By Mark Crocker
Rabbo sat looking out of the window watching the twins play in the snow. It was still too cold in his mind to go out and join them in their games or to help build a snow fort for them to play in. Beside they seemed to be doing well on their own without his help and his mood was rather sad as he had told Mischief the sad news about her kittens.
Mischief had seem to of taken the news better than he had thought she would have and all she had said was “Kitten live life in now. Let them enjoy the now and tomorrow is tomorrow”. Which Rabbo had to admit was very wise and very deep.
As he sat watching he saw soft eyes who was not hard to pick out as she had on a jacket that Athena had made that covered her shaved stomach. Soft eyes and her brothers and sister bounce over and jump in a pile of snow near to the twins.
The twins looked at the rabbit kittens and then threw handfuls of soft snow into the air so that it came down over the rabbit kittens like new falling snow. The rabbit kittens chased around after the falling snow until they started to tire. Then the rabbit kittens started to hop towards the opening that Rabbo and his mother had once used when they were first in the house.
Rabbo hopped off to the med lab and waited for his grand children to hop in. Once they were in he nudged them into the kitchen so that they could nap by the fire and get warm. Soft eyes seemed a little more tired than the three other kittens so he had her hop on his back and he hopped slowly and gently next to the fire and let her slip down. Rabbo then slipped her little jacket off and checked her bare flesh stomach to make sure that she was ok. The other rabbit kittens hopped over and snuggled around soft eyes and soon all four rabbit kittens were a sleep in a heap of fur.
Mischief came hopping in followed by Rabbo’s mother who looked down at the sleeping rabbit kittens. She then sat close by and looked into the fire. “Why worry” said Mischief.
Rabbo looked at Mischief and smiled weakly.
“Come out into white stuff and play” said Mischief.
Rabbo followed Mischief outside into the snow and watched as she bounced around in circles. Then she ran off turned around and slid across the snow coming to a stop in front of Rabbo and covering him in a shower of snow. Rabbo sat and looked at Mischief though his covering of snow and felt his mood lift a little. Then without warning snow balls started to rain down around Rabbo and Mischief.
Rabbo looked over to see if the twins were throwing snow balls but they were still busy making a snow fort with snow figures. Rabbo could see Athena walking over from the barn so he knew that it was not her throwing the snow balls. Rabbo looked around and could not see who or where the snow balls were coming from but he knew it had to be Merwyn as he was the only one he could not account for. The rain of snow balls continued for a few more moments before they stopped falling around Rabbo and Mischief.
Rabbo listened hard using his ears to scan until he picked up the faint sound of Merwyn breathing. Then Rabbo looked towards the shed that housed the solar panels and windmill that powered the house and he could make out a figure wearing a white thick jacket with white thick heavy pants and white gloves. But all that could be seen in the snow was a pink cold face. But Rabbo knew that it was Merwyn and was not worried that it was someone that should not have been near the house.
So Rabbo reached down and scooped up a handful of snow and using his psychokinesis aided the snow ball on it way and launched it at Merwyn. The snow ball flew though the air towards Merwyn and landed short by about six feet. Rabbo then scooped up another paw full of snow and made another ball and launched that one at Merwyn. This time it landed about two feet behind Merwyn.
“Ok now you have me bracketed you should be able to hit me, Rabbo” said Merwyn.
Rabbo scooped up another paw full of snow and made that into a snow ball and launched that one at Merwyn. The snow ball flew though the air and landed right at Merwyn's feet.
“Not bad Rabbo but you need to work on your snowball skills” said Merwyn.
Athena walked over to the twins and looked at them carefully. She touched their cheeks and slid her hand inside their jackets. “Ok you two inside you are getting cold” said Athena with a smile on her face.
“NO” said the twins in one voice and started to run off heading towards where Merwyn was standing. As the twins reached Merwyn they turned and stuck out their tongues at Athena before they turned back and bumped right into Merwyn. They looked up with surprise and shock and started to cry so Merwyn reached down and placed one on each hip before he started to walk towards the house.
“When your mom tells you something you do what she tells you to do” said Merwyn with a kind tone in his voice.
Athena, Merwyn, and the twins went inside the house to warm up leaving Rabbo and Mischief sitting outside in the snow. “I go check on rabbit home and see family. You come” said Mischief.
Rabbo followed along behind Mischief being careful not to slip in the snow or to trip over something hidden by the snow. There had been a pathway cleared all the way down to the warren so it was pretty easy going for both Rabbo and Mischief.
At the warren Rabbo was greeted by big sister who was sitting on top of the warren looking around and scanning with her ears. Big sister bowed to Rabbo and then looked at Mischief “where you been. We worry much and worry more of kittens.”
“I have been at house. Soft eye very sick and man talker help” said Mischief.
“Yes” said Rabbo “soft eyes has been very sick and so are the other kittens”.
“Why other kittens sick” asked Big sister.
“Female human said that breeding with brothers and sister very bad. Makes for sick kittens and kittens die. Not good” said Rabbo slipping into the method of talking rabbit.
