Rabbo Tales - Chapter 3
By Mark Crocker
The young rabbit awoke to the sun shining into his hutch. He sat up and sniffed the air and noticed that it had a cold feeling to it with the soft scent of wood smoke. There was also a hint of rain to come. He hopped over to his tube that the water came from and drunk slowly to clear his mouth of the night odor and then he hopped to the hutch door.
He pushed the hutch door open and hopped down the ramp and across the room into the kitchen. He looked around to see if the male human was around and saw signs of breakfast and an empty bowl on the kitchen table.
The young rabbit preceded across the kitchen to the stairs that lead upstairs to where the humans slept. He looked up the stairs with dislike as it was such work hopping up one step then another and then another until he had reached that top. Then he remembered that the male human had put in a little table that he could stand on in the kitchen that when he pushed the lever with his front paw or nose would lift him up to the closet at the top of the stairs. From there he could go though the little door that had been made for him and to any part of the upstairs that he wished.
He hopped down the hallway to where the human female slept and hopped in though the open door. He sat still and listened for the sound of her breathing but he could not hear her. So he hopped over to the ramp that ran up the side of her bed and climbed up the ramp. Once at the bed he sniffed the bed to find out if it was warm.
The bed was not warm and that meant she had not slept in her bed. This worried the young rabbit until he remembered that the night before she had told him that she was going into the village to help after the ground shaking.
He hopped up to the place where the female human rested her head and looked down and sniffed. He could see a few long fine strands of her brownish red hair and he thought about how he liked to rest on her hair when she slept in her bed. How warm her hair was when he would snuggle into it and that she only got upset when he would get tangled up in her hair.
He hopped to the other side of her bed and hopped across to the dresser. This was the first time he had been on her dresser and he wondered if she would be upset with him. On the dresser where normal things you would have found on any young woman’s dressers in any times, items such as hair brushes, nail polish, nail file and such. But also there were things on there that you would have wondered at what use they were.
The young rabbit sniffed a thin silver colored metal dish had a small hole in the center and sat on a black base. He placed his paw on the dish and sudden a small human female about 6 inches high was facing him. The small human female blinked and smiles as the young rabbit looked at her.
The small human female looked around and then looked right at the rabbit. “My darling daughter you will always have my love and remember wherever you go whatever you do mommy loves you” said the small human female.
The young rabbit back up and almost fell of the dresser. Then carefully he moved forward watching the small human female. She had long blondish brown hair that reached half way down her back she had greenish eyes a long oval face with a button nose.
As the rabbit looked closer he could see that this small human female looked like an older version of the human female that took care of him and had been teaching him. “Mother” he mused.
He wondered how someone so small human could have given birth to someone so big. Then he remembered how he used to look up to his mother when he was a tiny rabbit kitten and that he had grown bigger than she was.
Maybe the human male had done the same thing to the female human that she had done to him?
He moved closer to sniff the small human female and his nose pushed right though her. He backed up again in shock and fell clean off the dresser. He landed on the floor of the human female’s room with such a loud thumb that it seemed to echo of the walls. While he lay there in a heap trying to work out why his nose had passed though the small human female and catch his breath he heard heavy foot steps coming up the stairs.
The door fully opened “Thought that was you, you silly rabbit. What are you doing laying there in a heap on the floor?” said the male human.
“Who that small female human” asked the young rabbit?
“Who is she?” answered the male human, making it sound both like a question and correction of what the young rabbit had said.
“Who is she?” asked the young rabbit again.
The male human paused for a while looked up and then spoke softly as lost in thought and talking to himself. “She was a woman of rare beauty. So smart that she could hold a conversation with the wisest in council. She had such wit that she could make the grumpiest of people laugh and smile. She was so kind that she would not harm even the smallest of living things unless she had to. So gentle that her touch was as soft as a summer breeze. Her voice was like music to the ear. And every person wanted her and none could have her” after a pause “except this old man. She chose a fool that could not see what he had until it was too late”.
The young rabbit noticed tears streaming down the male humans face and a look of such sadness that the young rabbit too felt sad for the male human. The young rabbit stood up on his hind legs and placed a paw gently on the male human’s thigh and softly said “Love her much you did”.
