matter98: (Default)

Fandom: Rise of the Guardians
Characters: Jack Frost, E. Aster Bunnymund, Jamie Bennet, Jack's sister

Pairing(s): Gen
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Little did Jack know, he only scratched the surface of his memories. 
Genre: Alternative Universe -- Pooka Jack Frost, hurt/comfort, angst, tragedy, family and friendship

Word count: 5,317 

A/N: Last year, I started writing this, and might be interested in continuing if people are interested. This story features pooka!Jack. 

If anyone has suggestions on the title, I would be more than interested in hearing them.
Setting: Pre-Movie
Beta: FalconFate
Any mistakes are my own, not my beta’s.

 

The gun was too big for Jamie to hold properly, and the weight of it made his shoulders ache. It was early morning, and the dark blue skies overhead were giving way to purple. It had rained last night, and the grass was still wet with dew that saturated his shoes and socks, making squelching noises wherever he stepped. The hoary pine trees surrounding him were dark, as if night still clung to their branches, and carried with it a musty smell that made his nose itch. 

He pulled his camo-jacket a little closer around his body, fighting off a chill that went down his back. Burgess was at the threshold of winter, which meant trading lighter fall clothes for heavier winter garments… and gear for rabbit hunting.

Jamie's dad was no exception.

Jamie followed him through the woods, now, keeping a careful pace. The forest was known for its rabbits, and they didn't want one overlooked. Neither did they want someone else to take their prey, which was the main reason they were out so early in the morning. Before his dad had turned off the truck, Jamie remembered the time being five o' clock in the morning. He had been forced to get out of bed at four despite his protests. 

The thing was, killing was not Jamie's thing. He wasn't like the other boys and girls in his school, who always looked forward to the hunting season, what with wearing camouflage and talking about the best areas and methods to kill certain animals. Rather, Jaime enjoyed the unknown, and daydreamed of finding elves or fairies in the woods.

So far, he hasn't had much luck, but pressed between some slides at home, he did have some hair samples that he'd found under the porch. Although he wasn't sure yet whose hair it was. (Mom insisted it was their neighbor's outdoor cat, but Jamie stuck with undecided. You never know, maybe it was his first clue.) 

However, coming from a family who's always held hunting with high esteem, Jamie was expected to learn how to hunt, whether or not he wanted to. 

Today was going to be Jamie's first hunting trip alongside his father. 

Right now, besides the gun he had to carry, he toted along a small bag, in it containing a kit. The kit was made up of things he's gathered over the years, from his camera to his magnifying glass, to his tweezers to other things he's seen from episodes of CSI and Supernatural. You never know what you may find in the woods, and with any luck, Jamie would finally find proof to back up his beliefs. Because of that, he agreed to accompany his dad.

What he didn't know, was that he would hold the gun—the gun that he was expected to shoot in order to kill something.

"Abby will help," his dad had explained back in the truck. "She'll sniff them rabbits out, and with any luck, capture us some." 

It was scary to think that Abby, sweet beloved Abby who Jamie loved very much, was capable of such violence. He knew of Abby's past catches from dad's boasting, but somehow, he never thought much about it until one day Jamie spotted the greyhound digging at the ground in their backyard. When he went to investigate, what he didn't count on was for a baby bunny to be dangling from Abby's bloody maw, nor the gore splattering the grass from the remains of several rabbits.

She apparently had found an underground rabbit nest in their yard, dug it up, and had killed the mother and babies inside. 

Jamie had been sick right there, throwing up his breakfast and dry heaving until his Mother found him.

Snap!

Jamie squeaked, tumbling back into his dad, who caught him just barely. A rabbit stared back at him unblinkingly, and dashed away when Abby started growling.

Jamie breathed heavily, and felt his ankle throb. 

"Are you okay?"

Jamie looked up at his dad's face. Shadows accentuated sharp cheekbones and the dirty blonde hair dusting his cheeks. His red filson double mackinaw laid crooked on his head, and blue eyes stared down at Jamie with concern.

Jamie dropped his gaze to the forest floor, nodding. "Sorry, dad," he murmured, and attempted to right himself. 

Bad move. Crippling pain lanced through his right ankle, and he fell to one knee, hissing. Abby hurried back to his side, licking his cheek. His Father made a sound of surprise, and soon followed Jamie to the ground. 

"Jamie!" Their eyes met. "What hurts, buddy?" 

