First Dance

Emilie comes out of the basement with a small smile and calls out, “Hey Rabbit?”

Rabbit stops humming to himself, headed towards the kitchen, “Yeah Em?”

She heads into the living room, setting down the record player on the dusty table. “I have something to show you, just give me a minute.” She jogs back to the basement, grabbing a box of records and bringing
them upstairs as well. “Can you come to the living room?”

Rabbit grabs a bottle of water from the cabinet and heads towards the living room. “Emilie?” He asks to the seemingly empty room, unsure if she’s there. He notices the record player, and smiles. “Where did this
come from?” He asks, to himself without a response from her.

Emilie enters the room with the box of records. “I found it in the basement, along with these.” She sets down the box on the floor next to the table. “I don’t know how to use it, but I thought you might.”

“Of c-c-course I do! I-I-I remember when these were still popular!”

Her eyes go wide with surprise and fascination. “You do?”

“Yeah. I guess I never t-t-told you my age.” He says nervously, rubbing a hand across the back of his neck.

“Wow…” She says in amazement. When he doesn’t say his age outright she decides to ask. “So how old are you?”

“I was b-b-built back in 1896.” He smiles at her previous response, hoping it was a good sign.

Her eyes widen again, “You certainly don’t look it.” She teases, hoping it would be enough to keep him smiling.

His smile breaks into a wide grin at her compliment. “Why thank you madam.” He says, tipping his hat slightly in the direction he believes she’s in.

Emilie giggles as he tips his hat, “Other side Rabbit.” She smiles, knowing the gesture is meant for her.

Rabbit vents a small amount of steam, embarrassedly. He walks over to the record player with a smile. “Let’s see if I-I-I can get this thing to w-w-w-w-work.” He fiddles with it for a few moments before pulling out a record. He sets it on the player carefully before placing the needle on the proper track. He turns around as the opening notes of ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles begin to fill the house. He extends a hand
out to Emilie with a smile. “May I have this d-d-d-d-dance?”

She hesitantly takes his hand softly admits, “I don’t really know how…”

“Well don’t worry, I’ll teach ya.” He smiles at her reassuringly, pulling her slightly closer. “Now take your other hand and p-put it on my shoulder, and I’m supposed to put mine on your waist….” He looks at the seemingly empty space in front of him, unsure what to do, not wanting to hurt her on accident.

She gently grips his wrist and guides it to rest on her waist before resting her hand on his shoulder as he had instructed.

He smiles down at her, holding her close, “Alright now Em, f-follow my lead.” He starts moving slowly, taking care to direct her as they slowly begin to dance.

For a few moments she becomes happy that she’s invisible, sure she would be blushing a bright scarlet as they dance slowly around the room.

“Ready to try something a little harder?” He asks.

“Like what?” Emilie asks, beaming at him.

Rabbit smiles back at her, taking his hand off her waist, spinning her out, and then back in again.

She lets out a small laugh at the unexpected spin, trusting him as she follows his lead.

Rabbit spins her a few more times before he surprises her, by suddenly giving her a low dip.

For a moment she thinks she’s falling and throws her arms around his neck, only to be met with a triumphant smirk from Rabbit. “You didn’t really think I-I-I would let you fall, did you Em?”

She smiles up at him and says in an obviously happy voice, “You’re a jerk Rabbit.”

He grins right back, “Hey now, no need for name callin!” He pulls her back into an upright position. “Did you have fun?”

“Definitely. We’ll have to do it again sometime.” She hugs him for a moment before asking, “How did you know?”

“Know what?”

“That Yesterday is my favorite song.”

“I didn’t, but it’s my favorite now too.”


Emilie gives a soft smile in the direction of the room she knows Rabbit has slipped into stasis in. She grabs a bottle of water before she silently slips out the back door. She would be back soon enough, but she needed the time out of the house, alone. She takes small steps, the first rays of morning sun shining through the canopy. She keeps the threadbare blanket loosely about her shoulders as she walks, a small measure of comfort in the harsh wilderness. She looks behind her as she hears a twig snap, her paranoia acting up. She regrets her decision to go for a walk moments later when she looks forward once again to finds herself staring down the end of a silenced gun barrel. Her grip on the blanket loosens,and a mans voice cuts through the soft sounds of the barely waking jungle.

