“This is impossible! This can’t be happening!” Alice shouted as she began backpedaled away from the one eyed rabbit. Her legs felt weak, ready to give out at any moment. The rhythm of her heart fluttered like a hummingbird. She picked up some sticks and stones and began hurling them at the talking bunny. “Stay away!”
The rabbit avoided the poorly thrown objects with little effort. “Please calm yourself Alice. The time has come for us to return.”
“Get back. Keep away from me.”
“Millions will die if you don’t return with me. An entire world will come to an end. You must go.”
Words, or rather sound, escaped her mouth, which seemed to catch her and the rabbit off guard. Alice sweated and itched as she tried to make sense of what was happening. In a matter of moments her world was shattered and put back together in a garish fashion. Her vision started to blur and she suddenly got very hot.
“Calm down Alice,” the rabbit said in a soothing tone. “You don’t need to get yourself worked up in such a way before we leave.”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
The rabbit’s strange eye glanced about, peering through the mass of trees and bushes. Just beyond the sanctum of the woods the appearance of incandesant lights bursting into existence came to him. Neighbors undoubtedly heard her screams. “Please be quiet. You are drawing too much attention.”
“Good!” Alice took in a deep breath preparing to belt out another scream. Before she could the rabbit struck. Using more speed than any rabbit should possess he charged at her, knocking her to the ground. Just as quickly it pounced on her chest knocking the wind out of her. Standing victoriously on her chest the rabbit glared at her with disdain.
“I did not want to do this but you forced my hand.” The rabbit jumped up and sent the whole of his surprisingly heavy weight crashing down on her lungs. An explosion of colored dots popped in Alice’s vision. “Now, are you going to listen to me?”
What choice did she have? Grudgingly and painfully she conceded with a series of nods. “As I was saying, you need to come with me,” the rabbit continued. “The time has come for your return home.”
The rabbit leaped off of her chest allowing sweet air to come back to her ungs. She savored every breath like a waterlogged refugee.
“What are you talking about?” she said with a cough.
“That didn’t help.”
“All will be explained in due time my lady but for now we need to get moving. The comet is approaching rapidly.”
“Comet? The Voldo Comet?”
“Yes. Call it a gift courtesy of the Sisters of the Never. If we don’t make it to the cliffs soon our shot to leave shall be gone.”
She looked at him as though she had just seen him for the first time there was honesty in that strange eye. Her apprehension towards him began to melt away.
“You’re not kidding, are you?”
“No Alice. All of this is very real and very dire.”
“Why me? It’s not like I’m special.”
“My lady, as I have said all will be explained in due time if it doesn’t comeback to you sooner. We must make haste.”
Alice had no idea why she decided to follow the lead of the black rabbit. It all felt like a strange out of body experience. She moved like an odd marionette through the dark and the wild foliage. With each step the words of the rabbit bounced around her skull. Voldo Comet. Gift from the Sisters. Prophecy.
“What should I call you?” whispered Alice still struggling with the fact she was talking to a rabbit.
“You may call me Moxie, seeing as this is the form of your beloved pet. As I have stated though there will be a time and place for this, but here is not it.”
Words continued to fail Alice as she chased after the rabbit. Following his quick movements became nearly hypnotic. Faster and faster he went, his large padded feet trailing behind, with Alice struggling to keep pace. Dead leaves crunched underneath her feet as branches reached out to claw at her.
They reached a clear passing where stoic looking trees surrounded them. A roaring fire had already been set, flames lapping hungrily at the sky with yellow orange tongues. The fire sang with a crackling voice. Alongside the fire sat a small leather pouch that the rabbit bounded over to.
He stopped beside the bag and gripped it in his paws. His inky eye moved skyward as beautifully strange words left his mouth. At the end of the wondrous serenade he reached into the bag, tossing the powdery contents into the blaze. The fire responded in turn with an airy poof and the flames turning purple.
High above their heads the moon watched the events unfold with a pale glare. There the two of them stood facing the cliff that overlooked the rocky chasm. Alice quickly sidled up to Moxie’s side. Despite his small stature and rabbit body he had a strong reagl presence. His aura was so strong it saturated the air.
Head cocked heavenward Moxie studied the sky. “It’s coming. Empty your backpack.”
No argument came from Alice who removed the backpack, tossing its contents to the ground with reckless abandon. She put the bag back on. As soon as it was on her back Moxie leapt into the awaiting pouch. His silky whiskers brushed against the nape of her caramel colored neck, tickling her. Streaking towards them a trail of cosmic blue in its wake was the comet. It was much larger than Alice expected.
In her ear she could hear the rabbit whispering in that otherworldly language yet again. With eac flick of his tiny pink tongue the flames from the fire grew larger and wilder. The flames began turning a light shade of purple. It was hard to pry her eyes away from the sight. The fire spoke louder and started to dance in the dark.
“Once the comet passes by everything will be set in order,” said Moxie.
“What will happen then?”
“We’ll be taken to the land of Heart, your memories will come back, and the world will be saved…in theory.”
“Heart? What is it like?”
“Difficult to say. Time moves differently here. Possibly a thousand years have passed since I left. Long ago the land was a unified utopia. Peace reigned Heart. That’s how it had been for countless millennia, until that fateful day the southwest quadrant broke away. Thus started the downfall of Heart. None knew why the land broke off, but since it was large uninhabited noone thought much of it.
“We turned a blind eye to the goings on of the island which we called Loaz. A dark witch inhabited the land by the name of Ryla. She and her ilk soon built a tower that overlooked the world…the Sable Tower. One can see it no matter where you are in Heart, resembling a broadsword driven into the beating heart of the planet.
“Since the arrival of that abomination all of Heart has been in an uproar, everyone was at each other’s throat. Land clashed against their neighbor. War reared its ugly head. Blacksmiths were producing more blades than horseshoes. Alchemists made various poisons instead of cures. Wizards and mages delved into the dark arts. It wasn’t much longer until what was intact, separated as well. Lands of all shapes and sizes. That is when I first met you.”
Alice was on the verge of asking more questions, her curiosity far from quelled. She wanted to know about all the islands, more about the dark witch, and more about her connection to this rabbit. But before a word formulated on her lips Moxie silenced her with his own.
“Here it comes.” Alice’s eyes shot skyward and indeed the comet was closer, looking nearly as large as the moon. She felt the intense heat emitting from the hurtling sphere. It was the most beautiful thing Alice ever saw.
“This is it.” Moxie said. “It helps to close your eyes.”
She didn’t want to. She wanted to stay entranced by the comet, but she did as she was told and shut her eyes. The strange heat was stronger in the lidded darkness. Moxie on the other hand kept his eye on the encroaching comet. Everything was going according to the prophecy. All was right with the world, and soon he’d be back in his.
The Voldo Comet was only moments away. There was magic in the blue fires surrounding the comet and the purple flames of the campfire. He felt his body begin to dematerialize as the process was working. A second before the comet swept by he glanced to his right. His heart sank as his vision rested on the balding imp of a man making his way toward them.
Moxie cried out, but it was too late. They were all gone.