“Yes” replied the male human.
The male human brought his hand up to his nose and wiped away the tears that had ran down the side of his nose. “Not a word of my tears to my daughter when she gets back. Please”.
Without a word the male human reached down and gently picked up the young rabbit and walked out of the female human’s room. The human male took him down stairs and though to the library where he had been only a few times and then the male human had tried to teach him how to look at shapes on a big square thing and to push small buttons on a long thing that would make shapes on the big square thing.
The male human spoke with a sad soft tone. “Computer. File lessons Athena 1”.
A female voice answered “accessing”.
The big thing went bright and shape appeared. The shape was the letter “A” and another female voice said “A”.
At once the young rabbit knew that the voice was that of the small human female that he had seen on the dresser of the human female.
The rabbit looked at the letter and shock his head. He was not sure what he should do so he looked up at the human male.
“Computer pause” said the male human. “You have to say the letter that the computer will say”.
“Ok” said the young rabbit.
“Computer restart lesson Athena 1”.
The big square thing when blank for a moment and then the letter “A” appeared back and the female voice said “A”.
For the next 2 hours the young rabbit sat in front of the big square thing repeating the letters that where being spoken to him. He did not notice the male human get up and leave nor did he notice when he came back. All he could think of was the letters on the big square thing and that the voice somehow was keeping him there.
“Any questions” said the computer voice.
“Who are you” asked the young rabbit.
“I am Isis. Your mother my beloved daughter” said the computer voice with a sound of love and a little sadness.
“Computer end lesson” said the human male suddenly standing behind the young rabbit. The young rabbit looked back and was shocked to see tears again streaming down the human males face.
It was lunch time and the young rabbit sat at the table in his chair facing the male human.
“Listen rabbit. I am sorry that I got emotional it is just that after 800 years her voice is still a knife to my heart and hearing her voice is still very painful. So to avoid me getting emotional I will tell you what commands to give the computer so that you can have your lessons”.
The young rabbit looked up from his bowl of grass and grains and nodded.
“All teaching lessons are accessed by saying. Computer. File lessons Athena 1 or Computer. File lessons Athena 2 and so on. Dam you can’t count. Wait I think that’s lesson 2? Anyway you can stop the computer by saying Computer pause. But to restart the lesson from where you paused it you must say Computer resume. Or you can say Computer restart lesson Athena and the lesson number. That will restart the lesson at the beginning”
The young rabbit nodded and sat back on his hind legs to give his full attention to the human male.
“Any question rabbit”.
The rabbit thought a moment “Yes. When is daughter coming home”?
The human male smiled and looked at the rabbit for a moment. “Daughter is what she is to me. I am her father. You are not her father so I guess you should know her name. Her name is Athena”.
“I call her Athena”?
“Yes that is her name” said the male human. “Now once we have finished we will go back to the library and continue with your lessons. I will be in the garden digging a hole so that I can put in an earthquake pad so that when I rebuild the storage shed it won’t fall down again”.
For the next 6 days the young rabbit had lessons 2 times a day. 3 hours in morning and 3 hours in the evening with a 4 hour break where he had time to eat lunch with the male human and to rest.
By the end of the 6th day he could say his ABC’s read simple words and count to 100 plus add and subtracted. He felt very proud of all that he had done. Yet he felt sad that the male human would leave him alone with the computer.
He had also asked questions to the computer about male human and learnt that his name was Merwyn and that he had come from many light years from the planet that they were currently on. He also learnt that Isis was a student of Merwyn’s at a huge university that Merwyn had taught at.
The young rabbit also learnt that Isis knew that having a baby would make her sick and possible she would die and that was why she had made the records and lessons for her child. But she had gotten pregnant but never told Merwyn that she might die. The young rabbit felt sad after the computer had answered his questions about what had happened to Isis. He had not understood much other than that she wanted to make Merwyn happy and that he wanted a child from her.
It was the morning of the 7th day as the young rabbit hopped into the library when he saw Merwyn sitting at the chair in front of the computer monitor talking with the computer. The computers voice was a different female voice that sounded all business like and was talking about earthquake pads and how to build a small one for a building.
