By Stephan Mielnik
The click clack clacking noise of sharp heels rings through the hallway, Mother Rabbit’s hard-to-ignore heels. They grow louder and louder the faster they approach the Young Bunny’s door.
The young bunny hurriedly hides her tiny straw hat, which she’d worked her best on for a week or two. It’s her greatest one yet, and she’s been absolutely thrilled about it for the past couple weeks since she started. She knows her mother would be mad if she saw it in her possession again. In comes the Mother Rabbit, she glares at her daughter with her hands on her hip. Her eyes say anger, but her smile says “My child, do not fret.”
The young girl stares up at her mother, feeling ever so small in comparison. She avoids eye contact with the darkness beneath her bed, where she knew she hid her hat. Praying she’ll avoid any trouble.
“Are you not going to say a word, my dear?”
The bunny shakes her head.
“Hm. Would you mind at least telling me what that is?” The Rabbit hints at her daughter’s ‘immature’ hat. Mother frowns. “You needn’t wear such a flimsy, ugly thing, it’ll ruin your beauty, dearie!” She struts towards the bed, with the Bunny rushing to hide in the corner. With a quick grab and a throw, off it goes.
A young bunny stares up at her mother with a frown, asking “But why? I like its strange colorful patterns and its strange little patches. It’s character, it’s charming! Why won’t you let me have it?”
The Rabbit shakes her head, with that sickly smile on her face. “My dear, do not argue with me. Put your crown back on and comb your frizzy hair. We have a busy schedule, aren’t you aware?”
She smiles a faker smile than the last, and exits. The click-clacking of her heels fade away slowly.
The party was looming near, with the fancy cars and limos parking in the rear.
The young Bunny gazes outside her window, looking upon it all with a sense of worry and dread. No matter what, she never wanted to see her mother cry and wail over her own mistakes again, but yet, she was afraid.
Afraid of that all happening once more.
As she gets ready and forces her curls downwards, a sickness piles inside of her. For now, she ignores it. She has to.
Unfamiliar families with familiar names all came up at the big doors of the tropical paradise that was The Rabbit’s mansion, people in their animal masks with their strange odors and scents. ‘Greetings and welcome, greetings and welcome.’
Oh how it all feels too familiar to the young bunny, sooner or later she’ll mess this up again, she knows. It always starts off slow. She tries her hardest to greet every strange adult properly, wanting to keep the perfect posture, the perfect image, the perfect everything. “Every handshake counts, that’s what mother told me!” She says as the guests walk on by.
The average business begins, the strange adults with their strange substances and needles, with their strange teenagers leading the others away, and their strange children running around to play their strange games.
As usual, the bunny felt alone. Felt afraid.
Though, a new family turns up for the first time in days, with a familiar man the bunny often sees with her mother at the end of each and every long day. The Lion Man.
The rest’s familiarity felt foreign.
The family each goes their separate ways, the two boys retreating towards the snack table. The younger one left the area early, though the eldest stayed. The young bunny approaches him, perhaps to maybe ask his name, which she never did quite catch. Though when she opened her mouth, not a word made it out.
Again and again she tried, yet nothing. She just stood there, stuttering and frozen.
‘What would mommy think?’
‘I’ve done it again, I’ve done it again.’
The boy turns to look at her, noticing her silence and her discomfort. He let her take her time until he realizes she isn’t making much progress. With her awkward, seemingly horrified expression beginning to worry him, he sighs.
He spoke with his hands.
This takes her off guard, the young bunny deciding to respond back with her hands to match.
‘We can just talk like this if you can’t talk normally,’ he gestures.
‘If that is alright with you, I will follow through with it.’ The bunny smiles.
The strange boy stares at her, nodding his head and smiling too. ‘It’s nice to meet you, what’s your name?’
‘…Amadis. My mother isn’t aware of how to speak like this, so I can tell you my name.’
He feels a sinking feeling within him. A familiar sinking feeling. ‘She doesn’t seem so nice, she’s kinda scary. It’s why I never came to this place with my dad. Mom made me come today.’
