Gizmo’s Tale

Is life confusing, or what? One minute I’m with my mom and my brothers and sisters, and the next I’m all by myself in a strange-smelling, dark, moving nest.

The box stops moving. Now I’m put in a different kind of nest, much smaller than the one I was born in. I’m still alone, though. How can I be alone? Alone doesn’t make any sense.

There were humans everywhere in my birthplace. Here there are only two. One is huge and quiet, the other little and loud. A hand swoops down and grabs me. HEY! LittleLoudOne! Do you see these great long ears I have? I’m drowning in your squeals! Your hands are too tight!

Alone makes more sense, now.

I hope my mom finds me soon, so I can go back to my real life. What sort of nest is this? Where can I hide? I curl myself up as tight as I can, and dream of home.

How long since food was here? I don’t see LittleLoudOne much anymore, but that’s okay–it almost dropped me every time it hawk’s-taloned me. I try to chew my way out of this nest, but all I get for my trouble is a sore mouth. My feet hurt, too. This place is too hard–for feet, for mouth, for me.

BigHuman visits for the first time since he brought me here. His anger feels heavy in the air. I don’t think he can see me through it. It spreads like twilight around him. I wait. He fills my bowl with greenbuds! Humans are very strange.

All my food is long gone. I try to eat this hard nest, even though I know it will bite me back. Hunger grips and pushes and won’t let go. BigHuman comes, the heavy anger all around him. LittleLoudOne is with him. BigHuman points to my empty bowl, the mess under my feet. I get food, but I can’t eat in the tension storm they left behind. I just sit a while. It’s all I do anymore.

EEyikes! suddenly I’m back in the little dark nest that took me from my home and family to this place. Will I see my mom soon?

I hear, then feel the loud rumble-growl that brought me here. Through a little hole in the dark nest I can see the sky rushing away from the noise.

The sky stands still. BigHuman’s hands lift me up and out of the dark nest. And onto the ground. Real ground. Not the dark box. Not home. Everywhere there is everything, to hear and smell and see and touch and taste. BigHuman gives me a push, not so very hard, but it gets me going even though I don’t feel ready to move yet. And he is gone.

There’s so much to eat here! I can’t eat unless I know it’s safe, and how do I know it’s safe? So many smells and sounds! Soon I won’t be too scared to eat. Soon my muscles will relax enough for me to move, to find a safe place. Soon, I hope.

Before I can catch my breath, a rumble-growl streaks straight for me. I freeze. The thing shrieks and stops just next to me. I wait for the killing bite. A hole opens in the rumble-thing, and a big human appears. Is this how they come into the world? Are they rumble-thing’s children? He makes himself smaller, flatter, sideways beside me. I think he is a sorcerer. He says some small quiet words, a spell–and quick as a flea, takes me in his arms and up into the air. The flood of movement begins again. A different dark box, and the swift sky. He takes me to a place that’s a little like where I was born, with lots of creatures of all kinds, coming and going. Many are frightened. Mostly there are woof creatures, and longleg longtail wee-oww creatures. The big human is talking to someone. He is sad and angry, but not at me. And gentle. I can feel that in his voice. He talks a while, telling a sad story. Is it my story? I think it is. And then he is gone.

The humans here are sad and angry and gentle, too. They know a bit of our language. They bring me food. They help me keep my nest clean. Every day, humans come in, bringing creatures. This is a place where creatures are left behind. Where am I? is what you see on the face of each new arrival. When is my human coming back for me? There’s so much sadness here. If it weren’t for the gentle humans who take care of us I might have to give up, let go.

The days pass. The quick-as-a-flea sorcerer who brought me here comes to see me every day. He speaks so softly. He puts his nose near mine, quietly. Almost a rabbit, is how I think of him. He brings sweet fresh green leaves, and tall dry grass. He never grabs. “You’re coming to live with us,” he tells me, clear and simple as that. I understand every word. So today, when he puts me in the dark box, I am almost glad. The dark box changes your life.

But where is he? This can’t be his home. This isn’t any kind of home. The humans are all in white, the walls too, white everywhere. At least I have my hiding box. I sit in it, trembling, wanting to hide forever. They take me out, humans in white with a scary cold smell. I feel a sting on my back leg. I’m falling, so far, but never reaching the ground. Down, down, down. Something covers my face, and there’s a new smell, sweet and cold. I’m too far down to be scared. Time falls down, too. I see it, swirling through the air around me, too sweet, chilly.

Back in my hiding box, in the white place. At least these new humans know about hiding. There’s a sore feeling near my tail. Other creatures sit or lie in boxes all round the white room. This is a place for creatures who are broken. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to it. And if I do, will I get taken away again?

GentleHuman came for me! He found me in the white place! This time, at last, the dark box and the racing sky bring me to a safe world, his world, with hiding places and things to chew and pools of light for sunbathing. I get to run, really run, and leap and dance and kick up my heels. Even though I’ve never done it before, I know how to dance right away. I was born to it.

Ever After

Today my GentleHuman takes me to a little room, a place in his burrow I’ve never seen or even smelled. I see a box of lovely fresh hay–and a rabbit! A wise brown-eyed rabbit with ears turned toward me. We sniff and scuffle and boss each other around for a while. She tells me I can worship her, and I give her a very thorough between-the-shoulders bath. We have tall grass that GentleHuman brings from the field beyond our window. We have places small and dark for being secret in. We have places long and low for burrowing. And a sunpool. And each other. She tells me her story, and I tell her mine. My story belongs to both of us now, and hers does, too.

Amy Espie

House Rabbit Journal Spring 2000: Volume IV, Number 3