Day 13 - Rabbit Hunter

forest fire


I met Gracie at Denny’s not too long ago. I’d see her there on occasion, with this other guy. She seemed quiet, shy…submissive; that’s the word I’m looking for. This it not a personality trait I’m familiar with, so I was a bit intrigued. But it’s a Catch-22 to be intrigued by a girl who doesn’t speak.

Then one night Gracie came in alone as I was writing. She sat down and we talked for the next 7 hours, about everything under the sun. But the next time I saw her accompanied, she was back to the doormouse.

This pattern continued for several weeks. Gracie would find me at Denny’s and pour her heart out, but otherwise she was silent as ever. She rarely talked about her private life, but I got hints.  There was her behavior, and the occasional bruises she’d try to hide. I began to get suspicions.

Once night Gracie was there with the other guy, quiet as usual. On their way out she dropped a small folded up piece of paper on the floor by my table. I opened it, and inside were the words:

Folded Note
(the main reason why I hope newspapers never go away completely)

I figured it was more of her cat-and-mouse games. Usually, I try to avoid women who play games. Nevertheless, my interest was piqued. Plus, there was the possibility I was being recruited to help her get out of a bad situation.

Thursday night I was there in black; nervous as a cat. In the car I had this new 1 million candle-power flashlight. I didn’t have a big knife, but I did have my Miracle Blade. I figured that would do. Gracie walked in, dressed like some gorgeous spy. She stared at me for the longest time, and then said, “Let’s go.”

We got in my car and left, with Gracie giving directions. In a few minutes we pulled into a parking lot; a sign read: WELCOME TO NOSE HILL PARK. Gracie explained that Nose Hill Park was the largest unincorporated park in North America. “There are places out here nobody’s every seen.” She said.

We took off down a worn path. The stars were bright out, and it was quiet. We walked for ten minutes, coming to woods. Finally, couldn’t take it anymore.

“What are we doing here?”

She smiled coyly. “”We are here to kill Rabbits, so that I may wear a Rabbit-skin coat.”

“Why would you want to wear a rabbit-skin coat?” I asked dumbly. “I’ve never even seen you eat meat.”

Her voice took on a lecturing tone. “It is the nature of things for humans to wear the skins of animals, because the humans are smarter than the animals. If the animals were smarter than the humans, the animals would wear human-skin coats.”

I wasn’t buying this story for a minute. My suspicions about me helping her escape began to take root. I didn’t know if I was up for this, but I’d always wanted a chance to put my principles into action, and I guess this was going to be it. I was so nervous I wanted to throw up. I wondered what the rope was for, but I didn’t think to ask.

We walked into the woods, more gingerly now as the path was slight and the trees and brush overgrown. After a time we came to a clearing. Coming the other way was a man also dressed in black, with a flashlight and a large shovel. I wondered at the time what the shovel was for, but that too was a question that never got asked.

He saw her first: “Graciana!” he spat. It wasn’t a friendly greeting.

By contrast, Gracie was much more relaxed, even amused. She smiled lazily at the man and said, “Look who you see when you don’t have a gun.”

This ended the repartee, primarily because the man bellowed and charged at Gracie with his shovel. I didn’t understand what was going on, but my instincts took over, and I heroically stepped forward to counter his thrust with my Miracle Blade.

I needn’t have bothered. Gracie gracefully stepped around me, eluded the shovel head like Neo in The Matrix, and calmly slit the man’s throat.

I felt numb. Gracie was bent over her prostrate foe and appeared to be licking his neck. (Look who you see when you don’t have a padded cell and a cattle-prod.....)

“Bury him.” She said. I felt like I should say something, but I didn’t want more violence. (I didn’t know if I was capable of it against her, and I certainly didn’t want it to happen to me.)

Have you ever buried a man with a shovel? It takes much longer than in the movies. Afterwards I sat down to rest, exhausted. I vaguely remember Gracie picking up the shovel, and then I remember nothing.

When I came to, I found myself tied to a tree, a large lump on the back of my head smarting nicely. Gracie had a fire going in the clearing and in the firelight I could see a rather large hole in front of me. Gracie had also been joined by two other women.

3 Women in Forest
(Any time you encounter 3 women in a forest you're going to want to make other plans...)

When she saw I was I was awake, Gracie introduced me. “This is Amanda and Natasha. They are part of my Coven.” 

Oh yes; this was going to end well.

The three of them started moving around and throwing burning branches into the hole. I was only ten feet away, but I couldn’t see the bottom of the hole or hear the branches land.

Luckily, the girls were absorbed with their dancing and chanting; not paying attention to me. I still had my trusty Miracle Blade, which I fished out of my pocket and used to quietly cut the ropes. I was about to sneak away when I saw something to stop me in my tracks.

Gracie had Amanda in a headlock. She chanted something ominous and slit Amanda’s throat.Gracie let Amanda drop unceremoniously into the hole and licked the knife; a look of rapture on her face.

Whatever Natasha thought they were doing out here, that wasn’t it. With a snarl she threw herself at Gracie, who took this too in stride, side-stepping Natasha’s charge, managing to slash the woman's stomach in the process.

The wound looked fatal, but I’ll never know because Natasha’s forward momentum propelled her into the hole. Her scream was audible for some time.

I’d seen enough. Moving faster than I ever have I ran and grabbed Gracie, painfully wrenching the knife from her grasp. I dragged her to the tree, tying her firmly in place.

Bizarrely (or perhaps not so much, given the night’s events), Gracie seemed to enjoy being man-handled. Her cry was almost joyful when I grabbed her arm, and she moaned in delight each time I tightened the ropes. My first violent act against a woman and she was enjoying it! I took this not as a good sign.

“It’s over.” I said. “Whatever sick game you are playing here is done.”

She strained against the ropes; enjoying the sensation. “Are you going to beat me now?” 

Oh yeah: I sure can pick ‘em.

Before I could answer a giant rabbit came into the clearing. I’m not kidding: it was at least five feet tall. (Look who you see when you don’t have a video camera.) The rabbit was limping, and blood-stained. It looked at Gracie with what can only be described as recognition, hatred, and a look of contemplation, as if musing how it would look in a Gracie-skin coat.

He tried to tell them "Cottontail" was insulting, but no one would listen until it was too late.

For her part Gracie was no longer enjoying the festivities. Like a woman possessed she thrashed at her bonds, until her skin was raw and bloody. Somehow she got free.

I prudently had both knives, but Gracie didn’t seem to need one as she circled the hole, stalking the Rabbit. It looked wary, but grimly determined to end a fight that clearly predated this night and this place.

The rabbit looked at me as if trying to impart some message. Then, without warning, the rabbit jumped into the hole. With an inhuman shriek Gracie leaped in after him. I stood in stunned disbelief that Gracie had followed the rabbit down the hole.

I picked up the shovel (so the evening wouldn’t be a total loss) and the flashlight, and cautiously peered over the edge down the hole. It was empty and went on as far as I could see.

“Say goodnight, Gracie.”

© 2004 by Hyperion All Rights Reserved.

(the hole, in better times, after the Government covered it up
and put a listening device there in case Gracie ever came back...)

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