Jack the Rabbit & the Mysterious Shadow

Alexander quaked in fear. Jack could feel just how frightened the young rabbit was by the way Alexander was trembling and the iron-stone grip on his fur.

Jack wanted for the young one to let go, but he knew that would be futile. Once fear had hold of you, all logic went.

The Coyote stared at them, as if sizing them up, which one to devour first. But Jack met its gaze and gazed back, as to challenge him. Which in hindsight was a stupid thing to do. It was his first reaction to protect Alexander.

And he had met up with a few predators in his time to know that a staring contest determined who was superior. Who blinked first was the one with the lest amount of will power.

Jack had never lost a staring contest with any of his siblings. He was the master of that domain.

The Coyote approached and came to stand above them, and it looked down as if to observe them. He had blinked first. And yet Jack figured the Coyote didn't care about who was superior in a staring contest. Bigger meant better, the Coyote most likely thought.

Jack felt its hot breath upon his whiskers.

He stayed absolutely still. Any sudden movement and the Coyote could attack. Right now, it seemed calm. If Alexander wasn't holding him back, Jack could ward off the threat with a few scare tactics he knew that his father had taught him.

If only Alexander wasn't holding him back, he could do something. "Alexander, you must let go of me," Jack said softly.

"No, he's going to eat us!" the young rabbit wailed.

"I'm hungry," the Coyote said gruffly. By the tone of his voice, Jack deduced the coyote was a lot older in age.

"Then find something to eat," Jack retorted harshly. He kept firm, if only to protect Alexander. He stared at the Coyote strongly.

"I have," the coyote said. "Any last words before I eat you?"

"I thought you coyote's hunt in packs?" Jack said.

"I'm hunting alone tonight, my friends are elsewhere getting food."

Jack smiled smartly. That was valuable information. If it was only one coyote, he might be able to fend him off. But he sensed deception in the Coyote's voice. He wasn't telling the truth.

Jack tried to loosen Alexander's grip, but Alexander refused to let go. "Alexander, you must let go, so I can save us."

"No. If I let go he'll eat me, just like the black thing."

"There isn't enough meat on the little one to satisfy me, but you'll do," the Coyote said to Jack.

"Then allow the young one to leave," Jack said back to the Coyote.

The Coyote chuckled. "Even if I agree, it doesn't look like he wants to leave. He looks too frightened to move."

Jack tried to pry Alexander off, but Alexander then used his claws. "Ow! Alexander, don't use your claws, it hurts. You must let me go."

Alexander looked up into Jack's eyes, tears seeding his face, and retracted his claws. "I'm sorry. But he'll eat you."

"Don't worry about me," Jack said. "I promise, he won't eat me." He didn't know whether that was true, but it seemed to assure Alexander, and he released his grip on Jack.

"Now run as fast as you can away from this place, Alexander," Jack said seriously. "I'll keep the Coyote busy while you escape."

"But I want to stay with you!"

"You can't. You're too young. You don't have enough experience with these types of animals to defend yourself," Jack said. "I promise I'll find you later." A lie? No, a hopeful truth. He thought.

Alexander wiped the tears from his eyes and with one last glance, turned, and fled deep into the forest.

"Very clever lying to the little one, I'll have no trouble with you," the Coyote said.

Jack turned and faced the enemy, and thought quickly. He devised a plan of defense when the Coyote attacked him and of attack to strike back.

He was a good strategist. His father always said he was smart. He never lost Capture the Flag against his brothers and sisters when they played.

Coyotes were cunning, but rabbits are smarter and quicker, he knew.

He could easily flee. With his powerful legs, he could be long gone before the coyote could catch up to him. But that would solve nothing. The Coyote would just seek out other prey, and it could very well be Alexander. Dwarf rabbits aren't incredibly fast.

He could never forgive himself if something happened to Alexander because he fled. It would forever be on his conscious.

So, he had no choice but to stay and fight. The odds of defeating a Coyote were slim. But he was a rabbit. And rabbits are lucky.

"Who said I was lying?" said Jack finally.

To be continued.