Bunnies

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Disclaimer: I did this instead of homework in 1992

Once upon a time, there was a University that had an interesting collection of wild animals roaming freely about the campus. There were many birds, mostly seagulls and ravens, but also some cute little birds of unknown species with pleasant voices that ate berries. There were also a small flock of ducks, with splendid mallards. Most interesting of all was the group of rabbits that especially pleased every soft heart that wandered through the campus.

Clover again. This was beginning to be too much for him to bear. Every day was the same thing, clumps of unappetizing green stuff. He turned an eye and saw how all the other rabbits chomped cheerily on the vile plant. Yet it seemed so unfair that this was the basis of his diet. Sebastian wished evilly that Dave could be here too, for this would be even crueler punishment for him and the humour would make it easier to bear.

All of the other rabbits seemed to have nothing but contempt for Sebastian. Perhaps it was because he was such a new arrival, and had not yet had a chance to bond with any of the others. Or so he would try to tell himself. What he actually thought was that since he had been such a loner all of his life, he could not function well in the necessarily social life of a rabbit. The truth was that Sebastian had not been around long enough to find the joke very funny, and was still quite bitter about it.

What all animals know, and no humans do, is that when a soul is created, it is “initiated” as a human before it can move on to something better. In truth, all the animals were once human, except for a lucky few that were other primates. After being taught important lessons, such as the unimportance of ambition, they are allowed a peaceful existence as some other kind of animal. It is actually a very common joke to pretend to be unintelligent to the unsuspecting humans, who overreact to everything in humourous ways. Most humans are in fact highly manipulated by the advanced minds of the animals that really control the earth, in what could be viewed as a very cruel game. When someone says that "a little bird told me", they are often correct without even knowing it.

Sebastian could remember all of the aspects of his life as a human, and all of the things that he had thought were important. He still didn't think that it was all THAT funny. To be truthful, it did not seem that very much had changed to him. Sure, he now hopped around with big, floppy ears, but he still had the same basic aspirations and desires that he did as a human. Curiosity was still a fundamental aspect of his character, whereas most of the others seemed highly complacent.

"What if I think I'm gonna puke because of all this rabbit food?" he inquired of a hefty grey rabbit that was nibbling nearest to him.

The big grey cocked an ear and looked quizzically at him. "You want to know what REAL puking is, try eating something that you know rabbits don't eat. I tried to savour a piece of steak once, just for old times sake. Technicolour yawn, all over my fur. Chew that grass and be happy."

Sebastian sat on his haunches and tried to remember how good a steak tasted. Yeah, really raw dead cow. Or even better, a Jolt™ Cola. Or best of all, chocolate... Rabbits could eat chocolate, couldn't they? Sebastian's eyes twinkled with delight. His rabbit lips curled into the most evil smirk you could ever imagine possible on a rodent; some traits just never die.

"HEY!" he yelped at the top of his lungs. "Anyone want to go and get some candy?"

Most of the rabbits ignored him; they were becoming accustomed to his occasional insane outburst. They were wondering, "Why couldn't this one have been reincarnated as a lab-rat or something?" A few remarked on his intelligence, and one amused rabbit rolled on its back, laughing hysterically while kicking its legs into the air with mirth. To Sebastian, this roughly translated to "no".

So off hopped Sebastian, towards the 'Wing. The campus had changed very little from when he went here, and that was the place to procure a chocolate bar.

It so happened that Sebastian was lost in thought as he bounced through the campus. He could remember thinking about reincarnation, and that he would want to be a sparrow just so that he could fly like he used to drive. Fate seemed to pay little attention to preferences in regards to species. Sebastian sighed mentally.

Hop HOP hop HOP. That was actually kind of fun. HOP. Hey, he was pretty good at that! HOP! Jordan, eat your heart our; you never had hang time like this! All he needed now was for someone from NIKE to notice him, and he would be a bunny that was set for life. His old values were still very much intact, and he seemed to be enjoying them as much as ever.

HEY. Backhop. Sebastian blinked into shiny window pane. "Reflective surface! Cool. — Aw, man! I'm one UGLY rabbit." He was mottled white with black spots, and a truly foolish looking patch over his right eye. When he leaned in for a closer look, he became even less impressed with the universe. "I die, become reincarnated as a hopping rodent, and I STILL have dandruff! This sucks! Yecch, bunny dandruff."

A group of students found themselves laughing uncontrollable at a rabbit brushing its shoulders not entirely unlike a certain shampoo commercial.

Somewhat daunted, Sebastian continued on his trek to the 'Wing to find his goal of chocolate. His mind was a unhappy tumult of displeasure and restrictions. There were so many things that he couldn't do any more. Then there it was, the door to the 'Wing. It was then that Sebastian reached his limit.

"I can't open a door!" Fury is not an emotion that is easily displayed by rabbit's face, yet he managed it with great success. "I HATE this! Being a rabbit SUCKS! I want to be human again! I want to do all the things I used to!" Sebastian began banging his head against the door in an unpleasant manner.

With a flutter of feathers, a lean black raven alighted upon a nearby bush. "I heard you cursing, young rabbit. Have you not yet learned that in this life we are supposed to relax?"

"That's the point, I don't want to relax. I want action! I want excitement! I want to watch bad science-fiction films and complain about the special-effects!"

"Everyone else thinks that that is foolish. The rest of us all know what we are supposed to be doing. Everyone else accepts life the way it is given to us."

Grim determination descended over Sebastian's visage. "Everyone else is WRONG. I'm right, and everyone else is wrong." Machiavellian demeanor glinted in his rodent eyes, "and I'm going to prove it."

The raven tilted its head in the sly fashion of ravens, and asked, "What, perchance, is your name, young rabbit?"

"Sebastian."

"Sebastian? That's a stupid name. From now on you're Sebby to me. Sebby, I like you."

"What's wrong with Sebastian?"

"I like you because you've got significant purpose, unlike virtually everyone else."

"I like Sebastian."