Jamie glanced down at his ankle then back at his Dad's face. "My ankle…"

The turn Jamie made to face the direction of the rabbit had twisted his ankle. It didn't help matters that the gun's weight most likely threw off his footing. 

Jamie's visage became pinched. "…Sorry, dad, I didn't mean for it…"

His father's frown deepened, and he shook his head. "It's okay buddy, it was an accident. C'mon, I'll carry you back to the truck." He curled one arm under Jamie's knees and the other around his back, and picked him up. The kit and gun were placed in Jamie's arms, and from there, he followed their tracks back to the pickup, Abby obediently following at his side. 

When they got to the beaten down pickup, Jamie was placed in the passenger seat with the instructions to put his foot up on the dash in order to reduce swelling. 

Jamie did as instructed after kicking off his mud-covered shoe. Up on the dash, it was cool, and his toes curled as the cold seeped into his wet sock.

In the review mirror, he watched as his dad opened the back seat door to retrieve the first aide and an ice pack from a small blue cooler in the back. Once in hand, he returned to Jamie's side and took his ankle into his hand, pressing the pads of his fingers along it carefully, testing for any breaks. 

After a minute full of wincing and questions of "does it hurt?" his dad pulled back and said, "Well, there's some good and bad news. Which would you like to hear first?"

Jamie thought on it for a second. "Uh, good news please."

"Okay, well the good news is that you'll live. It seems your ankle is only sprained," he explained. "Bad news is that you may have to stay in here, 'less you feel up to walking on it." 

Although his dad said it with sadness, Jamie couldn't quite match the emotion. Happiness swelled within his chest, which he tried not showing on his face. 

Instead he frowned, feigning disappointment at the bad news. "I'm sorry dad, but I think I may stay in here…my ankle really hurts." The latter was true, it did hurt, but walking on it wasn't out of the question. He'd just hobble alongside his dad, but it seemed a shooting star had heard his wishes. Not exactly the best way to get out of hunting, but he'd take it. 

His dad took off his hat to run fingers through thinning blonde hair. "It's okay sport, there's always next week." He didn't see Jamie's wince at that as he put back on his hat and turned his gaze in the direction of the rising sun. The sun wasn't visible over the trees yet, but it would be soon. "I'm going to get you situated, and then head on back out there to see if I can catch anything, alright?" 

"Okay Dad."

His dad grinned, and went to do as he had said. He got the ice pack and handed it to Jamie. "Tuck that into your sock where the pain's worse, okay? And do you know how to wrap your ankle?"

Jamie rolled his eyes, reciting, "Not too loose, not too tight – yeah I know, dad. Mom's always hounding me about it." 

Due to Jamie's adventures, bandaging himself up had had become a regular thing. 

"That she is." His dad chuckled. "I'm taking Abby with me, but you should be fine as long as you lock the doors." The doors didn't have automatic locks, and had to be done manually from the inside. "Is there anything else you need before I go?" he asked, taking his own gun from where he had rested it against the pickup and swinging it back onto his shoulder. He didn't even stagger. Jamie looked on enviously – he wished he could have the strength to do that – and sent a glare at his gun that rested in the backseat. 

Jamie grinned sheepishly. "Could you turn the heat on? It's chilly." To punctuate his statement, he shivered, and blew into his hands. 

His Dad laughed, and did as Jamie asked, and soon after, with the truck's heat on full blast and locked safely inside, Jamie watched as his Dad and Abby headed off again, disappearing into the forest. 

Jamie's looked after them with a frown, trying to smother his anxiety at being left alone. Instead he reclined back in the passenger seat, and closed his eyes. The early morning wakeup call with a bedtime at ten had left him worn, and soon after closing his eyes, he was off into the dream world. 


When Jamie woke again, it was seven, and the sun was higher in the sky. The air vents blasted heat in the pickup loudly, and the icepack on Jamie's ankle no longer felt cold against his skin. 

Jamie blinked blankly up at the ceiling, reading the warning label about airbags killing children on the passenger seat visor when he heard barking. 

Jamie gave a start, and quickly leaned up in his seat to blink owlishly outside the pickup's window.

Something rustled in the underbrush, and Jamie's heart leapt into his throat, when suddenly Abby burst through, barking and eyes squinted. She leaped up, scratching at the car door, looking panicked. 

"Abby?!" Jamie unlocked and opened the door quickly and was met with a lap full of greyhound, whose whole body shook. Her ears were pinned back, and Jamie's nose scrunched up at the smell of urine. 

