The bunnyman must have been waddling towards our office at a leisure pace, because we catch him mid-step about seven meters away from us. His flint-grey-tipped ears twitch. On the periphery of my vision, his girthy sausage dangles to a stop. He lifts a dirt-brown hand to scratch at his fluffy mane, that reminds me of an Elizabethan ruff.
I hold my breath as I wait for the bunnyman to pounce at me and sink his incisors into my face. I almost crave for him to do so, to feel the shockwaves of pain as he shreds my flesh.
Jacqueline drapes an arm around my back and squeezes my shoulder to comfort me.
“What are you seeing, Leire? That horse again?”
In my mind, I see myself reflected in my doomed, equine friend’s bulging eyes, when they were puffy with sorrow as they leaked copious tears. I wish I could admire his glossy coat, with its tawny shades of sable and russet, perfectly groomed and polished to perfection. I wish I could pet him on his majestic forehead or caress the deep furrows above his nostrils. Spike had been bred by the dark gods to become the best cavalry horse in the universe, but he made the unforgivable mistake of rebelling against his fate.
I swallow a lump in my throat.
“No, Spike died. You know that, mommy.”
Jacqueline kneads my shoulder gently.
“A different horse then?”
The hulking, bunny-headed demon is eyeing me up as he sways on his feet like a ship bobbing on the ocean. I want to reach into his chest and rip out the pulsing, black-blooded heart that beats in there with sinister malice.
“Sentient, elegant horses I can handle,” I mutter, “but this bunnyman is just a pile of fur and fat with a glistening shaft to show for it. He should have died in the mud long before civilizations came about. I can’t deal with his drooling or the stink of death coming out of his armpits. I’m going to give him a piece of my mind.”
I approach the bunnyman with Jacqueline in tow while my spine trembles. I feel like a svelte, sexed-up whore in front of this brute’s sagging belly and his hunched back. The wet, matted fur of his face is yellow-tinged and reeks of urine. A glob of drool drops from the tip of his overgrown upper incisors and lands on the vinyl floor with a plop.
I’m scared out of my wits, I’m shivering with revulsion. I fear that my sanity will snap like a rubber band if I have to stare for one more second into this abomination’s gunmetal-grey eyeballs, that resemble marbles wedged into his skull. I’ve gotten a glimpse of the abyss of his soul, his vast and unfathomable depravity. I want to yank out his eyeballs then plunge my hands into the sockets to squeeze his rubbery gray matter until it bursts out in an explosion of gruel.
“Wh-what’s your problem, bunnyman?” I muster in an anguished voice. “You’re standing in the middle of our hallway and you think that you are allowed to be here? Look at that mess you call fur! It’s like a ratty carpet of fleas and lice. You must be the result of a sick orgy involving donkeys and sows, you hideous bastard. I shan’t bear the invasion of a horde of bunnymen who will prowl around to the ends of this planet, so come at me, demon! I’m ready to rip out your festering guts!”
My brain is bubbling with rage and disgust; when I hear Jacqueline giggle, it bewilders me. She bear-hugs me from behind.
“Leire, sweetie, you should calm down. Any of our neighbors may come down the hallway at any moment.”
“Good,” I grumble. “If I’m forced to stare at a naked bunnyman, so should they.”
The intruder draws his lips back, exposing the glinting incisors to their roots; his upper lip is parted in an inverted V-shape, and in between peeks out a clam-shell-pink nub of flesh disturbingly similar to a clit. He then huffs out a thick breath that smells like rotten flesh and stale urine.
“You are Leire,” he says with a gravelly voice. “You can help.”
My heart sinks into my bowels. I’m tempted to take a step back, then as many necessary until I reach the doorway to our office.
His eyes glaze over and a drooling slobber drops from his mouth.
“Wh-what the hell is wrong with you?” I ask while trying to hold in my hysteria. “Are you on drugs? Did you fall out of a tree and smash your head against a boulder? Spike seemed this spaced out the first few times he stalked me… Wait, you aren’t Spike, are you?!”
The bunnyman’s whiskers twitch. He raises a stubby hand, and I’m expecting a swipe to my jaw, a punch to my temple or a blow to my groin, but instead he reveals a handkerchief that’s embroidered with a coat of arms. He uses it to mop the piss off his face.
“Spike is gone,” he says somberly. “He’s lost in the void of time.”
A pang of grief rises in my throat as I contemplate Spike’s hay bed and his empty trough. His crazed black eyes will never gaze at me again with unbridled love as he gallops to greet me, or chase after me for that matter. Spike, my loyal mount, was a visionary: his idea of heaven was forcing me to ride him although I begged him to stop.
