RABBIT is an illustrated short story telling the tale of a rabbits attempts to escape from society through an ancient ritualistic mushroom ceremony.
Many moons ago in the dew soaked fields of the British country side, lived a rabbit. He was a content little rabbit and the glory of his character shone through in his love for his family and fellow rabbit community, but he was suffocating a dark desire for the unknown. His grandfather had regaled him with tales of the an ancient society of rabbits. They used voodoo magic and ritual to see the intertextuality of life, to open their minds and control the elements. As the legend of the ancients is told, some were even able to metamorphose there psychical form into a crow, or a cat or even...a human. A hairless transcendental fully conscious human, rabbits worst enemy naturally, but the power a man rabbit would have is unfathomable. They harnessed the energy of an ancient mushroom which grew from the carcass of the sparrow hawk, the bird which had scorned there society since the dawn of time. They picked them and boiled them in a broth of hawk blood, claws, and eyeballs, while chanting an age old song learnt on the winds of there for-fathers. Once they had consumed the dark black liquid, an orgy of gargantuan gluttony commenced and there souls melded into one being. Naturally most rabbits thought of this as a false tale used to give meaning to rabbithood in times of old but this little rabbit had secretly believed it his entire life.
So one night, while his wife slept soundly in the bedroom quarters of there humble burrow, he poured himself a drink a liquor made from the stolen grains of local farmers. Consuming the cool smooth liquid his whiskers began to twitch, he could smell a fire far away in the distance but another scent entered, unfamiliar, more rotten, more wrong and earthy. It confused his senses. He left the burrow to investigate and upon leaving, he saw a small trail of smoke dancing against the nights sky and decided to follow it. On a path into the old wood, then first through the graveyard by the church, skipping through thorn bushes and over logs, finally arriving at the mouth of this vast green landscape. The sonic qualities did not elude him either, wind brushing the leaves like great earthly xylophones, rats scratching the ground and the ominous texture of the empty space life’s percussion. Moving deeper still the smell of smoke and earth was growing stronger now and he scouted a flickering light in the distance. Creeping further until he reached the bones of an ancient oak, a beast of sorts, like the carcass of a god dog. Afront him below it a hole circled with carrot tops and the skulls of sparrow hawks, he knew what lurked down there. He now knew for certain that his grandfather had been correct, the ancients existed. Chucking back his last shot of liquor like a cheap memory. Discarding his acorn flask as he entered, advancing the cave into a tunnel on soft paws. The sounds of chanting swelled the tunnels soft flesh, giving them the illusion of lungs drawing him in with every breath. He arrived at an opening, he could just make out eight blackened figures adorned with the garments his grandfather had spoken of. A long black cape, the skull of the great hawk worn as a mask, a carrot staff in the right paw and a metal amulet in the left. All around them were rabbits rolling and chanting the same song. Until suddenly they stopped.
Noticing a strange presence he felt his whole body freeze, still barely allowing his whiskers to twitch. Like a Grecian sculpture the leader of these strange rabbits beckoned in a low voice, “come fourth he who braves to enter our ancient grounds”. Stumbling forward through the tiny wide eyed rabbits, he found himself on bended knee, with a carrot staff. Atop his head the ancient spoke again, in hushed tones “consume this liquid black broth and join us in internal light as your grandfather once did".
Shocked at this declaration but not fearful, the brave rabbit gulped down the putrid oil like substance and the chanting commenced. Once his paws began to tingle and the song started to tumble out, it was as if someone else was singing through him. The walls began to breath as if it had a body of its own. He saw his grandfathers face in the loose rubble next to him, egging him to shut his eyes and allow the potion to consume his mind. So he did and felt as though he were falling through the nets of time itself.
When he opened his eyes he looked around, he was in a room with a roaring fire. On it a cauldron boiling hot stew, when gazing down he saw he had hands, not paws but hands. Confused by this mess, he blinked furiously hoping to return to his rabbit body, but it was no luck.He made a shot at standing but fell onto all fours crawling towards a red velvet staircase . once again caught the scent of a strange allure. Eventually he conquered the deceivingly long stairs, to a beautifully arranged dining room filled with lavishly dressed humans spewing wine from there lips and quaffing merrily. He was present there but the others seemed not to notice him. Gaging the room, the largest hair belled human dressed scandalously in attire of the 18th century was holding a turkey leg in his hand. Dropping his teeth into the tender flesh of this poor animal, he squealed with glee and began to regurgitate the flesh into the younger female next to him. This procedure possessed the minds of all the bulbous humans in the room. The meat was passed around the mouths of the whole table, he watched on in fear, sobbing tiny rabbit tears from his human eyes . When the final human had received the tender red flesh, she chocked a little and drew from under her tongue a tiny feather, which was received with thunderous laughter. Then suddenly, they all began vomiting a gold like substance into each others mouths .
Having watched on from the corner for too long, he attempted once more to stand and was successful. Charging at the largest human with the intent of delivering a deathly blow, but as he hurtled through the room the walls began to melt around him and he began to tumble once again ,through memory’s and the sound of chanting still growing, he fell in what seemed to be a pool of water. Pink soft flesh surrounding the water he was in a womb. His emotions were vibrating like heavenly gongs, he didn’t know wether to laugh or cry ,or scream ,or try to run. But eventually an awesome calm washed over him and allowed him to sink into his new womb. He felt a tender heart beat above, his mother’s voice travelled through the water. Furling himself into a ball, he felt complete happiness for the first time since he had been a child. Then, a flicker of light caused him to open his eyes. He was in his chair, at home his acorn flask had spilled a soft puddle onto his lap. Again he was alone, confused and baffled by his experience. He ran outside to find the smoke, but the sky was clear, a hollow feeling gapped his heart. He retired to bed, kissing his wife softly on the cheek and humming a soft lullaby he had learnt on the wind of his dreams.
Illustrations: Piotr Ostrowski
Words: Jordan Hamblin