“You best be keeping that blanket up, missy. I won’t hesitate to pull this here trigger.” His thick southern drawl seems to flow smoothly, as though death threats were as common as saying hello.“And before you get any ideas about runnin’, these bullets here are special, they’re heat seeking bullets. I don’t have to see your pretty little face to shoot you. Now, why don’t you tell me your name?”

She swallows, stunned into silence. The gun cocks as he speaks again.

“Your name darlin, I won’t ask you again.”

She speaks up quietly, “Emilie… my name is Emilie…” She trembles where she stands, too terrified to come up with a lie.

“There, that wasn’t too hard now, was it?” He presses the hammer back down on the gun, but keeps it pointed directly at her. “Now then Emilie, you’ve got a lot of people looking for you. You’ve caused quite the stir. Now I want you to turn around for me, nice and slow.”

She slowly turns, keeping the blanket around her shoulders as she does, afraid of what might happen if she lets it drop. She suddenly tenses as she screams out at the top of her lungs, “Rab-!”

Her cry is cut off as he clamps a leather gloved hand over her mouth. She struggles as he muffles her cries, and she feels a prick on the side of her neck as he presses down the plunger of a hypodermic needle, and she goes limp in his arms.

Rabbit awakes from stasis as he hears Emilie screaming for him. “Emilie?” He calls out. “Emilie, where are you?” He cries out as he begins his frantic search of the house, only to find it empty. He goes out the door and sees the tell tale footprints of her path. He follows at a sprinting pace, “Emilie, I’m coming!” He cries out, not knowing if she can hear him. He sees the spot where she disappeared, and two sets of footprints cross over each other, only one set is hers, the other ones are far too large. He kneels down looking at the area where they converge and looks to the direction where the path leads, and Emilie’s foot prints are no where to be found. A look of concern and determination crosses his face, and he takes off after them. He finds where the footsteps stop again, gattling gun armed and at the ready as he cautiously calls out to her, “Emiie? Can you h-h-hear me?”

The deeply accented voice calls out to him from somewhere in the trees, “I’d put that gun away if I were you, that is if you want your precious Emilie to keep breathing.”

Rabbit’s eyes flare as he looks around searching for the source. “If you hurt her….”

“I won’t unless you force me to. Now, why don’t you put away that gun and we can talk like civilized men, that is, unless you’d prefer something unfortunate happen to our dear Emilie.”

“No.” He shouts, immediately disarming his gattling gun, “Don’t hurt her, please, just let her go, nobody has to get hurt.”

“I’m awfully sorry, but by the law I have to take this little lady in for questioning.”

Rabbit takes a step towards where he believes the voice is coming from. “I know your type, it’s never just questions.”

“No, I suppose it’s not, but it doesn’t change the facts of the matter, I have the law on my side, now I would suggest you leave before you do something we all regret.”

Rabbit turns as he sees a small glint of handcuffs in the soft morning light.

The second he turns, the sound of a pistol being cocked echoes through the area.“Now I was hoping we could be civilized about this, if you let me take what’s mine, I’ll be on my merry way, if not… I’ll have to blow her pretty little brains out.”

Rabbit frowns, watching where the handcuffs seem to float in the air. “Why isn’t she saying anything?” He asks, watching how slack and unmoving they are with growing amounts of concern and anger.

“She’s just been sedated, keeping her calm,although she didn’t put up much of a fight…Now walk away, before I have to do something more permanent.” The snarl in his voice and the coolness of his tone convey
just how serious he is.

Rabbit takes a few steps back, worried. “I know the brownsuits are after me to, just let her go and I’ll go with you. I won’t fight you at all, I promise.”

“Tempting, but I think I’ll have to pass. You see, we have the files and information on you, but her…. She’s a very …unique case. One we’d like to study in depth.” He gives a small grin from his hiding place, pistol trained on Rabbit’s core.

Emilie slowly begins to stir with a small groan, her wrists unconsciously starting to pull against the restraints.

“Emilie?” Rabbit calls out to her, terrified.

She gives another slight groan, starting to come around. “Rabbit?” Her voice comes off weak with a slight slur, body still recovering from the sedatives.

