Chad opened the patio door, and we were back inside the townhouse. Or town mansion. Whatever you want to call it. We were inside, is what I’m trying to say.
He showed me to Hoppers’ cage, which was little used. There was dust on the bars, and a few fossilized turds inside. Nothing to point to a rabbit, or to a kidnapper. No notes.
“This is where little Hoppers lived for the first three weeks,” Chad said, tears drenching his little red eyelashes. “After that, he just wanted to live free, and he did. I never thought my actions would impact him.”
“Few people do,” I said, for lack anything else to fill the silence.
“His favourite place to hang out was over here, on the couch with me,” he pointed to a sagged-in depression, the one spot on the leather couch that was used all the time by a kid and his rabbit. I got close and saw a few turds mashed between the cushion and the arm.
“Where did Hoppers go when scared?” I asked.
“Usually upstairs. I made him a little house out of cardboard.”
“Lead the way.”
We walked to the main foyer, and up the grand staircase. No turds, thankfully; I guess the cleaning staff got the most obvious ones, at least. I wasn’t sure how a rabbit could navigate the staircase, it being polished wood. I felt like it would be too slippery for an animal. I was having a hard enough time in shoes. But I also don’t know much about the traction of rabbit paws, so maybe it’s not an issue. I made a note to look it up back at the office.
We reached the top of the staircase, and Chad was just about to lead me toward Hoppers’ safehouse when I heard a click in the first room off the landing. I grabbed the kid’s sleeve, then held a finger up to my lips and retrieved Lucille from my purse. I cocked her as quietly as possible, then threw open the door and pointed.
Inside, a pale man with a pedo-stache held a small rabbit in one hand, and pointed a gun at me with the other.
“Drop it,” we said, simultaneously. He smiled, I shrugged, and we both kept pointing.
Behind me, Chad shrieked, “Hoppers!”