Under the Rain Shadow

1 year, 1 month ago
7 months, 26 days ago
10 8638 5 1

Chapter 10
Published 7 months, 26 days ago

Explicit Violence

Perturbed by the lack of any rainfall for months in the Central Grasslands, one conspiracy theorist stormchaser bunny starts to seek the truth for himself.

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Sopping wet

Gonzo took the trip northeast to Weston the next morning after he'd sobered up some. It was a little unincorporated community of about 300 people, with about a third living in campers and motor homes on the outskirts of town. Compared to Remington, it positively sprawled.

The little bunny opted not to leave his van that day. His legs were still sore and wobbly, and visually, he was a wreck. Any adventure that wasn't coming home to the Valley Cascadia was one he wanted no part of.

One of Weston's most prominent landmarks was an ugly, monolithic, geometric TV transmitter against the cloudless blue sky, with a little repeater station cabin sitting on the higher ground next to it. Seeking noise, Gonzo pulled down his chunky, black-and-white portable TV and telescoped the antenna out, scanning for what channels came through.

Between the ambulance chaser ads and trashy daytime talk shows, one of the stations was still in the middle of recapping the morning news. Gonzo put his elbows up against the steering wheel, staring blankly at the perky anchor squirrel chirping the news at him. It was serendipitous timing.

"Both local authorities and the military say they are baffled at an apparent stampede on a military base that claimed the lives of five service members late last night."

Gonzo closed his eyes and debated switching to a talk show. Instead, the woman continued.

"It happened at Fort Garfield, a military base a quarter of a mile outside Remington. Remington Rest Stop owner Peter Lahey says he called authorities when he noticed bison charging at the base not once, but twice."

"Strangest thing I ever saw," a deep, twangy voice interjected. "I thought, 'man, what are they doing at that base?' I dunno what. Something wasn't right up there."

"A spokesperson from the military confirmed to KWNS that experiments in taming buffalo has been going on at Fort Garfield, but said they had been put on hold pending an internal investigation."

"Experiments in taming buffalo". All that mess, and they had the nerve to call it mere "experiments in taming buffalo".

Gonzo was almost too tired to care. Almost.

The report continued. "The police commissioner said it is the strangest case he has ever worked on."

"All of the metrics we would normally use to generate a sequence of events were removed from the scene. We do suspect foul play, given what was taken, but we're missing access logs, security camera footage, there were no distress calls, and we don't know of any witnesses at current. We'll be working with the military to recover anything usable from the fort, and I encourage your viewers, if you have any knowledge of what occurred last night, to please call us—"

The TV shut off with a dense clunk. Gonzo put his head down on the wheel. He'd somehow escaped rebuke for trespassing on government property, seeing classified technology, bearing witness to the murder of five members of the military, and tampering with the evidence. Gonzo figured—hoped might have been a better word—the matter would be buried in the coming weeks, and he and Calhoun would take the truth to their graves.

Only one question remained then, the one Gonzo would learn the answer the following day.

It had been unusually dark across most of the Central Grasslands since he got up, but about ten minutes to the state border, drops began to splat across his windshield. First, only a few, then more and more. Soon, steady rainfall refracted his view in strings and streams that blew to the edges of the windshield as he drove on.

Gonzo's hands began to shake again. He pulled over to avoid wrecking the van in his distraction, and he sat idle in the driver's seat, mouth agape, eyes wide, lost in the soaked scenery and the sounds of the droplets pelting the roof of the van.

He couldn't really believe his eyes or his ears, after all that happened—he had to feel it.

Pulling open the van door, Gonzo hopped down into the shrubby, short grass and felt his ankles and paws quickly soaked. The intensity of the storm was yet still increasing, and it wasn't long until his clothes were sopping wet, sticking to his body, and his tufts of thick head fur were heavy with rain. There was a large boulder out a couple feet from the road, and Gonzo sat down on it with his head down and his arms between his legs, taking in the rain smell in deep breaths and tracing the damp grooves of the rock with his fingertips.

And with no one around for miles to interrupt him, Gonzo rested there for a very, very long time.

Author's Notes

2021 was not kind to me, but it's done. This story is finally done.

I'd like to give it a proper editing pass at this point and then start to post it elsewhere. Wattpad perhaps. I'll come back and update these chapters when I do that. Save the draft on cammy.somnol for funsies.

Thanks for reading. It's a major relief, it is.