"Abby?" Jamie asked again, this time gently. Something was wrong. Abby had been on a leash, a leash his dad had held, that wasn't there anymore. The whole leash was gone except for a small strip of red still attached to the swivel snap hook; loose threads hung off the end of it, looking torn.

Jamie frowned. "Abby…where's your leash?" he asked, and settled a hand on Abby's rigid withers. The greyhound growled, and climbed into the back seats, tail tucked between her legs. Her head was pointedly turned in the direction of the forest, with her mouth set in a snarl. 

"Abby, where's dad?" he asked the dog after a whole minute without seeing anything of his dad appearing from the forest. Asking Abby that question had worked in the past, but this time, all he received was a whimper. 

Horror twisted Jamie's stomach into knots, and he looked towards the edge of the forest once more. No change, nothing was there, but something had ripped Abby's leash. Something had spooked Abby, and something had taken his Dad. He shut the car door quickly, cutting himself off to whatever was out there.

Abby's snarls didn't calm, and Jamie had taken to watching out the window too. His heart thumped loudly in his chest and his breaths left him quickly, panicked and insufficient. He wanted answers! Why—why wasn't his Dad there? Why did Abby come back alone? 

His breath hitched on a sob, and furiously he rubbed at his eyes. If Abby had come with a ripped leash but a calm demeanor, he would've been less worried. But Abby had run at the car like she was running from something, something she saw as a threat. 

Jamie's fingers itched for the salt he had left at home. Maybe this was something he couldn't see, but Abby could. Animals were said to be more sensitive than humans to things like the supernatural. But here he was, with no way to protect him and Abby. 

Camera, pictures. Pictures captured things. Jamie slowly put his foot on the ground in order to turn around in his seat. His reaching hand bypassed the snarling dog for his bag of supplies for all things supernatural. Procuring it and settling it into his lap, he quickly got out his digital camera. 

He didn't hesitate as he pressed the lens of his camera to the window, and quickly begun snapping a plethora of pictures. Until he was satisfied, he didn't stop to see the snapshots. After a minute, with a final cursory glance outside, he stopped to review the photographs.

There was about thirty pictures, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary as he studied each one carefully, trying to pick out clues and see what had been there but wasn't in another picture. But nothing – nothing was different sans for grass blowing in the breeze. So what was Abby growling at? 

Jamie looked outside once more and swallowed thickly. He watched the starting line of the forest, waiting… 

His stomach churned. Nothing. Nothing. Where was Dad? He needed him. He couldn't be left alone, he didn't know where they were… Hot tears brimmed in his eyes again. He choked on his labored breaths, and screamed, "DAD!" Abby yelped, falling silent. "DAD WHERE ARE YOU?" He threw his head back, crying, sobbing, fear a pang in his heart. 

Pleading. "DAD PLEASE—DADDY! I WANT TO GO HOME!" 

There was no one to respond to his cries, no arms to surround him, no Dad to whisper reassurances that, "everything is okay, you'll be okay Jamie."

Eventually Jamie's cries died, his pleas in murmured exhales, and watched through watery eyes the forest. The sky was bluer now to its earlier purple, and awash with smears of pink and orange at the horizon. Pine trees stood ominously, branches shifting in the howling wind outdoors. A flock of geese were small black dots, their honks still heard even at the distance. Jamie hiccupped, wiping at his eyes, feeling exhaustion tug at his mind once more. 

Everything seemed surreal. Was this really happening? How could it? Lost people, kidnapped, murdered, whatever…those things happened to people on the television. Those things didn't happen to him. They couldn't happen to him. 

But it was. Dad was gone. It was seven forty now – forty minutes since Abby had come rushing up to the pickup in a panic. Half an hour since he took the pictures. Ten minutes since he cried, and five since he began considering going out there. And one minute since he properly wrapped his ankle, grabbed his gun and kit, and with a lot of hesitancy, opened the truck door. 

Instantly, Abby's growls picked up again, as a warning for Jamie to shut the door, don't go out there, but he didn't listen. Didn't listen as he stepped out, and her growls turned to barks. Didn't listen as he shut the passenger door, put one foot in front of the other until finally breaching the woods. Abby's barking grew muffled the further the distance until silence. 

Jamie inhaled sharply, shuttering, scared – his knees knocked together, bruising themselves red. "Dad?" Jamie called. 

Silence.

Jamie snuffled, and took a few steps forward. "Dad!" he tried again. 

