This story is about a crime solving rabbit Jack who, after escaping from a farm with help from a human, finds a new and friends, in a hidden valley solely populated by rabbits. But not everything is as it seems. The Dark Ones' are finally emerging.

By R. J. Stewart (originally for a contest, but this is the longer version for chapter one)

Jack The Rabbit & The Case Of the Mysterious Shadow
CHAPTER 1: ESCAPE BY A HARE

"Run, Jack, run!"

They were the last words Jack heard before the barking. Two dogs chased him across a recently plowed field.

Two months caged on a farm, Jack had been snared in a forest trap and brought back to await an unfavorable fate. During that time he had made a friend, the farmer's ten year old son, Wyatt. He was the one who had set Jack free.

I'm eternally grateful, Wyatt, thank you. Someday I'll repay you for this act of kindness. I promise you.

"Run, Jack, run!" Wyatt shouted again.

Jack darted haphazardly to confuse the dogs across the field, but his trickery toiled him to near exhaustion. It was all the sharp stops and starts that put a lot of strain on his muscles. Muscles that had become listless being caged.

He knew his only salvation was to escape into the forest beyond the farm property and hopefully loss the dogs in the foliage, and he used all his remaining energy to gain distance from his pursuers.

I'll hide in there; it is my home after all.

Leaping over a fallen log that marked edge of the farm, he fled inside the forest. But the dogs continued their chase. They were following his scent.

He had an idea. And using his powerful legs, catapulted high into the air. He dug his claws into the trunk of a tree and scurried up, making it to a split branch. Here he stayed.

The dogs still found him, and barked loudly trying to climb the tree. Their claws scratching the bark off, exposing the wood underneath.

Jack apologized in silence for the tree for its sacrifice for him.

I made it. Now what? I can't stay up here forever.

His heart thumped heavy; he almost didn't make it. It was only by sheer will he was able to climb the tree. Rabbits are not known for such feats, but sometimes the impossible becomes possible when the necessity arises, or at least that's what his father used to say.

He hated these dogs. These dogs had barked at him everyday when he was caged. Wyatt would save him when they started to get out of control and ordered them away. But Wyatt wasn't here to save him now.

Wyatt had been the only human that had ever been nice to him. Wyatt's father was mean.

Why are some humans so cruel and others kind? Are they born that way or did something happen in their life to make them that way? Maybe it's the environment they're raised in?

He had thought about a lot of things turning his imprisonment, he had the time, and the psychology of Humans was one of them. His father always said he was the smartest out of his eight brothers and sisters.

Then how come I got trapped in such an obvious trap? He thought.

His noise twitched when the wind suddenly changed; he smelled a human near-by. Then he heard bushes rustling down below.

Is the farmer here to take me back? Am I destined to become rabbit pie? I won't go back! I'll jump down and take my chances with the dogs instead, even if that means the ultimate fate!

Moments later Wyatt emerged, and Jack looked down and smiled. Wyatt quickly quieted the dogs, but they didn't say silent for long. But was Wyatt here to bring him back ordered by his father?

Wyatt smiled. "You're free, Jack! Go, get out of here! Make a new home, the dogs won't follow you!"

Wyatt grabbed both dog collars and held them firm.

"Run away from this place!" he said over the barking. "I'll tell my father we lost you. I promised you I would never let anything happen to you. I couldn't let my father kill you, that's why I let you go. I couldn't protect you from him anymore."

Jack figured as much.

In the two months Jack was caged, Wyatt kept him company everyday and talked to him. Jack was thankful; Wyatt even gave him the name Jack. Wyatt didn't know Jack's real name. Rabbits used sounds for names, and to Humans that were unpronounceable. Wyatt kept Jack's spirits up, they became friends. Wyatt was now keeping his promise.

Jack smiled back.

I'll never forget you, Wyatt.

Jack turned and leapt down and rushed into the forest, until he no longer heard the dogs barking.

His ears felt much better.

To be continued.