“When is Athena being home” asked the young rabbit?
Merwyn turned and looked at the young rabbit and smiles. “You should say. When will Athena be home? She is about 20 minutes away. I spoke with her early this morning and she said that she was leave before light to walk home”. Merwyn paused and his eyes looked unfocused for a moment. “Go outside and wait by the end of your run”
The young rabbit was a little confused but hopped off outside to the end of his run. When he got there he noticed a raised platform with a wire mesh around it and an opening that could be closed by himself if he wished. As he hopped around the raised platform he noticed a rabbit size elevator much like the one in the kitchen that he used to get up to the upstairs of the house.
He hopped onto the elevator pad and pushed the lever and up he went into the raised platform. From there he could see down the path that led into the woods. He noticed that the clouds were dark and heavy and that he could smell rain in the air. He also noticed that the trees branches were shaking and swaying in the wind.
As he sat in the raised platform he saw Athena sitting in the cart looking around and singing the song that she had sung to him when he had been going though all the things she had done to him. The song had always made him feel better and he would forget the pains of what was being done to him at that time.
As he watched he was unaware of the cat sneaking up behind him. Suddenly with a loud thud and a hiss the cat was up on top of his raised platform. The cat reached down with a paw and tried to bat at the young rabbit though the mesh. But his paw could not get though the mess. “Missed you my friend” hissed the cat.
The young rabbit looked up at the paw and the cat leaned forward and looked at the rabbit with his head upside down.
“Where have you been” asked the young rabbit.
“Here there. Helping female. Ears and eyes see and listen and look. People in village think cat I am and all I am. In night I tell female what they say and what they do. I help female as male wants”.
Just then Athena jumped down from the cart and ran up to the house ignoring the rabbit and cat. “Daddy I’m home” she shouted.
Merwyn came to the door and father and daughter embraced.
The young rabbit filled his lungs and shouted out “Athena what about me”.
Athena turned and looked at the young rabbit with her mouth wide open. Slowly she walked over to the young rabbit and looked at him closely. Then she reached into the raised platform though the opening and pulled the young rabbit roughly out. “I’ve so missed you. But where did you learn my name”.
Being careful to say things right the young rabbit answered slowly. “Merwyn has been giving me lessons on how to read and to do simple math. Or rather I have been sitting in front of the computer and it has been giving me lessons.” After a brief pause the young rabbit added “I’ve missed you to Athena. I missed you much”.
Later that night as they all sat around eating dinner Athena told Merwyn and the young rabbit about what had been going on in the village and badly it had been damaged by the earthquake. Athena explained how on the third day warriors had come by ship to raid the village and how she had to show her true self and drive back the warriors into the sea that they had come from. She explained how she had made herself seem 20 feet tall and once the warriors were gone she made herself invisible and returned to the ruined house that she had been staying in.
“Hope you did not hurt to many of the raiders” said Merwyn
Tears welled up in her eyes and her face contorted to such pain and then she started to sob. “I had to kill some of them as they were not scared off by my height. Dad I don’t want to ever kill or feel like that again. Each one I killed I still see his face when I close my eyes. And in my sleep I hear them scream. Daddy I can’t sleep. The only time I feel good is when I sing that nursery rime so I sing it over and over again to drown out their screams”. Merwyn got up so fast that his chair tipped backward and he raced around to his daughter and held her in his arms while she cried and cried for what seemed like forever to the young rabbit.
Merwyn reached down and gently picked up his daughter and carried her into the living room and placed her on the couch. He kissed her on the forehead and left the room.
He returned a few minutes later with a bottle of dark brown liquid and poured a glass for his daughter. “Drink this and lay still. I can’t fix the pain in your mind. But I can make it so you can sleep and the pain will be less. But my dear daughter it won’t ever go away. But you will be able to live with yourself”.
Merwyn pulled a chair over and sat down. He placed all of his finger tips on Athena’s forehead and closed his eyes. The young rabbit who had followed Merwyn into the living room sat and watched waiting to see what would happen. But after a long while he felt sleepy and went and sat on the rug by the fireplace. When he awoke Merwyn was still sitting leaned over with his finger tips rest on Athena’s forehead.
