It had been two days since Rabbo and Merwyn had gotten drunk together and while they had both had hangovers in the morning that passed quickly and they soon were both busy working on making a fence for the cattle. The two days were hot sweaty work but the fence had been set up and the cattle could now roam free in the fenced off area without fear of wandering off into the works and being lost. Rabbo had dug the holes while Merwyn had felled the trees and cut them into thick planks so that the cattle could not push though or break out. The area that the trees had been felled in had opened up a large space that Merwyn said he would seed with grain in the spring so that they would not have to trade with the village.
It was on the third morning after the drunken night when Athena and Bastet came out of the lab and joined them for lunch. Lunch was mostly salad with fresh bread, cheese, fresh butter and milk.
“Dad you don’t need to help Bastet inseminate me with a fertile egg. We did that this morning” said Athena as she slid her hand across her stomach.
“Oh ok” said Merwyn rather happy not to have to help put the egg in Athena.
“But I’m not as skilled as Bastet so I will need your help with putting the egg in her uterus and we will have to put her under to make it easier for us both” stated Athena.
Bastet looked over smiled sweetly. “Its not like you have not seen me naked before,” Bastet said with no emotions in her voice.
Rabbo sat and listened as Bastet explained to Merwyn what he would be doing and how he would have to do it and that Athena would be in charge telling him what to do.
Rabbo really did not understand all the terms that Bastet was using and the words made no sense to him at all. He wondered what “artificial insemination” was and what uterus was and all the other words. He thought about going to the library and asking Isis about it but as his class room time was over for the next 27 days he thought better of it.
Rabbo was left alone for the afternoon so he went down to the warren to see his rabbit friends and to learn more of their language. Outside the warren he was greeted by his three brothers and two of his sisters. They each sniffed him and then each made a sound at him that was the same sound. So Rabbo made the sound but they shook their heads and again each one made the same sound so Rabbo repeated the sound to each of them.
Then they each made a different sound and nodded their head as if to say “that is me”.
It took Rabbo a few seconds to understand that they had given themselves names and that they had just told him their names. Rabbo made the first sound that they had told him and then added the name sound to his first brother and bowed his head in a human greeting.
His first brother bowed his head in the same manner and backed up so that the next brother could be greeted by Rabbo. His two sisters that were present did the same thing as his brothers. This went on until he had greeted the five of his brothers and sisters that were present. He wondered where the third sister was and he hoped that she was ok and that nothing bad had befallen her?
Rabbo sat and listened as his two sisters chatted with his three brothers. While he sat and watched he noted that his sisters seem to be the dominate ones as his brothers deferred to them often bowing their heads. His two sisters looked around at the other rabbits that had come out of the warren as the spread out to feed. The bigger of his sisters barked a chatter sound and two of his brothers each headed off to different points to watch over the other rabbits.
Rabbo looked around and saw his two female friends hop over with eight younger rabbits. One at a time each rabbit of the eight hopped forward made a name sound and hopped back until they had all been introduced to Rabbo. Then his newest female rabbit friend turned and chattered to his two sisters. She bowed her head low then hopped up next to Rabbo and snuggled against him. The older female rabbit friend moved up on the other side and she too snuggled against him. Rabbo smiled to himself and then suddenly from the burrow five rabbit kittens hopped out followed by his missing third sister.
Rabbo moved away from his two female rabbit friends and looked at each of the five rabbit kittens. They sat around their mother looking up at her as she started to chatter to them slowly.
Rabbo and his two females followed his sister around as it was clear that she was teaching them things. His sister would often come back to the same spot and make the same chatter sound to the rabbit kittens and then move away.
Rabbo noticed that they were making a circuit. On about the fifth or sixth pass his sister made another sound and all the rabbit kittens made the sound of what the thing was. Rabbo looked at his sister turned his head to one side and looked at her as if to ask a question. His sister made the question sound to Rabbo again and Rabbo understood that the sound meant “what is this”.