"It's a stupid name."

"Is not."

"It is totally unbecoming for a rabbit, and very unsuitable for your current stature. Rabbits are supposed to have cute names."

"What's your name?"

"Merlin."

"Hmmm... -no. From now on, you are caw to me."

The two inappropriately named animals looked silently at each other for only a moment before the laughter within them erupted.

In the darkness, the two beasts engaged in idle conversation while they waited.

"No, really, is Merlin your real name, or did you just decide to start calling yourself that when you found yourself in the body of a raven?" Sebastian was laying in what would seem an unnatural position for a rabbit, but he was having fundamental doubts about nature anyway and would not care.

"No, I really am Merlin, King Arthur's buddy with the pointy hat."

Sebastian stared at him and decided correctly. "What did your name used to be?"

Merlin cackled in a dry, raven way, "hah ha. You've got me. My name used to be Clarence. I thought that it was not very fitting for the 'black messenger of death'. How about you?"

"My name used to be different, but I always thought that I looked like a Sebastian."

Merlin made a noise that sounded like, "grack?" to human ears, but translated to: "No, I want to hear the good part. What did your name used to be? It must have been REALLY bad for you to think that Sebastian was a good name in comparison. Was it Günter?"

"Clay."

"What's wrong with that name?"

"Nothing's wrong with it. It was me. It's just that I'm curious what it would be like to be someone else for a while. Comprendé?"

"Si sénor." They laughed a good, honest laugh. The laughing continued for some time, not because what they said was particularly funny but rather because their laughing sounded odd. When Merlin laughed, it was a wheezing cackle that could even be described as explosive. It sounded highly unnatural. When Sebastian laughed, it was far more strenuous than anything. Rabbits do not have very highly developed vocal chords, so laughter was more of a panting wheeze that was extraordinarily comical. The combination of their laughs sounded not completely unlike something dying a horrible death.

When they calmed down, Sebastian peered out of the bushes. "All right, its time."

"Si sénor."

"Heh hehhh, don't start that again." He hefted a brick and clutched it clumsily to his chest. "Time for operation, Sugar Storm!"

This part of the campus was called the Raven's Wing, or just the 'Wing by the inhabitants of the campus, and it was basically a place to get a snack when you didn't want to or couldn't go to the cafeteria. The primary attraction of the 'Wing to many was that they sold a selection of chocolate bars. These confections were the principal focus of Sebastian's and Merlin's interest. It was now after eleven o'clock, so the 'Wing was closed, with nobody inside; it was the perfect time to break in.

As keen-eyed Merlin kept watch, Sebastian hopped across the lawn with his awkward ceramic battering ram. With a bound and a crash, he smashed his way through the glass door. As Sebastian stepped gingerly through the broken glass, Merlin flapped in straight to the booty. He "grack"ed in frustration because the candy bars were behind a glass door that was too heavy for him to open with his beak.

"What's up, caw?"

"I can't get to them, Sebby. I'll go get a rock to smash this glass."

"Never mind, I can open it." With a fantastic leap, Sebastian thudded onto the counter top. The door was the kind that needed to slide sideways to be opened. He tried digging his claws into the gap at the side of the door to drag it open, but it had been latched and he could not manage it. Then he saw the Zero bar. Zero bars are perhaps the most sinful form of sugar and cocoa ever contrived, and highly addictive. Sebastian lost his patience.

The most amusing part of what Sebastian did was the noise that he made. Through some experience in his former life, he must have acquired the habit of growling when he exerted himself. Unfortunately, growling is not something that rabbits do well. However, his concentration showed through, and he produced what was probably the most evil noise ever heard coming from a rabbit.

With one heavily muscled leg, he bashed the glass pane, sending cracks radiating from the point of impact. With increased agitation, he kicked again, showering the counter with splinters of glass shards.

"Come on, Merlin!"

"Yeah-HOO! Way to go, Jean-Claude Van-Damme-Rabbit!" Merlin flapped over and clutched a box of O-Henrys in his claws.

Sebastian folded his forelimbs jauntily, "They call me Bruce. Heh hehh hahh!" Merlin cackled as he swooped out the broken door with some treasure. Sebastian claimed his box of Zero bars, and pushed them onto the floor to make his escape. As he approached the outside, he heard the sounds of heavy, human footsteps approaching. Clenching his jaws tighter onto the cardboard, he ran out the door, and bolted into the bushes to the rendezvous location.

"What a haul! Awesome operation, Sebby!" Merlin stretched his wings as if to return for more.

"Hold on, caw. My antennae ears tell me there's some Homo Sapiens coming this way." Merlin stretched his neck curiously, and saw that Sebastian was right.

"Hey who's afraid of some silly 'sentient' beings? Haw haw. Let's kill them and get some more!" Merlin joked.

"You know, that's not an all-bad idea." Sebastian looked very calculating.

"What? I was just kidding! Are you nuts? Tell me you're joking." Merlin was flustered. Perhaps being a raven was not the best way to learn to like humans.

"No, seriously. What could they do to me?"

"Kick you in to head and break your neck! Face it, man, you're a passive, harmless, helpless herbivore."

"That may be the way I look, but I don't relish the idea of being any of those things."

"You are, though."

"Am I?" Sebastian gave a wry rabbit smile. "Let's find out." He hopped purposefully towards the 'Wing.

Merlin laughed, "What the hell! This rodent knows how to LIVE, and to die!" He soared up to watch.

Sebastian made his way defiantly towards the humans, but they seemed unfortunately unaware of his lethal intentions. All they noticed one of the silly long-eared rodents walking towards them. It is unusual to see rabbits walking, as they usually seem to prefer to make a series of short hops. It is inconceivable for a fully grown human to recognize a murderous purpose in a rabbit simply because it has never happened. When was the last time that you heard of a rabbit attacking anything other than helpless vegetables? I'm sure that your answer was "never". Rabbits are historically pacifists, and always avoid conflicts if they can; excluding of course social happenings in a warren. Sebastian was about to make some different history of his own.

