Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Turbo inches forward along the long, dark hallway, looking for the shrine of the four spirits - the four eternal protectors of Bunnlandia. Locked in the dungeon there by Friar Freckles, there's nowhere to go but forward - slowly, timidly, half-hoppity forward. "X marks the spot," said Friar Freckles, and Turbo listens to the echo against the stone cold walls as he repeats this phrase aloud. He follows the wall on his left, turning countless corners, further and further away from the door outta here. A feeling of great sadness starts to fill him, some kind of loss, like there's something missing in his soul. He's filled with visions of Bunnlandia's destruction, the marketplace destroyed, homes trampled, fire everywhere. It surprises him how much he cares about his fellow bunny just then, about his beloved land. He stops to cry. A single, solitary bunny tear falls down his big, dark eye and as it hits the ground the room fills with light. A giant "X" shines above him like the brightest beacon on top of a large, round structure of various woods and colors. And in front of this impressive shrine, stands the statues of three bunnies, united together by a golden rope. But the rope is broken, chewed in half. And there are only three statues, not four. These three statues begin to shake and sizzle, their eyes turn to living diamonds and they turn to look at Turbo.
"We are the four spirits of Bunnlandia. Are you the quester?" they say in eerie unison. Turbo doesn't know what this means, doesn't know how to answer the question. He's not questing anything, he's been locked in. "I said," they say, "we are the four spirits of Bunnlandia. Are you the quester?" He still has no idea how to answer this. He recognizes Honey Bunny. She winks at him, breaking the grand, stately air of the other two. "Just say yes," she whispers to him. "Uh, yes," he replies. "Oh, thank goodness," one of the other statues says, "I thought we were going to be at this all day; time is money." "He's strong, scrappy, too, but not so bright is he?" says the other. "He's sweet," says Honey Bunny, winking at him again. They continue in their eerie unison, "We are the four spirits of Bunnlandia. Honey Bunny, Money Bunny, Funny Bunny. We ensure Bunnlandia has love, trade, and humor, all things required for our land."
"But that's only three," says Turbo. "Obviously one of us is missing," they reply in a sarcastic, but religiousy way. "Sunny Bunny has been taken from us; sadness and hopelesness will come over Bunnlandia like a diseased and rotten plague. You must return her to us. Someone comes to take advantage of this weakness. It will destroy us all." Turbo asks, "But who took her? Where is she?" The three statues look at each other, puzzled by such a question. "Well that's for you to find out, isn't it? We can't do everything," they reply. The statues turn to rock again, and the shrine goes dark. That feeling of sadness returns, along with the darkness.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Meanwhile, back at the temple, Friar Freckles rushes Turbo down a flight of stairs, the door to which is hidden underneath a pile of hay. Turbo has many questions, things like, "Friar, why are you bald? Why does this place smell overused litter?" But Friar Freckles is impatient and says, "we have no time for that. You must do something for me now, quickly. It has been foretold that you can find the secret shrine hidden underneath the temple - only one bunny in all of Bunnlandia can see it. The spirit Honey Bunny appeared to me in a dream just last night and said it would be you. That you would knock on my door. And here you are." Turbo interrupts, "Honey Bunny? Why I just saw her, she just got me out of prison. How does she do that floating thing?" Friar Freckles seems miffed, "she appeared to you? In person? Just like that? In prison? Wow, the spirits are really scraping the bottom of the Carrota barrel these days, aren't they? Look, I don't know why, but it's you. So just listen up."
They reach the bottom of the long, winding staircase, and come into a giant room made of white, painted wood. It's dark, the only light coming from the open door above them, and it smells of rancid lettuce. "The shrine of the four spirits is hidden from view at the end of that long dark hallway ahead of you. We have had no need to seek it for centuries, but the legend says that in every generation, only one bunny can see it, let alone find it. It contains the power of the three spirits of Bunnlandia who keep our land safe and protected. If something has happened, if something is wrong with Bunnlandia, the shrine will show it to you. You must find it, Turbo. There has to be some reason that this darkness, this evil tower, has entered our land. Something is wrong. Now, go. I don't know what it looks like or how you'll find it, the old legends say that it's round and apparently X marks the spot. Return to me when you've found it."
