The full moon shining brightly was low in the sky, a bright new star sparkling alongside, but sitting—as he now did—alongside his father and best friend Duncan, Derek Derekson no longer feared returning to The Village after sundown. With good reason too, for not only was he was riding in the head of a fire spitting monster, but outside an army of ‘rogue’ warrior Bunnies were now carrying Dragon Dragonson and his curious translator Skoda along in the giant self-Pyre propelled flying Basket that Derek had seen zooming across the sky the previous day.
The amazing events that Derek had seen unfold over the past two days though could not prepare him for what he would see when the Bunnies entered The Village. Roughly in line with what Derek had been expecting, he saw the Sacrificial Basket sitting next to The Pyre. Everything else though came as a complete surprise.
Standing outside The Village Hutch was Prime Bunny Dave Daveson, with him stood a giant, gangly, shaven, pale-skinned, Doe dressed in white robes. On either side of her head she appeared to have perfectly furry, if a little round, Bunny ears. Even more amazingly, alongside Daveson and the Bunny-eared giant, was Darlyena Daryleson.
The welcoming party, such as it was, said nothing as Derek and company made their way into The Village. Weirdly, none of assembled Bunnies appeared even slightly amazed at the sight of a giant, white, armless, head walking out of The Forest accompanied by a veritable army of Bunnies long since considered dead.
“Brother Derek,” said Dave Daveson, “we’ve been expecting you. I received warning on my magical talking box. You have displeased The Forest spirits,” he added pointing at the giant, shaven, white-robbed Doe.
Derek stared, incredulous, out of the eye-hole of the armless, fire-spitting, head that had transported him through The Forest. He had expected to see fairly widespread panic in The Village at first, followed shortly after—once he’d revealed himself and revealed the presence of Dragon Dragonson—by a hero’s welcome.
“Show yourself brother Derek, we have much to discuss,” said Daveson.
Derek looked over to his father. “You’d best go lad,” he said, “but remember this, you can never trust a Daveson.” Derek nodded sagely, flipped open the lid of the monster’s head and climbed out.
There was something deeply unsettling about the smile on Dave Daveson’s face as Derek approached. Derek looked over to Darlyena, it was definitely her, but she didn’t seem to register Derek, the gigantic, furless, Doe appeared to be holding Darylena tightly.
“Brother Derek,” said Daveson motioning towards the giant Doe, “I’d like to introduce you to someone very special.”
Derek looked up into the unsmiling eyes of the Doe. “This is Dragon Dragonson,” said Daveson.
“Bu, bu, b..” stammered Derek looking back to the large green lizard-like creature that he had found in The Forest.
“He’s an impostor,” said Daveson registering the direction of Derek’s gaze. “I’m afraid you’ve been duped Derek.”
Derek’s attention wavered only briefly from the giant Doe, who in turn, was shaking her head while looking towards Derek’s Dragon Dragonson and his translator Skoda.
“The Forest is a dangerous place for the uninitiated,” continued Daveson, “that is why we felt it necessary to abolish exploring. It was for your own good Derek. But you ignored the wishes of The Village Elders, and your wilful disobedience and ignorance could have led to our destruction, rather than our salvation. If it wasn’t for Dragon Dragonson here,” said Daveson looking up at the giant Doe, “we’d all be bloody well dead by now thanks to you. You’ve led evil Lord Vimto directly to our homes.”
“But it’s not true,” said Derek somewhat feebly, “that’s Dragon Dragonson over there on his silver pointed Basket. The goblin is his translator, he’s called Skoda, come on, come on, I’ll prove it.”
“You’ll prove nothing Derek,” said Daveson, “except how stupidly naïve you are. This is Dragon Dragonson, the proof you need stands before you. Who else but Dragonson could bring a Doe back from Warren?”
Derek looked at the giant Doe and then at Darylena. Daveson had a point. He’d seen The Sacrifice with his own eyes, he’d seen Darylena enter the Basket and ascend to Warren and now here she was standing before him.