Now Rabbo had a basic working vocabulary of the language that his brothers and sisters used to talk to each other. It was also clear that they were teaching their children the language that they had so it would be passed on. He wondered how their language would evolve over the years to come. Then he wondered how long his brothers and sisters would live and if it would be like him that had maybe 79 years or more.
Rabbo looked up at his two brothers that were on guard duty and wonder if they knew how different they were from the other rabbits or if they knew how different he was from them. He also wondered if he was ready to start asking them questions in their language and that he had the vocabulary to do so without confusing them? Maybe it would be simpler to wait until he had a larger vocabulary so that there would be no confusion when he did start asking them questions? But what if all that he had learnt of their language so far was the limit of their vocabulary? What then? But it was more than likely that there was still many sounds to learn as so far other than what his brothers had taught him the lessons he had with the young rabbits were clearly aimed at young rabbits and that it was simple sounds that meant simple things.
Suddenly he heard an urgent thump thump of warning and rabbits started to run towards their burrow. As Rabbo watched all the rabbits started to head down into their burrows but making sure that all the younger rabbits and kittens were below ground first. When there was just two of his brothers and two of his sisters left he hopped up to them and looked around. He raised up on his hind legs so that he could see better and saw his third brother running in from the edge of the woods.
Rabbo listened carefully and could hear a faint sniffing sound that sounded like the dog sniffing in the woods. Rabbo closed his eyes and pictured Cat in his head. “Cat is the dog in the woods”?“No not dog. Wild cat. She hunt for food for her kittens. She come far to hunt. I hunt bird for her. She not come near if I help” said Cat making it sound more like a question.
Rabbo stood outside the burrows with his two sisters and three brothers listening to the hunting cat in the woods. The hunting cat sounded closer as if she was on the very edge of the woods and heading towards the warren.
Rabbo watched as each of his sisters entered the nearest burrow followed closely by his brothers. One of his brothers made a single sound and pointed down towards the larger burrow that had been dug for Rabbo. Rabbo guessed that the sound meant that he was to go under ground to be safe. But he wanted to see this wild cat and wondered if she looked like Cat or was different in some way. Then another feeling came over him like he was brave and bold and tough and that he wanted to show that he could protect his rabbit friends.
Rabbo looked around and saw a good spot that he could stand at so that he could not be jumped from behind or from above. He hunched down like Cat would when Cat was play fighting and made himself ready to fight if he had to.
He wished that he had the long knife that Merwyn had brought back for him from the village but that was at the house and if he ran the wild cat might spot him and he would be in danger. It did not occur to Rabbo that he was already in danger as the wild cat was out of the woods and heading straight for him. He could hear the wild cat but as yet he could not see the wild cat.
Rabbo heard the wild cat’s soft pads moving slowly on the tall grass to his left so he turned making himself ready. Rabbo knew that if he closed his eyes to picture Cat to ask him a question the wild cat would be on him. Rabbo felt his body get tense as he waited and he tested his hind legs to make sure that they were ready to leap as soon as he spotted the wild cat.
He turned his head a little and saw pointed ears moving close though the grass. He remembered that just before Cat would jump at him the ears would come forward and down a little so he watched the ears carefully. The wild cats ears moved forward and came down a little and the wild cat leaped out at Rabbo.
Rabbo leaped forward to meet her and as soon as he and the wild cat met he rolled back onto his back and started to kick up into her soft under belly. The wild cat squealed and backed up. Rabbo leaped forward and sunk his teeth into one of her ears. As he did that he swung his body around and kicked at her ribs making her back up again.
He let go of her ear and leaped right at her again but this time he went for her throat like Cat would do when hunting a rat.
The wild cat tried to hit Rabbo with her claws but Rabbo moved out of the way and kicked out with both his hind legs hitting the wild cat hard in the ribs again. The wild cat turned and ran fast off into the woods leaving tuffs of fur laying were Rabbo and the wild cat had been fighting. Rabbo looked around and saw that all six of his brothers and sisters were gathered in the entrance to two of the burrows and had been watching. Rabbo stood up on his hind legs and shouted “I’m bad. I’m the best. Who beat you? I did. I’m Rabbo. Come back here again and I will beat you some more”.
