In our final tale of the year, Arzure the bunny finds himself in a strange place, and while he knows it’s clearly dangerous he also knows he has to try to find his way out before something happens.
Meanwhile at the Lair of Dr. Callyco
“Well, here we are, another year complete.” Dr. Callyco sat atop a cardboard box and looked around wistfully. “A shame I can’t stay longer, but if I was always here things wouldn’t be as special. And…” He paused as he realized that a certain mouse was missing. “Hey… What happened to Dr. Cutie-“
It was at this point there was a bright flash of light and the kitten’s goggles and lab coat fell to the floor. A few moments later a very, very tiny orange kitten crawled out from beneath the labcoat. He came out just as the mouse known as Dr. Cutie Pup arrived on the scene. But now, Dr. Callyco was so small he could fit easily in the mouse’s paw. And soon he did! As Dr. Cutie Pup scooped him up and sat on his haunches as he grinned down at the tiny kitten.
“Dr. Cutie Pup!” Dr. Callyco exclaimed. “Some foul fiend has shrunk me completely unrprovoked! And I see no possible way to figure out who it is!”
“Squeak?” The mouse gave the itty-bitty kitty a deadpan stare.
“Yup impossible to solve mystery so might as well not dwell on it.” The kitten crossed his arms. “But before you carry me off somewhere for… Whatever we’re doing next, I need to introduce our next tale. It’s the tale of a twelve-year-old rabbit named Arzure. An adventurous bunny whose curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers a miracle of science. I bring you our thirteenth and final tale. The Tale of the Science Hoop.”
Thirteen Tales 2020
The Tale of the Science Hoop
Arzure was right now very intensely focused. His current goal required all of the twelve-year-old rabbit’s willpower. His blue and black fur bristled from the effort. But right now he was trying not to push any of the big shiny buttons, or pull any of the long fancy levers, or touch anything in this amazing place.
If Arzure was going to describe the room he was currently in, he’d likely call it the lab of a mad scientist, or perhaps a supervillain’s lair. There were all kinds strange devices lining the wall. All of them with blinking lights just begging to be activated. What kind of sciency thing would happen if he touched even one of these? He caught his own arm reaching for a nearby lever and slapped it away, reminding himself not to touch anything. After all, he was pretty sure that whatever this place was he wasn’t supposed to be in here. As for how he got here…
The day had started the same as any other. Get up, go to school, be bored for a few hours and then finally be granted precious freedom. When the school bell rang signally the end of the day Arzure decided it was probably a pretty good idea for him to make himself as sparse as possible, for reasons that didn’t need to be looked into too much. Let’s just say he didn’t want to be close to the school right now, and for various reasons was avoiding his usual hangouts. Once Arzure was out of the school building he basically bolted as fast as he could in a random direction and didn’t stop till he was certain no students or anyone at the school had seen where he went.
He had found himself in the old, abandoned warehouse district of town. He never really understood what the purpose of this district was. There were warehouses here sure, but they weren’t being used for storage. Just a bunch of empty buildings. What was the point of it? He supposed maybe it was just a by product of a time when the economy was in better shape and the various places were actually in use. For now, they sat empty, silent and ominous.
Arzure had been told he was not allowed to play here. Which was a shame. Because with all of these abandoned buildings him and a few friends could have built themselves a really cool secret base. They would have had passwords you had to know to be let in, and all the basic amenities, soda, potato chips, video games. But alas, while Arzure was no stranger to mischief he was not one to just be outright disobedient. He had been warned it wasn’t safe and some of those buildings might collapse at any moment. Hearing the creaking sounds coming from the various walls he suspected those warnings might be true. He probably shouldn’t stay here.
But he needed a moment to catch his breath after that run. And while he had been told he wasn’t allowed to play here, no one had ever said anything about just sitting down to rest for a few minutes. He sat down outside a warehouse that was missing part of a wall. And had it not been for those very long ears on his head he likely would have gotten up after a few minutes and headed towards home. But rabbit ears weren’t just for show. They could hear very well and while resting Arzure’s ears twitched as he heard something weird.
There was a very faint beeping noise. Most animals wouldn’t have been able to hear it. Even Arzure, had he not stopped to rest likely wouldn’t have noticed it. It was so faint that at first he wasn’t even sure it was real. But as he angled his ears to listen better he was sure of it, the beeping noise was coming from somewhere beneath him inside the abandoned warehouse.
Again, he knew that he probably should have just left it alone. But his curiosity was often his own biggest weakness. Soon he was climbing through the broken wall and into the warerhouse. Rows of empty shelves with the occasional rusted crate decorated the insides. Other than that, the place seemed empty.
