Thunder boomed overhead, and Frith shook the sky, releasing a downpour of rain. All sensible creatures were inside their cozy little homes and burrows, except for one.
With her ankle in pain and her vision blurred, May Belle trudged through the mud, her knapsack getting heavier with each step. Her red hair whipped in her face as the wind tossed about, and her yellow summer's dress was in tatters.
May Belle was frightened, and only followed that sense that always warned her when something bad was about to happen. It had warned her when the crop field was about to flood, and when her mother would catch pneumonia. It told her things she did not want to hear all the time. It had even told her that her mother would not get better. And, like always, it had been right.
Now her sense was telling her to keep moving. It said that she was going to a high, lonely place on a hill where ones who understood her would welcome her.
It had been long since when May Belle had consumed her final morsel of bread and drop of water. Her head was light, and her vision was tinged with yellow. She seemed to be floating. Each step she took, her vision grew more and more foggy until she could no longer see. May Belle stopped, hoping for her vision to be restored, but her head was just as cloudy as her vision, and with a crack of thunder, May Belle had passed out.
Fiver started up in his burrow, shivering. Had it been the crack out lightning that woke him up? Every now and then a raindrop would fall down the hole and soak into his face, but why were they so warm? Fiver realized that they were not raindrops at all, but his own tears.
His dream. What had he just dreamed about? Something was out there. Something pitiful. He wanted to go help, but did not know what to do at all. Should he wake Hazel? Or should he just wake the whole warren.
He looked back at his mate who slept peacefully. Maybe his senses had been wrong. Maybe there was nothing out there.
Shivering, he stared up the whole, imagining what could be out there. With his eyes wide and bright, and his heart pounding in his chest, the small rabbit went tharn. And that was the way that his mate found him when she awoke the next morning.
"Fiver?" asked Vilthuril, worried that her mate would not respond. "Fiver, please, wake up! You're scaring me!"
Fiver shivered. "Vilthuril, I haven't slept for the longest time," he whispered, his eared twitching. "I had the most awful dream."
Vilthuril had seen Fiver do this before, but never to this extent. "What did you see?"
"I'm not quite sure," responded Fiver, his nose twitching as if he smelled Flayrah. "But something is coming. Soon."
"Should we stay inside?" asked Vilthuril, ignoring her hunger.
Fiver shook his head. "No, no. It's safe enough now." He still shivered, though, trying to be calm for the doe's sake.
The wind was blowing to the north, bringing a faint scent of scent Nuthanger Farm.
Fiver nibbled on the grass distractedly, trying to remember what his dream had met. Hazel noticed that his brother looked troubled.
"Fiver, you look sick," he said, edging him to the edge of the field. "Are you quite alright?"
Fiver shook his head. "Something strange about the warren this evening," he commented, looking north, straining to see.
"That was what you said back at Sandleford lot," chuckled Hazel-rah. Then his face darkened. "You're not saying we ought to move, are you?"
"No, no," said Fiver, shaking his head. "It's just something… strange. Something is coming."
As if on cue, the wind shifted south. A scent from the opposite direction was carried. Bigwig was the first to pick it up. He raised his nose to the air and sniffed. Then sniffed again. He took a deep breath and nudged Dandelion, who was nosing in the grass next to him. "Say, you don't smell anything odd, do you?"
Dandelion, curious about what Bigwig meant, sniffed the air too. He had the same reaction. "You don't suppose that's the scent of…" he trailed off.
"Man?" supplied Bigwig. Silently, they made an agreement. "Everyone to their burrows!" exclaimed Bigwig.
Hazel-rah turned, startled by Bigwigs outburst. "What do you mean, Bigwig?" asked Hazel as other rabbits skidded past him for their burrows. When the captain of the Owsla made an order, it's only right to follow it.
"There's a man nearby," said Bigwig, shifting his weight on his haunches. Hazel-rah stiffened. "You can smell it in the wind," continued Bigwig.
Fiver sniffed the air immediately. He froze.
"Get underground," ordered Hazel, who was already halfway there.
"That's it," murmured Fiver.
Hazel skidded to a stop. "What," he asked Fiver, but Fiver did not hear. He made a dash for the north side of Watership Down.
"Fiver, no!" shouted Bigwig, dashing after him. "You stupid runt!"
Fiver went down out of Hazel's sight. With a split second decision, Hazel ran down the hill, worrying only about his brother. "Fiver!"
Fiver and Bigwig were tharn, staring down in the grass. Hazel paused. "What is it?" asked Hazel.
Bigwig grunted. "Is it dead?" he managed.
Hazel trudged forward, and saw what they were looking at. It was a human, in the grass. It was pale and thin, with a ripped yellow dress and matted red hair. There was a knapsack next to it splattered with mud.
Fiver went for its hand and propped his paw up on its wrist. "Almost," he said. "A slow pulse, though."
"We might as well leave it for the elil," suggested Bigwig. "It's miracle that they haven't gotten to it yet."
Fiver's ears pricked up. "No!" he said quickly. "No, we mustn't!"
"What are you talking about?" demanded Bigwig.
"We need to help it," he said. "It's what I saw."
Hazel was caught in between his head of Owsla and his brother; he didn't know what to say as the leader. He waited a few moments, thinking hard. "Fiver," he said weakly after a long time. "This is a human. Humans turn rabbits into hats. Are you sure we should be helping it?"
Fiver nodded. "Oh, yes! We must!" Fiver was hopping in circles. "Please, Hazel. Believe me!"
Hazel teetered on the edge for a moment more, and then he choose a side. "Bigwig," he said. "Go get as many rabbits as you can. Make sure Hyzenthlay comes, she could be useful in this."
Bigwig's jaw tighten, but he didn't protest. "Fine," he growled, and ran to the burrow.
"How are we going to help it?" asked Hazel.
"I… I don't know," admitted Fiver.
Blackberry and Hyzenthlay came over the hill. They froze. Hyzenthlay gasped and froze in her spot.
"Hyzenthlay?" asked Hazel. "What's that about? We need your help."
"Did you try water?" asked Blackberry, approaching.
"What would water do?" asked Fiver, looking down at a puddle.
"It could help bring the thing to its senses," said Blackberry. He got behind the puddle and splashed with his paw. It hit the girl's face. The girl moaned, but didn't wake.
"Try it again," said Fiver. "I think it's working." And so did Blackberry.
The girl's eyelids fluttered open and she stared up at the sky. All of the rabbits started, and Blackberry bolted back a few paces.
The girl sat up and looked down at the rabbits. She and Fiver stared at each other intently.
"Fiver," warned Hazel. "Give yourself distance."
Fiver only inched closer to the girl. "No, Hazel," he said. "I think she's safe."
The girl gasped. "Were you just talkin'?" she asked Fiver.
"By Frith!" said Blackberry. "She can hear us!"
The girl didn't look up at Blackberry. She just kept staring at Fiver.
"No," said Hazel, mystified by what he had just realized. "She can hear Fiver."
There was nothing but the buzz of silence that followed.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX This is my first Watership Down story! How'd I do? The more reviews I get the sooner I will update! :D Please, I worked very long and hard on this, so I hope you liked it. I will continue! All I need is a few reviews to get me going. Anyway, thanks for reading! I really appreciate it!