The following is inspired by Icy Sedgwick's Photo Prompt 29 - Vampire Rabbit.
The story takes place first thing on a Monday morning in Newcastle and, owing to the location in which the story is set, includes a few words in the local dialect and idiom of the area. The building in question, and the rabbit statue really do exist, the characters on the other hand, are fictional.
Geordie and Jack are having a quick mug of tea before starting work on the facade of the building they are employed to rennovate...
Photo courtesy Icy Sedgwick. © Icy Sedgwick 2007 - 2011. All Rights Reserved.
'Geordie, will you look at that?!' Jack pointed up to the front of the building they'd been working on.
'What, man?' Geordie put down his copy of the Daily Mirror swivelled round and glanced in the direction Jack pointed.
'Some bugger's nicked the rabbit, like.'
Geordie's gaze zeroed in on the plinth above the building's main entrance.
'Aw, shite! We'll be right in the clarts when Jamieson sees this.' Geordie tipped the rest of his tea onto the pavement and stood. 'Give us a hand then.'
'What with, like?'
'That, Jackie man, that.' Geordie indicated the hydraulic platform they'd been sitting on for their tea break. 'One of us is going to have to gan up and have a shufty.'
Jack did not reply, instead he busied himself with the platform's controls, manoeuvring it into place in front of the doorway. Geordie climbed onto the platform's deck and thumbed the switch to raise himself up level with the portico.
'Jackie man, this is a bit bloody weird, like' he called down as he surveyed the rabbit's plinth.
'Why?' Jack was more concerned about finding and replacing the statue before Jamieson, their foreman, discovered it was missing. Jamieson's temper was legendary and Jack had been the one responsible for locking off the platform the previous Friday night. It had been his daughter's birthday and he'd wanted to get away early, though as he thought about it, he was sure he had locked the platform's controls. Hadn't he unlocked them just now? If he hadn't locked them on Friday, that meant the platform had been left accessible all weekend.
'There's nee sign of any fixings, like,' replied Geordie as he reached out to run his fingertips over the smooth stone of the plinth. 'Not a bloody bolt hole nor nowt. It's like the rabbit was never here.'
'Queer? It's bloody odd is what it is, Jackie, man. There's not even a weather mark for where the statue's been neither.'
Geordie's eyes lit upon something he hadn't noticed at first.
'What it is?' called Jack.
'I divent narr, bonny lad. I know what it looks like, but,' Geordie paused, 'It can't be.'
'Can't be what, like?'
'Claw marks. On the front of the plinth. It's like summat was up here, flexing its fingers--'
'Paws. Rabbits haven't got fingers.'
'Listen, clever shite, whether whatever it is has fingers, paws or whatever is the least of our worries. A better question is where the hell's it gone, like?'
'Fat lot of help you are,' Geordie fumed as he lowered the platform back to ground level, wondering what sort of excuse they could come up with that Jamieson might go for. 'There's nowt for it, bonny lad. We'll have to tell him before he finds out, like.'
'But what are we going to tell him?' Jack ran a hand through his salt and pepper hair.
'I'm buggered if I know, but if he finds out second hand we'll both be collecting our cards.'
With weary hearts, Geordie and Jack headed for the site office.
'You did lock off the platform on Friday, Jackie, didn't you?'
* * *
A large black rabbit, about the size of a spaniel, crouched in the shadows of an industrial sized bin washing the last of the blood off its face with both paws. Thankfully the street was still deserted this early in the morning and, as soon as the two men passed, the rabbit broke cover and raced towards the building.
Its muscular back legs pumping, the rabbit hurtled towards the hydraulic platform. At the last second, when collision seemed inevitable, the rabbit leapt, describing a perfect arc through the clear morning air to land, with what appeared a well-practiced move, right in the middle of the plinth above the doors.
As the rabbit settled quickly into a crouched position, a roar of anger echoed from the nearby tin hut, followed closely by the sight of three men, a larger red-faced man preceding two others, running towards the building.
Three pairs of eyes raised skywards to meet the re-painted ones of the crouching rabbit statue above the building's entrance.
'So, it's gone, has it?' The red-faced man rounded on the other two, who quailed under his gaze. 'I don't know what you pair of silly bastards are trying to pull, but any more practical jokes and I'll sack the bloody pair of you.'
With that Jamieson spun on his heel and marched off toward the tin hut.
Geordie and Jack exchanged bewildered glances before Geordie shrugged and went to buy tea from a nearby café.
Jack, shielding his eyes against the morning sun, squinted up at the rabbit atop its plinth. His stomach turned to ice as he could have sworn the rabbit winked at him.
By the time Geordie returned with the tea, Jack had resolved to pack his job in and change careers. He wasn't sure what to exactly, but he figured he should be fine so long as it had nothing to do with rabbits.