The beeping was difficult to follow. Even once inside the warehouse it was still barely audible, and it was coming from somewhere beneath the building. Arzure tried his best to follow it but couldn’t find its source. He looked for a door or elevator that might lead to a basement and saw none. It seemed whatever the strange beeping noise was he wasn’t meant to figure it out. He leaned back against one of the rusted crates while debating if he should investigate further or go home…
And suddenly fell right through the crate! The wall of the crate flipped open, offering zero resistance to Arzure leaning on it. Suddenly, the bunny had slipped right through too the other side. But instead of a crate, he found himself on a strange metal slide that spiraled downward into a dark basement beneath the warehouse. As the bunny slid further and further down the beeping became louder. Then suddenly he found himself dumped out onto a cold tile floor, completely in the dark.
Now Arzure was a brave and adventurous bunny, but he had to admit being completely blind in the dark and who knew how far underground was enough to make him a little nervous. He glanced around hoping to see some source of light. Then, there was a series of loud clanging noises, and one by one rows of bright lights lit up above him revealing his location. Some kind of lab full of complicated looking machines and strange gizmos. The beeping Arzure heard had been one of the many machines.
Now Arzure had a problem. Whatever this place was, he was definitely not supposed to be here, and whoever owned the place definitely wouldn’t want him randomly pressing buttons. However, he couldn’t exit the same way he came in. The slide was too slick to climb. He also didn’t see any other possible exits. And herein lied the conundrum.
Arzure knew he should not press any buttons or pull any levers.
He knew that he should probably leave as fast as possible.
And he knew if there was no obvious exit he’d likely have to use the right button or lever to make it appear.
There was no possible way out of the situation that didn’t involve doing something he shouldn’t. Well, he could quietly wait for the owner of the lab to show up. But if it was a supervillain’s lair they might not be the most hospitable or helpful of people. And then there was the fact the lab itself might be as abandoned as the warehouse above him. He could starve to death if just sat down and did nothing.
Alright, if he was going to do this, he could at least be smart about it. Most likely, the buttons and levers on the machines themselves weren’t going to open the exit. Some of the areas that looked like a computer or control console might, and of course anything hung on the wall could open a hidden door. Arzure decided to try his luck with a lever on the wall. It was a big heavy one, he had to stand on the tips of his toes to reach the top of it. Then he couldn’t pull it down.
The bunny grunted and grabbed onto the lever tighter and was soon hanging from it. As he did he began to swing back and forth until he was able to get his paws pressed against the wall.
Now pushing against the wall with his paws he pulled back on the lever and it slowly came down. This had the side effect of making Arzure fall flat on his back once the lever was pulled. Graceful or not, he had succeeded! And much to his delight the wall next to the lever slid to the side revealing a long hallway leading out of the lab. Had he gotten it right on the first try? Maybe rabbits were just lucky. Either way he hurried down this new hallway expecting to encounter a staircase or elevator.
Instead, he encountered a second lab at the end of the hall. One that was smaller and seemed build around a single object. There was a large metal ring in the center of the room, and a staircase leading up to a platform directly in front of the ring. It was hard to make out from where he was, but it looked like a staircase went up further past the ring. Well, not quite what he was hoping for but up was the right direction.
Arzure slowly climbed the stairs but stopped short of the platform that stood in front of the giant ring. He gave the ring a distrustful stare. It had a goldish hue to it and he could make out several LED lights along its surface that were turned off. He was not 100% sure what purpose it served, but considering the platform was exactly even with the ring Arzure suspected they were related and he feared that taking a single step further might cause the thing to turn on. And as much as he was curious to see what it would do, that probably wasn’t the smartest choice.
However, from this vantage he could see a second set of stairs leading away from the metal platform up to a door. There was a window next to it and from what Arzure could see from here it looked like some kind of office. That definitely looked like the right direction to go if he wanted out of here. But that meant crossing the platform in front of the ring.
Arzure very carefully and very slowly lifted up a single paw and placed it on the platform. When nothing happened, he stepped up with his other paw. When the ring still remained inert, he ran to the next staircase and up it as fast as he could. Nothing had happened. It looked like he was in the clear. Except, when he tried the door handle, he found it locked. That was a problem. There was the window, but it didn’t look like the type that opened and he really didn’t want to try breaking it. This was someone’s property, and right now he could correctly say that his being here was all an innocent mistake. Once he started smashing things he’d no longer be able to make that claim. Maybe if he headed back to the larger lab he could find another hallway to another possible exit.
He was interrupted from this thought as there was a loud clanging noise and all the LEDs lit up on the ring. Suddenly a current of energy began to run through the ring, forming a net-like pattern in the middle of it. Arzure wasn’t sure what was going on, but he decided it was best not to go near the platform. Instead he watched from here and ducked behind a safety rail so he had some form of cover.
The net pattern became finer and finer inside the ring until finally it was just one giant mass of white energy. And then there were ripples in it, as if it was the surface of a lake and slowly the screen of white energy revealed an image. There was a forest on the other side, one with colorful glowing flowers that just screamed enchanted woods. Arzure raised his head up just slightly to get a better look but this proved to be a mistake.
