The Rabbits Who Do Not Run
The scorching sunshine was overshadowed by the passing afternoon rain clouds. Now the grass, coated with droplets of water, set the stage for an herbivore banquet.
Two male eastern cottontail rabbits dubbed Chestnut and Nutmeg by the residence’s high ruler’s daughter squeezed under the fence, entering the yard. Twitching noses greeted the watered grass while famished mouths awaited them to enter. With mouthfuls of clovers, the creatures devoured the sumptuous buffet.
Chestnut, at the sound of twigs bending, had pricked up his ears.
“What was that?” he whispered to Nutmeg.
“Sorry, I’d noticed a small flower and desired to observe it.” Nutmeg muttered in between chewing.
“It’s fine. I’m nervous, is all.” Chestnut sighed.
A distant roar of thunder was overheard from the far corner of the backyard. This time Nutmeg’s ears stood up.
“The weather hasn’t yet egressed. We’ll have to finish.”
Chestnut, reluctant to abandon the sumptuous bounty, nodded.
Silence once again fell, with only the padding of their paws and the grumbling of thunder.
Several minutes had passed before the first lightning rod touched the earth.
Chestnut witnessed it. First, His feet carried him towards the fence. His eyes scanned the yard for his friend. “Nutmeg, it’s come, hurry!”
“I’m here.” A voice called on the opposite side.
Squeezing under the fence, a relieved Chestnut caught his breath, laying his paw on Nutmeg’s back. The rabbits obeyed and headed for the safety of the underground warren. Heavy rain followed soon after, beating against the ground.
“That was a delicious meal.” Chestnut sighed.
“There are other things to worry about, silly.” Nutmeg whispered.
“I know that. I want to take your mind off of the storm, is all.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be crass.”
“It’s fine. I’ve been worried too.”
“The storm will end soon enough.”
“Not that. It’s what might come after.”
“All our lives we have only one option, to run away from anything that might harm us.”
“It’s what we do.”
“I know, but I would have one chance to…”
The sudden movement of dirt interrupted their conversation.
“Run!” Nutmeg called out.
The rabbits fled, ignoring the hard-falling rain around them. Looking behind them, they saw a rather large stoat tearing up the warren looking for an easy meal. The squeals of young baby rabbits were heard, as well as the grunts of a protective mother. Against his instincts, Chestnut turned back and made ready an attack position.
“What are you doing?” Nutmeg called.
“I can’t run away anymore!”
He ripped the stoat’s fur, blood spurting out in droplets upon the ground. The stoat swore, but Chestnut was determined. It was one minute later before the stoat threw him off. Chestnut hovered over the babies along with their mother. The stoat was in a pouncing position before Nutmeg toppled it over with his hind legs. Soon, more and more rabbits piled onto its back, driving it out of the warren for good.
Chestnut looked over the babies, who were shaking but, nevertheless, unharmed. Reassuring their mother, he then turned towards Nutmeg.
“Are you okay?” Chestnut asked Nutmeg.
“Am I okay? I’m more concerned about you!”
Order was restoring in the warren, and the inhabitants were preparing for a long warm sleep. Chestnut and Nutmeg wrapped around each other snugly.
“I didn’t expect you to overpower a stoat.” Nutmeg said.
“You can do plenty of things beyond what you were “created” to do.” Chestnut yawned.
“Right then, good night.” Nutmeg chuckled.
Soon the lure of sleep guided them towards their dreams.
Featured Photo by Veronika_Andrews via PixaBay