“The rabbits. But how?”
Daniel was staring at what looked like hundreds of rabbits, all standing on their hind legs, all with glowing red eyes and if possible, with facial expressions twisted into cruel hate.
“They have their ways in and out, Daniel. My guards use the doors only when visitors are present.”
For an instant, it seemed ridiculous to Daniel that a bunch of rabbits could threaten predators such as a lioness and an owl, but their size and sheer numbers made them a threat, and both the Queen and the owl made no move against them.
The ten year old turned to Olivia. “You knew”.
“Yes, Daniel. I knew about the guards. They won’t harm us or the Queen. They are here only to prevent her escape or rescue.”
“We don’t mind her sharing her secrets with you, boy.” It was the rabbit the Queen called Cheryl speaking. In fact, it only hastens your doom.”
“You must go now.”
Daniel turned to face Queen Areille again. “But you haven’t told me how I’m supposed to stop Gerald.”
“You will find out in due time, Daniel. The answer is within you. Just listen to the…”
“Enough.” Now Cheryl sounded angry and the rabbits around her were becoming increasingly restive. “You must leave now. Follow me, please.” The last few words definitely sounded like a threat.
With Cheryl ahead of them and numerous rabbits behind, Olivia and Daniel were being forced out of the Queen’s throne room.
“I promise we’ll find a way to free you, Your Highness,” the owl called back.
“Journey safely, my friends.” If the Queen said anything else, her words were cut off by the slamming of the two main doors.
This time, a great number of rabbits escorted the duo down the many flights of stairs, through the multiple chambers, and finally to the room where they had arrived.
“It is time for you to fly, owl.” Cheryl bared her teeth and her companions followed suit. Irrationally, Daniel was reminded of dialogue from one of his Dad’s favorite movies:
“Behind the rabbit?”
“It is the rabbit!”
“Now if only I had a ‘holy hand grenade’,” the boy muttered, mostly to himself.
“Get on the owl and get out!”
“Climb on, Daniel. Hurry.” Olivia seemed almost panicked.
Daniel quickly obeyed and once more feathers secured him to the owl’s back. Without another word, she leapt out of the window and took wing.
The jeers of the rabbits were rapidly left behind. Daniel leaned forward. “Where to now, Olivia?”
“We have little time left. I can think of only one place where you’ll be safe.”
“You mean from Gerald?”
The owl shot through the mountain passes and made for the flatlands as fast as she possibly could, especially with the burden of Daniel on her back.
Far above came a cry the child and owl both dreaded. The boy looked over his shoulder and up. This time it wasn’t Rochelle’s shadow against the sun, but Gerald’s. Then his wings folded back like a falcon’s and he began his lethal dive toward them.
This concept is loosely based on Iain Kelly’s recent A to Z Challenge 2017 story series. Every day, Iain crafted another puzzle piece to his murder mystery that had me and his other readers spellbound. I doubt I can create the suspense he conjured up, but when my wife got a giant A to Z jigsaw puzzle for our two-year-old granddaughter, I thought I’d give it a whirl.
I don’t have a lot of time, so I think each “letter” will be shorter and I’m not sure I can write one every day, but I’ll do my best.
The previous story is Q is for Queen.
The next story is S is for Sheep.
I’m back home now, and I have a little more time to write. I took photos of each of the remaining puzzle pieces, so I should be able to continue writing regularly. My schedule will be interrupted again next Thursday, but hopefully, I’ll have several other chapters published by then. Enjoy.