Breakfast With a Rabbit

Written for a short story competition ran by a local library. The entry had to amount to two sides of a4, and had to be inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and the theme of 'falling down a well'.
This piece won first prize.
Cover inspired by 'The Trouble with Wenlocks' by Joel Stewart.

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2. Part 2

A small voice piped up from the other side of the dinner table from behind a mound of carrots.

“This dinner table can be relied on to call itself a dinner table because it indeed serves me dinner, however it also had the unfortunate purpose of serving breakfast, and for a dinner table of such stature, it cannot, however bear the shame and is a terribly shy fellow, should you ever get to know him.”

Rutherford Henlé looked up in surprise.

Poking out from behind the large, seething mound of carrots were a pair of long, quivering ears.

They appeared to have a life of their own, and twitched almost spontaneously in gestures this way and that that reminded Rutherford of his step father’s moustache when he was angry.

The rabbit stood up.

Rutherford tried not to gasp in surprise, but there, before him was indeed a rabbit wearing a dinner jacket, a pleated shirt with ‘Dalek’ cufflinks, a pair of rather scruffy brown jeans and a bow tie that smiled out of the rabbit’s neck like an elated shark.

“What is your name, dear boy?” asked the rabbit.

Rutherford’s lip quivered for a moment, then, remembering his manners, he shoved out a dirty paw and recited his name, age and favourite food.

“Rutherford Henlé Wilkins eh?” queried the rabbit. One of the rabbit’s ears had knotted itself into a small ball, the other curved above it in an arc rather like a Shepard’s crook. Rutherford recognised the gesture as a question mark and was about to digress into staring at the ears, before one of the ears looped downwards and pointed to the rabbit’s face.

“Rutherford Henlé Wilkins, I said, dear boy, that is your name, is it not?”

Rutherford nodded hastily.

“My parents are both scientists. My mother is a biologist, and insisted on calling me Henlé, whereas my father is a physicist, and wanted to call me Rutherford. Father that is, not step-father.”

The rabbit noted Rutherford’s hasty correction and looked at the small boy curiously.

“What does your step father do for a living then, dear Rutherford Henlé?”

“Oh, he’s a lorry driver.”

The rabbit nodded profusely.

“Now, dear boy, we come to the interesting part of our delightful conversation. Would you so kindly be able to tell me why you are here?”

Rutherford’s face paled.

“I-I-“
“Speak up dear boy, If I so choose to eat another carrot while you are talking, I will need to be able to hear you through the ‘crunch’ and I would be awfully embarrassed if I had to ask you to repeat.”

Rutherford stammered some more as the rabbit chose a particularly bloated looking specimen and took a bite, ears beckoning for Rutherford to continue speaking.

“Well the truth is, I’m not quite sure, i-“

“Not sure, eh? Well, if you weren’t so polite I’d have to dissect you, however you seem quite alright to me so far, so I suppose it might be a bit of a gad to help you out a bit.”

The rabbit brushed the carrots off of the table and pulled out a small notepad and looked around for the pen.

One of its ears soon located a pen and handed it to him.

The rabbit took it and thanked it.

Rutherford quickly hid his expression of nervous awe as the rabbit turned to him and eyed him suspiciously.

“Rutherford.”

“Yes?”

“How long, do you believe, in whatever unit of time is most suitable, have you been suffering from amnesia?”

“Amnesia?”
“Yes, yes, it’s okay, you can talk to me- I’m a trained counsellor.”

“I-“

“Go on.”

“I don’t think I’m suffering from amnesia.”
“Oh?”

“Well, I seem to remember falling down a well.”

“A well?”

“A hole in the ground- where you get-“

“Yes, I know what a well is. You need to go to a hospital.”

Rutherford started back in surprise. “What’s that, sorry?”

“A hospital- it’s a big building with nurses and patients and doctors, but that’s not important right now.”

The rabbit stood up fast and with surprising strength grabbed Rutherford by the shoulders and lifted him into the air.

“We need to get you to a hospital-“

The rabbit’s words were caught on a sudden wind as Rutherford was whisked up, into the air. Rutherford blinked and struggled. A light flashed into his face and he opened his eyes.

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