Pathos

The rabbit-boy's whiskers fanned out, ears perked up. "What are you waiting for?" he asked. He had not given you a name, and you had not wondered about it. Strangers' names meant nothing, for in your self-centered mind, they were no one of interest or importance.

You stared into the looking pool. A despairing face stared back. "Maybe I should hesitate. I mean… where's my sign? Give me an epiphany! I've been waiting all my life, and nothing comes."

"Success, Immortality, and Fame lay before you." The rabbit-boy's cheeks reddened, and his white body quaked. "You're a fool, for not taking them. Fool!"

The tired look on the reflection's face went blank shortly, then frowned with displeasure. "I'm smart, and you know it!" You turned to him. "I've had it up to here with these presumptions. I am not foolish... nor blind... nor stubby-fingered... nor ridiculous! Nor all at the same time!"

"You can read every book ever written, eavesdrop on every philosophers' and magicians' conversation, discover the meaning of life mathematically and write nice poetry-- and you'd still be a fool! Fools are born fools. Fool." He hopped forth and viciously knocked you down with a loud thumping kick. "Ah!" he gasped. "Forgive me, little girl. I become too excited during arguments. Forgive!" It sounded more commanding than regretful.

You rubbed your bruised stomach. It was a dark pink now, but would turn a dark mauve shade by nightfall. "A bit? You're every form of mad!" you spat, a half-ring of tears forming in your eyes.

"You're on the verge of tears, I see." His pink eyes sought your glassy gaze, and once your eyes were on his, defiantly glinting, he smiled. "You look at me straight in the eyes, crying, without shame. Very admirable. However, know that Pride can also mean your downfall. You will not grasp Anythings with it."

"I never wanted Anythings," you said. Three played in the scenery. Immortality stretched its ruby and gold wings on a birch tree, Success bathed in the silver water of the looking pool, and Fame tugged your cape.

"Hmm. They never come to anyone this willingly," the rabbit-boy said, motioning to Fame.

"Fame comes to those least expecting it, to those hunting after other things."

He thought a bit. "What are you hunting, then?"

You closed your wet eyes, allowing the stubborn tears to slide down your face in hapless defeat. "Love… I think."

"Ha! 'Love?' How likely of a little girl… and 'I think?' Leave it to women to be indecisive in important matters."

"I don't care." The rabbit-boy twitched his nose quicker than usual; it was cloud-white and a falsely sweet feature, and you were nearly certain that felt like a feathery cloud much like the rest of the white on his person. He hopped away into his hole, as if surprisingly distracted by a forgotten thought now remembered. "Where are you going?"

Hop! "You answered my question, so I'm heading home." Hop! Hop!

You peeked into the hole, still unable to make out the rabbit-boy's cloud-colored features in the surrounding black, no eerie contrast. "What question?" Your question echoed in the tunnel.

"What are you waiting for?"

A sudden shower of roses and diamond-drops fell upon the looking pool, scarring its silver surface with blood-like flower nectar and swirls of dizzying cracks. They fell from the mouth of the creature overcastting the sky. Its winged limbs were of ice drops held together by strawberry incense smoke, like an air mosaic, kissing your senses hungrily and sweetly. Deep in its center, a black heart pounded as loud as soldiers' drums, daring hunters to chase it. A soft aroma of chocolate and candy enveloped the area. Little tissue-paper hearts rained down, and at contact with the blood-warmth of the living, it exploded into ice glitter.

The shock of the icy sparks hindered briefly its complete sensory retraint, its charm, on you. Just enough not to let it take the parts of you for which it hungered, fought, and usually won. You placed your hand over your chest, finding an uncanny bittersweet satisfaction that something still thudded there.

You grabbed your silver net, Pathos, you named it. You untangled the disoriented Pride and Façade from it and began climbing a tree.

You did not wait for Love anymore.