His brothers and sisters hopped out of the burrows and circled around him. They started sniffing him and then one of his sisters started to lick his right hind quarter. Rabbo looked back and noticed that fur was missing and that he was bleeding a little from a nasty gash to his right hind quarter.
“Silly rabbit” Cats thoughts drifted into Rabbo’s mind.
Rabbo ignored Cat’s thoughts and sniffed at his brothers and sisters as the crowded in around him. As they sniffed him and his one sister cleaned his wound he noticed that the other rabbits where hopping out and joining his brothers and sisters in sniffing him.
Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the kitten rabbits hopping out of the burrow towards him. His sister cleaning his wound turned and barked a sound at them and the kitten rabbits all ran back into the burrow.
Sudden the younger rabbits that could chatter all jumped on him as if he was something to play with. They all chattered at once and he could not understand any of the sounds that they were making as they were chattering all at once and too fast for him to understand. His sister who had almost finished clean his wound made a chirp sound and the younger rabbits all slipped off Rabbo and sat still looking up at him as if he was some kind of mighty warrior who had just returned from a great adventure.
Though the crowd and press of rabbits Rabbo saw a bigger rabbit pushing its way though and towards him. The rabbit had gray around her nose and hopped slowly as if old.
She hopped up to Rabbo and sniffed him before she bowed her head. Then she placed one paw gentle on Rabbo’s nose. She then sniffed him again before sitting back very slowly.
Rabbo looked closer at her and saw that only one eye was clear and that the other eye was cloudy. And while she was bigger she clearly was very skinny as if she did not eat much. Her fur was not soft like the other rabbits but brittle with patches of skin showing though as if she was going bold. Rabbo guessed that she had to be very old and possible the queen rabbit. That is if they had a queen rabbit. But it was clear that she was very likely the oldest rabbit in the warren.
Rabbo made the “hello” sound and bowed his head as low as he could to the old rabbit.
One of the younger rabbits came hopping up from a burrow holding a carrot in its teeth.
The young rabbit dropped the carrot at Rabbo’s feet and bowed low to him then chattered at him for a moment.
Rabbo looked at the carrot picked it up in his paws bowed to the young rabbit and made the “Thanks” sound.
Then Rabbo turned and looked at the old rabbit bowed low to her again and broke the carrot in half and offered her half. The old rabbit sat down and started to eat the carrot slowly as Rabbo munched on his carrot. Rabbo sat back on his hind legs and watched the other rabbits move out to eat again. Two of his brothers with two of the younger rabbits took up their positions on guard duty and sat watching for the return of the wild cat.
His sister that had been cleaning his wound moved away so that his two female friends could come over and be with him. The younger of the two hopped up on her hind legs and then rolled back on her back. She started to wriggle in the dirt and kick up dust as she rolled around. Then she sat back up and looked at Rabbo before she ran off up to the meadow were there was fresh grass. For about the next two hours Rabbo sat and watched and listened to the rabbits. But he paid special attention to the sounds that his brothers and sisters were making.
The sun was well past the high point and Rabbo had taken a nap in the large burrow that the rabbits had dug for him. It was hard at first to nap and it was not just from being closed in but the fact that his two female friends had snuggled with him plus the kitten rabbits. But once he was a sleep he slept deep. But when he had opened his eyes his right hind quarter hurt badly and itched.
Rabbo had left the warren and limped back up to the house. Half way up the path he was greeted by Cat. “Silly rabbit. You hurt. Athena fix. Bad rabbit, wild cat could kill you” the sound in Cat's voice was more worry than anything.
“Oh it’s nothing” said Rabbo.
“If nothing why hop funny?” asked Cat.
Rabbo tried to hop as if his hind quarter did not hurt but that made it hurt even more so he gave up. “I guess I slept wrong in the burrow” Rabbo told Cat.
“Sure” replied Cat.
Rabbo looked back at the injured area and was not happy to see fresh blood dripping from the wound.