"Hey, look at this stupid rabbit." One of the unsuspecting humans crouched down and reached with one arm while rubbing his fingers together to attract the rodent closer.

"What are you doing?" The other human frowned an expression that could indicate severe constipation. In this case it most probably belied a somewhat dim intellect in addition to poor theatrical skills.

"I'm just gonna pet him."

"No you're not."

"Why not? He's still coming towards me; he hasn't even slowed down."

Suddenly, the other, dim human jumped aggressively at Sebastian with the obvious purpose of frightening him into bolting away. When Sebastian only flinched slightly without stopping, the human became abruptly and intensely confused. "BOO! Run away you dumb rabbit! YAAAAARRRGH! BOO!"

"Ha ha. That rabbit's not afraid of something with less intelligence than it!" the first human cajoled. "Shut up. I'll teach this rabbit to fear it's evolutionary superiors." The human lunged at Sebastian intending grab him and inflict physical harm.

In a surprising, superhuman leap, Sebastian leapt to the human's throat, and sunk his long incisors into his jugular. If you were to analyze this, you would not find that this was at all surprising. The fact that Sebastian had the body of a rabbit was a simple enough explanation. Rabbits have a physiology particularly suited to leaping, and so any leap a rabbit would make could be considered superhuman. If you were to try to explain this to the human that Sebastian was biting in the throat, he would more than likely have mentioned, "WHAT? Are you stupid? Who cares how the friggin' rabbit JUMPED? It's KILLING me! Isn't that a little odd-sounding to you, you dumb twit?!" To this you would have to humbly cease arguing to avoid sounding too much stupider than you were currently feeling for making such a brainless observation.

Since there was no one making useless arguments with Sebastian's human victim, he was free to do whatever he felt like doing. In this case it was to scream, "AAAAAAAAAAIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!" and to flail about in a surprised manner. Sebastian clung grimly to the human's shoulder and bit down hard again and again. He felt a deep, overwhelming disregard for life, especially now that he knew that the human he was killing would be reincarnated anyway to an easier life.

Merlin had been to astounded by the improbability of what was occurring to do anything other than just gape and watch. Now he felt an impulse to intervene. He plummeted down screaming, "Rawck! Rawck!" This directly translates to, "Stop! Stop!"

Sebastian lifted his gore-lathered head from the human's throat to retaliate. "Why? He's just going to be reincarnated anyway. All I'm doing is just revealing the truth to him! The awful truth about life that he is so ignorant of. Besides, I'm enjoying myself."

Merlin alighted on the human's forehead, and uncomfortably noted the bloody froth oozing from the corner of his mouth. "No, it's not that. I have no problem with what you're doing; he's wearing bell-bottoms and deserves to die. I just wanted to mention that you probably want to leave before those constables arrive." The rabbit's keen ears detected the acoustic announcement heralding the approach of more humans, probably drawn by the screams of the victim and his frozen companion.

Sebastian jumped away from the human and yelled, "Si! Amscré, compadré!". His body lowered and he virtually flew across the ground into the bushes. Merlin flapped up into the trees and out of sight.

When the RCMP officers finally arrived after being notified by the Traffic and Security at the university campus, they were skeptical. "A rabbit did this?" Constable McLeary was repeating this statement with moronic abandon.

"That's what the witness said, Amy." her partner affirmed. "Forensics seem to be saying that the bite marks look comparable to a large rodent so far, but are going to do some checking." Her partner lifted his cap and wiped his moist brow.

"A RABBIT did this?"

"Maybe it was some demented little kid with a monstrous overbite."

"A rabbit did THIS?"

Her partner rolled his eyes and moved away. "I'll be in the car calling this one in."

Amy walked closer to the cadaver, amazement still filling her thoughts. A rabbit did this? The head had lolled sickeningly to one side, and it made the neck appear as if it had been gnawed almost half-way through. On one shoulder there were odd smears of dried blood that still looked sticky in the headlights of the T&S vehicle. Her eyes widened.

At regular intervals, there were patches of dried blood leading away from the body towards the dark, manicured bushes. Flipping on her flashlight, she squatted by one of the marks and examined it. Little paw prints.

A rabbit did this.

Sebastian lifted his head only to catch the last parts of Merlin's ranting. Sebastian gasped and filled his lungs with fresh air as he viciously shook his head, sending a shower of drops over Merlin.

"Hey! Watch it, you cocky rodent. I can't believe you killed that guy!" Sebastian inhaled deeply in preparation to dunk his head again into the fountain to remove more of the dried blood. "I mean it was just: hop hop hop hop BITE BITE BITE!" Merlin tilted his head. "Not that you really hopped. You seemed to be walking calmly, or at least as coolly as a rabbit can."

Sebastian looked at Merlin with his ears drooping damply down the sides of his head. "Caw, did you ever see Friday the 13th?"

"Those stupid movies with 'Jayson'?"

"Yeah. Do you remember how he used to walk at his victims?"

"Ha ha ha! You were trying to imitate THAT? Sebby, you failed miserably."

Sebastian shook his head again, to purge himself of some more of the fountain water. "We have to hide." He glanced warily around. "I don't want to leave too many traces for them."

"You think the police are going to be able to track down one rabbit on THIS campus?"

"It would be better not to let them know too much so that they are prepared for the next time."

"The NEXT time? You mean you intend to do this AGAIN? Are you crazy? They'll destroy you if they catch you!"

"So?"

"So, HUMANS get reincarnated into animals, nobody knows what happens to us when we die."

"You know caw, I'm always amazed at the ability of a group of people to be astoundingly stupid. Remind me to complain to you about it later."

"Why not right now?"

"Because all I feel like doing right now is hiding, relaxing, and savouring a Zero bar."

All the different animals living and visiting the campus were of intensely social ilks. The seagulls and ravens witnessed virtually every event that occurred within the university grounds and had spread the news of it to all corners of the campus animal population mere minutes afterwards. It was not long before essentially every non-human on the campus was informed of any occurrence with any piquant substance.