I clench my teeth before the tangle of emotions overwhelms me.
“So, Lord of the Hellfires, you are one of his pals, huh…?” I utter in a bitter voice.
The bunnyman lodges the handkerchief between his belly folds.
“We were friends, yes. And I’ve come in his place because he failed.”
I’m shaking with anger.
“You dare to stand before me in your abominable form without bringing me good news about my old pal Spike? You spineless turd! You let your friend rot away in some dank ditch? I was going to send him a bottle of whiskey from France and a letter describing my suffering. Instead, I’ll have to compose my own poem: ‘I will drink a glass of your piss, old friend, then I’ll give you a pat on the head and a scratch behind your ear’.”
The bunnyman’s lips droop, making him resemble a senile grandpa. As far as I can tell, this furry, bunghole-riddled lump of humanoid is thirty to thirty-five years older than me.
“Well, we’ve been short of good news since we meddled with the laws of nature, but there may still be hope left.”
My eyes are fixed on the bunnyman’s gum-nub. I shudder at the thought that one day it’ll sprout into a fully functioning clitoris. My loins ache, and the urge to touch myself is almost overwhelming.
“H-how can you expect any help from me while you’re presenting yourself as a hulking bunny beast? Why don’t you take off your skin and show me what lies beneath, you revolting monstrosity? Your fur is full of muck, your breath stinks of dead animals, you’re insane as a bag of rabid squirrels.”
The bunnyman huffs.
“We are the result of a daring experiment, one that I fear will get abused again and again.”
“I’m also the result of an experiment. Did you know that humans can produce new beings when they copulate? How did you come to exist, though? Were you spawned in a giant pile of manure with the help of some insane proctologist? I wish that the bacteria present in human and animal waste would have concentrated in a broth that would have stewed your beastly flesh in its own juices. If I didn’t have a pressing engagement, I’d smash you so hard that you’d end up as a puddle of bone fragments.”
The bunnyman’s nostrils flare wide.
“Are you done venting your outrage? Can we start talking in an amicable fashion?”
“Not with that cock in the picture! It’s so long and thick that it may as well be a shovel. At least Spike had the decency to be castrated. How could I have a civilized conversation with you while you’re concealing the most disgusting thing on my planet in that accursed sheath of skin? It looks like a length of rotten, knotted intestine.”
The bunnyman grimaces as if I had shoved a cold turd down his throat. More saliva drips down his chin in thick threads.
“It’s not my cock per se,” he says in a voice like a gravel-ridden, rusty pump. “And in this dimension I can only wear my current appearance. Leire, I see your thought patterns; they are noisy and illogical. Please, remain quiet and listen to me. You see, we were trying to break out of this awful cycle of death and rebirth. The essence of the cosmos is an electromagnetic field that we’re able to manipulate.”
I shake my head to disperse the foul thoughts.
“I’m already going through enough heartbreak, and you come searching for my help? Do I look like I can even help myself? And you look like you haven’t bathed for months! What can you offer me other than more suffering? I wouldn’t trust you with my car keys, and I certainly wouldn’t ask you to wash my back if I needed it scrubbed.”
The bunnyman glances at the wall.
“I’m not an expert at treating psychological distress, but I know that you have struggled to make the best out of a bad situation for quite a while now. You had been crying in a dark room. You were longing to be free although you had no means of escape. You were looking for hope, but it had faded away.” The bunnyman’s gunmetal-grey eyes are peeling my soul out like an egg from its shell. “Leire, you can never get rid of your pain. However, you can avoid wallowing in it, and instead focus on saving us from a dark fate.”
I lift my chin and try to keep myself from crying, but tears well up and fall down my cheeks.
“Let me guess: this help you want from me involves some ritual,” I mutter, “one that will start with me performing a cutesy dance and that will end with you sticking your cock in my mouth and saying ‘wibble-wobble-gobble’ while I taste your slime. You think that your genitals are going to make me worship the ground you walk on because you’re a big bad rabbit and I’m a sick slave girl that just wants to fall in love? You think I’ll be begging you for more and more until I become a brainless husk? That’s what it always comes down to, isn’t it?”
The bunnyman shudders. After he takes a deep breath, the air he exhales stinks like the aftermath of a tornado that devastated a pet shop.
“You were given a brain but no control over your emotions. I assure you: I want no part of such perversion.”
I look down to make sure that my nipples haven’t sprouted erect, but to my dismay, the nipples have sprouted erect. My lips are trembling.