When Rabbo and Cat entered the kitchen they saw Merwyn sitting at the table sipping a glass of milk. Merwyn looked up and smiled. “All done. Bastet and Athena are in the living room”.
“Rabbit hurt. Rabbit think he brave. Rabbit fight wild cat. Rabbit fight good. Rabbit very silly to fight wild cat” hissed Cat to Merwyn.
“Come here Rabbo and let me look at this wound of yours” said Merwyn trying not to smile or laugh. But once Merwyn looked at the wound he stopped smiling and looked worried. “That’s a deep wound Rabbo. Cat is right. While very brave that was a very foolish thing to do. What were you trying to prove by fighting a wild cat”?
“My brothers and sister were in danger as the wild cat was hunting for food to feed her kittens. I knew I could beat her if I attacked hard and fast and went for her soft areas. She will think twice before hunting rabbits again” said Rabbo.
“Rabbo that’s not the point! I better explain, I guess” said Merwyn. “You fight only when you have too. You never ever fight to prove you are better than someone. You fight only as a very last resort and then only if you have no other option. Fighting only gets you hot, sweaty, dirty, and hurt or worse”.
“What’s going on, dad” asked Athena standing in the doorway from the living room.
“Rabbo here has been fighting wild cats and he has a nasty wound on his hip” said Merwyn no longer concealing the fact that he was upset with Rabbo.
“I better get my medical kit” said Athena as she walked though the kitchen to the stairs.
Athena returned with her medical kit and looked at Rabbo’s right hind quarter.
“I see you cleaned out the dirt. That’s good”. Athena reached into her medical kit and pulled out a razor blade and shaved the whole of Rabbo’s right hind quarter completely of fur. Then she reached into the medical kit and pulled at a small bottle of a white liquid that would make the area numb.
“Don’t do that Athena” said Merwyn on the private telepathic mode.
“Why not”? Athena asked Merwyn on the same mode.
“Because he needs to learn that fighting hurts.”Athena put the small bottle down and picked up a small package that was sterile and opened it. In the small package was white cotton and a needle.
Merwyn held Rabbo not too gently while Athena started to stitch the wound closed. Once she was done she smeared some ointment on the wound before taping a gauze patch over the wound to keep dirt out. Athena then held Rabbo close and started to stroke his fur gentley with her warm hand and slide her hand up to pull gently on his ears.
Bastet came staggering out of the living room and bumped into the table. She looked down at the table with a look of surprise. Then she staggered over past Merwyn. She stopped and looked at Merwyn and then staggered sideways before over balancing and falling into Merwyn. Merwyn caught her and stopped her from falling to the floor.
Bastet looked at him and smiled “you are cute” she said with very slurred speech. Then she got up looked over at Athena “but she is cuter”. Bastet staggered to Athena and looked down at Rabbo. “Oh your talking bunny.”
“Bastet is still a little out of it” said Athena on Rabbo’s private telepathic mode.
Rabbo jumped quickly out of the way as Bastet fell into Athena’s lap. Bastet placed her head against Athena’s head and then slumped totally forward.
Athena stood up slowly making sure that Bastet stayed in the same position that she had been when she had fallen into Athena’s lap. Athena glided gently across the floor keeping Bastet with her. She went into the living room and returned a few moments later without Bastet. “She’s asleep again,” said Athena.
Athena turned and looked at Rabbo. “So what have you been up to too get so hurt”?
“Fighting wild cats” said Merwyn still not happy with Rabbo.
“WHAT” said Athena very alarmed at what Rabbo had done.
“Hey I’m sleeping back here” drifted the voice of Bastet faintly from the living room.
Speaking softly as not to awake the sleeping Bastet Rabbo explained to Athena why he had fought the wild cat and what happened before and after at the warren. He told both Merwyn and Athena about what he had learnt from his brothers and sister and what he saw around the area and about the old female rabbit. Merwyn while still upset with Rabbo started to ask him about the younger rabbits that had chattered at him and why his brothers and sisters seemed to be in charge of the warren.
