You don’t see any rabbits around the campus these days.
They always used to be nibbling away at the lawns and getting fairly close to the footpaths. They weren’t that afraid of humans. They’d hop away if you came too close, but they’ve gotten pretty cocky over the years.
Apparently, if you catch one, you can get a free drink at the union bar. I’ve no idea how this would actually work; whether the staff would just take your word for it, or if you’d need to provide photo evidence, or if you’d have to physically bring the rabbit in and plonk it down on the bar before they’ll give you the drink. As far as I know no one’s managed it, but plenty of sozzled people chase the bunnies anyway.
At least, they used to.
This time last year, all the small baby rabbits were up out of the burrows and nibbling the grass with their parents. But Spring is here and there are no baby bunnies. We haven’t seen any rabbits for at least two weeks now.
It’s made the front page of the campus newspaper. There was a jokey headline but the article itself was pretty serious, suggesting things like foxes or illness. I’ve heard that the university’s going to call in some official people, in case there’s something like rabbit flu that might spread to humans.
I’m not sure how good an idea that is, because last night…
Last night, I was walking back to my accommodation from a karaoke thing at the bar. I’d left early but it’d already become fairly dark and the lamps lining the path had switched on. I’d just paused to button up my coat when something moved at the very corner of my eye, on the grass. I turned to look, thinking the rabbits were back at last.
At first I couldn’t make it out properly. It was outside the light of the nearest lamp. Then it darted for the trees on the slope, and for a moment it was lit up by the way I’d just come.
It was dark and low, and it was not a rabbit.
I watched it sort of slither away very quickly into one of the burrows near the path, just before I started running.