First published in The Ultimate Writer (print only)
Robbie stepped into the clearing and froze, one foot ahead of the other, rainwater dripping from his brown hair, the cuffs of his jeans muddy. Before him stood a creature unlike anything he'd ever seen. It had gray fur, a dirty-white cottontail, long ears, and a single eye in the center of its face.
Robbie stared. The thing stared back. Robbie moved to his left. The eye moved with him. He moved to the right, and the eye followed, like a tractor beam on an alien spaceship. Robbie took three steps closer and sat on his haunches. The animal lowered itself into a Sphynx-like position.
"My name's Robbie."
The creature squinched its nose.
"You look lonely."
The single eye continued to stare.
Robbie rocked his head from side to side looking at the thing from different angles. "I guess you're a rabbit."
The rabbit's eye blinked twice.
"I'll take that for a yes." Robbie rested mud-stained hands on his knees. "Are you lost?"
"Do you have anyone to play with?"
Robbie and the rabbit sat in silence, thinking. Robbie inhaled. He liked the smell of the forest after a rain.
"Do you have any friends?" Blink. "Me, neither." Robbie swatted at a mosquito and wiped his hand on his green t-shirt. "Maybe we can be friends."
"I go to a special school. The kids there are friendly, but none of them live close to me; and the ones in my neighborhood don't like me. I guess they think I'm weird or something."
"So, you know how I feel. I'm glad someone does." Robbie picked up a pebble, threw it as high as he could into the trees, and listened as it bounced from branch to branch. "I told my mom I'd like to go to a regular school. Then the other kids might not think I'm different. She said it wouldn't help." He watched a daddy long-legs crawl across the toe of his sneaker. "She may be right. Jillian and Tommy from next door don't play with me. Jillian told me through the fence their mom won't let them."
"You, too? That's too bad."
"Hey, maybe we could run away to the circus."
Robbie's face turned serious. "Would your parents miss you?"
"Mine would. I think." Robbie rubbed a finger across his cheek. "I could always write them letters."
The rabbit cocked its head.
"Oh right. You don't know what letters are. I'll show you sometime. I can even write one for you, if you like."
Robbie stood and spread his arms above his head. "I can see the big sign with bright red letters hanging at the entrance to the circus. 'Ladies and gentlemen, the Big Top circus is proud to present the one, the only, Blinky the one-eyed rabbit and his one-eyed friend, Robbie.' We'll be stars, Blinky. Big time stars."