It was just before dinner time when Merwyn and Athena had finished talking to Rabbo about the warren and the wild rabbits when Bastet joined them. Bastet was still very unsteady on her feet and from time to time her mind would drift off and strange mixed up pictures would float into Rabbo’s mind. At times the images became so confusing that Rabbo would move close to Merwyn so that his mental mind shields would help block the pictures.
One image that kept popping into Rabbo’s mind was of Athena dressed in a skirt and halter top looking out from a room with the wind blowing though long curtains. Outside could be seen an area of rocks sand and three huge buildings with sloped sides that were pointed at the top. It took Rabbo a while to figure out that all the pictures where from Bastet’s point of view and from her eyes.
Athena noticed that the images were bothering Rabbo so she spoke to him privately on the telepathic mode. “Bastet can’t help it. She has no shields right now and she can’t control her mental abilities. Just sit tight and sit close to dad or me”.Rabbo once again moved close to Merwyn and the pictures stopped drifting into his mind.
Merwyn got up and started to set the dinner table for them to eat. Rabbo hopped across to Athena hopped up on her lap and snuggled close.
Bastet noticed Rabbo’s shaved right hind quarter “Did I hurt your cute bunny” asked Bastet and before Athena could answer Bastet bust into tears. “I did not mean to hurt you, cute bunny” sobbed Bastet.
Merwyn was busy getting cold cuts out of the cool storage room and preparing dinner that he did not notice Cat walk in dragging a large duck by its broken neck.
However Bastet noticed at once and even before Rabbo could let out a warning Bastet had transformed herself into a lion shedding her robe and was trying to get at the duck that Cat had dragged into the open cool storage room. Bastet in lion form suddenly found that her paws were stuck to the ground and she started hissing and spitting.
Merwyn smiled at Bastet “turn yourself back to normal and stop bothering Cat and stop trying to steal his dinner. Or I won’t free your feet” Merwyn told Bastet in an ice cold tone of voice.
Bastet turned towards Merwyn. Her fur started to rise up on her back and she started to hiss and spit at Merwyn. Then suddenly Bastet was back to normal human form but still on all fours hissing like a cat.
Suddenly Merwyn’s eyes turned red and Bastet went limp and dropped to the floor. Her body then floated up and drifted across to the rug by the fire place.
Athena who had watched the whole thing with surprise and shock looked at Merwyn with “she’s ok dad, right”?
“She is fine. She is just asleep. I told her body that it needed sleep, that’s all” said Merwyn more for Rabbo’s benefit than for Athena’s.
Dinner was a lively affair with wine for Merwyn and Rabbo and Athena singing and putting the tale of how Rabbo had chased the wild cat off and saved his rabbit brother’s and sisters from the claws and teeth of the wild cat in verse.
Much letter after the dishes had been washed and put away Merwyn walked over to Bastet and reached down and picked her up. He carried her upstairs and put her to bed in Athena’s bed and returned to Athena Rabbo and Cat who had moved into the living room. “Now to other issues, my dear daughter.”
Athena held her breath wondering if Merwyn knew something or if he had caught her in a lie.
“Our dear Rabbo here showed off two more abilities and I think its time we started training him to use those aforementioned abilities. I witnessed him use coercion and creativity. We know that he has astral travel so now we know that he has three abilities and I think that he has more. After all if I understand right you used your brain cells. Anyway it’s time that we started to train him and teach him as I don’t want him setting fire to himself again or anything around here”.
Athena was relieved that Merwyn had not caught her in a lie. She hid her relief by leaning forward and looking closely at Rabbo who was sitting on the rug trying hard not to lick his wound. “I am not sure how strong his abilities are dad. But he could have all that I have and to the same level that I have them. But he could also just as easy have only the three that he has shown so far and be far weaker. Or he could be somewhere in between the three he has already shown and the eight I have. I don’t know. But once Bastet is back on her feet or paws she will be able to help us find out all of the abilities he has”.
Rabbo sat up looked at his wound wondering what he could do about the itch. He was not really listening to what Athena and Merwyn were talking about as the itch was getting to the point that it was unbearable. Athena reached down and picked Rabbo up partly to stop him from scratching at the gauze.