Such was the case of the profoundly interesting tale of the "rabbit murder". As one would expect, the rabbits found the topic particularly intriguing. The majority of the adult rabbits convened to discuss the aspects and ramifications of it. If concern were a scent, then this group of long-eared rodents would reek considerably.

"Isn't is just possible that it's all a mistake?" voiced one optimistic rabbit.

"No, the humans are treating this very seriously. It's true, and I think we all know who it was." The rabbit vocalizing her opinion was a large hare with one tattered ear that was the result of an encounter with a cat. Many still pity the cat. Her name was Elizabeth, and was highly respected, even though she was often referred to as "the bitch". Her origin was somewhat unique in that she was actually an escaped pet that happened to end up with the campus rabbits.

"Who?" The bitch cuffed the questioner solidly in the head.

"That new rabbit, Sebastian, will have to be dealt with." Stated one large male.

"The trouble that little idiot has brought on us all is unforgivable! If I ever get my claws on him, he'll be earless!" The rabbit saying this was not considered intelligent, and had in fact been twice nearly poisoned by eating cafeteria food. Once from eating half a greasy hamburger that fell out of the garbage bin, and once again a week later by finishing it.

One wide-eyed rabbit warned with a frightened voice, "Don't forget that he killed a human!"

"He probably just has rabies." someone dismissed.

"Nuh-uh, he chewed his head off with his bare teeth! That's what the seagulls said."

"Nevertheless, he will have to be found, and then we have to decide how to confront this predicament." Elizabeth established.

The general feeling in the group was that few actually wanted to go looking for him, and whisperings to this effect drifted through the congregation. "He'll be easy to find!" a voice announced.

"What makes you think that? Do YOU know where he is?" she cocked her head, "And why is that crow laughing over there?"

Startling the group, Sebastian landed in their midst hissing evilly and with a full foam frothing from his face. The majority of those gathered bolted away, while the bitch and some of the elder rabbits moved back quickly to a safer proximity. Sebastian was so pleased with himself that he rolled on his back laughing while he sputtered out the whipping cream from his cheeks.

"That does it. We SHOULD kill this impudent, insulting fool." The remaining rabbits shared Elizabeth's vehemence, and edged closer to Sebastian.

"THAT would be a tribute to intelligence, wouldn't it!" Sebastian mocked. "The killing rabbits start to turn on their own. They need to be destroyed." Sebastian intoned with his finest "official" voice. The other rabbits looked amongst themselves.

"We are going to have the wrath of the humans falling upon us because of you!"

"'Wrath of the humans'? That sounds like a bad B-grade movie. Since when do we worship humans anyway?"

"We are going to suffer because of you. The humans will hunt us down and destroy us all." the bitch spat out.

"You're right, but you don't have to be."

"What are you talking about, you stupid, idiotic moron of partially digested toad phlegm?"

Sebastian sighed. More of the rabbits that he had scared off had begun to hesitantly return, although at a respectful distance. "Let me show you something, b- uh Elizabeth. I'll show you how I'm going to get things done." He bounced off into the bush as the bitch glared at him. She intensified her glare when he reappeared carrying a used brick. He stopped directly in front of her and took a serious breath. Abruptly Sebastian turned his head and gasped in an expression of fear. When Elizabeth turned reflexively to share his view, he swung the heavy brick solidly into her face.

"Jeez," commented Sebastian in a concerned voice, "I hope I can dislodge those teeth from my brick." The rabbits all gasped at the crumpled shape of Elizabeth as Sebastian scratched at the ceramic object to remove her discorporated incisors.

"He's an evil, violent brute!"

"He may attack any one of us! He's a menace!"

"He's turned the humans against us! We're all going to ail because of him!" The group rage of the rabbits rose like the fiery dust in a desert windstorm. They edged closer around him, pawing the ground and spitting out their grievances. They were becoming dangerous, in a manipulated sort of way.

Sebastian lay his brick on the ground, then hopped up onto it. "Can't you see that I've shown you the way?" The rabbits, essentially gently creature that they are, were baffled by his bold manner. So they paused long enough for Sebastian to speak, and when they understood what he was saying they were convinced, and had completely changed their minds without noticing. This is probably proof enough that these were truly humans reincarnated.

The gathering was impressive to behold, including essentially every non-human creature residing on the campus. They had all been informed of the meeting by the messages carried all over the campus by the ravens and gulls. They all met in a largish clearing surrounded by trees that was rarely frequented by humans after dark.

The rabbits, who were said to be hosting the gathering, were arranged about the perimeter to usher in the spectators and to keen an ear out for possible interrupting Homo Sapiens. The rabbits new leader was standing tall in the center on top of a battered brick, conversing intensely with a lean black raven. When the majority had arrived and settled down to listen, Sebastian spoke into the dim moonlight.

"My fellow beings, the nature of the universe is change. Nothing is forever, everything must find a new place or it must fade away. It is time again for a change." Sebastian turned a fraction, raised his forelimbs and raised his voice. "It's time for us to claim or rights! It's time for us to claim our future!"

Questions rippled through the crowd like vibrations through lime Jell-O. HOW?

Sebastian's voice lowered to an angry hiss. "The humans have completely asserted themselves as masters of all that they survey. They answer to no one, not even themselves. They blatantly infringe on our basic rights and freedoms without so much as a second thought." Sebastian's pronunciation sharpened and trembled with increased volume. "We will oust the humans!"

WHAT? HOW? WHY? The crowd plunged into confusion and disbelief.

Sebastian reverted to a more argumentative mannerism. "The humans do nothing positive for us. Their every action shows their negative effects."

"The humans FEED us!" warbled a distraught fowl.

"That is true," admitted Sebastian, "but now you completely rely on the human feeding you. What would you do if they decided to stop, or happened to forget?" Emphasis surged through Sebastian. "You would die! What else have the 'benevolent' humans done for you, other than pen you in a dangerous environment and clip your wings?"

