Once again, I’m flying.
Straight across the gigantic bed, feeling horribly sick and yet strangely excited. I’ve almost grown to like that part.
It’s the falling that feels pretty bad. I land hard on my back, the cold wooden floor tickling my skin. The pain is almost numb, as if someone had been squeezing my spine from inside for a long while.
Every morning Master picks me up, jabbing me in the stomach with his large, greasy finger. He shakes me violently. I want to vomit, so I cry out to him, begging him to stop. Of course he can’t hear me. He never can.
“Again with the toy! When will you stop sleeping with it!” he yells at Little Miss. His roar is deafening. I feel ocean waves rising inside my head and collapsing against my eardrums.
“Dad, don’t do this to Vera!” Little Miss’s voice is tiny even by my very modest standards. It’s squeaky when she gets mad, but it’s still the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard.
Then Master tosses me away. If I’m lucky, I fall on the sofa; it’s actually fun, because it’s so soft. But more often than not I just end up on the floor. Master clomps heavily, slamming the door on his way out.
Little Miss picks me up and hugs me. I love those moments. Her soft fur touches my aching skin, her long floppy ears wrapping me up in a warm caress. I snuffle loudly. Of course she hears that.
“Poor little Vera!” she cries and kisses me on my forehead. “My poor sweet darling! I’m sorry Dad is so mean to you ... He doesn’t understand ... He thinks you are a toy!”
“I’m not a toy!” I protest grumpily, engulfed by waves of gratitude and fighting back bitter tears. “I’m a human being.”
“I know!” Little Miss exclaims, adjusting my rumpled clothes. “I know that, but he doesn’t ... Nobody does ... I don’t know why they can’t see what I see ... They think you are a toy because you don’t look like a rabbit.”
“Why should I look like a rabbit if I’m a human being?” I say sulkily. Oh, I wish these moments would last forever!
“Exactly!” Little Miss says decisively, frowning in her typical cute way. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell them. Just because we are rabbits doesn’t mean we own you. Maybe we are meant to protect you ... take care of you ... maybe you are actually nicer than us?”
She talks more and more, her excitement gradually dwindling, until she is fast asleep, clutching me in her puffy paws. After a while, my pain fades, and I drift off into a dream...
... I’m dreaming that I’m on a great, bright planet. The sky is intensely blue and the sun is blazing. I’m standing on a stage of sorts, and it’s surrounded by a huge crowd of people. They are all human beings, just like I am. There isn’t even one rabbit, as far as I can see. They’re all shouting, and it looks like they are expecting something from me, but I’m too overwhelmed by my new sensations to say or do anything.
Then somebody nudges me gently. It’s an ordinary-looking male human being dressed in a black suit.
“The speech, Madame President,” he whispers. There is a wire dangling from his ear. He looks concerned.
President? What is that? I rub my temples hard with my two forefingers, trying to remember what that word means. In my dream, I know that I’m supposed to be on that stage. There is nothing strange in the incredible fact that there is a whole planet populated by humans and there are no rabbits to use us as toys. But I still feel that something is wrong, that I’ve forgotten something extremely important, something that is supposed to help all those humans around me.
“Your statement, Madame President,” the man hisses imploringly. “Will you agree to cede Europe to the Caliphate? Will you accept the economic conditions of the truce with China? Will Islamic education become mandatory in the States of New York, Ethiopia, and Chile?”
I don’t understand more than half of those words. I don’t know what he wants from me. I look around helplessly. There is pained expectation on the faces of most of the people standing closest to my stage. The noise has subsided, the crowd is almost still now.
Something – I have no idea what – tells me I have to say “no” to all those questions. Saying “yes” just doesn’t feel right for some reason. So I open my mouth.
At that very moment, I see a hand sticking out from the crowd, holding a glittering piece of metal. It makes a barely noticeable movement, and a fraction of a second later something pierces my chest. I gape at the man near me in childish amazement. Then pain overcomes my entire body. I want to scream, but I can’t.
Then I wake up.
I’m back in Little Miss’s bedroom, cuddled between her paws. It’s very quiet, not a single sound disrupting the peaceful night. I pant rapidly, greedily inhaling the familiar smells of this place.
This happens every other night or so. A long, complicated, exceedingly confusing dream broken into disjointed fragments. And no matter what, I end up getting killed.
Maybe this is a sign of what is going to happen here, in the real world? The more I’m horrified by that thought the more it convinces me. Deep inside me, beyond the bruised limbs and the damaged organs, grows a desire to die.
Master is angrier than usual today. Little Miss has overslept again. He is livid, intoxicated with rage. He bends over and yanks me from her hands. His red eyes are glowing like hellfire. I’m drowning in his rancid breath.
“Get up! Get up! Get ... up!!” he screams madly.
“Put Vera down!” Little Miss sits up in the bed, reaching her paws to touch me. But Master holds me tight, squeezing the air out of my lungs.
“That’s it!” he roars. “I’m throwing away this stupid toy!”
Stubborn little tears are glistening in Little Miss’s lovely eyes.