“You’d best be leaving now boy, before I put a bullet in her pretty little skull.”

Emilie gives a slight whimper and Rabbit takes a small step back.

“I’ll find you Emilie, I promise.” He says, knowing his best option was retreat, in hopes he could spare her life for the time being. “I won’t let them hurt you, I’ll be back before you now it…. I’m sorry…” He turns on his heel, black oil tears dripping down his face as she screams his name, begging him to come back. The copper bot doesn’t turn around, forcing himself to keep moving forward, one step at a time. He wants more than anything to turn and run to he, carry her home and hold her whispering soft promises that it would never happen again. A million thoughts race through his mind with each step, his feet feeling as though they are made of lead. He couldn’t let her die. He wouldn’t let her die. Running to her now would be a death sentence as sure as if he pulled the trigger himself. He forced himself forward for what seemed like an eternity until he could no longer hear her screaming his name. He finds his way back to what had once felt like a home to them both, now no more than an abandoned old house, and goes to work quickly. He tops off his fluid levels, sliding bottles of water, oil, and hydraulic fluid, into his excess compartments. He arms his gattling gun. checking to ensure it’s in proper working condition before retracting it and performing the same checks on his buzz saw and flamethrower. Satisfied they were all up to the task he prepares himself, knowing he would be coming home with her, or not at all. He ventures out as the sun crests over the trees, unsure if he will ever return.

It takes him three nerve wracking days to find the brownsuits base. At first glance it appears to be nothing of consequence, until he notices the door to the basement. Unlike the rest f the house, the wood didn’t sag with mold, age, and disuse, and the silver lock is shiny and knew. He grabs the knob, tearing it free of the wood with nearly no effort, forcing he door open and snapping the deadbolt with ease. He arms his
weapons, preparing himself to fight for her. He makes his way down the stairs in moments, only to find a seemingly abandoned lab. A cage left sitting open has been shoved hastily into the corner, several
hypodermic needles, some empty and some still full, sit on the counter next to a table with restraints locked down. “Emilie?” He calls out, sure that they had moved on, but trying anyway as he walks closer to
the counter examining the contents of one of the still filled needles. The substance is black, but still holds something of an eerie glow. “It can’t be..” He mutters softly before a faint ragged breath shatters his illusion of solitude as he whirls around looking for the source. “Emilie?” He calls out desperately. “Emilie, is that you? Where are you?”

Another soft ragged breath escapes before she speaks softly, “Rabbit… you have to get out of here…. it’s not safe…”

He looks around trying to discern the location of the voice. “It’s not safe for you! I’m gonna get you outta here. Now t-t-tell me where you are.”

She lets out a small groan in pain before she speaks again. “The matter levels…. they’re too high… they’ll kill you…”

“I’m not leaving you here. Please, just tell me where you are.” He calls out, searching the room blindly with out stretched hands taking small, careful steps, as to not injure the girl.

She goes quiet for a moment before quietly saying, “I’m on the table…”

He moves to the table, pulling away the restraints as though they were mere string rather than thick metal cuffs. He carefully lifts her somewhat broken form off of the table, “I’m gonna get you home, and you’re gonna get better.” He says softly to her, “Then we can have our happily ever after, just like I-I-I promised.”

She feels an overwhelming dizziness as he lifts her. “Happily ever after…” She mutters, deliriously close to slipping over the edge as the matter courses through her veins.

He looks down at his seemingly empty arms, alarmed by the tone of her voice. “Emilie, you have to hold on for me because…. I-I-I love you…” He says, making his way up the stairs, trying to carry her as gently as he can.

“I love you too…” She returns between her soft breaths, tears filling her eyes. Pain and happiness combat within her, the pain of broken bones and bruising paired with the words circling through her mind replaying over and over. He loved her, and it made everything worth it.

“Keep talking to me Emilie, I need you to stay awake.”

Emilie’s eyebrows furrow as she tries to come up with something to say, anything to say, but finding herself at a loss for words.

“Tell me about the day we met.” He prompts, hoping she’s still conscious as he carries her out of the house.

“It was hot… I went out to get supplies the day before… and I fell asleep on the couch.” Her speech is broken and slow, using enormous amounts of effort to form her thoughts and put them to words. “Went exploring the next day… went upstairs, and then I found you…” She smiles up at him weakly before her chest gives a sudden hitch and she begins to cough.