Big sister looked at Rabbo and shook her head. “We breed as we always breed”.
“No brother sister breeding bad” said Rabbo
“We breed who we want to breed” said big sister not understanding what Rabbo was trying to tell her.
“How do I explain something that I don’t truly understand” Rabbo thought to himself.
“Human female wise” said Mischief. “If she say bad, it bad”.
“Big sister” said Rabbo. “If health problem in female grown rabbit and breeding partner is brother that make kittens sick too. But worse”.
“We breed as we always breed” said big sister and she turned and hopped down into a burrow and slipped from sight.
Rabbo turned and looked at Mischief who was sitting on her hind legs listen very carefully to sounds down in the warren. “Mischief is the smartest of my children,” Rabbo mused to himself. “She seems to understand that it is wrong for her to breed with her brothers and sisters. Maybe I can get her to explain to big sister, little brother Long ears, Little sister and my other brother”.
Mischief turned and looked at Rabbo and cocked her head to one side. “You tell me I explain to others”.
Rabbo looked at Mischief and wondered if she could hear his thoughts. “You hear my words in your head?” asked Rabbo on the general telepathic mode.
Mischief sudden sat back and looked at Rabbo with shock and disbelief on her fur covered face.
“Who are you talking to, Rabbo?” said Merwyn on the general telepathic mode.
“Mischief” replied Rabbo.
“Oh. OHHH” said Merwyn and Athena.
Rabbo looked Mischief right in the eyes and spoke to her on the private telepathic mode. “Can you speak mind to mind?” Rabbo asked.
Mischief looked at Rabbo and shook her head like she was trying to shake something out of her head.
“It’s just me, Mischief” said Rabbo trying to make Mischief relax, but Mischief looked wildly around as if she was trapped and could not escape from the voice in her head.
Rabbo again looked her right in the eyes and remembered his coercion training and thought soothing relaxing thoughts so that Mischief would calm down. Rabbo could feel Mischief’s heart racing and the adrenalin racing though her body as well as her muscle tightening ready to run in fear. Soon he felt Mischief start to relax as his thoughts calmed her and relaxed her. Then Rabbo spoke softly to her on the private telepathic mode. “It is my voice you hear. Man talker do not fear it”.
Mischief looked at Rabbo and nodded her head slowly and moved closer to Rabbo.
Rabbo switched back to the general telepathic mode “How do I get you, Mischief, to understand and explain to the others in the warren that brother sister breeding is wrong”? The question was more aimed at Athena and Merwyn as he hoped that they would pick up on his question and help.
“I trust you man talker” said Mischief “You are rabbit. You are wise. You live with humans. But talk in my head--I scared of voice in head”.
“Rabbo, you can’t explain it to her. While she is smart for a rabbit she just can’t understand. It would be like explaining to a person that has been blind from birth what a rainbow is. They just can’t understand what it looks like” said Bastet’s voice on Rabbo’s private mode. “Explain to her that she must not breed from any of her close family members like her sons or grand son or uncles. That’s just as bad as with brothers”.
“If you say breeding with brothers bad then it bad” said Mischief.
“Ok, Bastet” answered Rabbo. Rabbo turned back to Mischief “You can’t breed from sons or grand sons or uncles that will make sick kittens”.
“Ok. What if I breed with you” asked Mischief.
“That would be very bad” said Rabbo out aloud as not to scare Mischief anymore than he had already.
Rabbo then switched back to Bastet on the private telepathic mode “How did you know that I was talking with Mischief”?
“You hailed loudly and I heard you. It’s not wise to hail that loudly, Rabbo” said Bastet.
Mischief nudged Rabbo with her nose and then hopped off to the end burrow what Rabbo used sometimes.
Down in his burrow Rabbo was greeted by Bossy who was sitting in there eating a carrot with her latest litter of kittens. Rabbo closed his eyes and looked at the litter of kittens to see if they were all healthy and to make sure that they did not have any growths inside them. “Who father of litter” asked Rabbo relieved not to see any signs of growths.
“Male who no talk” said Bossy.
“Is he only father” asked Rabbo.
“Yes he chase me catch me and mate with me” said Bossy.
As Rabbo sat looking at the kittens and talking with Bossy and Mischief, Rabbo was surprised at how warm the burrow was. “Is all warren warm like this” asked Rabbo.
“Not all some cooler but no cold in warren” said Mischief.
It was dinner time when Rabbo returned to the house having spent all afternoon in the warren visiting with the wild rabbits. Rabbo had checked the rest of the young rabbits and noticed that a few had health problems but nothing like the health issues that Mischief’s kittens were having. As Rabbo sat at the dinner table he explained what he had seen at the warren and that he had checked the younger rabbits that had visited him in his burrow.
“In breeding is not all bad” said Athena. “Sometimes it’s done for a reason such as continuing a race or for a specific genetic trait or to reinforce an ability”
“True” said Merwyn.
