Brenda E Holmes
Caboose was a very stubborn rabbit, the most stubborn in his whole family but it really wasn’t all his fault. He was the youngest in his family, indeed ,in the whole rabbit village,he was the very last born which had always caused the population to treat him like a baby rabbit even though, in his eyes at least, he was all grown up. It was always,” Caboose, don’t go out without your brothers!” or, “Caboose, let me get that for you,you’re too little to do that,let me help you!’ or his personal favorite,”Caboose, you need to grow up and quit acting like a baby!” which always puzzled Caboose as well as making him lose his temper because how could he grow up if every one persisted in treating him like he was a little baby rabbit,still eating liquified lettuce which he actually still liked but he had all his rabbit teeth and could even clean up his very own little warren. It might not be as neat as his brothers but it still looked good. Maybe it would look better if all his toys weren’t piled up in the closet but putting them in neat little rows made no sense to Caboose because he liked them all higgledy-piggledy but his mother still gave him the look when she opened his closet and they all fell out onto the floor!
Caboose wasn’t too fond of his name either and it really wasn’t his real name, that was Cabot Wallingford Bunne but since he was the youngest and the smallest and was always trailing along at the end of the line,his bunny brothers started calling him Caboose and that was that! His oldest brother Bert,short for Bertram who really loved his baby brother, would always tell Caboose, when he started getting upset about the teasing about his nickname, how important the caboose was to the “family train” and how sometimes,being the last to reach the destination meant you got to enjoy the trip longer which never failed to make Caboose feel better. Being at the end and the last sometimes meant getting the biggest rewards like the end of the bread loaf which was his absolute favorite thing because his mama made bread from scratch and sliced as they needed it so ,sometimes the end was the biggest piece and besides, his Granddaddy Jeremiah always told him the end was the best because it had all the vitamins in it to make him fast and being a fast bunny was sometimes a very good thing. Today it was good because ,even though he had been given very clear instructions not to go into the woods at the end of the clearing, he was going!
After all, he was very fast and very brave and he was so tired of being told not to do anything,they acted like all he was ,was just a big baby and he most certainly was not! The woods were dark and mysterious and very interesting and to a very small and stubborn young bunny rabbit boy, that was more tempting than a whole bunch of carrots, which were his second favorite food!
A cool breeze ruffled the treetops and sounded like an invitation to come on inside so Caboose hopped closer to the edge of the forest and stopped,suddenly nervous and wondering if this really was such a good idea and then the morning’s events came back to him and he could hear Delilah his older sister by five years telling him to stay close by because he was too little and he might get lost and off he hopped.
The coolness of the forest and the dim light slowed him down a little as he entered the dark confines of the woods. Strange noises and smells unsettled him a little but he was a very stubborn rabbit and this was his adventure so on he went,even though his paws trembled just a little and his nose was twitching like crazy and his right ear ,which always bent to the right and quivered when he was doing something he knew he shouldn’t, was vibrating like crazy!! A pine cone fell right beside him and he jumped a foot high!
“Ha ha, you almost jumped right out of your skin Caboose,you silly bunny!” Penelope Possum giggled loudly from her upside down perch on the tree branch right above his head. “Did you think it was the big bad wolf going to eat you for his supper?
Caboose liked his forest friends and most of the time he had a lot of fun playing with Penelope but this was one time he wished she’d been hanging somewhere else. His little bunny heart was still beating a mile a minute and he just knew if he told her where he was going, and didn’t let her go too, she’d run tell on him and that would be that! No brave adventure, no exciting tales to tell, just a stern lecture and a sore tail and more boring chores to do to keep him out of trouble so, what to do?Penelope was the youngest in her family too and sometimes she really understood his feelings because she too received the same treatment simply because she was so little so ,maybe,just maybe she might go along with what he wanted to do and they could both have fun exploring in the big dark forest! Not to mention, her eyes worked even better in the dim light of the overgrown forest floor!
Just then, two pair of fluttering wings settled on the tree branch above Penelope and Caboose recognized his friends the Owlyn twins, Aloyisus and Alissa .Suddenly his solo trek and adventure into the forest had gotten even better for the twins could twist their necks and look behind them so no body could sneak up on them!
” What are you two up to ,Caboose? Going to go into the forest? You know they say there’s a big scary monster living in the bushes around the Ancient Oak and he eats small ones like us for breakfast, lunch and dinner and use our bones to pick his big sharp teeth!”
Aloysius chittered as he watched Caboose and Penelope’s eyes grow big and round as they contemplated his words. Alissa elbowed him and ,looking down with kind eyes at the two younger animals on the forest floor, spoke softly. ” Don’t listen to Aloys, he’s just pulling your leg, he wouldn’t know if there is a monster because this is our first time in here too but our parents come in here all the time and they’ve never said anything! Do you mind if we come along with you ?”
Caboose looked at Penelope and Penelope looked at him and both had the same thought,there is safety in numbers and too, if they did have a great adventure, there would be more witnesses to back them up and ,just maybe, possibly their parents wouldn’t get so mad at them for venturing into the forest!
Nodding his head, Caboose looked up at the twins and smiled,” That would be great! Any ideas on which way to go next?”
Aloysius puffed up his chest and ,pointing his wing off to the right, said,” Let’s head towards that little stream running besides the big rock, there’s a path alongside it and that will make it easier for you and Penelope to walk .” He was a bit of a blowhard but it was mainly for show and it covered up a big heart and he really did like the little bunny.
The little group of youngsters moved towards the murmuring brook and were soon hopping, ambling and flying down the path beside it. The sounds of the deep dark forest surrounded them but since, this time, Caboose wasn’t alone, the twigs cracking and the sounds of mice and squirrels skittering along didn’t make his fur stand up and his tummy squinch so he was feeling pretty good. Alissa and Penelope were chattering about ….