"But, it's dark in there," he says, inching slowly forward to see if there's any light in the hallway ahead. There's not. "No, I'm not going in there." He turns around to look at Friar Freckles, but the bald, freckly friar is gone. There's a thud above as the entrance to the staircase is shut and locked, leaving Turbo in complete darkness. How is even supposed to see the X? Is this just another prison? Has Turbo been fooled again? He scratches his head and thinks about what he should do next.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
His master, The Grimalkin - self-proclaimed Queen-Elect of Bunnlandia, is hungry. And Floppy Puff Puff is bound to do her bidding. She wants one of the tower-workers for lunch. With great effort and wobbly legs, he uses the sound of the hammer to guide him, unable to see through the haze of fur that covers his eyes. Bunnlandia is doomed. Everybunny's fate lies in the stomach of the great beast. And it's all his fault.
Some time ago, Floppy Puff Puff was banished to the dark forest where nobunny dares ever go. He had run head on into King Niblet, unable to see where he was going, and upsetting the King is a great offense immediately punished by banishment. He apologized profusely, but it was of no use. Niblet is a sensitive king and easily sent into a tither. Floppy Puff Puff roamed the woods blindly for more than a month, using his keen sense of smell to search for food and burrowing under piles of leaves for safety. Then one day, he met her - The Grimalkin. He heard her roar and he bolted - right into her giant, lead-like foot. She spoke to him loudly, asked who he was, where he came from, and as she roared at him, his hair blew back and he was able to see her - a giantess with sharp fangs and ears that mesmerized, and the strong, intoxicating smell of cheerios all around her. He felt something come over him, and he told her everything. He was terrified. She promised not to eat him if he would take her and her daughter to his land. He explained he was banished and could not return. "I'll take care of everything, fluffy one, just lead me." For some reason, he couldn't say no to her, and it was sure death if he did. He used his nose and they were there in less than two days. The rest is a painful blur to him.
And now he finds himself leading one of his fellow-bunnies down to her, where her teeth await him, cruel payment for his hardwork on her behalf. He listens at the door. There's a gulp and a smack, and that bunny is done. This is all his fault.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
"Floppy Puff Puff!" the Grimalkin roars and the building shakes. Her minion, a big ball of fur named Floppy Puff Puff, nervously runs toward her, bumping into the tower walls along his way, his vision blurred by all the hair that grows around his eyes - and everywhere else. "Yes, your majesty," he quakes like a cotton ball on a vibrator. "I'm hungry," she yells, "and can smell the rains coming; when is this building going to be finished?!" Floppy Puff Puff thumps his feet in fear, careful to stay far enough away that the Grimalkin doesn't take him for her dinner. "You've eaten all the storages, your majesty, and your yelling has scared everybunny in Bunnlandia, the rabbits won't come near. The cheerios aren't working anymore." The Grimalkin licks her lips and flops down on the ground, the impact shakes Floppy Puff Puff's fur.
"Minion, do I look like a stupid rabbit to you?" "You don't look like a rabbit at all, your majesty." The Grimalkin smiles a sly kind of smile and lazily cleans her claws with her tongue. "But I have the ears of one, don't I? And isn't it her ears that makes a rabbit?" Floppy Puff Puff gulps, "yes, you're right. I don't know what I was thinking." She stands up again and circles Floppy Puff Puff slowly, her eyes on him at all times. "I said I was hungry, and I asked when this tower would be done. The workers aren't working fast enough. Rain is hell on my rabbit fur," she smirks. "The answer is easy, Floppy. The workers need a little fear in their bones. Fear will make them work harder. And I am hungry. Are you getting what I'm telling you?" Floppy Puff Puff doesn't, but he nods as though he does, anything to quell her anger.
