Rabbits

 

            The highway runs a desolate span of vacant country marked on maps as the Sandilands.  Towering thin pines loom from the edge of the ditch by the road that winds its way through their domain.  Dim moonlight falls on the treetops and the patched lumpy surface of old highway, making the country glow a bluish-grey hue suiting the frigid night air that was growing colder as the night wore on.  Black shadows stretched away from the trees that gave them existence reaching for the gravel shoulder where the pale light cut the darkness and kept it at bay. A white rabbit emerged from the pines through soft snow that filled the ditch.  It hopped onto the scraped shoulder and sat in a wheel tread left behind by a grader that cleared snow form the road.  Its ears held high, but no sound would meet them.  Thin tendrils of steam rose from the rabbit’s pink nose as it exhaled.  For a while the rabbit sat there without movement, barely visible against the frozen white shoulder of highway.  Just watching and listening, alone in the hollow night air that didn’t even hold a scent that the rabbit could smell.  At last, with caution, the rabbit moved forward and started crossing the highway.  Behind him, from the shadows, three more rabbits followed in the same slow cautious manner.  They stopped; the four of them spread across the highway raised their heads and ears.  For a moment they stood frozen as a sound thin as the moonlight rose from the East.  At first it was gentle in their ears but unnatural and threatening.  The sound grew louder and just beyond the rise in the highway a white light started to grow.  Without moving the rabbits watched the ever growing radiance as the source of this light broke over the surface with alarming harshness.  Still they stared at it with fear and amazement unaware that they grew blind to their surroundings. The sound in their ears had grown to a whistling roar.  The light was almost on them as one of the rabbit’s broke his hold and ran blind into the darkness.  The others did likewise, scattering in terror for both sides of the road.  The light jerked to the right as if chasing down its prey; but then it jerked again to the left.  Just as the lights passed the fleeing rabbits a skidding roar followed.  Darkness flooded over the road in the wake of the light as it plowed into the north side ditch.  Two foggy red lights lay sticking out of the deep snow looking at the highway and skid marks leading off it into the ditch.  A sparkling of snow dust hovered around the red lights as all went still yet again.

The End

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