In the middle of nowhere, which is actually a desert, there is a boxy grey building with smokestacks. In this building is a maze of hallways, as colorless as the minds of the humans who inhabit it. Along the hallways are rooms, and in these rooms the humans perform twisted tests on rabbits. Our ancestors were forced to run mazes and eat strange foods with strange drugs. They were subjected to shocks from cattle prods, and they were poked and prodded constantly by strange machines. Every day followed the same schedule, and there was no change in light or scenery to indicate a change in time. Because of this, the rabbits had lost all sense of time. As a result of thse experiments, we have thumbs. They're not opposable, like human thumbs, but they help us to grip objects. That is the one good thing that came out of this.
Our ancestors lived in a room filled with shelves, and the shelves were filled with cages, and the cages were filled with rabbits of all types. Yes, even lop-ears. Back then, there was no discrimination against them. I'll get to that later, so don't get your ears in a twist.
In this terrible place is where our story begins. Carrie, a light brown rabbit with a black stripe down her back, was sick and tired of being the human's pincushion. So she enlisted the help of her friends to plan an escape. Carrie's friends were called Daisy and Bentley. Daisy was the optimist of the group, with black fur and white paws. Bentley was more of a skeptic. He was a white lop-ear with brown patches.
The plan was for a few rabbits to escape at a time. The lop-ears would go first, since they were faster despite their floppy ears. They would go through the ventilation shafts and find an exit. The leader of the first group, Daisy, would have a roll of bandages tied to her leg so that it trailed behind them, marking their path. If she found the exit, she would go back and tell the others.
Carrie also observed that there were times when the humans would leave and not return for a very long time. She would have to wait for one of those times to put her plan into action. They couldn't afford to be caught.
Finally, there were no humans in sight. She couldn't wait any longer, or she would start losing her sanity. Several rabbits had already gone down that path. They lashed out and chewed the bars of the cages till their teeth fell out. They jumped at the slightest noise, and even started seeing things that weren't there. Carrie resolved to never end up like that.
She studied the lock. It would be easy enough to open it. But escaping from the building itself was another matter. She watched as Daisy opened the lock of her own cage and led the four rabbits in the first group to the top shelf. They all tried their best not to look down.
Once at the top, Daisy saw that there was a grate laying to the side. It must have covered the opening at one point. What was it doing there? There was no time to question it; she tightened the knot of the gauze roll and hopped into the long, rectangular tube. She cringed as she landed with a loud clang. The shaft wasn't as solid as she had originally thought. Her white paws became black with grime as she made her way further into the tunnel, her patrol trailing behind her. Wind roared in her ears and the darkness swallowed her. She was effectively blind and deaf. I shouldn't complain, she thought. I have three other senses-well, I won't use taste, of course. She laughed quietly to herself at her own joke. Doubt crept into her mind as she turned several corners and lost her sense of direction. Several times, she stepped on or brushed against sharp metal edges or stumbled on hot pipes. She soldiered on, knowing that it would be worth it when they escaped.
Finally, light streamed in through an opening. Daisy rushed forward, momentarily forgetting about the noise they were making, and stopped in her tracks. It was just another room. Three humans were standing there, looking up with strange expressions on their faces. Daisy stepped back away from the opening, which was covered with a grate. The humans kept staring at the grate with confusion. Then one, a dark-skinned female, shook her head and said something. The other two, a pale-skinned male and an equally pale female, shrugged and returned to their work. It seemed like forever before they left. Only the dark-skinned female remained. She looked up knowingly and took lettuce out of her pocket, pushing it up through the grates. Daisy regarded it suspiciously, but hunger got the better of her. She shared it with her patrol and ran off before the human decided to follow them.
Another illuminated opening appeared in front of them. It was blocked by a fan with sharp blades that made the light flicker and seemed to chop the air into thin slices. Daisy shuddered, thinking what that might do to a rabbit. Then she shook her head. That kind of thinking would get them nowhere. Besides, the fan was stopping. It slowed down, and as it did the wind died down. Finally, the deadly blades stopped and it was safe to jump through. A rabbit peered outside.
"It's quite a drop," he reported. "But there's a rubbish heap to break our fall."
"Well, at least it's not a pile of scat," Daisy joked. "Let's move before this thing starts up again. I'll go back and help the next group."
She untied the gauze, retied it to one of the fan blades, and left the other rabbits to jump down. Listening for the sound of humans or a fan starting up, she made her way carefully back to the cage room.
"All clear," she reported.
The brown and black rabbit opened four more cages, relieved that her plan had worked. She had been waiting anxiously for a long time. If anything had happened to her friends, she didn't know what she would do. Daisy, however, never lost confidence. She seemed to think Carrie had planned for everything that could possibly go wrong.
Eventually, half of the rabbits had escaped. Carrie, who would lead the next group, became impatient. She led the entire room-a dozen rabbits, plus her-into the shafts. They didn't get far before they heard an ominous, metallic groan. One of the supports for the shaft failed under the weight of all the escapees. Carrie's heart skipped a beat as she fell down and landed on a glass container full of a chemical, knocking it over. She jumped out of the way, but not before getting soaked with the vile liquid. She dodged a sparking wire that had snapped in the fall. The wire landed on the puddle of chemicals, and a fire erupted from it. Carrie jumped up immediately and tried to sjake off the chemical, but it clung to her fur. she felt her tail burn from the heat of the fire, and she took off running, leaving a trail of fire fuel in her path. She heard screams as her fellow escapees ran from the blaze.
Her legs were stiff from spending so long in the cage. she stumbled and fell head over tail, and the fire nearly caught up with her. She scrambled to her feet and ran flat-out, her breath coming in ragged gasps. Her legs and lungs ached, and she coughed as she inhaled the acrid smoke. The flames now spanned the length of the hallway. She found a door, and she could smell fresh air beyond it. But she was too short to reach the handle, no matter how high she jumped. She was trapped, along with the rest of the group. She had failed them. Carrie thought she was doing the best thing she could for them by helping them escape, but she had led them to their deaths. She hung her head in defeat.
Suddenly, the door opened and fresh air rushed in their faces, as hot as the fire but a lot cleaner. A pair of human feet, clad in sneakers, stood in front of them. The dark-skinned female who occupied the shoes knelt down and ushered them out. Carrie wasted no time. She had stopped tracking chemicals, but the substance still covered her fur. She had to find water. Her mouth was dry, and she could still taste the smoke. She stopped and looked back. The smokestacks were now belching fire, and the part of the building they escaped from had collapsed.