When the young rabbit awoke he could hear the wind outside blowing hard and the rain pouring down. When he looked over at Merwyn and Athena it was as if they had not moved.
The cat walked in and sat down and looked at the young rabbit. “Fire long gone out. Wet I am and need heat to dry. I wake male and female”. The cat looked at the rabbit and cocked his head to one side. “I bring fresh meat I catch. Make humans happy”.
The cat started to walk over towards Merwyn and Athena.
“Stop and leave them alone” said the young rabbit. “He is helping Athena not to feel bad”.
“Female need sleep” hissed the cat and stalked out of the living room leaving wet paw prints across the wooden floor.
It was mid morning when Merwyn opened his eyes and removed his finger tips from the forehead of Athena. He looked very tired and old as he stood up. He straightened his back slowly as if he was of great age and then walked unsteadily into the kitchen.
The young rabbit hopped over and jumped up on the couch and snuggled into Athena more to comfort than to get warm. After a while the young rabbit dozed off and started to dream.
He saw humans dressed in metal chest plates with bright bronze colored long knives and huge round plates. He saw them come up from the great pond from things that floated on the water. He saw them start to make fire and burn houses and stab at running females and small humans. Then he felt himself get huge and look down on them and filled with something he did not understand. He saw in his hand a huge silver metal knife and felt a metal skin on his chest and back. He felt a metal skirt around his hips and a metal helmet on his head and his long hair running down his back under the metal skin on his back. He saw the long silver knife flash and arc though the air and parts of the male humans fall this way and that. He felt hot liquid on his legs and arms and face. He heard the scream and then another emotion that he did not understand. Then he looked down into a pond to wash his hands of the red liquid on his hands and he saw that he was Athena.
The young rabbit woke with a start and sat up. He looked at Athena and she opened her eyes and looked at him. “Oh it’s you in my nightmare” she said sadly. “I’m sorry that you joined me. I wish you had not seen that horror”.
“Its ok, my darling. He might have helped you more than I did. After all a trouble shared is a troubled halved. But you did what you had to do to protect the people of the village. And the warriors should not have attacked the village as there was nothing there for them in the first place. But that is one of the less attractive things about this planet. The people are too war like. The strong preying on the weak” the tone in Merwyn’s voice was sad and depressed. “Now young rabbit its way past your lesson time and you have so much to learn. So hop down and get to the library and to your lessons”.
The young rabbit hopped into the library and climbed up the ramp that Merwyn had made for him so that he could get on the desk.
“Computer File Athena lesson 13” said the young rabbit.
“Password please” asked the voice of Isis.
“Password? What is password” asked the young rabbit.
The young rabbit shook his head and asked again. And the computer voice of Isis made the same statement “Incorrect password”
From behind a soft sad sleepy voice said “Computer override command Athena beta. Computer File Athena lesson 14”.
The voice of Athena’s mother Isis started to explain about writing and how to use the computer key board that sat in front of the young rabbit. When Isis asked the word “cat” to be typed out on the key board they young rabbit looked down and could see the letters. Gently using a claw on his right paw he hit first the “C” key then the “A” key and lastly he tried to hit the “T” key and missed hitting another key by mistake.
“Incorrect” said Isis. “Try again”.
The young rabbit tried again and this time his claw hit another letter instead of the “C” letter.
And again Isis said “Incorrect try again”.
It was about the 6th or 7th try that the young rabbit was able to spell out the word “cat” without hitting the wrong key.
For the next 3 hours the lesson continued and at the end of the 3 hours the poor young rabbits paws hurt and hopping was so painful and hard. As he hopped down the ramp each hop was painful to his front paws and he whimpered as they touched the ground.
As he hopped into the living room he saw Athena lying on the couch with a blanket over her and the fire burning brightly with the cat laying on top of her sleeping. Softly Athena spoke “come her silly rabbit and snuggle with me”.
The young rabbit hopped over trying hard not to whimper at each step but his paws hurt so much that even the pads of his feet hurt when they touched the wooden floor.