"Then move!" she roars, the air from her breath blowing his fur back, his eyes finally unobstructed, and he can see down the Grimalkin's throat and the sharp teeth that line her mouth. "Bring me one of the workers! That fat, brown rabbit. He's useless here. Bring him to me." Saliva drips from the Grimalkin's teeth, and Floppy Puff Puff does as he's told.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
"Catch him," the Sheriff yells from the other room. It's now or never Turbo. He can feel one of the police bunny's breath on his cotton tail. Now! He pushes his feet with great force and clears the doorway, bolting with great speed in the direction of Bunnylon Temple, looking back often to see if he's being followed.
He arrives within minutes, panting and out of breath, his sides hurting from being stuck in the doorway. He rings the bell. No one answers. He rings it again. He looks behind him, the sheriff is coming. He must get inside. He rings the bell continuously. They're coming closer. They've spotted him. "There he is," yells the sheriff, fat old Deputy Flopsy trailing behind them.
Just then the temple door opens, a frightening, hairless animal standing before him, strange dots all over his wrinkled, pink skin. "Turbo, you've arrived." But Turbo has never seen this animal in his life. What kind of animal is that even? "You better hurry inside," he says, catching sight of the posse that's coming toward them. Turbo hops inside, and this animal, this thing, closes the door behind them with a great thud. The sheriff reaches the door and bangs on it. "Do not fear, I will not let them in," says the scary animal. "Who are you? And how do you know my name," Turbo asks, grateful for the help, but really creeped out and shaking nervously. "I am Friar Freckles," he replies. "And I've been expecting you."
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Turbo eats his weight in cabbage. After two full days in prison, his engorged belly is lucky he stopped there. He has successfully eaten the entire food storage of the family who owns the house he's squatting in. And after that meal, he ain't movin'. Or so he thought...
He's not home three hours (three delicious, cabbage filled hours) when there's a banging at the door. It's not Turbo's house, so he's not going to answer it. His stomach's too full for him to move, so he lays there on the floor, his ears alert, paying attention to what's going on outside. There's a group of bunnies out there. The banging stops. There's some movement, shuffling. They're at the top of the burrow now, near the skylight above where Turbo lies. There's a nose that pokes in; a nose with a patch of hair missing. It's the sheriff! "I see you, Turbo," he yells. "You come out peacefully or we're coming in!"
"Damn it," Turbo whispers, and rolls his body onto his feet. Why won't those idiot savages leave him alone?! The ceiling is crumbling as the sheriff digs his nose in deeper. Someone's trying to bang the front door down, too. Turbo has to leave; it's not safe here. He's now officially on the run from the BPD. Slowly and with much difficulty, his full belly dragging the floor, he makes his way to the secret door where the food is (was) stored. Honey Bunny said there'd be sanctuary at the temple, so that's where he's heading. But yikes does his tummy hurt. All of a sudden, he finds that he's stuck in the door; his stomach is so bloated that it's bigger than the exit. He frantically pushes his large hind legs forward, but his body can't make it through. He hears the sheriff fall through the roof at the same time the other police bunnies break the door down. With all his might he tries to push himself through, but the cabbages anchor him to the door frame.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
After a full day of interrogation - the old "good bunny, bad bunny" routine - they could still not get Turbo to admit that he was responsible for the mysterious tower being built on the outskirts of Bunnylon, nor that he had any information about it whatsoever. The sheriff and Deputy Flopsy tried everything: held mint under his nose but too far away for him to eat it, promises of more Carota, threats of exile to the Dark Forest, but nothing would make Turbo even pretend to know anything. Starving and tired, they threw him back in the cell, Deputy Flopsy keeping watch over him while snacking on fragrant herbs.