Suddenly, the image of the forest became erratic and as it did Arzure felt himself lifted into the air and then pulled towards it. He managed to grab the safety rail. He felt himself pulled towards the ring and it the pull got stronger and stronger. It was like trying to resist being pulled into a tornado. Arzure hung on to the rails for as long as he could, but the pull only got stronger and his strength gave way. His fingers slipped and he went flying through towards the ring.
And just barely managed to grab a second safety rail on the platform itself. However, this rail was close to the ring and though he managed to hang on the lower half of his body passed straight through the ring. He didn’t get diced up or electrocuted or feel any pain, but the did feel something odd as his legs went through. He spared a glance over his shoulder back through the ring. The forest was still there, though its image was a little shaky. The lower half of his body seemed to be on the same side as the forest and had changed. The most noticeable change was that he had hooves instead of paws now.
This close to the portal or whatever it was, the pull was even stronger. Arzure was already exhausted he knew he couldn’t hang on long. He looked for something anything that could help him then noticed something. On the other side of the window there was someone there. It was hard to make them out. Their fur or scales or whatever they had were so dark he could only see a silhouette, but it didn’t make sense. One moment he thought it might have been a wolfish creature, the next he was sure it had wings like a dragon. Had this strange person turned this machine on intentionally while he was in here? That was child endangerment!
Arzure would have loved to give them a piece of his mind, but the last his strength faded and he lost his grip again. This time he flew completely through the ring…
And crashed into a bush in the large colorful forest. Arzure blinked a few times. Across from him in the middle of a forest clearing he could see what could best be described as a hoop shaped hole in reality. On the other side he could make out the lab he had just been through. Also… He felt weird. He worked to climb out of the bush and froze when he noticed his hand. It was devoid of fur, instead just showing darkly colored skin. In fact, he was completely furless from the waist up!
From the waist down on the other hand, his fur was coarser, and he had hooves instead of paws. He remembered seeing that happen when his legs had first slipped through the portal. He reached up feeling his face, noticing how strange it was not to have a muzzle or facial fur. It was like he was a human! Well… From the waist up at least.
He had poofy hair and as he felt around discovered that he still had animalistic ears, they were just much smaller. He also had two nubs protruding from his forehead, the start of a set of horns. He knew what he was. The idea of transformations was far from an alien concept to him. Having a faerie, well, half-faerie for a friend tended to cause them a lot. And he had seen enough pictures in fantasy books to get an idea of what he was. He was a young satyr.
Arzure was roused from this discovery as he noticed the hole back to the lab was starting to get smaller. He realized if it disappeared, he’d be trapped wherever this place was! He ran for the portal, aiming to get back through, but as he got close it was like a powerful wind was pushing him back. Digging his hooves into the ground he pushed against the wind slowly moving forward. But, the window was just two powerful. It had been these same winds that sucked him in here. Arzure could do nothing but watch as the portal disappeared completely leaving him stuck in this forest.
He looked around. The place didn’t like any forest he saw back home. It definitely felt like the type of place where you’d encounter magic and faeries. The type of place his friend would probably like. This made him grin a little. Magic and faeries; those were ideas he could handle a lot easier than the risk of starving to death in some underground lab. At least if he was in a forest that meant there would be fruit and nuts. He could find something to eat. And most likely with this much vegetation there had to be a water source. Then who knew what there was beyond the forest.
“Well… No point sitting around here.” Arzure was suddenly in high spirits sensing an adventure. His body had changed and he was clearly in a completely different world. Who knew what kind of discoveries awaited him? He left the clearing of the forest and began to explore and see what he could find in this new world.
Unknown to him, he was observed by several beings. They whispered amongst themselves. There was a new child of the forest. And what a great pet he’d be. Arzure never heard these whispers or met the source of them. But these strange creatures that watched him were proud of their pets and took good care of him.
No matter which direction Arzure searched he would never find an exit to the forest. However, anytime he was hungry he’d immediately come across a berry bush or a tree full of nuts. When he was thirsty or needed a bath he always encountered a river of fresh water or a lake. The first few times he thought it was a coincidence. However, as he explored over the forest over the next few days, and the same things continued to happen while he could not find a way out he realized that something or someone was taking care of him. He just didn’t know what. He was not from this world, so didn’t know the rumors that were told of this forest.
But he would learn them eventually. After all, he was but one of many pets that roamed the forest. It was only a matter of time before he encountered one of the many other children of the forest. And from there he would be introduced to the rest and learn about the nature of the forest. And he would learn that he was being kept as a pet to strange and powerful creatures. But, he wasn’t alone, and even if he couldn’t escape the forest it offered a wonderful amount of adventures in its exploration. He would form close bonds with the other children and eventually become comfortable in his new world. If a portal ever opened again back to his own world he’d probably go through it. But, this existence was so peaceful. He could easily live with being a pet and a child of the forest if this if it turned out to be permanent.