Suddenly he felt himself being lifted up by hands that he could not see. As he was lifted up a few inch’s the invisible hands went away and he landed hard on his paws making him squeal in pain.
“Darling you are too tired to be doing that. Let me pick him up” said the voice of Merwyn from the doorway to the kitchen.
Merwyn walked over and gently picked up the young rabbit and placed him on the couch next to Athena. As the young rabbit was placed on the couch Merwyn noticed that his paws were swollen and red.
Merwyn left and returned a little while later with a small cart that had soup fresh baked bread with fresh butter, a bowl of fresh carrot tops with grains and a jar of some creamy white stuff that the young rabbit could not make out. The young rabbit sat up on his hind legs and leaned over to sniff the jar of the unknown white creamy stuff. It had no odor at all but before he could taste it Merwyn picked up the jar and dipped 2 fingers in the jar and then with his free hand picked up the young rabbit and smeared what he had on his two fingers on to the pad of the young rabbit’s right front paw.
The young rabbit let out a moan of delight as the pain in his right front paw faded away so fast that it was very pleasurable not to have any pain in that paw. As soon as Merwyn had finished working the creamy white stuff into his right front paw he offered his left front paw.
Merwyn repeated the process and the young rabbit carefully placed both paws down on the couch testing to see if there was any pain. The young rabbit was so delighted that he started to bounce up and down the couch jumping on and off Athena. Weakly Athena pulled herself up to the sitting position and reached for the bowl of soup and the bread. She slowly ate the soup and soon it was all done.
Other the next few days the young rabbit would sleep with Athena on the couch at nights sometimes with the cat there and sometimes not. But he always snuggled close to her. When she was awake he would hop off reluctantly to his lessons in the library and learn how to read write and do arithmetic on the computer. And in between his classroom time he would come out and snuggle next to Athena. And each day she grew stronger and the color returned to her face. The shake that had been in her hands went away and she would sleep better and better.
On the 14th day after her return from the village she joined him in the library and watched as he read and typed on the computer. Athena made a few suggestions to help him type better on the computer and a few pointers on how to do the math problems that the computer was giving him.
The following day was a rest day from all his hard studying and Athena and the young rabbit sat out in the cold winter sun watching the cat drag something large out of the woods. As the cat got closer it was clear that what ever he was dragging was almost as big as he was and that he was clearly tired having dragged it possible a long way. The cat sat back looked around and then continued to drag the large object towards the young rabbit and Athena. After about 10 minutes the cat was close enough to see that it was dragging a large fat goose. The cat stopped walked up to the young rabbit and Athena and looked up at them clearly very pleased with the large goose it had dragged to them. “I hunt and bring you meat to eat” hissed the cat very happy.
“That’s very nice of you cat” said Athena.
“I bet you did not catch it yourself” said the rabbit.
“I did. I wait in tree. I watch it in water. Then it come out and drop I did. Neck make pop sound and I bite neck and it stop moving” the cat paused and looked around. “Then long drag to here for you to eat”.
Just then Merwyn came out and looked down at the cat. “Ahh dinner. Thank you my dear cat. I was worried that you would not find anything and we would have to go without meat today”.
Athena looked up at Merwyn. “Are we low on food”?
Merwyn did not answer but instead walked over to where the goose lay in the grass and picked it up. “I better get to plucking this thing and we can cook it up for dinner tonight” said Merwyn not looking at Athena.
“Dad! Do we have enough food for the rest of the winter? asked Athena with s stern tone in her voice.
Merwyn ignored the question and walked into the house.
Athena slid out from under the blanket and walked into the house.
The young rabbit turned his ears so that he could hear what they were talking about and it so became clear that Merwyn was avoiding answering any questions about how much food they might or might not have.
The young rabbit turned to the cat who was now sitting in the chair that Athena had been sitting in. “Oh great and mighty hunter of big birds. Can you hunt more?” asked the young rabbit to the cat.
“Hunt yes I can. Big birds gone far south now. But squirrels nice mice and big fat rats I can hunt. Or to village I go and bring silly fat chickens. But male human said no to hunting in village”
A cloud passed over head and suddenly it felt cold so the young rabbit and the cat headed into the house to be by the warm fire.
