Fantasy Fiction posted April 13, 2018


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Sometimes love is just a hop and a skip away.

Serendipity

by JudiBee

The author has placed a warning on this post for sexual content.

Mirabelle lived in a small cottage her parents had purchased for her. It bordered the edge of a large tract of land and she trespassed there almost every day, walking the many trails observing the flora and fauna she found. It was mid-morning as she happily walked the woodland path of trillium, lady slippers, dog-tooth violets, and buttercups, her pink cardigan draped over her shoulders. Mirabelle stopped to bask in the late May sun that scattered through the light spring canopy, spreading dollops of brightness onto the moss-covered rocks and branches along the ground. She looked up into the western sky and scolded the full moon that remained.

"Moon, go to sleep! You have to be back in the eastern sky tonight!" she scolded.

Birds were arguing above her, singing out the boundaries of their territories, when she heard an unfamiliar sound amidst the spring chorus. There was a loud rustling to her right. About 100 feet away she saw what appeared to be a man, gasping and struggling to stand. There was something not quite right. He was naked, but from his waist up he was covered in a smooth tawny brown fur. He had what looked like long ears that rose over his head. Like a rabbit. A very tall, six-foot rabbit. He steadied himself and then realized he was being watched. He fell to a crouch in the fern and remained completely still, but for a nose-twitch. She stood in awe and wonder. What was this man, this creature? She had never seen a creature like this, and yet, she was unafraid.

"Hello!" yelled Mirabelle, "Hello, are you alright?"

He remained quiet. He had never transformed this far from the estate before.
"You seem to be in some sort of trouble," she said, "I can help you!" Mirabelle, lithe and athletic, took off towards him, lightly stepping and hopping through the fern and low-bush blueberries. He remained crouched to conceal his 'belongings', but then panicked and leapt to his feet, turning to run but instead, smacking his head into a large low branch which knocked him unconscious. Mirabelle ran to him and knelt by his side. She laid her cheek on his downy chest and listened for a heart beat. It was there, quick but steady. She cradled his head in her lap. "Please wake up," she pleaded. Several minutes later Randall woke to Mirabelle staring deeply into his face. He tried to get up, but Mirabelle stopped him.

"Stay still," Mirabelle said softly, "you have quite a nob on your forehead. Take your time getting up." Randall sat up and rubbed his head, all the time staring back at Mirabelle wondering what she was thinking and why she wasn't afraid.

"My name is Mirabelle. Here. Wrap my sweater around your waist," she said, with a giggle. "Can you speak? she asked. "Do you have a name?"

"Yes, and yes" he said, "My name is Randall." He stood with a slight waver and took the pink sweater from her outreached hand, tying it sideways around his waist. She was blushing, but he didn't seem to notice. "It's a bit difficult for me to explain any of this," he said. "I suppose it's not possible for you to forget what you've seen?"

Mirabelle looked up at him and considered the situation. "I'm sure you have very valid reasons for wanting to keep this quiet," she said. "And I have no need for the excitement of reporters and news cameras in my life. I'm quite happy to keep this fascinating experience to myself, although, I would love to talk to you about it."

"You're not vision impaired, are you?" he asked, still concerned over her reaction, or lack thereof, to his appearance.

"No! I have a deep admiration for all creatures I observe in these woods," she declared.

"Technically, these are my woods, and you're trespassing," he stated, "However, and I'll admit this may seem odd considering the circumstances, would you like to return to my house where we can talk?" he asked, "I can offer you tea, or coffee, or something to eat, or all of the above?"

"I would enjoy that," Mirabelle answered. She continued staring at his face and if Randall didn't have a face full of fur she would have observed his cheeks turning rosy-pink.

"I'm afraid it's a bit of a walk," Randall explained, "I'm guessing about three miles in that direction." Randall pointed east with his furry appendage.

"I can handle the distance. Besides, my schedule is open all day, not that I plan to take up your entire day," Mirabelle said with a twinkle in her eye.

Mirabelle quietly walked beside him on the narrow deer path they were following. She slowed just enough to get a glimpse of him from behind. Randall had beautifully muscular legs and broad shoulders. From the tip of his long ears to just above his navel he was covered in smooth brown fur, but from there down he seemed to be a normal male. His ears laid back on his head, resembling big furry feathers.

"I hope this doesn't seem too direct, but have you always been this way?" Mirabelle asked.

"Direct is good. Direct is refreshing. I've spent four years hiding from direct." he mused as he pushed low branches out of the way for Mirabelle. "The truth is, my family is cursed. Back in the fifth century one of my ancestors killed a very special hare and the goddess Eostre put a curse on us. The first male in each generation is doomed to eventually transform into a half-man half-hare creature. In my case, it started at age 21, and it's taken me four years of full moons to get to where I am today. But the length of time can change from generation to generation."

"This can't be an easy life for you." Mirabelle empathized.

"This last transformation was the final phase. It helps that we have money," he confessed, "At least I'll never have to leave the estate. I was able to get my master's before the transformation began and I earn a living from home working for my father's company."

They concentrated on staying on the path, occasionally commenting on a wildflower or bird that drew their attention. They emerged from the woods onto a lawn that felt like the size of a golf course. Mirabelle was astounded. They approached one of the formal gardens that was flanked by a hedge maze.

