Argh! So I posted this story late, but only by a day in the end (I thought I was going to finish much later). It’s for a challenge hosted by Yolanda Renee and Denise Covey at http://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.co.uk and it’s my first time getting involved. The theme this month is Reunions. I hope you like my little version. 🙂
General comments very welcome.
The room fell silent. All of Robert’s family were there. He lay on the bed, looking around at their sombre faces. It was difficult for him to move now, and he was beginning to let go. He tried to lift his head a little to speak to his daughter, Ella, but his body felt too weak. Instead, he squeezed her hand a little and lay looking up at the ceiling. He knew it was nearing his time.
He heard Ella speak his name in a distant whisper but his eyes were fixed upon the light he could see above him. He did not feel afraid. Soon he would see Louisa, his beloved wife. She had died too young, at the age of 60 and he had missed her dreadfully since that day. He continued to focus on the brightness and then, as easily as that, he fully let go. A world away he could hear his daughter begin to sob.
Don’t cry for me, he thought. I am doing OK. The pain has gone.
His body felt as light as a feather, drifting up towards the hospital ceiling, towards the whiteness that had engulfed the space above his bed. He glanced below and saw that his body was still there, surrounded by family. I must be dead, he thought, as he turned back towards the light. It made his heart feel warm with happiness. Louisa, I’m coming home.
A few minutes later, he was completely surrounded by the white light. He felt safe, enveloped in love. And then, as if someone had flipped a switch, the light turned off and he found himself in the dark.
The dark was stuffy and warm. The air was not fresh. He felt as if he was, somehow, underground.
What on earth? He thought.
He scrabbled upwards and out of the dirt towards what he thought was daylight. It was daylight. He breathed a sigh of relief. But where was he?
Ahead he could see a country field, behind, a line of trees and hedgerow.
I’m in the countryside, was all he could think. He heard a noise to the right.
A huge rabbit stood beside him, twitching its whiskers. He froze, staring at the huge, brown beast until the moment it turned to look at him. Then he fell backwards on to the grass behind him.
“Alright, mate?” said the rabbit. “New, eh? You’ll get used to it. Just keep out of the way of the buzzards in the day time. Night time’s a bit of a different story. Just, er, lay low when it gets dark. You’ll soon get the hang of it.”
The rabbit twitched again and turned to eat a dandelion.
“Ooh, lovely,” it said. “Scrumptious!”
Robert slowly lifted his body off the grass and turned to face the giant rabbit. He opened his mouth to speak but found himself compelled to sniff around on the grass for a tasty treat. He spotted another dandelion and promptly munched it.
“Mmm,” he said. “You’re quite right about these.”
The large rabbit looked at him and cocked its head to the side.
“What is it?” Robert asked.
The rabbit stayed silent for a moment longer, standing as still as a statue before twitching its whiskers once again. “Nothing,” it said. “Just thought I heard something for a minute.”
Robert looked around. There were no other animals near them, rabbits or otherwise.
“You said I was new here?” he asked the rabbit.
The creature hopped forwards a little to find a new patch of something to eat and then stood up tall, looking towards the hedgerow. “Yeah,” it said. “I would’ve thought that would be obvious to you?”
Robert cleared his throat. “Well, you see. I’m looking for someone.”
The rabbit chuckled. “Interesting,” it said. “Doubt you’ll find them.”
Robert hopped closer to the rabbit hoping to get some better eye contact. “She’s very important to me.”
“Oh, that’s what they all say,” the rabbit replied. “They all want to find someone, at first. But they’ve got their priorities all wrong. See, it’s not about finding anyone. Get the idea out of your head. You want to concentrate on survival. You won’t find anyone if you don’t survive.”
Robert looked down at his cute, furry feet. He felt along his tummy and around to the back of his body, stopping on his little bump of a tail. This couldn’t be happening, could it? The giant rabbit was munching again on another flower.
“But Louisa. She must be somewhere nearby?”
The giant rabbit stopped eating and eyed him closely, its large black eyes betraying very little emotion. Robert stared back, wondering if he could detect fear or if rabbits always looked like that.
“What did you just say?” the rabbit asked, its voice a low whisper.
“She must be somewhere nearby, I said.” Robert leaned in closer to the large creature.
“No,” it hissed. “What name did you say?”
“I said Loui-“
A huge gust of air blasted past Robert’s face before he could finish his sentence. With his eyes closed he heard the rabbit squeak but when he opened them the rabbit was gone, replaced by a few tufts of fur, gently falling through the air.
He turned to see the great bird flying off into the sky with her large prize dangling from her feet. He sprinted towards the rabbit hole and did not stop for breath until he was inside. He lay there for a moment, panting, near the entrance, shocked at what he had just witnessed.
A voice from further down in the burrow called out to him.
“Was it Louisa?” it asked.
He took a deep breath. “Yes,” he replied. “It was her.”
Lisa Wilton © 2017