Rabbit looks down at her with confusion, and then alarm as a sickly black substance seems to appear from no where, spattering down her chin and across the top of her chest, showing portions of her Rabbit had never seen before, but was too concerned to notice. He carefully sets her down, knowing exactly what’s happening. He had been right about the contents of the needles, pure shadow matter. There were three empty needles on the counter, she would be lucky if she survived one.

She continues to cough, as the black spattering spreads across her chest, onto her hands and into her hair.

Thick black tears roll down his cheeks as he watches. Emilie rolls from her knees to a sitting position, substantially weakened by the coughing fit, having survived the first of the symptoms of mater poisoning.

He sits down next to her, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close as she trembles. “I-I-I love you Emilie…. I love you so much…” He says softly.

“I love you too, Rabbit… more than the moon and the stars….” She whispers her promise softly, looking up at him.

He brushes a hand gently along the side of her face, tucking away a stray lock of hair behind her ear. He looks down at where her eyes must be, before he leans in and kisses her gently, unsure if it would be the last time he ever got the chance.

She kisses him back slowly, before something between them sparks as the matters collide. In that final kiss he saves her life, as the blue matter crosses over, neutralizing the excess shadow matter. When they finally break apart, her heart and breathing are both accelerated, the matters coursing through her veins, knocking her flat on her back as she stares up at the sky, body readjusting to the sudden shift in matters.

He takes her hand fearfully, “Emilie?”

Her eyes flicker to him, and after a few moments she slowly smiles, lips still stained with shadow matter. She sits up, throwing her arms around him and pressing her head to his chest.

He wraps his arms around her in return and smiles, lifting her carefully, “Let’s go home Em..” He says softly, as he starts walking towards their home.

A letter to Rabbit

(inspired by a prompt in The 3am Epiphany. Note this is a letter inside Emilie’s mind after she has been kidnapped by brownsuits)


I don’t know how long this will last, a short reprieve from the normal
torture. The pain of broken ribs ad teeth are hard to bear, but to
know you are safe makes it all worth while. Writing mental letters is
a small reassurance in this dark and cruel place. Your brother’s here
as well, they introduced us, but we were both met with silence, too
afraid of the other fading away at the smallest utterance. It’s hard
to believe in an invisible girl, even when she stands before you, but
he must hear the screams in the night, the only proof of existence an
invisible girl can offer. Invisibility was never a choice. Laying in a
hardened bed, remembering you is all that’s left until you arrive. A
knight in copper armor come to save your damsel in distress, this
seems to be a habit of ours. Another test for your medical training,
but it can only go so far, broken ribs might be too far gone, even for
you. You have so much good left in you, don’t think of this as a
broken promise, thinks of this as a release. You tried your best and
that’s all you can ever ask of any one. Save your brother and leave,
so you don’t lose your life for someone you barely know.Trust yourself
and your family to guide you right. Don’t live in the memories of a
girl you couldn’t save. Live in the present and do right by your
family, and trust her to watch over you in the night the way you
always did for her. Don’t seek your vengeance, you will have it in due
time, but don’t take a life for a life. They will always win in their
games of bloodshed. None of us are perfect. We never have been and we
never will be, but the human condition dictates we try. While some try
through sick experimentation and pain, some of us find it through
someone else. The imperfections in our own souls are what make us each
perfect in our own ways. In your arms, I find perfection. In that
embrace is a home free of cold and unloving parents with accusatory
glances and dark basements to lock me away. Your arms are filled with
love and comfort, and a promise of protection that I know you tried to
carry out, and you did as best as you could, don’t ever forget that.
Don’t mourn death, celebrate the living and protect the ones you love
with all your heart and soul and they will live in a protection far
stronger than death itself. You are the strength and light we all look
for in ourselves. Don’t cry for what you cannot see, it only brings
pain and misery. Happiness is found in the most unexpected places,
perhaps you will find some in this release. Promises are easy to make,
but hard to keep, unless you place your heart and soul in the firing
line. You have done all you have promised and so much more. For all
you have done, and all you will ever do, you have been released.

Forever Yours,