The young rabbit knew that soon he would have to hop into the library and return to his classroom time and all his learning. He had to admit that Merwyn had been right when he had told the young rabbit that learning was like a drug. “The more you learn young rabbit the more you want to learn.”
Merwyn sat in the corner with a pile of feathers and the goose hung between his legs looking like a naked goose which it was.
The rabbit knew what came next and did not want to stay around so he hopped into the living where he knew Athena would be sitting by the fire. That still worried the young rabbit that she got cold easy and he wondered if it had something to do with being in the village and the bad dreams she called nightmares. He hopped up into Athena’s lap and looked up at her. She looked fine and healthy but he could not help think something was wrong with her as it seemed wrong for someone to be cold even if they did not have fur. Athena reached down and pulled him close snuggling her face into his nice warm fur.
Then she got up and carried him into the library and sat him down at the computer pulling the keyboard close to him so that he could use the keys. Athena walked over to the far door looked though then closed the door slowly and gently so that it did not make a sound. “Computer access private file mother 1” said Athena in a very low voice.
“Second password required”
“Voice print and passwords accepted”
Isis voice spoke as if she was really talking to her daughter instead of being long gone, “What can I do for you my daughter”?
Athena talked with the computer for a while then stood up. She turned back to the computer and said “Exit program”. After a few moments she spoke again “Computer File Athena lesson 180.”
The young rabbit hopped forward and started his second lesson of the day. The words he had to type this time did not show up on the screen. Instead Isis spoke them and asked him to type them out. Each time he made a mistake the voice of Isis would take the wrong letters out and ask him to fill in with the right letters. Then he would have to read the word before it disappeared and then retype the word that he had just read.
The lesson did not last its normal 3 hours but instead when on for an extra hour and at the end of that extra hour the voices of Isis said “well done my dear daughter. I love you. Now your classroom work will become harder. Tonight you have studying to do as there will be a test in the next lesson. Please read the print out that will come out from the printer.”
Sheets of paper started to come out of the printer and land at the young rabbit’s feet. As they came out he noticed that each page had a number at the right hand lower corner. And when the number reached 12 he became some what worried. And when the last page came out he was very shocked to see 25 pages.
Gently he gathered them up using his claws to keep them in order and then holding them in his teeth he then backed down the ramp. At the library door he ran into a problem as when Athena had left she had closed the door and the young rabbit was totally unable to open the door.
The young rabbit sat and looked at the door. He thought about putting the papers down but they might get mixed up. He thought about holding them between his paws but again he might drop them and mix them up. He thought about trying to scratch the door with his front paws but was not sure if they would hear him. Then at last he had the idea of turning around and using both hind legs to kick the door a few times so that they would come and open the door.
If he had turned around he would of seen Athena watching from outside though the window. But he did not and he did not know that the door being closed was part of the test that he thought he would be taking in the morning but was in fact already taking it right then. He waited a few moments and then kicked to door harder and this time he made it make a thud sound with each kick and with each kick he made the thud sound louder.
The door opened and the young rabbit hopped though and looked up at Merwyn who had opened the door. The rabbit hopped into the kitchen and looked up at Merwyn and wondered how he was going to thank him with a mouth full of paper and also where was Athena?
Merwyn looked down at the young rabbit and took the papers from his mouth and looked at them. As Merwyn read the papers he nodded and smiled. Merwyn then made a hole though the top left corner of all the pages and threaded a piece of string though so that the pages would not get mixed up. Merwyn then handed the pages back to the young rabbit and returned to finishing getting the dinner ready.
The young rabbit hopped across the kitchen into the living room and sat down near the fire were it was warm and there was light to read by. He looked over and the cat who was laying stretched out in front of the fire taking up most of the rug.
The young rabbit sat on his back and rested the paper on his hind paws and started to read all the pages that had been printed up. The first page outlined what he had been learning since he had started his time in front of the computer. Most of the rest of the pages were about how to use words one way or another and double meanings of words and word sentence structures. The last couple of pages were a questionnaire that would help him with the test that he thought he was going to have in the morning.