Late that night Turbo wakes to find a silvery rabbit floating above him in his cell, gently whispering his name. Turbo has never seen a bunny float before and it freaks him out. He huddles against the corner of his cage, while Deputy Flopsy remains asleep. "I've come to help you, Turbo," whispers the floating rabbit. "I am Honey Bunny, one of the three spirits of Bunnlandia, and I come to you now to help you, but you must promise to help me in return. A dark force is growing in Bunnlandia, and you have been chosen to save us from it. Don't ask why, all will be revealed. For now, get thee to Bunnylon Temple where you will find sanctuary. There someone will tell you what to do next." Then Honey Bunny, whose fur glows like moonlight, twitches her nose three times and the prison door opens.
Deputy Flopsy stirs slightly, but his eyes stay closed. Turbo looks to the corner to ask Honey Bunny what the heck is going on, but she's gone, vanished. Turbo's not one to turn down a gift, whoever it's from, so he quietly hops out of Bunnylon Prison. But this is starting to get weird - the cops are after him for no reason, ghosts are visiting him in the night with talk of doom and gloom. That's just not Turbo's thing, he can't take care of himself, much less save all of Bunnlandia, and all this over stupid tower? Nuts. So instead he hops his way back to the place he was staying, excited about the cabbage stash he knows is there.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
"Book him, Flopsy," the sheriff says to the fat, grey floppy eared bunny Turbo had seen at the carrot market. Turns out that was the sheriff's deputy, Deputy Flopsy Buns. Flopsy looks irritated at having to move, but slowly he rolls himself toward Turbo and cuffs him. Turbo is too hungover to resist.
They take him down to Bunnylon Prison and put him in a dirty cell full of old, unemptied litter and gave him wilted, rotten lettuce to eat. He begs for aspirin and something greasy to eat, anything to make the pain of the hangover go away, but they just laugh at him and throw straw in his face. Fat old Flopsy hunkers down right outside Turbo's prison cell and snacks loudly on raisins, torturing poor Turbo whose head is still throbbing and whose belly rumbles for decent food. But Flopsy doesn't say a word, just stares at him and chomps his food.
The next day, Flopsy returns, sits right there in front of him and devours crisp greens while Turbo watches. Flopsy lets out a big belch, wipes his mouth, and finally speaks. "What were you doing down there at City Hall?" Turbo replies that he just wanted to help Bunnlandia, came down because the Mayor asked; no one was there so he helped himself to the Carota; thought it was there for some kind of reception for everyone who showed up. "That was a trick," Flopsy replies. "Everybunny's afraid of that tower, no one will go near it, not with the roars coming out of that place and the disappearances. The only bunny who wouldn't be afraid to show up would be the person building it. We were trying to lure the culprit with promises of riches. Seems it worked, too. You're the tower builder, aren't you?" Turbo says no, that he just wants to help, but Flopsy ain't buying it. "Tell it to the sheriff," he says. "We're taking you down to the interrogation room. You're going to tell us the truth - even if we have to starve you to get it."
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The next day, Turbo wakes at noon and has a long leisurely breakfast, finishing off the rest of the food stash he found in the home, then moseys on down to City Hall. He expects there to be hoards of bunnies there vying for a chance at that prize of 100 carrots and a room in the castle, so he doesn't hurry; but Turbo rarely hurries for anything. To his great surprise, when he gets to City Hall nobunny is there. The place is completely empty - no one lined up for these tests, not even the city employees are there. He walks around the grounds looking for someone, trying all the locked doors, banging on windows, but nothing. "Figures," he says to himself as he hops around to the back of the building. No one there either. But near a service entrance he sees a big barrel of Carota - carrot juice fermented with hops - a drink that will get a rabbit seriously messed up.
He looks around again, making sure he's not being watched. Confident that no one's around, he chews a hole in the bottom of the Carota barrel and starts to guzzle the stuff. At first the Carota makes his nose tingle, then a warmth travels through his body. Then he starts giggling hysterically and singing, still guzzling down the sweet beverage, getting it all over him. He's covered in the stuff when he blacks out, his paws up in the air, his fur stained orange.
