Monday, January 30, 2023

7. The Wabbit and the Secret Hidey Hole

They were safe in the hiding place for now. But it was dark. Both the Wabbit and Wabsworth rummaged in their fur. The Wabbit plucked out a lighter and flicked it into life. Wabsworth did the same and found a light meter, an old German model called an Actino. It was fairly ancient, but Wabsworth had modified it, so now it emitted an eerie blue glow. In the flickering light, they explored the crumbling cellar. It was half brick and half carved from sheer rock. They shivered. "I can feel a cold draught of air from somewhere," said Lapinette. They looked up. But if there was anything there, it was too dark to make out. "Maybe if I hop up I can see," she said. She started to hop. In the distance, they could hear the Gashadokuro wail. "Gashi gashi! Bones bones. Collect bones. Drink blood." It was a miserable moan that set their teeth on edge. Lapinette hopped up again but this time failed to reappear. "Where are you?" gasped the Wabbit. "I'm hanging from a ledge. My paw is wedged." The Wabbit hopped up and so did Wabsworth. They found themselves on a protruding ledge. With the aid of his lighter and a screwdriver the Wabbit extracted Lapinette's paw. "Thanks Wabbit," said Lapinette. She brushed away dust and grime from the wall. Now they saw a badly fitting door. So the Wabbit did what he did best. He kicked it. Then he kicked it again. It began to crumble ...

Saturday, January 28, 2023

6. The Wabbit and the Gashadokuro

"Skeletrons" yelled Lapinette. It came rattling up from the cellar, more a collection of bones than a single entity. "My eyes hurt!" It moaned and threshed and lamented its lost eyeballs. It was a frightening sight. A skeleton segment thrashed its single arm around like a weapon. Skulls howled at the walls. Ribs played a tattoo on the iron railings. "Run," yelled the Wabbit. He wasn't sure of what to do and in the absence of ideas, flight seemed the best option. The Gashadokuro wailed. "Gachi gachi. I'm thirsty. Gachi gachi!" Wabsworth was known for his fearlessness but even he quailed. "They'll rip off our heads and drink blood from our bodies." Lapinette looked for an exit. "I smell rabbits," shouted the Gashadokuro. "Rabbits, rabbits, smelly rabbits," chanted the many skulls. The Wabbit pointed to a gap in the wall. They all headed for it. "I'm not a smelly rabbit, you rude creature!" shouted Lapinette. A femur came smashing down and narrowly missed her head. "Eat their flesh, drink their blood, add their bones," yelled the Gashadokuro. It stamped its bony feet on the stairs. Stamp, stamp, stamp. It rose until it was a massive fifteen foot. Lapinette squeezed into the narrow opening. Wabsworth was next. The Wabbit brought up the rear but he turned to look. The sightless creature thrashed in puzzlement. Its skulls span around and around. "They're getting away," it gurgled. The Wabbit pulled a stone over the crevice. Then they crouched in the dark and kept silent. The sound of the Gashadokuro faded. "Numbskull," growled the Wabbit ...

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

5. The Wabbit and the Cellar Fumes

The snakes had melted away but their hissing remained. "Go no further, go no further."  The Wabbit paused but urged Wabsworth on. Wabsworth was an android and could withstand substantial blasts, toxicity, and most weaponry. Lapinette took out her edged weapon. It was versatile and also quiet. The Wabbit hugged his automatic although he knew it had seen better days. "Must upgrade," he muttered to himself. The safety catch fell completely off. He shrugged. Wabsworth walked a little deeper into the cellar towards a blue light. His fur detected something, but it was too late. He was enveloped in a red fog. He pretended to cough. "Wabsworth?" The Wabbit and Lapinette were both concerned. "Just vapour and hardly worth mentioning," said Wabsworth. It was then that they heard a wail. It came from the direction of the blue light. With a wave of his paws, Wabsworth cleared the red vapour. "What's with the wailing?" Lapinette sheathed her edged weapon. "It sounds like a Gashadokuro." The Wabbit looked with curiosity. Lapinette explained. "It's a Skeletron of the undead. It roams the night." The Wabbit chuckled. "What other time." The wailing gave way to rattling. "That's its bones," shrugged Lapinette. Wabsworth retreated a bit. "It's a gathering of bones. In this case it must be catacomb bones. Plenty around." The Wabbit tucked his automatic in his fur. "It must be big," said Lapinette. "Fifteen times the size of a person," added Wabsworth. "Good thing we're only a skeleton crew." quipped the Wabbit.