‘Is your mom frightening as well?’
‘A bit, my dad’s really scary though. I don’t like my dad. That’s why I came over here.’
‘That’s fair, I’d say. You seem quite nice though. I am glad you decided to come.’
‘Me too. You seem so nice. And you’re very pretty.’
The bunny tilts her head out of confusion. ‘Is that so?’
The boy in the wolf mask nods, rapidly, as if to show how truly genuine he is. The young bunny giggles, returning to speak with her hands. ‘But what was your name? You never told me.’
‘I can’t tell you.’
‘Why is that?’
He seems to struggle with what to say, and he turns away to face the table. Though not to avoid Amadis, but to avoid someone else. He hides his hands for only the bunny to see. ‘My dad knows this language.’
He stands straight up again. Although he can’t look behind him, he knows he’s being looked at. The wolf boy gulps nervously. ‘…I really want to talk to you more, but I have to go. He will be mad at me. It was nice talking, Amadis.’
‘Yeah, it quite was. Goodbye.’
Off he went, though slowly and hesitantly. He looks back towards the bunny, smiling a final smile before returning to a frown.
As the bunny stares off into the distance where the wolf boy went, she feels the urge to go walk over there with him. Her mother shuts down any ideas by swiftly blocking her path.
“Are you enjoying the party, sweetie?” The Rabbit leans down to better look at her daughter.
“Uhm… Mama, may I ask you something?”
“Sure. What is it, honey?”
The bunny nervously points in the direction of the wolf boy. “Do you happen to know what family that boy in the wolf mask is from?”
The Rabbit’s smile fades. “The eldest Sumika boy? What’s the source of this interest, Amadis? Did he approach you?” The closer The Rabbit gets to her, the taller she seems to be to the bunny girl.
“Mommy, please, I’m just asking! Is he bad?”
“That… Family, all of it is bad news. We only associate with his father. I don’t know why they showed up here, Amadis.” The frustration and anger in her voice intimidate the poor bunny, overwhelming her. The Rabbit notices this, and attempts to put back on the facade to avoid disturbing her image. “Sweetie, stay here for me, ok? I’ll deal with this. Avoid causing any trouble. Talk to some other… Boys. Okay, honey? Do you understand, Amadis?”
“Good.” The Rabbit finally steps back, quickly turning around to make her way to the table where the previously mentioned Sumika family is currently at. The bunny, out of fear, stays seated by the table. She hugs her legs, and rests her head on her knees.
The Rabbit approaches the table, The Lion is busy yapping to another man with a sparrow mask, bragging about multiple things at once. His head is held up high, and he has his arm wrapped around the wolf boy. In contrast, the wolf boy’s head is hanging low. The rest of the family is long gone, the boy looks as if he wishes he could join them wherever they are.
“Leon. We must discuss something.”
The Lion turns his head to face her. He smirks. “Carita! I was wondering where you went, my dear. I was just talking about you.”
“Charm me later, Leon, I came by to make you aware that your son is poking his little head around in the wrong places.”
Leon’s smile fades, as he glances down at the wolf boy before looking back at The Rabbit. “Enlighten me.”
“Your little boy went ahead and harassed my daughter. Did you not tell him?
The Lion forces a smile onto his face once again. “Ah well, perhaps he didn’t know! Boys will be Boys, of course.” He chuckles.
“She was asking for him.”
He frowns a final time, this time with a hint of rage that wasn’t present before. “Silvio.”
The wolf boy stares down at the ground.
“Don’t ignore me, boy.”
The wolf sheepishly replies. “I have to go to the bathroom.” He quickly gets up, throwing his father’s arm off of himself and sprinting towards the restroom.
The Lion glares, though he stays put. He turns to look at The Rabbit, forcing a smile on his face. “Carita, I apologize for him. He’s been a little… out of control lately. I’ll deal with him later for you, alright? I’m busy currently.”
The Rabbit stares him down. “You better. I don’t want that Sumika boy anywhere near my daughter. I don’t care if he’s half your blood, he’s still got the blood of that… Pig you married.”
