Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Patch of Violets - Part 3

This is an excerpt from my book in progress, "Songs of Abundance and Beauty: The Stories of Josiah."

I realized I wanted to go back to where I used to live, but the problem was, how to get there? After all this time I had no idea where I was, how far and in what direction I had traveled. I had no idea how to get back to the place with all the rabbits, and had no choice but to wander around and hope to come across something familiar.

So I walked and walked for days, for what seemed like miles, all the while eating whatever I could find and trying hard to stay out of the way of anything that looked hungry. How long was I going to have to do this, I asked myself. It felt like I was trapped between two worlds; the one I had with Lila and the others, and this new one where it seemed everyone and everything hated me and was out to get me. I felt lost and very much alone.

The days went on and I began to give up hope. My feet really hurt and I found a place to lay down to rest. It wasn’t very comfortable with sharp rocks everywhere but it really didn’t matter, I had to rest. I just sat there, not thinking about something, when my ears went straight up in the air. I thought I heard a very quiet kind of purring noise, drifting in on the breeze, and I knew I recognized it. I held my breath and listened harder than I ever had before, with every bit of might I could find. Was I imagining it? Finally the wind shifted a bit and I heard it more clearly. It was the thing the humans rode around in. It was big and it made a lot of noise and smelled bad but I knew what it was.

I took off in the direction of the noise, running as fast as I could. The noise stopped after a short while, but I was not discouraged. I kept going in that direction because I knew it would lead me back home. My heart nearly leaped out of my chest when I stopped and sniffed the chilly air, and smelled the unmistakable aroma of rabbits and hay and yes, humans. I was on my way home.

A short time later I peered through the underbrush and got really excited. There it was! The place I had left behind. There was the fence, although it looked really different from this angle. I looked very hard and I thought I could see ears bobbing up and down behind the tall grasses! This really was my home, I had nearly made it.

Now I had to figure out a way to get back in. I had to stay out of the way of those big four-legged things because they would come after me and hurt me. So I sat for a very long time and watched them running back and forth in front of the gate, where I had to go. How could I get safely past them and back with the others?

It quickly got dark and I could not figure out a way to get back home. So I was stuck there for the night, so near yet so far. In the middle of the night I got brave and very carefully made my way to the side of the fence. I looked inside and saw the barn where the others were sleeping and the big yard where we all played. I could not see any other bunnies, but I knew they were there. I couldn’t call out to them, with the four-legged things being around, and I felt like I would never be able to get back in again.

Next morning I was back out in my hiding place in the bushes and saw a number of bunnies hopping around in the grassy areas in the corner of the yard. I was overjoyed to see some rabbits I thought I knew. Was that Zachary over there? I couldn’t be sure, and I couldn’t call out to him. Hard as I looked, I couldn't quite see the area where Lila and I would sit and talk, but that was okay for now.

A short time later the humans were stirring about and things started happening. They were talking to each other and moving things around. One of them went toward the rabbit yard carrying something, probably vegetables and things to eat. He stopped at the big gate and started fiddling with something, to make the gate open. I knew this was my one chance to get back in. I noticed the four-legged things roaming around the outside edges but I didn’t care, I had to take my chance. So I took off running directly toward the human and the gate. I couldn’t believe what I was doing! But after everything else I ran away from in the outside world, this seemed like the least of my worries.

I bolted as fast as I could but those four-legged things spotted me and started to raise a horrible ruckus, making terribly loud, scary noises. The human quickly turned around and saw me charging like a runaway train, right at him, the four-legged things not far behind. I felt like I was flying! The human dropped what he was carrying and yelled something very loudly. The four-legged things stopped dead in their tracks.

I slammed on the brakes as fast as I could and scrunched flat on the ground, ears flat on my back. I knew this was the moment of truth – either I was going to be saved or it would be the end of my life. I stopped a short distance away from the human and neither of us moved. Finally the human started talking very softly to me and started moving toward me. I felt a very strong instinct to turn around and run away – I could still easily do it, but something else told me to stay put. The human got closer to me, reached down and grabbed me behind my neck. It hurt when he grabbed me, but he held me close and I could tell there was something gentle about him. He made noises to some of the other humans and they came running. Everybody was looking at me with big, round eyes and stroking my fur. I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I knew my big adventure was over. I was finally back home.


The dawn came quietly, on tiptoes, and bloomed bright, white and clear with only a few clouds standing sentry, waiting for the sun to appear. Fringes of white mist outlined some of the trees on the far hills while birds sang their wake-up songs. Zachary was sitting in a corner of the yard, watching the morning sun come up as he always did. A slightly smaller black rabbit came up next to him.

“Where were you yesterday, Zachary? We were looking for you to come and play!”

Turning to look at his companion, Zachary said quietly. “I know, Tulip, I was spending time with Josiah,” he said.

“I know!" she said, her ears perking up with excitement. "Wasn’t it amazing! He had been gone for so long, and all of a sudden he’s back with us. Everyone has been talking about it.”

“That’s true,” said Zachary. “No one can remember that ever happening.”

“Some of the older bunnies do,” Tulip said. “They said the same thing happened to that weird Hector bunny a long time ago. I don’t pay any attention to him because he’s a crabby old grouch.”

Tulip took a quick scan of the yard. “There’s Josiah!” she said. “Let’s go over and see if he wants to play tag.”

“We need to leave Josiah alone for a little while,” Zachary said with a bit of sadness. “I had to tell him about his friend Lila being taken away a while ago. Humans came in and grabbed her and her sisters. She kicked and fought and screamed, and she begged and pleaded with us to help her, but we could not. They took her away and we have not seen her since.”

“Why should he care about that? It happened when he was gone,” Tulip said. “I know he had a real awesome time out there!”

“All I know,” said Zachary, “is that there is a darkness that surrounds him, and he needs to be by himself for right now.”

The two rabbits sat and looked at Josiah for a while and then moved off. Josiah sat with his back to the rabbits, not moving and looking down. He felt the cool morning air and saw the leaves of the distant trees moving and swaying as if to show off their shiny golden light, but it did not make him happy as it used to.

Instead, he looked down at his feet, at a small clump of bluish-purple flowers - flowers that were the favorite of someone very close to his heart.

He looked at the flowers, and he thought of his Lila.

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