[Red smoke by Van Luong Nguyen]

Monday, January 23, 2023

4. The Wabbit and a Surprising Discovery

The snake led the way. Another fell in with its undulation - and followed by the Wabbit, Wabsworth and Lapinette, they hissed their way into the catacombs. Their way was lit with hanging lanterns. Crumbling bones and skulls of all kinds lined the walls. The smell was peculiar. It was dry and dusty with the faint aroma of church. Here and there a lemon scent wafted through the air. Wabsworth knelt to examine the bones that lay scattered on the floor. "These are recent," he said. "In fact, this doesn't seem like Roman catacombs." Wabsworth was an android and his memory banks were capacious. The Wabbit nodded and so did Lapinette. "Someone else uses this place," said Lapinette. "I wonder who?" said the Wabbit, who could be a little vague at times. "Ssssshhhhhh." The snakes came to a halt and hissed long and hard. They murmured to each other. The Wabbit could only catch snatches. Lapinette flapped her ears. "I can hear musical chanting." It was audible only to Lapinette. The snakes slithered forward in a silent serpentine motion, heads swaying in synchrony with the music. Now Wabsworth and the Wabbit could hear it, They could smell scent. "A burnt offering," said the Wabbit. Wabsworth nodded sagely. They followed the snakes round corner after corner - until they came upon a door. The snakes melted away like fitful vapour. The door was old as Ezekiel and according to graffiti, he'd carved his name on it. Its iron hinges creaked as it swung back ...

[Bones by Wolfgang Eckert, Pixabay Catacombs by Hermut Kellner, Pixabay]

Thursday, January 19, 2023

3. The Wabbit and the Lonely Catacombs

At a little known destination just out of town lay an entrance to very old catacombs. Over many hundreds of years, different local municipalities of different kinds tried to tidy it up but it resisted all attempts to sanitise it. No one ever went there now except for stray dogs, and even then, they had to be brave.  An area had been laid out for visitors but the few picnic tables there were, lay abandoned on their side. Night began to fall over the site. Soon it would be pitch black. "This is spooky," said the Wabbit. He leaned against the brick enclosure and took his gun out of his fur. Wabsworth climbed on top of the building and waved his automatic around. Lapinette stood with her back to everybody. She was ready for anything that might come her way. The doorway lay open - usually it was locked with three massive padlocks. The Wabbit looked at the stairway and ground his twenty eight teeth. Without warning a massive head coiled round the doorway and looked the Wabbit straight in the eye. "Hiss, hiss!" it said. Its mouth gaped open. "Hiss hiss!" responded the Wabbit. The snake reared up. "This isn't a competition. Who are you?" Lapinette turned round to face the creature. Wabsworth trained his automatic on the snake. The Wabbit shrugged. "Catacomb patrol," he said. "Have all shelves, bones, artefacts and relics ready for inspection." "Oh," said the snake. "We're not ready for visitors. It's a bit dusty in there." Lapinette hopped forward. "Girls dust wanna have fun." Wabsworth called from the roof. "So we'll take you dust the way you are."
[Snake by Pete Linforth, Digital Artist at Pixabay]

Monday, January 16, 2023

2. The Wabbit and the St Peter's Express

The Wabbit got to the station just in time to meet Wabsworth and Lapinette. The train was 30 seconds early," smiled Wabsworth. "I will write a letter of complaint." The Wabbit knew Wabsworth well and he knew that he would. Lapinette bounced in the air and flung her paws wide. "What a nice day. You wouldn't think it was the dead of winter." The Wabbit stretched out his paws. "That's Rome for you!" He waited to hear news of his new mission, but no-one was saying. Wabsworth and Lovely Lapinette hopped on. The Wabbit thought that the purpose of the railings was to make you hop a long way. Usually, he ducked underneath. But he shrugged and hopped along with them. "Where are we going?" he asked. "Shall we take the bus?" said Lapinette. She had answered a question with a question and the Wabbit groaned inwardly. "You can see more from the bus," observed Wabsworth. "We'll get the 64 and sit behind the bus driver," said the Wabbit. "So that we can talk behind his back?" suggested Lapinette. She knew all the Wabbit's bad jokes. Wabsworth laughed like a drain because he hadn't heard it. The Wabbit could wait no longer. "So what's this mission then?" Wabsworth grinned and shook his head. Lapinette giggled. "A dark mission with dark spaces. Concealed corners and dramatic angles." The Wabbit groaned again. He'd been thinking of smooth silky beaches and mirror-like waters. "Sounds like a film," he said. "All our missions are a bit like a film," said Wabsworth. "What film is it a bit like?" asked the Wabbit. "No Time to Binky," grinned Lapinette.