"Think of all the animals that suffer and die simply because of human curiosity? What if some human here at the university suddenly happened on the idea that field mice could carry cancerous toxins? They would wander about the campus to catch YOU to conduct experiments on you." The troop of small rodents before Sebastian shifted uneasily under his glare. "I have shown you that we are not powerless. We can organize and work together to achieve our goals. We will claim what we deserve! We will control our own food! We will have what shelter we want! We will be in a position to satisfy what whims we have, so that we too can lead full lives!"

The gulls and ravens began to cheer and chant Sebastian's name. They thought that his ideas were ideal, because living in spite of the humans had been what they usually did, but now they would have help. The rest of the animals, even the usually pacifist chipmunks fell into the swelling mob mentality, and began to actually believe that Sebastian was right.

Merlin leaned over to Sebastian, and waited for the rabbit to bend down so that he could whisper in his ear. "Sebby, these guys are so stupid."

"Yep." Sebastian grinned.

"They don't seem to have any grasp of the consequences of a coordinated uprising. They'll probably all be killed."

"Aw, caw, I didn't like them anyway. They probably deserve it. Besides, this is going to be fun."

The crowd pulsed louder with excited chanting. They howled and chirped, squawked and squeaked applauding Sebastian. He turned and stretched his forelimbs up into the air, like antennae attracting signals. Their passion churned on through the night, and lead to events and occurrences of momentous consequence.

Sebastian ordered his section commanders to perform roll call so that everyone's presence could be accounted for. A few were injured and all were weary, but overall the losses were insignificant. None had been killed in the surprise raid on the cafeteria, and the operation had been a complete success.

Over the past few weeks, the animal campaign to independence was progressing at a breathless march. The existing rabbit warrens were extended so that they were under the concrete foundations of most of the major buildings on campus. All of the avian creatures kept a close eye on all activities, and reporting everyone's movements about the campus to the central command. Before long, an intelligence net had been established and defensive precautions had been completed. With the success of their first raid, one to fill their larders, they were now ready to begin demonstrating their newfound power.

"So caw, what do you think we should do first." Sebastian had the sort of evil glint his eye that is usually genetically reserved for coyotes, weasels, and really overweight cats that are about to eat some innocent little furry creature that is probably considerably cuter that the cat.

"Sebby, you and I both know that you mean : WHO are we going to piss off first?"

"Why exactly do you feel it necessary to extrapolate my every remark verbally?"

Merlin cocked his head at an explanatory angle. "Someone has to act as interpreter for those unfortunates that are reading this story and do not have the benefit of being able to read your expressions."

Do you think that you could successfully decipher a rabbit's facial contortions? I thought not. So you will just have to endure the bizarre dialogue so that Merlin may elucidate the conversation for you.

Sebastian rolled his eyes heavenward. "Yeesh. Sorry I asked!"

"The main computer facilities!"

"What?!"

"We should raid the main computer facilities and wreak havoc on the computers!"

Sebastian pondered the possibilities for a split second, savouring the cruelness of it. "Yeah! That has a certain undeniable potential."

"We could screw up the accounting department so that the students get what their education is really worth!"

"No, no, my friend, I have something much more sinister in mind. Please, join me in an evil laugh."

Merlin bowed courteously. "My pleasure."

"HHHEEEEEHHHH heh HAk hehh HrAk hehh hee hee heeeeee!" Their ominous mirth reverberated through the enclosure, and the spirit of their mood descended over the entire campus as an opaque cloak of foreboding.

Amy McLeary conjured all of her reserves of considerable patience to endure and transcribe the statement being offered to her by the impassioned cafeteria workers.

"Yeah! Yeah! And after that fokking crow flewed in, he squawked real loud. Then this group of big rabbits runs in, lead by this real ugly rabbit carryin' a brick..."

Amy tapped her note pad. "That's when the rabbits began attacking people...?"

"Sorta. You see, they was real fast. They just bit a couple of people, and that started a panic, 'bout rabies n'everything. Everyone just sorta ran out and stayed out."

Another worker interjected. "When someone finally had the presence of mind to look in, they were all gone, and a bunch of food also. Primarily carrots..."

The constable finished the questioning, and thanked those interviewed. It was becoming obvious to her that the problem here was more severe than anyone guessed. Something would have to be done.

She pulled her police radio from her belt and keyed to mike. "Yeah, dispatch?"

To an outside observer, the noise that proceeded to emanate from the small black box would seem completely indecipherable, yet Amy did so with practiced ease.

"Try to get a hold of an extermination firm for me would ya?" After a blast of garbling, she went on. "Yup, seems like we're going to have to get rid of these animals before they cause any real trouble."

The small, dark eyes of the mouse widened perceptibly. With a scurry, it was gone.

Sebastian had but one thing to say at first.

"Darn."

Merlin was indignant.

"DARN." He echoed.

Throughout the congregation of animals, there were speculations about what bold measures would be taken, and all were prepared and ready to fight a long siege. They had learned to respect Lord Sebastian's leadership, and believed in his ability to deal with anything that fate could throw at them. Only Merlin was unsurprised about what he intended. "We have to act fast, caw. Go find that officer before she gets to her car. Stall her if need be." Merlin snapped a quick, jovial salute and left.

Sebastian addressed the entire congregation, standing majestically atop his trusty brick. "Friends, the time has come for us to change our tactics. The humans have become alarmed about our actions, and intend to kill us all."

Whispers rose, and defiance flared. "We will outmaneuver the humans rather that face them. We must stop our aggressive operations, and try to appear as passive as in the past." Voices of disbelief fluxed about the animals.

"Listen to me! This is your survival, and that is what matters now. Never forget your true power, and never allow yourselves to become lax. You can preserve your freedoms, but you must be alive to do so. Be cautious until it is certain that all threats have passed. I will go now, to try to prevent the tribulation our liberation earned. When the time is again right, you must rise up again to ensure your freedom! If we succeed, the whole world will feel what freedom is! Watch for my return!"