Crickets. In the distance, a frog croaked. But no response. He continued on, squinting and slowing as the woods darkened, and the sky was out of sight in between the shifting pines. Jamie swallowed thickly, and stopped to kneel down with his back against damp tree bark to sift through his bag. His gun was settled beside him, and the weight was a relief on his aching shoulders and throbbing ankle. 

Retrieving his duct tape and flashlight, Jamie taped his flashlight to the gun's barrel, and flicked it on. 

Instantly the light cut through the darkness. Shadows made everything have outlines – bark on trees, bushes, and each blade of grass. It reminded Jamie of the inking done in comics, where shadows were defined in black. 

His heart thumped noisily in his chest, nerves causing his grip on his gun to shake. "C'mon Jamie, you have to do this," he pepped-talked himself in a whisper. "Dad's out there…" His steps were still cautious, but picked up the pace as he went. 

There were tracks. The footprints were large, and definitely his Dad's, if Abby's paw prints weren't evidence enough. But, with Abby's paw prints, one headed in the same direction his Dad's did, and the second headed towards where Jamie came. Dad's tracks went deeper into the woods with nothing returning. 

Jamie soldiered on, even though every part of his being screamed for him to turn back, go back to Abby, return to safety. There was a certain energy in the air that smelled sweet like fresh air in spring, but it was nearing the end of autumn. It should smell earthy and musty, as it had done a short while back. 

Then, unbidden, a shiver shook through him. His skin tingled; every hair on his arms raised. Blinking, he looked up, and… was it just him, or were the trees taller now? 

Looking over his shoulder, he squinted to see where he had come from. It was blurry, and when he shown his light on it, something like wisps of smoke fogged over its path. Jamie sniffed again, but didn't smell smoke. Strange.

Turning back around to continue walking, something red flashed in the corner of his eyes. Abby's leash and how it had looked torn raced through his mind, and he was quick to rush over. It was near the fog, laying on the ground, and his Dad's footprints were there. 

But Abby's weren't. 

Jamie picked up the leash, wrapping it around his hand, eyebrows knitted. What was happening? Why was Abby's leash severed? 

"Dad?" he called again, glancing around. 

There were no sounds sans for crackling leaves. 

A bush near Jamie rustled, and he was quick to jump back, to raise his gun—oh, God, was he going to have to kill?—when a familiar rabbit poked its head out, staring directly at him. 

In the light now, Jamie could see distinct bright green eyes, brown fur, and a black switching nose. The little guy's ears were small, and twitched every so often along with dark whiskers. It was cute, not dangerous, and Jamie laughed to himself as he lowered his gun.

"Hey little guy," he said to the rabbit, kneeling down. The rabbit flinched, and cocked its head. "I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just trying to look for somebody." Jamie wasn't expecting the little guy to understand what he was saying obviously, but still saying it out loud to himself was comforting.

The rabbit cocked its head the other way, and Jamie had to suppress a giggle. It looked like the rabbit was actually listening to him.

"You're cute." Jamie reached out a hand to it, making little tutting noises. "I don't suppose you're the Easter Bunny?" Musing over the thought, he continued speaking. "What are you doing out here? Easter was a while ago."

He should know. Burgess had an annual Egg Hunt each year, and every time, him and his friends made it a competition to see who could find the most eggs. This year Jamie had won with twenty five eggs. 

The rabbit continued staring unblinkingly at Jamie, occasionally glancing down at the hand Jamie had extended, before finally dashing off. 

"Wait! I'm not—!" But it was hopeless. The rabbit was gone.

Jamie sighed, and looked around. His situation came back at him all at once, leaving him temporarily winded. Right, Dad was missing. He had to follow the tracks and find him. 

Getting up, Jamie shouldered his gun once again, and followed his dad's tracks. 

When Jamie set off again, the fear he had momentarily forgone in the rabbit's presence returned. Heart beating rapidly in his chest, he licked his dry lips, trying to concentrate. Dad had told him facts about tracking before, but little did they know it would apply in a rescue mission for the knowledge-giver himself. 

"All trackers have to able to recognize tracks, signs, and trails," Dad had told him, back at home one day in early September, with a book on animal tracks spread across their laps. They had been in the living room after dinner, with the television on mute and the sounds of their Mom washing dishes in the kitchen background noise to their discussion. "You'll learn how to recreate what transpired on the landscape and eventually…well, you'll be able to predict the current location of the quarry and be able to trail it." 

Jamie, fascinated despite his anti-hunting sentiments, looked up at his Dad, eyes wide. "Really?" 