Friday, January 13, 2023

1. The Wabbit and the Quiet Spot

The Wabbit found what he was looking for - a quiet spot. That wasn't so easy in Rome, where tourists flocked hither and thither. He'd been studying faces. No-one seemed to be enjoying themselves. Too much flocking, not enough rocking. He grinned at his own joke and stopped to take in the view. Despite the increase in tourists, it wasn't hard to get off the beaten track. He suddenly felt bored, so he plunged his paw into his fur and took out his radio. He jabbed at it. It was dead. He jabbed again. It came on at full volume and his quiet spot was quiet no longer. He shook it into silence and dialed Lapinette's channel. "Wabbit here, come in Lapinette." The radio whined and crackled. "Lapinette. What's your 20?" The Wabbit looked around because he hadn't a clue. "I'm near a big church." Lapinette giggled. "This is Rome, Wabbit. You could be anywhere." The Wabbit smiled and tried to get a fix on  his location. "Not far from Largo de Torre Argentina." Lapinette was used to vague responses. "So what's up?" The radio crackled.  "I wondered if there are any new orders." He began to hop. "Yes, but no rush," answered Lapinette, "Take your time." She could hear the sound of his feet padding over cobbles. "OK. Out," said the Wabbit. He made for Vittorio Emmanuelle II and the bus station, but he took the back route through Campo de Fiori. "I might see something for Lapinette," he thought.

Monday, January 09, 2023

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

They all met in Testaccio Market. For once, Skratch was on time, since he was helping out a pal. Lapinette was late and as she headed round the corner, they greeted her with a loud Hello! "It's nice to make an entrance," she laughed. Skratch winked. "Since it is you that's late, you have to say what kind of adventure you were in." Lapinette hugged the Wabbit then leaped on to a bar stool. "I'd say it was a medieval kind of adventure. Historical drama if you like." The Wabbit also jumped on a stool. "Without the history." Wabsworth grinned. "Without anything. All texts refer to other texts. All stories have been told." Skratch was waiting to pounce. "The story has been told so many times. it hardly has any meaning left." "Umberto Eco," nodded Lapinette. They all nodded back. Soon everyone in Testaccio market was nodding. "The name of the Agents are almost non-existent and destroyed," muttered the Wabbit. "The story has been told and now only itself is left behind. Everything else disappears," said Wabsworth. "Into the void," added Lapinette. The Wabbit considered this for a whole minute. "Talking of voids, we were supposed to meet for a drink." Skratch meaowed. "I'll get everyone a Prosecco and since I'm in charge of the bar, it's on the house." The Wabbit leaned back. "The house always wins?" Lapinette grabbed a Prosecco. "Mostly," she smiled. "But most of your money disappears."

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

8. The Wabbit and the Trick of the Light

Lapinette tracked them down. With her super hearing she could hear the strange snickering sounds of their incisor teeth. They crept into the building. "What's that? asked the Wabbit. "Trick of the light," replied Wabsworth. Lapinette wasn't impressed. "Concentrate!" They drew their automatics. Rabits began to mount the stairs. One of them emerged from the underground cavern and made his way towards the window. The Wabbit shrugged. "They shouldn't make it so easy." Lapinette snorted. "It's never easy." Tipsy giggled and said something under her breath. The Lion of Judah had insisted on being part of the action and he nestled in large basket. The Wabbit thrust his paw deep in his fur. Lapinette hissed. "Wabbit, this building is a tourist attraction." The Wabbit grinned. Everyone knew his opinion of tourists. He pulled out a hand grenade. "Time for a New Year Kaboom." Lapinette groaned. "We can take a few Agents of Rabit with our automatics." The Wabbit shook his head. "Where's the stun in that? On the ground everyone." He crouched, pinned down his ears and threw the device towards the cavern. It spluttered. Nothing happened. The Wabbit held up a paw for what seemed like an age. There was an enormous crack. Agents dropped like stones. The Wabbit dusted himself off and waved his paws. "See - no damage." Then from the distance they heard the rumbling of stonework and what sounded like an avalanche. The Wabbit shrugged again. "Not much anyway."