Ten minutes passed before they arrived at the office. As Annice predicted, Talia’s beat up car was there in the parking lot. Khailani had called everyone to meet them at base to discuss matters going forward. Only a couple others were there, but they lingered outside the door with Talia.
Annice broke the silence. “Why are we standing around—Oh God!”
A bodyless head was speared through the neck and dangled upside down on their door. Blood matted the dirty blonde hair, pooled within its white rabbit mask, and puddled beneath the head.
“To our saviors, the menace has been vanquished,” Talia read, handing the bloodied note to Annice.
“This is disgusting,” Annice muttered.
“Khailani? Is this da White Rabbit that’s been hauntin’ ya these past weeks?” Talia asked.
Exchanging glances, Khailani and Annice reminded each other that they weren’t going to speak of the earlier rabbit incident.
Khailani stepped closer to the head and instantly felt sick.
She threw up.
Khailani wiped her mouth with the back of the sleeve and studied the head longer.
The White Rabbit she had seen had blonde hair and very green eyes. Looking beyond the mask holes and seeing lifeless eyes staring back at her sent her quivering. Alas, they too were green. Even if it wouldn’t help identifying the man, Khailani wanted to remove the mask. She restrained herself. The cops could handle that. For now, she wanted to get as far away from it as possible.
“From what I could tell,” she faced Annice then Talia and the other girls, “this could be White Rabbit.”
“Could?” Talia asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I can’t say for certain with only a head. The guy was tall….and wasn’t staring blankly at me upside down.”
Annice stopped Talia mid-reach. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“I doubt Mr. White Rabbit was pullin’ a Spider-man and tryna to kiss her.”
“If you touch it, the police will have your prints, dumbass,” Annice said.
Talia clicked her tongue. “I’m tryna help ya. To help us. Whoever killed White Rabbit is as crazy as he. They actin’ we like some guardian angels and shit. What if they be comin’ around askin’ for favors?”
Annice crumpled the paper. She said, “From the note, they may know what we do. Maybe they’re another druggie excited for the next fix.”
Talia twisted her mouth. “Dat’s oddly specific.”
“You never know,” Khailani muttered. “We live in a crazy city where freaks leave rabbits in stranger’s cars.”
“Let’s get away from here. Dean and his crew should be pulling up in a few minutes. He’d know the cops patrolling these streets. We’ll have him handle them,” Annice said. She typed on her phone. “Let’s meet at Poco’s. Sasha said she had to work closing shift. Spread the word.”
When they returned to the car, Khailani slunk into her seat.
“You okay?” Annice asked. “Looked like you horked up dinner.”
“I’m so exhausted. I’m tired of seeing red and rabbits. We’re fucking drug hustlers. We want a little extra cash for ourselves and our families. We ain’t tryna replace nobody. We wanna clean up these streets, so they can be safe for our kids, right?”
Annice nodded and started the car.
Khailani hesitated to buckle herself in. Maybe they’d get in a bad accident and she could end this nightmare. The small click vanquished the thought.
Resting her head against the window, Khailani uttered, “Who did we piss off to push them this far? It’s not like we’re hitting the same group, right? Different shit. Different boosts?”
“I’ve been doing my damnedest to make sure it’s that way,” Annice finally responded. “The target’s too small to be shared amongst other rival gangs. This ain’t even large compared to the other jobs.
“I’m like you. I don’t know why this feels so high profile. Who is wanting us to back down so badly?”
“Heh.” Khailani frowned at her. “You make it sound like that wasn’t White Rabbit’s head on your door.”
Annice’s fingers tightened about the steering wheel.
“It didn’t feel like White Rabbit’s head. By the way you first described him, this dude was a monster. You and Dean went out to where, Rose Garden?”
“Yeah. The place that sounds like a fucking fairy tale. Ya’ll went to buy special grade weapons to kill a supposedly unkillable man, and you mean to tell me, some random fairy godmother killed the bastard?”
“Maybe the fairy godmother is a monster too.” Khailani imagined Zcar swiping White Rabbit’s head clean off with those claws.
“Damn. Then I’m better off thinking that was White Rabbit,” Annice said.
“He could’ve been some normal human, and I had an overactive imagination. I was strung up, remember?” Khailani mumbled.
“We already used that excuse and where are we now? The threat’s real.”
Annice parked in one of the empty spots and unbuckled. She glowered at Khailani. “White Rabbit is either dead on the door or still out there. We can run circles all day, but we need to discuss what’s been happening with the team. I respect you backing down from the heist, and I want to give the others the chance too. These bastards could run their operation for another day. It’s not worth risking my girls over. Now let’s go. I bet you’re hungry again.”
“Not how bodies work, but thank you.”
© 2021: Operation: UGAWTS || The Cat in Rabbit's Fur || Short Story ||