"It's my turn!" said Umbra after everyone had had their shivers over Maddy's tale. The lionhead reluctantly gave up her spot in the light for the black rabbit. The flickering fake candle made her black glossy fur seem to just eat the light. It was hard to see where she ended and shadows began. The light also seemed to make her eyes glow red, growing brighter then deeper as the light changed.
"Back before bunnies had the closet system, we traveled by actual tunnel. Anyone who has seen Bugs Bunny knows the ones I mean." There was much nodding, everyone knew Bugs! Even if he was a rather typical Dutch bunny, he was epitomy of bunny ingenuity.
"Late one night, two bunnies, a kit and her dam, were travelling by tunnel when the rain that had been going on and off all day turned into a deluge. Down came the rain, so hard it started leaking into the tunnels. For all that the tunnels made travel faster and safer, they weren't waterproof. Soon it got so bad the two buns were soaked to their hocks and had to abandon the tunnels before they got covered from tail to ear in mud." Umbra's nose wiggled madly.
"They clambered out of the nearest exit hole to find themselves out in the cold, wet, night." Umbra huddled down as if caught on cold rain. "'Momma,' said little Lucy Bun, 'What'll we do?' Her mother turned to her and said 'We'll just have to find somewhere dry to wait out the storm.' and so, she periscoped about, sniffed the air and started to hop in what seemed like a random direction." Umbra echoed the periscoping and sniffing.
"Sure enough, they soon saw a flickering glow through the rain. They were hopping with a bit more haste than cautiousness, a haste that got greater when the first bolt of lightning cracked across the sky!" A loud thump, Umbra acted out the lightning, causing several buns to jump and then try to look like everyone BUT them had been startled.
"The two rabbits found themselves coming up on what looked like a classic English cottage. They huddled under the overhang of the front door and finally Momma Bun thumped on the door." Umbra thumped against the coffee table leg, an echoing thudding noise in the strained silence of the room. They pressed up against each other, wet fur still offering some body heat as the door creaked open, a pair of red eyes looking out." Umbra huddled down and acted like she was creeping forward.
'"Yes?' said a quivering voice, 'What are you doing out in this storm?' It sounded like an elderly female bun. The eyes, that seemed to be reflecting the lightning strikes, backed up and the two cautiously crept in. 'My pardon, Lady Doe, but we were travelling and got caught in the weather. Perchance can we rest on your rug until it passes?' As they got into the foyer, their eyes adjusted to see they looked upon a little white rabbit so old her fur had started to turn grey. 'Oh goodness, of course you can!' the elderly bun told them and led them into the living room. 'Now you just wait here!' and before they could agree, or not, the doe had hopped out of the room with surprising dexterity in one so old."
Umbra sat back down, meatloafing, "They sat in front of the fireplace that was mostly embers but still glowing. There was plenty of light for them to see by. 'Momma, I'm hungry' complained little Lucy bun. 'I know, sweetheart, but not much to be done now. You'll have to wait till we can see grass outside.' Lucy made a grumbling noise and turned away from her mother to sulk. The sulk was interupted by their host returning, pushing along a couple of hay pans. 'Now, I can't have you starving and wasting away on the hearth. My mother raised me better than that!'"
"Momma Bun quickly got to her feet to take the hay pans. They were surprisingly heavy for the ease the elderly doe had seemed to have. They were topped to over flowing with fresh orchard hay. A luxury, indeed. 'Oh, how can we ever thank you for this kindness?' asked Momma Bun. The elderly bun smiled at her, 'You bring life and youth to my house, that's thanks enough. Its a little thing, I do not get much company any more.' Momma Bun thanked her again, Lucy Bun piped in with several thanks before dragging the smaller pan nearer to the fire before diving in, literally, to the hay."
Umbra mimicked a dive and munch. "The elderly bun left them to their late dinner and to dry by the fire. Tummies full, bodies warm, it wasn't long before they both fell asleep, little Lucy crawling over to sleep by her Momma's side."
Umbra stretched and shook a hind leg before settling once more. "Momma Bun was the first to wake when a breeze ruffled her fur. Startled she opened her inner eyelid and looked around. The pretty, compact and warm little house of the night before had turned into what looked like a burnt out ruin! The rafters were charred, the thatched roof was gone, the wood floor was cracked and peeling, the walls missing. She was staring, wide-eyed and stunned when Lucy Bun woke beside her and yipped. 'Momma! What happened?' Lucy cried. 'I don't know!' Momma answered, honestly. The rain had stopped, but there were no puddles on the floor, inside the ruined home was bone dry. 'But I think we should go..' She got up out of the hay pan that was now filled with old, brittle blades. Still edible, but not the tasty orchard hay bed it had been the night before."
Umbra hunched up, whites of her eyes flashing in the flickering light. "The two bunnies hurried out of the decayed building, grateful to see the sun peeking out through the clouds, a few beams showing in the early morning light. The trail of their earlier passage wasn't hard to find and follow. When they came upon a badger sticking his nose out from his den amongst the roots of an ash tree, Momma Bun stopped. 'Excuse me, Sir, what can you tell me about the house over there?' She nodded towards the way they'd came."
Umbra hunched, doing her best badger impression, "'Y'mean Old Lady Pawlina's place?' the badger growled, 'Been gone since the fire twenty-five years back. 'Ole Red Fox was tryin' to steal her land, but after a fire durin' a storm with no lightnin', any time he tried to go near the land he ran a scared. No one would go near it. Its haunted they say.' The badger turned his back towards them and dug a few pawfuls of dirt in their direction. 'I don't much care, I keeps to my own business!' the badger said over his shoulder before going back into his den."
Umbra sat back down, nose behind the electric candle, causing her shadow to jump all over the walls, "'Momma?' asked Lucy Bun, wide-eyed and worried. Momma wasn't much more steady, but she squared her tail and said 'Not all people are bad, so I guess not all ghosts are either. Maybe we should go leave some dandelions as a thank you.'"
Umbra's ears twitched, "And so they did, a warm breeze fluttering their fur when they turned to leave, continuing on their journey to Albuquerque."