the pressure is on as someone leaves suspicious notes warning the vigilante group to not proceed with tomorrow's heist.

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Khailani left the strategy meeting in a huff. Practically sliding down the stairs, she strode to her mini cooper scuffed from front and rear end collisions. The graffiti had been scrubbed off but not well. Like her mental state, the car was ugly and needed help, yet she couldn’t afford a new one.

This next drug bust would’ve been enough to finally reach her savings goal, but her recent gun purchase set her back a few thousand dollars.

The young woman shoved her cellphone and the threatening letters she accumulated over the past several days into her purse and tried opening the car door. Locked. Of course.

Groaning, she searched her purse for the keys and shuddered. Looking over her shoulders, she searched the half-full parking lot for whomever may be watching her.

A few heist members had stayed behind to review the details of tomorrow’s raid, but they weren’t the type to pull pranks. Yes, they insisted the notes were empty threats, yet they assured her they’d come to her aid if the White Rabbit acted upon them.

Breathing became difficult as Khailani recalled the message she found tucked in the cracks of her apartment door earlier:

Stop at the drop-off. Continue and

you’ll meet your end.

- W.R.

She couldn’t go to the police. How would she explain that White Rabbit intended to kill her if she continued to steal and sell drugs with her group? That was a two-for-one deal for them. A lose-lose situation for her.

Exasperated, the woman touched the cold metal at the bottom of her purse. It was the “monster-killing” gun that arrived from Zcar two days ago.

Khailani had her doubts that such a thing existed, but Dean wouldn’t have sent her three counties over to an obscure city called Renagasor with literal monsters as its residents if it was ruse. Zcar, the black-market shop keep, was a dragon, and she recalled not too fondly the rows of sharp teeth he hid behind his face mask. Renagasor wasn’t easy to access. Monsters liked to stay hidden.

In her last encounter, she suspected the White Rabbit was something inhuman by the way he carried himself and the intensity in his eyes. Knowing he was sending her death threats made her more on edge.

Khailani thought she saw a suspicious shadow dive behind the brick building. She stumbled closer to the car. The gun was in her hands, and crinkled letters were on the pavement.

No one peaked out.

Come out, damn it! she thought.

Swallowing hard, she ran her shaking fingers through her tangled, dark brown hair, found it hard to continue due to the unkept knots, and dropped down to collect the letters.

No one is there. It’s all in your head. Khailani wasn’t a stranger to hallucinations. Gallons of black tea doesn’t counteract sleep deprivation.

She exchanged the gun for her car keys and stepped into her vehicle.

Slamming the door shut, she locked the door and sighed loudly. Half-expecting something to crash against her window like in a cheap horror flick, she was relieved reality wasn’t so cruel.

Khailani started her car, glanced over her left shoulder and then her right, and saw a small, caged white rabbit munching on a celery stick.

In dried red paint, “This is your last chance” marked the cage’s side.

If the message wasn’t signed “White Rabbit,” “W.R.”, with a paw print, or sticker of a rabbit, her stalker would grace her with a living rabbit. Where was he getting them?

“I can’t do this.” Khailani snatched the rabbit cage and exited the car. Spotting a person in a white rabbit mask dart through the parking lot nearly made her drop the cage. She recovered the gun from her purse and aimed it in the stranger’s last location.

One…Two…Three seconds and no movement.

Pressing her lips together, the young woman backed up and frantically scanned the parking lot for signs of the man. She felt her way back to the office building and nearly tripped backwards over the raised sidewalk. That was her cue to hurry to safety.



© 2021: Operation: UGAWTS || The Cat in Rabbit's Fur || Short Story ||