“Darling, please, I married her for the status and nothing more. Let’s argue about this at another time, okay?” The Lion hints towards the man in the sparrow mask in front of him. He doesn’t want to embarrass himself.
She rolls her eyes. The Lion stands up briefly to kiss her on both her cheeks, before sitting back down and shooing her away.
As the adults were arguing like children, the young bunny girl noticed the boy running off towards the rest rooms. She glances at her mother with worried eyes, contemplating whether or not it’s worth the risk of getting caught.
She decides that it is. Amadis stands up, rushing to the rest rooms to go meet with him again. She almost trips on her frilly dress a few times, though she eventually makes it to the door of the mens restroom. On the ground in front of it is the mask of the wolf boy. It’s cracked now. The bunny grabs it, looking left and right and behind to make sure nobody is looking before stepping inside the bathroom.
Surprisingly, there’s no adults or teenagers or anybody inside. Just the sounds of faint sobbing from one of the stalls. She assumes it’s him, and walks up to the stall.
“Uhm… Hey, it’s Amadis! The uhm, the girl from earlier. Is it you in there?”
Loud sniffles, alongside a sharp inhale and a cough. Eventually, he responds. “The bunny girl? What are you doing here? You’re not even a boy…” he lets out another cough. Although he sounds a bit different than she expected, it’s definitely him.
“I saw you running to the boys room and… You dropped your mask. I came to give it back.”
“I don’t want it.”
The bunny tilts her head. “…Why?”
The wolf gags. “He made you talk to me, didn’t he? Leave me alone. I don’t wanna talk, I don’t wanna.”
“Who? I came here on my own. I was just worried.”
“My dad. My dumb dad.”
“Why would he send me after you?”
“Cus’ I got in trouble.”
“Cus’ I talked to you. Your mom got mad.”
“Because of my family. Again. Now I’m gonna get beat again.” He sniffles again, blowing his nose with toilet paper before flushing it down. The wolf boy steps out to greet her. He looks like a mess. With his eyes now visible, they’re beautiful, yet tired.
The bunny gets very very worried. “Are you ok? You look like a corpse!”
“I don’t know.” He crosses his arms, avoiding eye contact. “I don’t wanna go home, Amadis.”
She tries to smile for him, in an attempt to make him feel better. “You can stay here! I think it would be very splendid!”
“My mom won’t let me. She doesn’t like your mom.”
“Oh…” The bunny frowns, looking down to the ground. “Can I… At least get your name?”
The wolf boy looks up at her, his eyes brightening up from the question for the first time. He grins. “My uh… My name is Silvi-“
The door is flung open, a familiar lion mask showing up behind it. “There you are!” The Lion furiously approaches the wolf boy, grabbing his arm violently, stabbing his nails into him like claws. “You’ve caused me NOTHING but trouble today, boy!”
The wolf tries to escape his grasp, but fails to do so. He simply looks back at Amadis with fearful eyes. As he struggles against his father, he uses his free hand to spell out a name.
Up until he was finally thrown out the door. She never did get to see The Wolf Boy again.
Once the party had finally ended, and the last of the families had fled, Amadis rushed up towards her bedroom to draw the name she saw the wolf boy sign. She scribbles it in her diary, making a drawing and some notes.
“Silvio. What a pretty name.”
She slides her diary into the secret spot it belongs in to hide it from her mother, hopping into bed to sleep, saying goodnight to each and every one of her stuffed animals. Soon she closes her eyes, at peace.
The click-clacking of heels can be heard in the middle of the night once again, the door to the bunny’s bedroom creaking open slightly. The Rabbit carefully takes off her shoes, before stepping in. She tip-toes to the secret hiding spot of Amadis’ diary, carefully sliding it back out and flipping to the newest page. There lies that name. Just looking at it seems to frustrate her. The Rabbit rips the page out, crumpling it and taking it with her.
“I refuse to let my daughter be anywhere near such an improper family.”