I was pleasantly surprised to find that “Wabbit” is an actual word. It means “exhausted” or “weary”.
As soon as they were scented out by the foxhound scout, the rabbit colony was in grave danger. Soon, more of his teeth-baring, salivating comrades will pick up the scent and join his flanks, moving silently through the foliage like stealthy things. And a certain death will fall upon the leporids in the form of gnashing jaws and iridescent eyes.
Cottontail the bush-rabbit was halfway through his morning yoga ritual when he heard the first distant bay of the dogs. He froze like a statue, ears rotating like a ship’s antenna, trying to confirm the incoming crisis. But he wasn’t the only one. Furry, white crested heads popped out of their burrows one by one. They were jolted from a certain slumber with a collective yet invisible electric current commonly felt by multitudes who sense a superior enemy is upon them.
Then the dogs broke through their concealing undergrowth in a blitzkrieg. Blurry lean muscles glinted in the sunlight, mixed with saliva and stupidity.
Cottontail had the misfortune of being in the crosshairs of two dogs, who came barreling towards him at such a frightening speed that he had no time to consider ducking back into his burrow. He instinctively made for the Great River, which was pockmarked with a labyrinth of safety tunnels.
Behold, a scene which has been repeated in many a time since our four legged brethern walked this earth: a lightning fast white streak of a rabbit zigzagging neatly through the undergrowth with such unconscious skill, with snapping teeth following behind, looking more and more exasperated and spent with every fallen tree truck they leaped over (Cottontail could of course go under them, his speed unhampered).
But hounds are not easy hunters to take leave of. Their brains are wired directly to their mouths, and their mouths to their stomachs, and once the scent of prey has reached them, nothing on God’s good earth can alter their course of conquest.
The rabbit can only last a few good minutes of full-speed sprint. The candle that burns twice as bright lasts half as long, and a good sized rabbit-heart like cottontails’s was close to exploding by the time the riverside burrow came into view.
There are many things dogs hate - but burrows - they hate the most. Ask any dog and they will agree that few things are maddening than chasing a victim only to end up digging futilely at a cleverly blockaded orifice in the ground. When our good friend Cottontail finally made it to his mode of escape, his predators nearly collided trying to leap in after him, but to no avail.
Within the dank safety of his safety burrow, Cottontail, who having had his morning ruining by the food chain in action, had escaped the double jaws of death, and was entirely spent.
Nose twitching, quivering, he backed into the cool earth, he was a wabbit rabbit.