Rabbo looked at the gauze and pictured the wound healed and the skin without any scabs or scars. His hind quarter started to really itch and the area of the wound got hot but not uncomfortable. Athena looked down at Rabbo as Rabbo started to pick at the gauze. As she reached down to pull his paw out of the way Rabbo pulled off the gauze. All that was left of the wound was bare skin and a small scab that was fading away as Athena looked at it. “Dad we can add self healing to the list”.
Athena turned Rabbo so that his right hind quarter was visible and where the wound should have been. All Merwyn could see was bare pink skin without any sign of trauma or bruising. Merwyn moved over and knelt down in front of Athena and looked at Rabbo’s right hind quarter and poked the area where the wound should have been. Merwyn could smell a little burnt flesh but other than that there was no sign that there had ever been a wound let alone a deep gash.
“Four out of eight. That’s not bad at all” mused Athena. “Ok let’s start the training and forget about his education for a while as if we don’t start training my dear Rabbo we might run into issues like you said about him setting fire to things or trying to heal something and doing more harm than good”.
“Agreed. And the sooner the better! Maybe tomorrow you can start him on healing and I will work with him on his creativity so that he does not accidentally burn down the house” said Merwyn.
Athena yawned and looked at Merwyn. “I’m sorry dad but the last few days are catching up with me and I need to get to bed”. Athena placed Rabbo’s paws over her shoulders and stood up and walked into the kitchen and went upstairs.
Bastet was sound asleep in Athena’s bed with Rabbo’s mother curled up at her feet. She had just s sheet covering her hips and legs and the rest of her was exposed to the cool night air. Athena closed the window and put Rabbo down on the window sill. Athena then slipped off her toga and slipped into bed next to Bastet.
Rabbo awoke to hear Bastet and Merwyn talking quietly. Merwyn was sitting on the chair at Athena’s dresser and Bastet was lying on her side facing Merwyn on the bed. Athena was still asleep lying on her stomach.
“I have to go for the very same reason you want me to stay” Bastet was staying.
“It’s not for me that I ask you understand that”.
“I know and again for the very same reason I must go. You have to remember I was there when she was born. And I love her as much as you love her. But she loves you far more than she loves me. She told me how much, plus, her love for you I can clearly see” said Bastet with a sad tone “I will never have that part of her that loves you. And I totally understand”.
Merwyn looked out of the window and was silent for a moment. “Thank you Bastet. You have always spoken the truth. But I don’t bind her to me she is free to leave when ever she wants. As I too love her, and to keep her here against her will is not love but very selfish”.
“You idiot she stays because she wants to. Why are you men so blind to things like that”? The tone in Bastet’s voice was not one of anger but of pity. Bastet slipped off the bed and came over and sat on the window sill next to Rabbo facing Merwyn. The last of the moonlight gave her skin a silver glow as she reached forward and put her hand on Merwyn’s knee. The gauze patch on her lower stomach rolled up showing a red mark.
Rabbo sat and listened as Bastet explained what Athena had told her and why she would not leave Merwyn to be alone. “Besides when the baby comes it will need a male to teach it what is right and what is just. As for my babies I have already planned for that”.
“Babies” asked Merwyn.
“I made twins for me. A girl and a boy. I think it's better that way. Don’t you. After all a girl needs a brother and boy needs sister if they are to be well balanced. Don’t you agree” stated Bastet. Bastet stood up took two steps to Merwyn leaned in and kissed him gently on the lips before she sat down on the bed and laid down to sleep again. Merwyn sat in the chair for a few moments then stood up slowly and very quietly walked out of Athena’s bedroom.
Rabbo slipped down off the window sill and hopped slowly across the floor. As he reached the door he heard Bastet voice in his head on the private telepathic mode. “Not a word to my darling Athena about what Merwyn and I talked about. If you say anything I will turn into a lion and eat you. Do you understand me clearly”? “I understand you. A private talk stays that way” replied Rabbo.
Watch for April's continuation of "Rabbo Tales."
Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.