Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tauy Creek Digest #20: Hoppy

Hoppy had been in my life for nearly twenty years, through everything. We had moved to a small house outside of Perth, Australia to live out the rest of our lives. Seven years ago, a charismatic lion of a man was elected in my home country of Shmand vowing to bring everyone together. His presidential acceptance speech extolled the virtues of the country but suddenly placed the blame of all of our problems on the Genies. Genies were people with natural-born magical abilities. We were known throughout Shmand, and well-respected with our rabbits at our sides. His administration made practicing magic illegal, made Genies less than human through a congressional amendment, and ordered the slaughter of our rabbits. Hoppy and I survived thanks to beloved friends but we all knew that it wouldn't last. The administration created an internment camp that all Genies had to relocate to. Our rabbits were locked in cages, we didn't know what would happen to them, and we were placed in shackles to keep us from using our magic. We all knew that sooner or later, we would die in that place.

We were sent to work in the camp, mostly working on things that would end up in the camp. I became close friends with my cellmates, Hans Giordano and Vinton Schultz, and we talked all the time about our lives before the camp. Much to my surprise and thankfulness, I also became friends with one of the guards, Corporal Alexander Ludwig. Cpl. Ludwig even assigned me a very cushy job working behind a desk in the admission gate. I got to meet a lot of higher-ups in the administration and witness a lot of Genies be brought in like I was. It was that job that I overheard the plans for our demise.

"They're going to kill us," I said to Hans and Vinton at lunch two days after I heard the news.

"What? How do you know?" Hans was floored.

"I overheard Ludwig and other officers talking about it," I explained. "I don't think they knew I was listening."

"When are they going to do it? How?" Vinton breathed.

"I don't know when but they are going to bomb the camp. They said that they have most of the Genies here, any that are still free will just be found and shot," I said. "We have to get out of here."

"But how?" Vinton asked.

"And what about our rabbits?" Hans' rabbit, Beauregard had been with him since he was four, a lot earlier than a lot of Genies. "We need to rescue them."

"Are they all even still alive?" Vinton asked.

"They are," I said. "That giant building in the northeast of the camp is where they are. Nearly one million rabbits all trapped in cages not even the size of this tray," I banged my empty lunch tray on the table.

"How do we get them out? And then, how do we get out?" Hans whispered.

"I can check the roster and see if there are any Genies who work at or near the rabbit lockup. We need to figure out a way to remove our shackles or get our magic to work through them. That's not going to be easy."

"I was talking with a couple other Genies and they had a theory. They wondered that if a large group of us could channel our magic, maybe we could break the bonds that way," Hans revealed. "We should meet up with them and tell them what's going to happen. Maybe we can test out their theory."

"Sounds good," I said. "Who were they?"

Gideon Flank and Cicely Comstock stood with Hans, Vinton and me in a circle in their cell. "Channel your magic through your body to your hands," Gideon said and we all took each others hands. We did what he said and soon the book that was laying in the middle of our circle began floating, just a few inches off the ground, but floating. We got the book to raise about waist-high when Gideon spoke again. "And stop. It's hard but it works. Imagine nearly a million Genies holding hands and doing that."

So we had our plan. It all had to be perfectly timed. We had a guy who swept the rabbit warehouse who would release them, I would sound the camp alarm causing the guards to scramble, that would be signal for the Genies to get into position in a circle and hold hands. We knew some may not make it but everyone seemed willing to take that chance. As the klaxon sounded, chaos erupted. Genies were screaming and gunshots echoed through the camp. Rabbits were scurrying everywhere to find their owners.

The Genies gathered in a circle, holding hands, and began channeling their magic. Some were shot right there in the circle but we kept going. As more Genies joined the circle, something started happening. The ground began splitting open and crumbling into the ocean. Rabbits jumped on our shoulders to save themselves. Guards and officers fell with the ground and into the water. But we took our magic further and all of Shmand began crumbling and sliding into the ocean.

We were free but at the cost of our homes and millions of people. Survivors all went their separate ways. I, and Hoppy, settled in Australia where we lived quietly, never mentioning our previous life. All had been peaceful until one afternoon there was a knock on the door.

I answered the door and saw two policemen on my porch. "Sir, we have reports that you have a rabbit in your possession," one of them said. "It's illegal to bring outside fauna into Australia--even rabbits. If you do have a rabbit, I need you to relinquish it."

"I'm not going to lie, I do have a rabbit," I said. "But I can't give it up."

"Sir, unless you are a magician you can't keep your rabbit."

I looked at the officers and then behind me to Hoppy who was sitting on the back of my couch. I sighed and stepped outside with the officers. I hadn't used my powers since destroying my homeland. I had vowed never to use them again and many other Genies vowed the same thing. I looked at my hand and then began waving it around.