on her white linoleum bathroom floor. She found one of her dishtowels all chewed up into ribbons on the same morning she found a bent fork outside of her bedroom door.
Ashley shuddered at the thought of a rat so near to her bedroom before pondering this strange new behavior. She’d never actually had rats before. Ashley wanted traps. The snappy kind.
At the hardware store, she went for a brand name. “Victor Easy-Set Traps”. A 12-pack, on sale for 25 dollars.
Ashley set the traps in various corners of her apartment, sneaking one beneath the kitchen sink, one in her closet and one in her cupboard. However, all of them went unsprung until November 1st, when Ashley woke up to find the small corspe of a rat broken in the metal vice of one of her traps.
Strangely, though, the rat had been picked clean of its meat.
The term Rat King is used to describe a gigantic tangle of rats, all knotted together by their tails. It comes from Germany, where an Altenburg museum keeps the mummified remains of a 200-year old rat king, discovered in a German miller’s fireplace. It consists of 32 rats in total. In German folklore, a rat king is considered a very bad omen.
Ashley didn’t know any of this when she discovered the dried remains of thirteen rats knotted together by their tails, neatly hidden between her bookshelf and the wall, on December 4th.
Here is a picture of a rat king for reference:
There was one major difference between this rat king and the one Ashley found. None of the rats in the rat king had much flesh left hanging from their skeletons, like the trapped rat Ashley had found earlier.
When she regained her nerve, she turned a garbage bag inside-out, placed it over the mass of tiny bodies and tried to scoop them up into the bag while avoiding touching the rats at all costs. That’s how she cleaned it up.
Ashley worked for a corporate catering company, called Catering Casual. As the end of December loomed overhead, business became busier and busier. Her 9 to 5, Sundays and Mondays-off job stretched into a gruelling marathon of 12-hour days as it did every year around the holiday season. By December 22nd 1997, Ashley Gross had worked 15 consecutive days. She went to bed completely exhausted.
The sound of scraping woke her up.
Ashley lay half awake in the abrupt silence that followed and wondered if she had really heard anything at all. As she listened, she was torn between going back to sleep and checking out the apartment to see if something really had made a noise.
Flicking on her bedside lamp, she opened her bedroom door and spilled light out into the hallway.
A filthy gigantic brown rat scurried past her bare feet and into her room.
Something in the hallway dropped a fork onto the floor.