“Cat Rabbit dinner time” shouted Merwyn from the kitchen.
The cat leaped up and bolted for the kitchen running side ways with his tail swishing in the air. The rabbit sat up placed the pages between his teeth and slowly hopped into the kitchen. But as he reached the doorway he stepped on the paper and slipped then rolled across the floor coming to land head first in a crumbled heap at the feet of Athena. The young rabbit laid there in a heap and looked up at Athena trying to act like he had meant to slip and fall and that it was all part of his act.
Athena reached down and picked up the young rabbit and placed him on his chair making sure that his legs were just below the lip of the table and that his forepaws were at the right height for him to reach for his bowl so that he could eat his food. Merwyn placed the young rabbits bowl in front of him and then the cats bowl in front of the cat. The young rabbit noticed that his dinner was mostly a mix of older dandelion leaves spinach and some grains.
“Winters is coming dear rabbit. So we might be on short rations” said Athena as she looked hard at her father.
The young rabbit noticed that as she spoke she was looking at Merwyn with a hard look on her face as if she was trying to make a point about not having as much food for the winter as they should. Dinner was pretty much normal were the cat told them about what he had seen when he had been out on his travels in the day time and what he had heard when he had been near the village. Merwyn asked questions of the cat and Athena listened and asked her own questions while the rabbit listened and wondered if he would be able to move around and see the village much as the cat did.
After dinner the rabbit sat in Athena’s lap and reread the papers that he had been reading before dinner to make sure that he fully understood everything. The young rabbit stopped reading and looked over at the cat who was busy cleaning himself as he sat by the fire.
“Cat” asked the young rabbit “can you read”?
“Humans read, and rabbit apparently” hissed the cat. “Cat does not read. Cat won’t read. Reading for human’s and apparently for rabbit” the tone made it clear that the cat though reading a waste of time.
Athena leaned down and whispered in the young rabbit’s ear “His eyes are good at seeing things far away but up close all he can see is blurred letters. My fault as I did not have the skill to make his eye’s better. But he sees better than other cats do. But I did learn a lot when I did his eyes and you see as well if not better than we humans do”.
The young rabbit returned to his studying and read again all the pages and went though the questions in his head. Later feeling tired the young rabbit hopped to his hutch and let himself in. His mother was waiting and at once she grabbed him and started to lick his ears.
It was full light when the young rabbit woke and his mother was sitting looking out of the open door to the hutch. The sun was shinning off of her fur making her look as if she had a golden glow coming from her. The young rabbit hopped over and pushed her with his nose so that she moved forward and out of the hutch.
The young rabbit looked down the ramp and noticed that the door was closed and a little water was seeping under the door. He listened carefully and could hear a faint whispering noise coming from outside. As he listened he heard a faint crunch crunch sound as if someone was walking on soft sand.
He hopped down the ramp and touched the door to push it open so he could go outside to take care of his business. But the door would not open and felt cold to the touch. So he hopped back up the ramp and in his need used the box that his mother had learned to use when she took care of her business. A short while later and after pushing her with his nose both the young rabbit and his mother entered the kitchen.
Merwyn walked in from the outside and closed the door. On his boots was white hard water that slipped off and sat in puddles on the kitchen floor. The young rabbit hopped over and sniffed the white hard water and found it was cold. He looked up at Merwyn “What is this” and to add to his point he pushed the hard white water with his front paw.
“That my dear rabbit is snow”.
“Oh” said the young rabbit.
“And now my dear furry freak its time for your exam in the library” said Merwyn.
For the rest of the day the young rabbit sat in the library answering question after question that the computer voice of Isis asked him. He had to spell out words read out aloud what was being shown on the computer monitor. He had to type out on the keyboard sentences making sure that he put in paragraphs in the right places. Only once was he given a break and that was only for an hour so that he could eat and take care of his business. By the time he was done with his exam it was getting dark and he was very tired.
When he hopped into the kitchen he was surprised to see that his place as the table was set differently than normal and his chair was in the wrong place. At his place was a white plate heaped with all his favorite foods. A napkin was placed to one side with a glass of a red liquid.