"Yeah." His Dad grinned, and looked back down at the book, and pointed at something. "And this is the track we'll be trailing soon."

Jamie's gaze followed his finger, and saw a black print, looking like one big oval and smaller one behind it. A side caption read, "Rabbit Tracks". 

"We're going to hunt rabbits?" Abby's kills in their backyard came back to him. How could anyone kill those cute, fluffy animals? 

He had voiced that question to his Dad, and received a laugh. "In prehistoric times, rabbits were some of the animals that put food on your table."

"But why do we kill now?" In spite of all the times his Dad has hunted, none of the meat they've eaten was rabbit, deer, or anything else besides the usual chicken, cow, and pig. 

"Because," his Dad had begun to explain, "when we kill, there's money involved. I don't expect you to understand the longer explanation, but let's just say that for each kill, money goes towards bettering wildlife habitats." 

"So…" The cogs were turning in his brain.

"…So animals will live better lives before they become meat." 

Not the bunnies in the backyard, Jamie had thought to himself, then and now as he came back to the present. 

His dad's tracks weren't similar to any of the animal tracks he studied, or what animal tracks were relevant in their area. There were rabbits, deer, squirrels, turkey, and duck. So far, there had been faint traces of said tracks, but none he paid close attention to. But after finding Abby's leash…there were none. 

In fact, since he's entered the area, that rabbit had been the only living thing he's spotted. And unlike before with the sounds of crickets and frogs, there was nothing now. Just silence and the wind's soft whistles. 

It was…unsettling.

Tightening his grip around his gun, Jamie scanned the area. The forest was opening up now, no longer as thick, and the tree canopies didn't cover the sky. The sky was dark…shouldn't it have been lighter out?

Jamie shook his head—focus, he thought—and took note of the water filling each of his Dad's footsteps. It wasn't like mud, per say, but like a light rain fall had passed through for a few minutes and left. 

Underfoot, yellow flowers and leaves were trampled, the scent of turpentine pungent. 

Jamie scrunched his nose, and when he scanned the area again, he could just many more of the same plant. They appeared to be bushes with flowers, and well-kept ones at that, looking none too wild. Maybe unbeknownst to him, Dad had intruded on someone's property? 

Envisioning angry farmers and shooting guns made Jamie shiver, and he quickly followed his Dad's tracks to a clearer area with none of the flowered bushes. From there he could see where the tracks lead, and followed along at a widths distance. 

With eyes focused to the side, he didn't see what was coming, and when the ground came rushing at him, he yelped. His sprained ankle throbbed, and his chest felt didn't feel too good, pressed up against his gun and kit. Grass dampened his front, and in the light peeking out from underneath his form, pointed away from the direction of the possible-garden were… were those holes?

It was like someone had had a field day with their metal detector, looking for buried treasures, as there were holes everywhere. They were all evenly spaced out away from each other in neat rows and oddly square. And looking back, that's exactly what he had stepped into, a hole. It was shallow, that he knew from taking one step into it and feeling the bottom. He half-expected to see a shovel somewhere within its vicinity.

Getting up and brushing dirt off his clothes, he peaked into another hole not too far away; it was also shallow. A yard away he found a young-looking tree with white bark and uncharacteristically green leaves, with it being late fall. (Maybe it was like the pine trees with green thistles that never changed color and stayed on year round.) Around its base were leaf composites, and as Jamie got closer, he could smell a sweet fragrance exuding from it.

Frowning, Jamie returned to the border of the strange flower-bushes. He was careful to avoid any of those holes, not wanting another spill to the ground. 

Jamie didn't know how long he had been traveling through what seemed to be a huge garden, but by the time his path reconnected with his Dad's, the trees bordering the clearing tapered. The shape was like an hour glass, he realized, as he stood at the threshold of another clearing. 

The sight he was greeted with had his jaw dropping.

There were rounded houses everywhere. Each one reminded him of round teapots with their narrow openings because it was as if someone had placed the opening on the ground. What it created were rounded houses with flat bottoms. There were windows cut out of them, which, funnily enough, were round, as were their tall doors. No lights were on through the quiet community of strange homes. 

Which up close, were really tall. The handles on the doors just reached his chest and after knocking for a minute with no response, he tried them to find out they were locked. The windows were just at eye-level; inside each home he viewed, they were empty. It was like the whole village just got up and left—a full cup of tea rested on a round table with steam stilling off it, furthering his suspicions. 

Who could miss them, though? It appeared that giants lived in those houses! Maybe…maybe he had finally stumbled across his best evidence yet! 