Many wept; others grieved their loss quietly. All felt as if the power that their lord held had been shared with them.

Amy considered that she was becoming paranoid. She honestly thought that the raven perched on the street light had it in for her. It had flown several dive bombing sorties, and now her uniform was speckled with its fecal armament. The avian creature glared at her with a defiant stare that look far too intelligent for the grey matter that could fit into its skull. It is certain that she would have been somewhat surprised to know that her thoughts were somewhat echoed by the raven in a reciprocal sort of way.

The ravens beady eyes saw something, and the ebony fellow seemed to relax in his vantage point. Amy strolled a few tentative steps closer to her car, and attracted no further retribution from the bird, though its animosity was still palpable. She rounded the corner of the building and entered the parking lot, and was not surprised to hear the flutter of dark wings following her. She looked, but the raven seemed content to watch her, now from the roof of the building. "What are you, an Alfred Hitchcock leftover?"

She moved to open her car door, but then noticed an array of scratches all over the door around the handle. She puzzled over it, confused. She did not let is pause her, as vandalism of police cars was a common enough occurance. The car seat sighed lightly as her eighty kilo, two meter frame settled in.

Constable Amy McLeary was a large woman, and had faced many impressive opponents, both in Mounty training and on duty. Never had she faced a man or woman that she could not handle. She was fairly at a loss as to what to do when a scruffy rabbit hopped onto her lap brandishing a worn looking brick, however. A split thought later, Amy noticed that the surface of the brick was ever so slightly gritty, and that its taste combined with the blood now in her mouth was not a pleasant one to cling to as your mind slipped into the pit of unconsciousness.

A groan and a moan, and Amy stirred. Several hours had passed, and now the sky was becoming gloomier. With considerable effort, she rolled her eyes to try to look around the car. She could only see distorted blurs that contorted with every pulse of pain that rippled through her head. An agonizing exertion allowed the ghosts to solidify into a momentarily coherent image. She groaned dolefully. The raven was in the car now.

Merlin saw that the constable was regaining consciousness. "Hit her again."

WHUMP.

"Are you completely sure you can use that thing?" Merlin was skeptical, and more that a little worried.

Sebastian grunted with effort. "I think so, but even if I can't we have to fake it."

That didn't make Merlin happy. "Fake it —?!"

Sebastian cut him off with his reasonable voice. "Can you think of another way?" Merlin paused in his disconsolate posture, and dejectedly nodded. Part of him acquiesced because Sebastian was right, but most of him submitted to the spotted rabbit's reasonable voice. As luck would have it, both animals were devout, if not fanatical trekkies.

Sebastian's reasonable voice was very stylistically similar to Mr. Spock's, and that had monumentous psychological effects with the raven.

With his free forelimb, Sebastian cocked the hammer. His ears arched rakishly forward with his recklessness, and a cold smile of pure enjoyment creased his rodent visage. "Wake her up."

After a deep inhale, Merlin let loose a raucous scream that resounded so that its shrill effects appeared to live on longer than they should have. Amy stirred suddenly awake, and stared into the barrel of her own service revolver gripped purposefully in the forelimbs of that evil, spotted rabbit who was sitting on the far side of the passenger seat leaning against the door. That horrible raven was perched on the dashboard, and incredibly began to speak in a gravely croak.

"Don't do anything stupid, McLeary." Merlin cocked his head indicating his rodent cohort. "My friend is completely willing to alter the number of cavities in your head."

Amy was feeling more than a little shaken. "How...how did you know my name?"

Sebastian snorted in what appeared to be astonished amusement. The raven cackled. "We looked at your name tag."

Amy furrowed her brow in embarrassment. "You two are the ones causing all the trouble."

"Is that so? We're going to have a little talk, but first you're going to drive us out of here. No sudden or unexpected moves, or you can consider yourself ventilated. Now move it." Amy didn't move right away, but rather merely stared disbelievingly. The rabbit hissed, and the raven choked off an unintelligible response. They were talking! Amy realized that the scruffy rabbit was instructing the raven to talk. If she were to make any progress talking to them, she would have to recognize the rabbit as the leader and appeal to him directly—

BOOM.

In one swift, deft motion, Sebastian recocked the revolver again and levelled the barrel a handful of centimeters to the left so that if the gun were discharged again, it would not be another demonstrative shot through the window. The message was clear.

Amy started the car and notched the transmission into drive. "Where are we going?"

"Do you know where Mt. Doug is." It was not a question.

"Turn off the headlights." The police cruiser had pulled into the forest just up the Mount Douglas park road, and the motor was killed. For an instant, the car was plunged into darkness, but before Amy could act on it and attempt some sort of escape or coup the bird yanked on the door latch and the interior lights blinked dimly on.

"What now?" Amy felt that the situation was distressingly subjugated by the rabbit wielding the revolver. Any fool could see that her fate dangled over an unbelievable abyss. Unbelievable because of the absurdity of being held at bay by a rodent. Absurd because this couldn't possibly happen in a sane world.

Constable Amy McLeary did not live in a sane world, and neither did anyone else. The difference is that Amy had proof of it.

"Two things could happen from here." The raven cackled the words such that a shiver played it's way up Amy's spine. "We could convince you not to pursue any further action against us, including and especially reconsidering your employment of an extermination company," The bird's throat rattled as it sucked a breath. "or we could kill you."

The ears of the rabbit twitched pithily, speaking like a conductor's baton to reveal the potency of their resolve. Amy's mind raced, praying for a way. The only way, however, to achieve what she wanted, and to live, was to lie. Sebastian and Merlin both knew it. "If you think that we were dangerous before, your estimation will pale in comparison to what we and others will do if you do not do as we say." A long, sickening moment passed as the reincarnated humans let the threat sink in. "Tighten your seat belt and handcuff yourself to the steering wheel. SLOWLY." Amy's options were scant.