"Is that a hedge maze?" Mirabelle asked.

"Yes! It's one of my favorite places here on the grounds. Later would you like to explore it with me?" Randall answered, trying to conceal his eagerness.

"Oh yes, please." Mirabelle replied with excitement.

They entered the house through the atrium where Randall asked Mirabelle to sit and wait while he dressed. He bounded up the stairs and came back dressed in jeans and a crisp white cotton shirt. He handed her back the pink cardigan. She took it and when he wasn't looking she deeply inhaled the sweater, enjoying how his scent reminded her of the wild things in the forest.
They sat in the sunlight of the atrium in comfortable wicker chairs with plush cushions, drinking tea, eating dainty sandwiches and nibbling petite cupcakes topped with candied violets served by Randall's aunt. Mirabelle saw no other staff. She felt like a princess and didn't want the day to end.

Randall began to tell her about the travails of the curse's transformation process. "What happened at each full moon is that I transformed into a hare and made my way outside. Of course, I had no memory of that as it happened, or, how it happened. I woke up the next morning under the hostas, or the forsythias, usually scratching like crazy from bug bites. But they must eat as well, right? Anyways, the first time it happened," Randall explained, "I began to grow ears. They were nubs at first, but with each full moon they grew a little more. Eventually I had to hide them under a Rasta hat."

Mirabelle laughed over that as she envisioned him wearing the hat. She studied him as he spoke. His mouth was mostly human, supple but narrow, his tongue smooth and pink, his teeth beautifully white and completely human. There were no protruding whiskers, but he said he clipped them each morning because they were a real nuisance when trying to sip his morning tea. A rabbit-like face on a human form, or was it a human-like body on a rabbit? Mirabelle thought it was an attractive combination.

"The next stage was adding fur and hare features to my face," he continued. "It wasn't too bad initially. I just had to shave more. But each month brought more fur and changes to my facial structure."

"How very interesting," Mirabelle whispered.

"And now, what you see of me is how I'll remain. Unless there's a way to lift the curse, but after sixteen generations no one's found a way." he sighed. "Enough talk! Do you want to visit the maze?" Randall asked. "The light's fading but we still have the full moon!"

"Yes!" Mirabelle exclaimed.

Randall grabbed a blanket from one of the chairs in case Mirabelle got chilled when they reached the maze's center. They exited the atrium, walked through the rose garden, and passed between two large goddess statues that flanked the entrance to the maze.

"I think it'd be best if I held your hand. I wouldn't want to lose the only guest I've ever had. Do you mind?" Randall asked.

"Not at all," Mirabelle replied.

Randall's hand was warm. The backs of his hands were fur-covered but the palms were not. He guided her through the many turns and archways until they reached an opening with low flat benches and vines with fragrant purple flowers. They lay on the benches gazing up at the cloud forms as the sun set and spoke of the gardens and the wonders of the forest.

"So, what's your story, Ms. Mirabelle?" Randall asked. He gazed up into the broad sky with his arms folded behind his head, his ears draped casually to either side of his head as he waited for her reply.

"Nothing too exciting. My parents have money. They bought the little cottage I live in at the edge of your land. I'm a freelance writer. I mostly write about nature." Mirabelle said. "My parents are embarrassed that I prefer the woods to people. They want me to be more social, you know, find someone nice to marry. The normal parent-stuff."

"I've always known normal wasn't going to be an option for me," Randall sighed.

Mirabelle looked over at Randall and asked, "I hope you won't think I'm odd, but may I touch your ears?"

Randall agreed, he thought perhaps too quickly, and sat up. Mirabelle walked over to his bench and sat facing him. She slowly felt his luxurious velvet ears from the base up to the tips. Transfixed, she continued to move her small hands up and down his ears as she looked into his large brown eyes and they blinked back at her with his very distinct eyelashes. Randall then narrowed the space between them and lifted Mirabelle into his lap. She caressed his head in the emerging moonlight and cupped his smooth cheeks in her hands. He gently stroked her hair. He put his face closer to hers and their noses touched. They kissed. He pulled back, afraid he had over-stepped a boundary. Mirabelle pulled him back and kissed him again.

They moved to the well-manicured lawn, spread out the blanket, and lay down between two gigantic rabbit topiaries. They stared at each other, speaking with their eyes. Mirabelle slowly unbuttoned his shirt and before removing it took time to feel the luxurious brown fur of his chest. He unbuttoned her blouse and carefully took it off her, one arm at a time, then nuzzled her neck as he awkwardly removed her lace bra. He thought she smelled like violets. Mirabelle sat up and removed her boots. She stood, dropping her jeans to the ground, twirling around to show Randall. He could hardly believe what he was seeing. Mirabelle smiled. From her waist down to the tips of her long toes she was covered with a silken brown coat, except for a short tail of erect white fur on her backside that now glowed in the moonlight. Randall smiled, threw back his head and laughed, and pulled her back down to the blanket as the dew began to fall.


Romance Writing Contest contest entry


This was story I wrote based on an image I saw. I felt love and hope was borne from the isolation and despair.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by suzannethompson2 at FanArtReview.com

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