Here is the next installment. I have thought about your comments from the previous one. I think what I'm doing now is the best I can do for now. Hopefully I'll improve over time. If y'all get bored with it, no worries about reading it. Just don't. I'll continue to read your blogs. I realize this is just amateur writing and each blog is way longer than what you all do. If the individual blogs don't tell enough of the story, it would probably be best just to let them build up for awhile and then read several at once.
When Arthur looked into the baby rabbit's eyes he imagined the idyllic life it had known; how in all likelihood thirst and hunger had forced it to leave. Alone in a world fraught with danger, it had searched for water until exhausted. Yet still it wanted to live. In its fight for survival it seemed a fate gone awry to end its life with a bullet.
"Will you guard it while I get water?" Arthur asked.
Johnny wanted to say no. He thought at best the rabbit would die, at worst Arthur would get mortally wounded trying to save it and have to be evacuated to the LPC. He said, "say you get it to drink, what then?"
"I don't know," Arthur said not taking his eyes off the baby rabbit. Johnny sighed and stood for a moment saying nothing. He knew it was pointless arguing with Arthur. This baby rabbit had undoubtedly sparked the paternal instinct Arthur had been suppressing for a long time.
Johnny said, "get the water."
He kept his eyes on the spot where the baby rabbit lay while he thought about the situation. Johnny Smotz was not a brilliant man intellectually but he was unusually gifted for seeing the big picture. It was this ability which had made the Smotzies' life here a reality. He decided this was an opportunity. The people needed something to think about besides the dangers outside their houses. If they were ever going to be at home here, they had to face their fears, they had to get out in the forest.
When Arthur returned with a pail of water, Johnny told him to wait. "I'm going to try and get help."
Arthur said nothing and waited impatiently for several minutes after Johnny was gone. Then he let the pail down to the ground with a bungie cord. He took a slow look around the area and swung down himself. The forest floor was covered with a layer of pine needles. It was the first time any Smotzie foot had ever touched the forest floor and Arthur was surprised how it felt. He sank to his ankles in pine needles.
The baby rabbit was about 30 feet away and Arthur began a process of moving the pail up a few feet at a time, then stepping back. When he got within 10 feet of the rabbit he didn't try to get closer. He stepped back, sat on the ground and waited. All the while the rabbit watched but did not move.
Soon Johnny returned and 21 men and women followed. All carried guns and a few carried pails of water. Arthur watched them as they swung up to the tree branch and began inching their way out on the limb. When he could see Johnny's face clearly and knew Johnny had spotted him by the frown on his face, Arthur put his finger to his lips to indicate quiet. Johnny turned to the group behind him and made the same gesture.
Time passed. Minutes, maybe half an hour and all was quiet. Arthur got up, speaking very quietly and moving very slowly, walked toward the baby rabbit. When he reached the pail he had left on the ground, he picked it up and continued until he was within a couple of feet of the baby rabbit and set the pail down again. This time the baby rabbit sniffed, got up and hopped weakly to the pail. The pail was so small and the rabbit so thirsty it got one drink before it turned the pail over spilling the water left in it.
Johnny swung down to ground. The men and women who had pails of water lowered those to the ground and part of the group followed Johnny down. He had asked some of them to stay on the tree branch and act as lookouts; some he had asked to fetch food for the rabbit.
Throughout the night the Smotzies brought water and food to the rabbit and stood guard. They managed to entice it up to the deck. They settled for that bit of safety. It was better than out on the forest floor. The platform would be much safer but getting the rabbit to ride the lift was beyond comprehension. It was still more wild than tame. Johnny and Arthur discussed what they could do with it.
"We can't keep it here," Johnny said. "We will have to guard it 24/7. That will get very old, very fast."
"The Genetics Institute has begun improving the intelligence of pets. We could send it there...," Arthur began but this thoughts turned to the unknown effects of what that would be.
Johnny said, "It's either that or...," and he stopped in mid sentence. Both he and Arthur knew what the "or" was.
No one had tried getting close enough to the rabbit to touch it. Ever so slowly Arthur approached. He squatted and began duck walking to it. In a low voice he began talking to it.
"It's okay little fella. I won't hurt you. It's okay. You need a name. You've got mighty big eyes for a such a little rabbit. Kind of bug eyes, you know? What about Bugsy?"
He reached out with his hand almost touching the rabbit's nose. It sniffed and did not turn away. In the same low voice he spoke but this time to the Smotzies that had gathered round. "Tomorrow, Bugsy and I will be leaving for the Genetics Institute."