After some time he wakes up. He slowly opens his eyes, his head is pounding and his sight is blurry; he sees something strange in front of him, smells a warm, sour breath. "Seems we got ourselves a public drunk," he hears, the voice loud and close, making his head hurt worse. Finally his eyes focus, and staring him in the face is the Sheriff of Bunnylon, the big bald patch on his nose inches away from Turbo's orange stained face.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Since leaving the bunny orphanage, Turbo has been smooth-talking friends and acquaintances into letting him sleep on their couches or the floors of their storage rooms, hopping from burrow to burrow, refusing to get a job. After stealing the enormous orange carrot from the Carrot Market, he returns to the place he's currently squatting (the home of a family vacationing in Parsley Village), and devours it, along with the homeowners' secret stash of dried mango. With a full belly and an unblemished conscience, he lays on the sofa for the rest of the day and reads the Bunnylon newspaper, The Daily Tribunny, he stole from the neighbor's doorstep.
The front page headline reads: MAYOR O'HARE AFRAID OF TOWER - CALLS ON BUNNYLON RESIDENTS FOR HELP. "Hmmm," Turbo thinks to himself, "that must be what the sheriff and that fat, gray bunny were talking about." According to the article, the base of the tower and the impenetrable fence around it went up over night. The mayor of Bunnylon, Mr. Triscuits O'Hare, and the BPD have been unsuccessful in contacting anyone inside the tower. No one is seen working on it during the day, and the Rabbits on night patrol are mysteriously lured away with what one sole survivor described as a magical and irresistible scent of Cheerios (an intoxicating treat that can only be found on the black market of Bunnylon). Night after night, the tower grows taller and rabbits of the BPD keep disappearing. The King of Bunnlandia is being called back from the winter palace to hold a special session with his closest advisors. Bunnies everywhere are terribly afraid. Roars are heard from within the tower walls; roars that make the bunnies quake all the way to Litter Village. "If you think you can withstand the lure of the sweet Cheerio and find information on the inhabitants of the Tower or those who work on it," the article continues, "come to City Hall for a series of tests. Should you pass these tests and discover information about the scary tower, you will receive an award of 100 carrots and one year's accommodation inside the King's castle with as many books as you can chew. Bunnlandia and your King need you."
"100 carrots and the chance to chew all the books I want? And a place to live? Just for sitting outside some stupid tower for a night? Sign me up!" Turbo says to himself, nodding his head vigorously. Sometimes he thinks his fellow rabbits aren't so bright. He cleans his ears and takes a nice, long nap. Tests! Whatever. Might as well show up, though.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Bunnlandia is a sprawling land of green hills and valleys, placid lakes, and tranquil mountains, where rabbits raise their young in peaceful villages. Each village claims responsibility for one of Bunnlandia's necessities. There is Hay Village, Carrot Village, even a Litter Village. The goods these villages create are taken to market in Bunnlandia's only city, Bunnylon -- a bustling city with a great market place in the center where rabbits go for things they need -- food, toys, grooming, socializing, and information.
But not all rabbits are fortunate enough to live in these peaceful villages with their loving, protective families. Some rabbits have bad luck, some rabbits like Turbo -- an orphaned bunny who lives in the city, fending for himself with cunning and wit, talking farmers out of food, charming lady rabbits out of precious alfalfa pellets, slyly taking carrots from vendors stands. Which is where we find Turbo now - here in the carrot market, hiding among the crowds of rabbits. As he inspects a particularly sweet-smelling carrot, one that he plans on surreptitiously dropping into his bunny pouch, he overhears a conversation between a fat gray rabbit and the sheriff of Bunnylon -- an oversized floppy-eared rabbit with a bald patch above his nose. They are nervously talking, fear in their voices. It seems that just outside the city limits, a great tower is being constructed. No one knows by whom, no one knows how, no one can pass through the gates that have been erected.
But what does the hungry Turbo care. He has only himself to worry about. He slips the carrot into his pouch. The sheriff doesn't see a thing.