“…Where…am I…” Carla groaned, her head throbbing like a balloon had just been popped in her ear. Slowly, she lifted herself, sitting up like a crotchety old lady, and she felt her back crack like one too.
“Oh!” she heard a voice say, “You’re awake!”
Carla blinked and in a fright realized she was in some sort of…tunnel. Moss and roots grew from the earth ceiling and scrambling backward her shoulders thumped against a cold dirt wall, and skittish she whacked her head on the curved (and very low) ceiling, sending soil tumbling over her head.
“What! Where – how! Ah!” she cried frantic, but froze, as she looked ahead and saw a warm hearth, firelight gleaming lovingly, and there hunched over a wee iron pot, wearing an apron and holding a ladle was… Well, there isn’t exactly any other way to put this.
Wearing an apron and holding a ladle was a long-eared rabbit.
“Good morning!” the rabbit cooed, “Or, I guess I should be saying good evening, as it is quite late. But, oh-ho you know! Polite sayings and all that. How’s your head?”
Carla sat slouched, far too big for the warren (house?) to which she found herself in, aghast. In a state of disbelief she felt a strange calm sweep over her.
“I’m dreaming, right?” she stated, unconvincingly, her left brow cocked. “This is a dream.”
“A dream? What! What rubbish!” the rabbit declared, putting its paw on its hip, or, perhaps hindquarter. Carla stared, and looked about her, blank eyed, seeming not to understand what was happening. The rabbit wiggled and snitched its nose, watching, and murmured, “Hmm. Maybe you hit that head of your’s harder than I thought.”
“How – how is this possible? How did I get here?”
“Oh shush, shush now. You calm that big head of your’s, love.” the rabbit lulled, making its way over to Carla and patting her comfortingly on the knee, “It has been quite a few years, I suppose. It’s not everyday a human woman wakes up in a warren with an intimidating talkin’ rabbit stirring borsch – ”
“It certainly is not.” Carla said.
“But you just relax.” the rabbit insisted, “Just let me finish up the dinner and I will explain everything.”
Carla looked down at her furry, unexpected keeper, and gazing into the rabbit’s big, deep eyes somehow put her in a sort of ease. It was warm, and the soup smelled wonderful. And, she suddenly had a vague recollection of having been in a place like this before…
“Now, you curl yourself up in that blanket there, and hand me the clover in that there cupboard.” the rabbit said, heading back over to the now boiling pot.
Carla did as she was told, and reaching her long arm and handing the rabbit a small bottle of clover she looked around her, seeing drapes and furniture, small tables and shelves and trinkets and things. And while looking to the walls, which she now saw were covered in pictures, she saw the portrait of a gentleman rabbit, with a pipe and dressed in a tweed coat, standing by a river next to a young human girl, dressed in an apple gown with a head full of radiant curls. Carla leaned forward, and suddenly realized she recognized the girl in the photograph. Blinking, she felt her heart flutter, and a long buried, sort of joy flooded her chest. Her eyes welled with happy tears.
Why, it was none other than her.