-Little cabin in the woods - Little man by the window stood - Came a rabbit hopping by
Frantically hopping, jumping, bounding and leaping as if his very life depended on it (and it may well have), Rog scrambled over the top of the cliff. Just in time, too, as yet another massive bolt of lightning shot past him, heading straight up the cliff face and far into the cold desert night sky.
The thunderclap clove the air; Rog turned end over end, thrown back by the explosion of suddenly superheated air. The frazzled, smoking remnant of his once-proud tail bore witness to the danger in that malevolent power surge; twice he had nearly been turned to Bunnie Toasties by that same deluge of raw force.
Recovering quickly, far more quickly than his therapist would have believed possible, the escaped Panthersville patient, resplendent in his white robe, long straps trailing from the sleeves, fairly flew across the top of the plateau. He scrabbled to a stop, pebbles scattering willy-nilly before him like Democrats before a budget cut.
With his newfound caution, he slipped the tip of one bedraggled ear over the edge. Nothing happened. He slowly moved until his whole head jutted out, looking from below for all the world like an old rabbit-ear TV antenna. As his carotene-deprived eyes slowly adjusted to the night, all hell seemed to break loose right in his face. He leapt backwards just in time, as billions and billions of electron volts carved a hefty niche from the ledge he had so recently vacated.
- Knocking at my doorCharging to the middle of the mesa, he noticed what he had missed before - a thin rock spire reaching heavenward, like some child's dream of a giant's castle carved from an ebony beanstalk.
Like something out of a cartoon, he raced up the crazy stone finger, following the spiral path ever upwards into the night sky, away, away, away from the deadly peril so close upon his once furry heels, now calloused but hairless as a chihuahua's lips.
Gasping, he skidded to a stop, mouth hanging open in nearly insane disbelief. For nearly at the top, the path ended at a door. Carved into the door were the words, "Roadkills-R-Us Wildlife Preserve Unit". Dripping with acrid sweat, he stared disbelievingly before him, then back down the path, then up into the unclouded stars.
The tower peaked in a cone shape here. Only a few meters above, agonizingly close, a soft mauve light glowed from the top of the impossible habitat. He heard the steady tap of patent leather boots somewhere below him on the spire, and the dark he knew walked there seemed to gather around his throat and constrict his breathing completely. His heart screaming at red line, even were there somewhere else to go, he could run no further. In a single, desperate stride, he was at the door and pounding his sole functional forepaw on the massive rock, beating his hand to a bloody stump, and screaming with what little fury was left him.
-"Help me! Help me! Help me!" he cried, - "Or the hunter will shoot me dead!"Time passed. He stopped screaming and beating on the door, the dull throb in his battered appendage vying with his lungs for pain receptors and blood clot count. He sank to the ground in despair, and stared at the shapes flitting easily above in the soft glow. Eagles, perhaps? Oh, well, even that would be preferable to the death which had chased him up here.
With a mind-wrenching rumble, the huge stone door rolled aside. His eyes tried to focus, but instead of the savior for which he hoped, there was only a dim shape hovering there - it seemed to be a thousand points of faintly phosphorescing green light, twinkling randomly.
He seemed to catch a whiff of ocean breeze, but knew that was clearly impossible. The nearest krill were hundreds of kilometers distant.
His thoughts turned further to jello when a voice spoke, apparently from the top of the softly luminescent biomass. The most melodious voice he had heard in his entire life, the music of the spheres, the joy of living, the dance of dolphins, sang the glorious phrase he had so single- mindedly pursued these many, loathsome hours.
- "Little rabbit, come inside"With joy unspeakable, he crossed the distance with a single bound. Or tried to. Finally, too near death to care, he crawled, whimperingly, towards the doorway. The green lights slid aside for his passage, and the door closed behind him with a secure-sounding crash.
Pulling the iridescent orange rod from its sheath, the dayglo stick of death no other person dared lay eyes on, he applied it gently to the moss. Delicately depressing the stud at its lightest setting, the moss quivered, smouldered, curled up and fell to the path in ashes. Now the lettering was perfect; the moss had overgrown an "s".
A smile played about his lips - the faint gleam of teeth broke the coal features of his face. He pulled his badge from his chest pocket, where it had been safe for the climb, and replaced it on his uniform. Turning his back on the entrance to the "Roadkills-R-Us Wildlife Preserves Unit", Net.Cop strolled back down the path, whistling a mirthful tune.
His step never faltered as a bloodcurdling, totally unhuman shriek of terror and pain ripped the night into a myriad screaming pieces, to fall slowly to the desert floor below like dust motes on a summer afternoon. Cheerfully he noted the dew beginning to rest about him (but somehow never on him) - it would make the way nice and slippery for his next fugitive.
- (we'll have rabbit stew)...
Last updated: 30 Mar 1994
Copyright 1989-1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.
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This copyright may be freely used, distributed and modified subject to the conditions noted above in the preceeding paragraph. Miles O'Neal <roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514