Athena was wearing a short toga showing off her long legs. She had on a wide golden belt and her hair was held by a golden ribbon. Her sandals were also golden and that straps went half way up her legs. Merwyn was dressed in black pants with a white shirt and a dark green jacket.
“Pass or fail my dear rabbit you have done well and I am so proud of you” said Athena with the sound of pride in her voice.
The cat came strutting in holding a carrot in his mouth and placed it as the young rabbit’s feet. “A gift for a smart silly rabbit” hissed the cat. The young rabbit noticed that the cat’s fur was bright and shinny and had all the markings of having been brushed for a long time.
The young rabbit was placed in his chair which had been moved to the head of the table where Merwyn normally sat. Half way though dinner Merwyn got up and left. He returned a few moments later holding a single sheet of paper that was folded in half.
“Well dad” asked Athena “did he pass or fail”.
Merwyn stood still for a moment playing the moment out as if it was so huge dramatic event. “Dear rabbit” said Merwyn. After a pause Merwyn continued “My dear rabbit. You passed. Just barely but you passed. This does not mean your class room time is over. It just means we can take time off and relax for a few weeks”.
It was late when the young rabbit hopped into the room where his hutch was. As he stopped he looked up at his hutch and noticed writing on the side of his hutch. He looked across at his mother’s hutch and there was no writing on her hutch. The writing read “Rabbo” he turned around and hopped into the living room and saw Merwyn putting an extra log on the fire. Merwyn turned and looked at the young rabbit.
“Yes my smart rabbit”
“On my hutch did you put the writing there”?
“No it came from the container I had to use when I made your hutch. Why do you ask”?
“What does RABBO mean” asked the young rabbit.
“Well it was written on the side of the container and means Robotic Automatic Biosphere Bipedal Operations Repair and Maintains Unit. But I cut off part of it and what was left was RABBO”. The young rabbit thought for a moment “RAB like rabbit. BO hmm”. The young rabbit thought some more. “You are male human but that is not your name. Athena is a female human but that is not her name. I am a rabbit like you and Athena are humans. But rabbit is what I am not a name. I think I need a name. And I like the name Rabbo”.
From behind him the young rabbit heard a soft laugh of Athena. “I like that name too”.
The young rabbit turned and saw Athena wearing her bed clothes. She walked over and bent down and picked up the young rabbit.
“Hello Rabbo I am Athena”. Athena walked over to her dad and said “Rabbo meet my dad Merwyn”.
Athena held Rabbo close to her face and walked out of the living room. Her bare feet making a soft pitter-patter sound as she walked across the floor into the room where his hutch was. Athena paused and looked thoughtfully for a moment. “Do you think you could get your mother to sleep in my room without her hutch”?
“I think she would. But it would be hard for her at first. You would need to make it like her hutch or a home like wild rabbits live in. I read that rabbit homes in the wild are called burrows. Make her home like a burrow and put her bathroom box near,” said Rabbo.
Athena went and unbolted Rabbo’s hutch from his mother’s hutch and then she closed the doors to his mother’s hutch. Athena picked Rabbo back up and started to walk out of the room. Rabbo turned to look at his mother’s hutch and was surprised to see it lift of the counter top and follow behind them through to the kitchen and then up the stairs as he and Athena went up stairs.
“How are you doing that, Athena” asked Rabbo with wonder in his voice.
“How am I doing what” said Athena. She then turned back and looked at the hutch. “Oh that”.
“Yes that” said Rabbo “how is it floating and moving”
“Oh that’s easy. I am using my mind to do that. It’s something I can do. Dad is better at it and can lift more. Just he won’t unless he has too. Not sure why he won’t. He won’t even talk to me mind to mind unless he needs too or I am far away like in the village. Don’t ask why it’s just dad being dad”.
The hutch was placed on the floor where it was warm and Athena opened the door. She then pulled back her bed covers slipped off her night shirt and slipped between the covers. Rabbo hopped up onto the pillow next to her snuggled into her hair and closed his eyes.
©September 2010 Mark Crocker