“Now that you and your friends have finally arrived,” continued Daveson, “we can proceed with today’s Sacrifice. Personally speaking I’d throw the lot of you on The Pyre, but Dragonson here insisted that we wait for you lot to appear before she’d personally take Darylena back to Warren to ensure our salvation.”
“But you said you didn’t believe in Dragonson,” said Derek.
“Times change Derekson, it takes a big Bunny to accept that maybe he was wrong, it takes an even bigger Bunny to do something about it,” said Daveson rather pompously.
The giant Doe and Darylena then started making their way towards The Basket. Darylena did not complain or struggle in the slightest as the two of them climbed in. The Sacrificial Gong was sounded. BOOOOIIINNGGGGGGGG!
Dave Daveson lit The Pyre. Then, as is ever the case, moments later came a blinding flash of lightening and clap of deafening thunder, the shockwave of which knocked Derek, all the other Bunnies and the huge, white, armless, fire-spitting head from their feet. Darylena and the Doe that Dave called Dragonson were on their way to Warren.
The Village Elder’s Wurlitzer sparked into life as The Pyre burned around The Basket, and the Bunnies present sang in unison the traditional song of Deliverance to Warren.
Oooooh. You know that it would be untrue
You know that we would all be liars
If we were to say to you
Doe, you couldn’t get much higher
Come on baby, light my fire
Come on baby, light my fire
Try to set the night on fire
The time to hesitate is through
No time to wallow in the mire
Try now we can only lose
And our love becomes The Sacrificial Pyre
Come on baby, light my fire
Come on baby, light my fire
Try to set the night on fire, yeah..!
Without further ado, The Pyre was duly extinguished before too much good firewood went to waste and The Basket door was opened enabling Daveson, to give things the once over. Turning around to greet the assembled Bunnies, Daveson nodded reverentially and gave the thumbs up. Darylena Daryleson and the giant, Doe that Daveson called Dragon had both disappeared from The Basket, and were safely on their journey to Warren. Unusually, The Basket was not taken back to The Village Hutch in readiness for the next day’s Sacrifice. Instead, it lay upon The Pyre, door wide open.
Derek looked over towards the giant, armless, white, fire-spitting head, which now lay prone on one side, his father and Duncan were now both being dragged out of the monster’s head flap by a gang of The Village Bunnies. Something wasn’t right, he was sure of it.
Derek became acutely aware that it was he and not Dave Daveson who had been the unwitting victim of a surprise ambush as more and more of The Village Bunnies appeared from nowhere, herding the rogue Bunnies towards The Basket and The Pyre.
“Dad,” pleaded Derek.
“He’s not your father, you stupid boy,” said Daveson.
“Dad,” pleaded Derek louder than before.
“He’s not your father Derekson. Or should I say Brother Daveson?” said Dave Daveson.
“We are brothers Derek, you and I, well, half brothers at any rate,” said Dave.
“We’re not brothers, don’t be ridiculous,” demanded Derek, “I’m a Derekson, through and through. Exploring’s in my blood.”
Daveson smiled, “why not ask your so-called father then?” he asked. Derek turned to Derek Snr.
For a moment Derek Derekson senior remained silent. “It’s true lad, I’m afraid,” he said eventually unable to meet the gaze of his adopted son, “I left The Village all those years ago because, well, me and my friends here we’re not like other Bunnies.”
Derek Jnr said nothing. “We weren’t welcome in The Village,” continued Derek Snr, “so we jumped before we were pushed.”
Derek looked to Duncan: “Bummies?” he said.
“Aye lad, I’m afraid so. We cannot go to Warren, but we could not live our lives in The Village, forever persecuted. So we chose to go rogue.”
“But you said I could never trust a Daveson,” said Derek.
“Unfortunately, this time, he’s telling the truth,” said Derek Snr, “your father was his father, Dave Daveson Snr.”
“Join me, brother, and together, we’ll rule The Forest,” said Dave Daveson.
“NEVER,” shouted Derek.
“Then you will die.”