Jamie quickly got out his camera, momentarily forgetting his rescue mission, and begun snapping pictures of the houses. The flash of the camera lit up the area like flashes of lightning, revealing brightly colored plants and vines grown over some of the houses like a cover. 

Jamie grinned, backing up after each picture, until his back was pressed up against a pine tree. His last picture captured every home in the community. 

Quickly he reviewed his pictures, smile never wavering. That is, until he got another look at the last picture. A head was peeking out from behind a house at the right of the picture, where Jamie had come from. A familiar head. It was that rabbit he had seen twice before…was it following him? 

Jamie didn't know where to feel giddy or perturbed, and settled for something in between. The rabbit's green eyes were staring directly at him in the picture—Jamie looked up in the direction where the rabbit was, but everything was too tarry for him to make out anything, even when he shined his flashlight-gun in its direction. But that was to be blamed partially for the flashlight's dying batteries, as the light's beam was dimmer than it was a while ago. 

He had to find Dad soon, before the darkness got him first. 

Picking up on where he had left, he walked faster, a bit more paranoid with constant glances over his shoulder. He thought he spotted the rabbit a few times, peeping out behind the pine trees or tall blades of grass, but it could've been all in his head. 

"Jamie!" 

Jamie gave a start, not expecting to hear the voice. Looking around, his eyes lit up at the sight of a bobbing beam of light off to the left heading towards him. 

"Dad!" he called back, running to greet his Dad in a tight embrace. His Dad looked okay, which he made sure was accurate when he pulled back. But nothing seemed out of disarray, if only his hat, and that was always in disarray. 

His Dad looked down at him confused. "Jamie Bennet, what are you doing here?" Jamie opened his mouth to respond, but his Dad continued talking. "I thought I saw flashes of light, and then I see you!"

Jamie raised his hands, trying to pacify his Dad's concern. "I wanted to stay in the truck, but then, then Abby came running back—"

"You found Abby?" his Dad cut him off, and tension left his shoulders as he let out a heavy exhale. "Oh thank God! Her leash suddenly cut off – must've snagged -- and she ran for it. I've been looking for her when…well, when I stumbled across those homes." 

Remembering the smoky film back there where he had found Abby's leash, it was plausible for his Dad not seeing where their greyhound had run off to. 

Jamie's eyes brightened. "I know, aren't they weird? They're all tall and big, and round too!" 

"…Yeah, they are." His dad shifted uncomfortably, looking worriedly over where Jamie had come from. "Listen, sport, we need to head back. I think I didn't get a memo on there being new settlements." In a mumble, he added, "Last time I checked, this was a hunting ground." 

"Oh, uh, okay…" Jamie's eyebrows knitted together as he was ushered back on the path he had followed. 

Just as they started heading out again, slipping through the woods to avoid the settlements, his dad abruptly grabbed his shoulder. He cut off Jamie's noise of surprise with a hand over his mouth and a soft 'shhh!'

"Jamie, look," his Dad whispered, releasing him as he peered ahead at something that Jamie had to squint to see. 

Once his eyes focused, Jamie gasped, eyes widening. "That rabbit…"

A distance away ahead of them, the rabbit following Jamie was sat back on its haunches, staring at them with its electric green eyes. Jamie felt a shiver run down his back. Whether it was trick of the light or not, Jamie swore he saw its brow tick when his Dad lifted his gun and targeted it. And unlike before, when Jamie had pointed his gun at it, Dad wasn't going to lower his. That much was obvious when he flicked the safety off and pressed his cheek to the stock. 

Jamie tugged on his Dad's jacket, trying to divert his attention. "Dad! You can't shoot—you said it yourself, this isn't hunting ground."

"We're away from those houses Jamie," his Dad argued. "No one will get hurt."

Jamie grew panicked, looking between his Dad and the rabbit with wide eyes before choosing to cover his eyes. He couldn't look—the memory of Abby and those bunnies' flashed through his mind, making his stomach roll in on itself. 

He flinched when he heard the resulting gunshot. 

But it was to Dad's swears that he peeked out. The rabbit was gone.

"Dammit! It got away!" 

Jamie felt relief course through him. 

His Dad turned towards him, mouth open and finger pointed in the direction of where the rabbit had been, but suddenly froze. His wide-eyed gaze wasn't focused on Jamie, but somewhere beyond his left shoulder; Jamie barely had time to scream. 

When he turned, the world turned topsy-turvy.

 

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