After she was securely trapped in the driver's seat, the passenger door murmured open. Merlin paused on the edge of the door seat, and turned to look back at Amy. He raised one wing and parted his flight feathers into a 'V'. "Live long and prosper, Amy." The rabbit kicked the snickering raven out the door. Sebastian faced Amy and raised the revolver. Her eyes widened with stark alarm, and his ears drooped with concentration. The thunderous clap of the weapon heralded the demise of the police radio. With a bow to the harried officer, Sebastian hopped out of the car with the gun and his brick and was gone.

It has happened to many men, the unexpected arrival of an uncertain path. The road that was religiously followed fades into the vast prairie of reality, and suddenly the destination dwells in shadow. A time such as this is a true test of greatness, for a great man will not be long daunted by the complexities imposed upon him, but rather will use it as a freedom to mold his future into an image of his own design.

Perhaps some will look upon what has just been said and consider it unfortunately sexist. This is not so; it is just that the author is excessively näive : he thinks that most women are great. Nevertheless, to an objective mind, the aforementioned could be said of all people regardless of sex or race. Perhaps even regardless of species.

Sebastian pondered the vista. From the top of Mount Doug, urban Victoria was splayed prone to view. Distantly could be seen the lights of the central business district, and beyond that the vastness of the Pacific ocean. Crouching elusively on the horizon was the mainland, interrupting the panorama like a dark foreshadow.

"Where to next, caw?"

"Do you mean you, me, or us?" Sebastian cocked his ear inquisitively. "You have to understand, Sebby, that life was pretty easy at that university. Plenty of food, plenty of shelter, and not to mention plenty of really cute chicks." They laughed at the pun.

"I can assure you that wherever I end up going, it will be interesting. Why not tag along? After all, it's nice to be able to have the capability to talk to people if the need arises." Sebastian leaned on his brick and squinted sanguinely as the breeze buffeted his ears. It carried zesty aromas of the sea, and suggested the vibrant forces that made life piquant.

"It's good to feel needed." Merlin allowed the sarcasm to fade as he thought seriously. When his thoughts had come to fruition, he wondered aloud to the rabbit. "Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps what you're doing is really ruining the simple happiness in the lives of animals? I mean, I think that you don't lie to anyone, really, but I think that you are often very misleading... if you follow me?"

Sebastian nodded. "Yeah. I've often wondered if the first human to use a tool, or construct a language, or even stand upright, ruined an easy life for virtually every human to live on the planet." Merlin cast him a wry look.

"Who cares? Change is inevitable. If not in one way, then in some other. It's just the way the carrot rots."

"—The carrot rots? Give me a break."

"Hey, I'm a rabbit now. I'm allowed to use rabbit metaphor."

"Even BAD rabbit metaphor?"

"Especially bad rabbit metaphor. Who else could get away with it? Somebody has to, don't they? ...Don't answer that."

Merlin mulled for a moment. "All right, I'll go with you, but no more stupid rabbit metaphors."

"No guarantees. A rabbit's gotta do what a rabbit's gotta do."

There is a subtle balance in nature that allows it to maintain it's cling on the surface of the planet, and in reality itself. The symmetry of life and death, predator and prey is as fundamental as the contrast between light and dark. Without one, the other would not exist as it does. Any variation in the balance shifts pending reactions towards a new equilibrium that is dependent on the variance in factors.

This balance is rarely obvious, and never works equally in both directions. If you have one mouse and twenty cats, some cats are going to go hungry. If you have one cat and twenty mice, you will soon have one very satisfied cat. That's just the way things work. Kismet. Chutzpah of reality. Just like when you think that everything might work out after all, that is the most likely instant for everything to go exactly wrong.

The morning started off badly.

"OH SHIT!" Merlin squawked loudly and thrashed his wings against the air to lift himself away, but it was too late to escape from the marauding talons of the exceptionally large Siamese that launched itself at the hapless raven. Sebastian's keen ears had not alerted him to the presence of the predator, and it was only good fortune that this cat had a taste for bird flesh.

Merlin was dragged to the ground, despite much hissing and flailing on his part. The feline had him clutched firmly with cruel talons, and moved her killing fangs to his throat.

The blow to the head sent the Siamese reeling off her prey. The excitement of the moment only allowed the cat to relent for a moment, and a instant later it launched itself at Sebastian. The cat was surprised mostly because thought that it had been attacked by another cat to steal it's meal, and was unaware of the presence of any other of its species in the vicinity. It was also surprised because it had established itself as the dominant hunter in the area, and was unused to any creature doubting it. Many a dog had fallen under her claws.

Sebastian's brick was a poor defensive weapon, and the Siamese circumvented it readily and inflicted terrible slashes to the rabbit's flank. It was obvious that this was not an equal match. That is, it was obvious to any spectator, but this fact was blithely ignored by Sebastian who had very little faith in the obvious anyway.

He made a long bound over the head of the Siamese, twisting in midair to land facing her. She was now beginning to notice that there was something decidedly un-catlike about this pirate. Nevertheless, she charged with mindless aggression. In a maneuver that was completely new to the cat, Sebastian hopped straight up, and moved the cat's head suddenly backwards with a blasting kick. She paused longer this time, shook her head, and charged again. The rabbit again hopped straight up. This made the cat stop abruptly, aware now of his bizarre kick.

Sebastian snapped his head to the left. "Hey, is that Geraldo Rivera?"

"Huh?" When she glanced to see the most annoying investigative report in the known world, Sebastian swung his lucky rabbit's foot in a wide arc that encompassed the back of her head. She snapped back up onto her paws, tense and ready for anything. Well, almost anything.

She blinked and stared quizzically. Those ears... "Thosse earss... Yourr a rrabbit!"

Sebastian finished fumbling and stood erect in a very un-catlike posture. "That's right, and this is a a thirty-eight caliber revolver."

Being a cat allows for one to have cat-like reflexes, and these are what saved the Siamese from discovering what it would feel like to be shot at short range. Confused and frightened, she left in a manner reserved for frightened cats.