“All of you freaks think that you know me. Do you have any clue what’s it like to exist in a brain infested with spiders, in a body that is constantly wet with pre-cum, in a world full of monsters and abominations? Until Jacqueline found me, all I did was work, work, work, work, and no one understood me. I am a person, I have a mind, and I could have probably achieved some level of mastery, but here I am, stuck with one foot in reality and the other in an insane asylum. I am Leire, the Great Bunnywoman, Lady of the Skull, Emissary of the Gods, Rabbit Killer of the Universe! I am not some nympho who gets turned on by the sight of your oversized dong!”
The bunnyman takes a lumbering step back.
“Look, lady, we’re on the brink of a crisis. If we don’t do something soon, we will be sucked into the maelstrom of a collapsing universe.”
“I won’t be your prostitute, I won’t be your sex slave, and I will never give birth to a bunch of bunnybabies to further your unholy cause! Do you wish to taste the sweet nectar of death?! I have slain beasts ten thousand times larger than you, a dozen of them a day! I will bite off your giant penis and spit it at your feet! So flee, go back to the mud and the slimy marshland, and tell Alberto to shove his likely furry dick up his own ass!”
The bunnyman gasps, displaying the sickly pink inside of his mouth, which looks like a wrinkled vagina. As he stammers some words, I jab a finger at him and let out a noise of glee.
“I knew it! The bastard who disturbed me with random messages and ruined my car had to belong to your flock of freaks. Tell him that I don’t appreciate being filmed while I’m pleasuring myself, unless Jacqueline is handling the cinematography! W-wait… you aren’t Alberto, are you?”
The bunnyman bows his head.
“I’m not,” he says in a surly voice.
“Are you sure? Is there any chance that Alberto is hiding somewhere in your bunny body?”
He buries his face in his furry hands, and when he lowers them, he evades my gaze.
“Alberto was right: you are impossible. If he’s going to interfere anyway, I’ll tell him that he should deal with you himself. This place has already begun to collapse into madness.”
The bunnyman shifts his hulking weight awkwardly to turn around, then he waddles down the hallway towards the bathroom. His tail is an ash-grey pom-pom; it clashes with his rotund ass as if someone had stuck in there one of those BDSM butt plugs.
A flood of relief pours out of my mouth in the form of an exhausted sigh. I sniffle. I’m about to wipe my tears when two warm hands reach from behind me and dry my cheeks. I flinch, but I remember that I dragged Jacqueline along with me. I forced her to witness this deranged face-off.
When she stands in front of me, the burn of shame compels me to avoid her gaze. She grabs my chin and tilts my head so that I’m looking straight into her cobalt-blues.
“I-I’m sorry…” I whine.
Jacqueline shushes me.
“My baby is afflicted with some sort of incurable condition. She suffers from a lack of sleep, depression, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. You have burst into tears while shouting obscenities at a bunny. That was a wonderful performance, Leire. I believe that you believe you were arguing with this creature.”
“I don’t need to believe in what shows up in front of my eyes, or under my butt for that matter.”
“Of course. Has he vanished, though?”
I shake my head and point at the big bastard, who’s lumbering down the hallway as he scratches his flank through the almond-colored, matted fur.
“I guess he intends to leave the same way he came in, through the toilet,” I say in a quavering voice. “B-because I was peeing when he showed up, that’s why I likely turned the bathroom into a disaster zone. Perhaps the damage cannot be undone.”
Jacqueline’s smile lights up my sky like a rainbow after the rain. She grabs my hand.
“Let’s chase this bunnyman so you can see him leave. Then tell me all about it.”
She’s already dragging me along when I react.
“Wait! Are we really going to pursue that monster?”
“Yeah, why not? He had ample opportunity to hurt you, right?”
“He could have caught me in a headlock and smashed my brains against the wall,” I concede. “But maybe this is what bunnymen do: they chase prey until they become prey themselves.”
Jacqueline lets me control our pace to avoid alerting the otherworldly demon of our pursuit. By the time we catch up to him, he has reached the bathroom door. He looks over his bulky shoulder at us and he scrunches up his nose in disdain.
“Hey, stop following me, you nutbag.”
As I’m trying to come up with a quip, the bunnyman pushes the door open, strides inside and shoves the door shut behind him so that it slams against the frame.
Jacqueline’s grip on my hand tightens. I sigh.
“Escaping an argument through a toilet must be a sorry sight. Well, good riddance to him.”
I glance up at my beloved. Her face has paled, and she’s gaping wide-eyed at the closed bathroom door.