“But as a rule if the gene pool is not clean then there can be huge issues such as we are seeing with some of the rabbits in the warren” continued Athena. “So what we need to do is somehow get the rabbits to understand that inbreeding is very unwise”.
“But what about Mischief and the fact that she was picking up on my thoughts and that she could hear me when I spoke to her telepathically?” said Rabbo.
“That’s something we need to look into” said Athena.
“Something Mischief said to me worries me” said Rabbo.
“What did she say that worried you” asked Merwyn.
“She said What if I breed with you. Father Daughter pairing is bad right” said Rabbo rather worried.
Athena suddenly blushed and looked at Merwyn then turned and looked at the twins before turning back to look at Merwyn.
“Umm not always” said Merwyn stuttering “sometimes if the genes are clean its umm ok as long as umm well umm”.
“Wenna no hit me” said one of the twins.
Athena, Merwyn, and Rabbo turned and looked at both twins as one of the twins started to slap at the other twin.
“I think they are getting cranky” said Rabbo.
“No she called her Wenna” said Athena. “It’s a naming”.
Merwyn looked at the twin that was trying to slap her sister “what’s your name”?
“Wenna” said Wenna as she slapped her sister.
Athena reached over pulled Wenna off her chair and held her so that she could not slap her sister.
Merwyn turned to the other twin and looked at her carefully “do you have a name”?
The little girl looked at Merwyn with wide eyes and tears running down her cheek
“Merryn” she said in between sobs.
“Well hello Merryn” said Merwyn. Then Merwyn turned to Wenna “hello Wenna”.
“I am so glad that they picked names at last” said Athena “I was getting worried that they were being slow”.
Merwyn held Merryn on his hip and got up from the kitchen table and walked off to the cool storage room to get some wine.
Merwyn returned with a very dusty old bottle of wine and looked at Athena and Rabbo. He uncorked the bottle and sat it down on the table. “Well this is the last of the wine I brought from Sirius and well I think this is as good a time as any to open and bless the newly named members of our family”.
Merwyn filled Athena, Rabbo and his wine goblet and they got two egg cups and poured a little wine in each. Merwyn gave the egg cups with a splash of wine to each of the twins then he picked up his wine goblet. “A toast to Merryn and Wenna. May they long hold their names” said Merwyn.
Both Athena and Rabbo raised their goblets and said “To Merryn and Wenna”.
Both twins drunk their splash of wine and looked at each other.
Athena looked over at Merryn and Wenna “I think its time I bathed them and got them ready for bed”. Athena took her wine goblet with her as she took the twins upstairs’ to the bathroom to wash them before getting them ready for bed. Athena returned about thirty minutes later wearing a short toga with the twins following along behind her.
Wenna and Merryn walked over and sat down by the fire next to Cat Rabbo’s mother Mischief and her kittens. The twins looked around and Merryn said “Wabbo wead to us”.
Rabbo hopped of to the library and came back with the book that Isis had written. He sat down in Athena’s chair and started to read to Wenna and Merryn. For the next hour the twins sat totally still sucking on their fingers as Rabbo read the last of the book.
Cat Rabbo’s mother Mischief and her kittens snuggled in a furry heap at the foot of the chair that Rabbo was reading from. Rabbo came to the end of the book and the twins yawned and stretched out and started to push each other. As they pushed each other it got rougher and rougher until Rabbo hopped down from the chair and stood between them pushing them apart with his paws. Athena came walking over and grabbed Wenna and Merryn by the hands and shook them before she looked at them.
“It’s bad to fight each other” said Athena looking angrily at both of her daughters.
Merryn stated to cry and then though her tears said to Wenna “sowe.”
Wenna then reached over and hugged her sister before she pulled away and started to walk towards the stairs. She climbed up on the first step and placed her hands on the second step and started up stairs. Athena followed along behind with Merryn.
About twenty minutes later Athena came down the stairs very quietly and walked over and picked up Rabbo and sat down in her chair. Athena looked over at Merwyn and smiled as she refilled her wine glass. Merwyn looked up smiled back and then got up and walked off into the living room.
At the living room door he turned and looked at Athena. “You want to help me with something?” said Merwyn.
Athena stood up grabbed the wine and walked over to the living room door. As she entered the living room Athena closed the door behind her.
Rabbo looked down at Mischief and her kittens. Mischief’s kittens where snuggled in a pile around Rabbo’s mother and Cat. Mischief looked up at Rabbo and then hopped over and sat at the foot of the chair looking up. “Why it wrong to breed with brothers? You say it wrong and that ok and make it wrong but why it wrong” said Mischief trying to understand.
Rabbo tried to explain to Mischief what it was wrong to breed with her brothers but as hard as he tried he could not make her understand. So after about an hour of explaining Mischief stated that she was sleepy and Rabbo had to admit that he was sleepy too. So he hopped over to his elevator and went up to Athena’s bedroom to sleep.
Be sure to watch for Part B of Chapter 4 - Names in the May issue.
Click on Mark Crocker for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.