Darin Vasche wandered along the creek humming to himself. He was wearing rubber boots, jeans, a tattered t-shirt he got from his older brother, and a red nylon jacket.
It was sometime after three in the afternoon. He had gotten home from school, then wandered into the wooded gully behind his house with his dog. He was in search of adventure.
On this day, Darin pretended he was lost. There had been some terrible accident and he was now alone in a vast wilderness. He had nothing but the Swiss Army knife in his pocket and the clothes on his back. He was going to survive.
The first thing he thought he should do was find food. He hoped to spear some fish that swam in the creek. He found a sapling, cut it down, then whittled the end into a spear. He then crouched on one bank of the creek and waited.
Five minutes later he decided he wasn't so hard up for food. Shelter was the next matter of business. He thought he might want a "lean to" hut, and went to work. He found some solid sticks with the right sorts of branch crooks. Even with stopping to play with various bugs, construction progressed.
He spotted his dog wandering by, wagging its tail. It had something in its mouth.
"Hey Bobo. What'cha got there?" Darin wandered over to the dog. It dropped what it was carrying. There, lying at their feet, was a little fuzzy gray rabbit. It was still very young, probably only a month or two old. After having fallen out of the dog's mouth on its side, it rolled over onto its feet and tucked its ears back.
"Awww..." Darin said and picked it up. It huddled in his cupped hands. "Are you hurt?" It looked okay. A little shocked, maybe.
Darin sat in the tall grass along the creek and pet the rabbit for a while. It's fur was wet and matted from being in the dog's mouth. Bobo sat nearby, watching and waiting to get his toy back.
"Well at least I'm not all alone out here in the wilderness," Darin said to the rabbit. The fantasy continued. He would build himself a house in a tree, like the Swiss Family Robinson. He would have all sorts of wild animals running around. They would be his pets and he would play with them whenever he liked. It wasn't a lonely dream. He liked it a lot.
"I'll take care of you, bunny. We'll be good friends," he said, and tucked the rabbit into his jacket pocket. He got up and began walking back along the creek toward his house. He spotted a fish swimming against the current near the bank. He picked up a stone, paused a few moments to take aim, then threw it. The loud splash made him close his eyes. When he opened them again, the fish was gone. He crouched by the creek again for a while with a handful of stones, waiting for more fish to appear. None did.
He started towards home again, thinking about his new pet in his pocket. He thought about having his dad build a little cage for it with wood and chicken wire. It would have straw in it and a little bowl of water. He would go out early ever morning with lettuce and carrots and feed it. He would lie there and watch it eat. Then maybe they would play.
He had come out of the woods and left the creek, heading across the field to his house. It was late in August and the corn was much higher than he was. He felt like he was in a jungle. He was in the war his dad was in, and he had to sneak through the tropical plants with his rabbit. The enemy wanted the bunny because it was real smart. It could tell his side how to make peace. The enemy didn't want that. They wanted to beat his team.
About 45 minutes later, Darin popped out of the corn field next to his house. He had made it without being caught. There were some close calls with the enemy's guard dog. Luckily he was quiet enough not to make it bark.
He saw his mother next to the house, hanging laundry. He ran to her.
"Hey mom! Guess what I found!" He beamed.
"What did you find, little man?" She seemed somewhat concerned. He had brought plenty of strange things home before.
"Look!" He stuffed his fist into his pocket and fished for the rabbit. He got his hand around it, pulled it out, then displayed it in cupped hands. He saw the look on her face. She looked sad.
"Awwww..." she said.
"Yeah, isn't it..." Darin never finished. He looked in his hands at his new friend. The rabbit was dead.