Sebastian hopped after her for a few meters, but quickly gave up. He turned back to his feathery comrade. "Caw, are you all right? Are you still somewhere in that mess of blood and feathers?"

"Ha ha. You're killing me." Merlin shuffled uncomfortably to his feet, but was upright for only a moment before he collapsed again. "Sheesh, this gives a whole new slant to the 'messenger of death' shtick."

Sebastian considered to scarlet puddle that had formed about Merlin. "You've lost a lot of blood; we had better wrap that up to slow the bleeding." As the rabbit dressed the raven's wounds with some of the local flora, he grew increasingly agitated. Merlin passed into deep unconsciousness and was still. Sebastian dragged him to a rocky shelter, and surrounded him with twigs and sticks for camouflage.

Then, he set out cat hunting.

Sebastian crouched on the rock, his nose wrinkling as it sampled the air. His ears flicked abruptly to the left. Shiny rodent eyes squinted with a malicious gleam. "There you are, you dumb fat carnivour. Prepare yourself for the next step in the predator/prey arms race : prey that hunt their predators!"

He slipped into the underbrush, claws scratching eagerly on the slippery rocks.

That damn rabbit was just over there, and getting closer fast. She could only catch the occasional rustle and scrape, and it was always disorienting. She tried desperately to resist succumbing to the waves of confusion that were assaulting her. Something fundamentally wrong had developed in the world.

Rabbits didn't attack. That was a simple truth that the majority of the world understood. It was one of many simple truths that reality rested on. Without them, there would be no order, only confusion. Confusion and madness.

An air of triumph welled up inside of the Siamese; it was her job to see that this aberration from truth was removed. Simple and clean. As soon as the rabbit was gone, all would be right with the world again. She took a deep, calming breath, and considered the best technique to avoid a handgun.

Sebastian paused, ears twitching anxiously. The cat was calmer now, being more careful and quiet now that its panic had eased. It was definitely somewhere around here, and he was going to be damned if some lousy cat was going to maul his favorite cohort and just get off without some kind of really cruel mental abuse.

Oho! That was definitely the sound of a cat slinking purposefully through the underbrush. So she planned to ambush him, did she? That just wouldn't do, not at all.

"Excuse me!" Sebastian piped out shrill and clear. "Excuse me! Time out!"

Time out? What kind of rubbish was this? The sinewy savage Siamese felt a justifying anger. The rabbit would die, and soon.

"Excuse me! Sorry. Got to nip off for a bit. Be right back." The rodent was ambling closer to her. If she was quick enough, she could finish him before he had a chance to twitch, much less pull the gun on her.

"I've gone and forgotten the gun! Can't go hunting without a gun. So, if you'll just wait here for a moment, I'll be right back and we can get on with it." The bloody idiot, what did he have inside that addled skull? Best to kill him now, to put him out of his misery as well as hers. She shot out from the underbrush, a snarl curling her lip. "Sucker." One could not conceive exactly how wide a cat's eyes can become with intense fright, but Sebastian found out. The dully glinting object cradled against the rabbit's shoulder was definitely a gun.

"DON'T move, or it won't be all in one direction." The feline froze, ears laid back and blinked unhappily. Her eyes darted to and fro, much like a cat looking for the easiest way to run, which was not much due to coincidence.

Abruptly, some movement distracted her attention momentarily.

Sebastian's marvelous auricular sense informed him that two large bipedal ape descendants had just crested the hill. His twisted mental processes accurately predicted that nothing but trouble would come of it. His mental processes are best described here as being twisted because he still had not completely adjusted to the fact that he was now a bunny, and had very little urge to adopt a bunnyish attitude.

"THERE HE IS!" Amy McLeary pointed emphatically in the direction of a lean, mottled white rabbit brandishing her service revolver. Her partner could do little other than gape, completely taken aback by the veracity of Amy's wild claims. He had agreed to go searching with her after he found her so that she could calm down and tell him what had actually happened to her. Never in his most fantastic thoughts had he considered that she might be telling the truth.

Amy glanced at him expectantly, and became impatient and irritated. "What are you waiting for, SHOOT HIM!" Her partner's eyes began to glint with understanding, but her patience had evaporated; she grabbed his gun from his holster.

Sebastian swung his gaze back briefly at the Siamese, with an expression of apology. "Well, got to go!" With that, he bolted awkwardly into the undergrowth, burdened by the gun. Gun shots began to destroy the quiet, as well as whatever they happened to run into. At a loss of what to do, the cat darted after Sebastian.

The Siamese caught up to Sebastian with comparative ease, as the heavy revolver was very cumbersome for a rabbit to carry while running with three legs. "Wherre arre you going?" The cat's hisses weren't at all pleasant, especially to a rabbit.

"I'm late! I'm late!"

"What?" The mewling of the Siamese belied the inherent confusion of the conversation.

"For a very important date!" Sebastian laughed so violently that he stumbled spectacularly and lay sprawled on the ground as he chuckled.

This annoyed the feline so much that she decided to pounce now, while the opportunity presented itself. A victory yowl escaped as she landed her enormous form on the revolver, and sneered evil intent at Sebastian.

He felt more than a little silly, in combination with vast stupidity.

Licking her barbed tongue zealously over her fangs, she taunted the rodent. "After I disembowel you, I'm going to go back and turn that crow into lunch!"

"You're mistaken." Sebastian gathered his paws under him, and tensed himself.

She was amused. "Oh?"

"He's a raven."

Merlin's eyes fluttered open to find the gloomy light of an overcast mid-afternoon. A dry rattle of nearby branches enthralled his thoughts for some time before his memories pulled themselves out of the murk of confusion. Then, after a nervous flinch, he held himself rigid. Where was the cat, and what happened to Sebastian?

Something nearby moved, and the fact that it wasn't the cat didn't make Merlin feel any better at all.

Sebastian sat unhappily on top of the mountain, licking the blood from his paws, and decided that he needed a change in lifestyle.