The rabbit may as well have been a rock, for all of the movement she made. Her five feet by three feet wooden hutch was adequate, but not. Rabbits have hind legs that propel them along at a precipitous rate, but not now. She was frozen into ice, not even a flick of her velvety white ears. The pink nose, ever wrinkling and twitching, was frozen still. Only her eyes, the whites of which displayed themselves so alarmingly, were dancing, gyrating frenetically, as they sought some explanation for the presence of the unthinkable.
For the rabbit was not alone. Her hutch, ever the solitary confinement that it was, now featured a guest, a most unwelcome guest, one who had appeared without knocking, to join her in the sultry August afternoon. No hands meant no knocking, which was appropriate, because the guest had no hands, and no feet either. This intruder-no mistaking that-was unwelcome, and unprecedented, and silent as the grave.
One second the bunny had been assiduously avoiding the afternoon rays of the blistering sun, stretching her length out in the shade, along the north wall of her domicile, almost catatonic in the dry heat, and the next she was a non-quivering wreck, still unmoving, but vibrating within every iota of its existence. Her very soul was stripped of its equanimity by the instinctual recognition, that she was face to face with her mortality.
The eyes into which the bunny stared were unblinking, for there were no eyelids. The gaze presented to the bunny was hypnotic, and she would have shifted her gaze in an eye-blink, except she could not move. Every pore of her existence shrilled out to her that to move was to perish. She had to think, only she was prevented from doing so, by the icy grip of dread.
The scaly, diamond-shaped patches of olive-drab green, contrasted with the vibrancy of the shining live oak leaves in the background, as the alabaster-like form glided soundlessly along the top wooden slat of the hutch. There was a two inch gap between the top of this slat, and the framework of the compound, through which the intruder had gained entry.
Thirty-six inches down his frame, the buttons of his rattle, numbered eight, indicating that he had shed his thin overcoat, and donned a larger size, eight times, though in the animal kingdom, size meant nothing, when it came to instilling fear. The intruder was a master of the craft.
The rabbit wanted to speak, to blurt out insubstantial questions about the unfairness of it all, but she couldn’t move. She wanted to withdraw, into the vestibule, if you like, anything to avoid the implacable gaze. She wanted, more than anything, to wake up from this deadly nightmare.
And I, standing a dozen paces away, could do nothing but wait with her. If I moved, it would certainly spell disaster, the same as if the bunny moved. Time refused to stand still. It would move inexorably forward. Events would unfold, as surely as the sun continued its immutable progress across the unseeing, unforgiving universe.
“I’m sorry, Darling, I was distracted. What did you say?” The woman looked up from her desk, papers overflowing, drifting aimlessly around her scholastic arena, and pushed her glasses more firmly into place on the bridge of her nose, where a faint sheen of perspiration suggested that it was hot. She was the consummate academic, her study reflecting the fact that she had little interest in the domestic apportionment of her belongings, and even less interest in rectifying the situation. Her companion had come in a short time before, and was poised above her, at the desk.
“I said it’s time for you to get a real job. This writing crap is just that. I can’t pay the bills with unpublished short stories.” And he hovered there above her, as she attempted to fight off her panic, and failed, hurtling down into the bottomless pit of despair.
“Of course, dear. You’re right.”
Say good night, bunny.