This is the tale of a man who looks to conquer the world by raising a zombie army using the dread Necronomicon. All he needs to do is kill one rabbit.
“Poor Poopsie, Betty’s gonna be really upset that you’re gone, but I need you more than she does.”
George stroked the brown rabbit’s fur as he spoke to it. The Mini Rex had been a gift to his wife from her Aunt. She had fussed over the little beast when she first received it but had quickly consigned it to the hutch in the yard which meant that George became the de facto caretaker of the rabbit.
Bunnies are cute but nobody wants to accept the fact that it is an animal with daily needs. So it fell to George to feed and water the rodent every day.
George, truth be told, had never liked the rabbit. Aside from the fact that it had bitten him on the very first day he went to feed it, he just didn’t like its looks. The rabbit was properly fuzzy with chocolate brown fur that was as soft as angora and it had perky ears that wiggled as the rabbit sniffed around its cage. No, that was all fine and normal; what George couldn’t deal with was the creature’s face.
Poopsie’s mouth was twisted in a strange way. George always felt that it looked like the creature had first sucked on a lemon and then froze in place while it was simultaneously attempting to extract some bit of vegetable matter from between its front teeth with its tongue. The entire left side of the rabbit’s mouth was twisted to the side, pushing its nose to the right at a slight angle. George figured it must have been some sort of birth defect like a hare lip in a human. He always thought it was hysterical having a rabbit with a hare lip. Betty, of course, thought he was being an idiot.
The truly unnerving thing about Poopsie’s face was her eyes. George didn’t like meeting the rabbit’s eyes. It’s a prey animal he’d tell himself, I should frighten it; instead George felt unnerved every time he looked into the rabbits black eyes. A part of his brain refused to accept that some dark sinister intelligence wasn’t behind them.
George’s unease with the bunny and a need for revenge for having been its daily nursemaid for the last ten years is what drove him to choose it for the sacrifice.
“I’ll just tell her you died peacefully in your sleep and I buried you. You’re certainly old enough. Frankly I don’t know why you’re still alive. Even the vet says you should have died from age a couple years ago. They just don’t know that evil never dies, do they?”
George placed the rabbit into the carrier he had brought to the mountain cabin and gathered the last few items he was going to need.
The cabin had been his grandfather’s hunting lodge although George always thought that the term lodge was a rather grandiose description for a one room shack. Grandpa Jim had built it himself from local logs over sixty years ago and, while worn with age, the cabin had withstood the passage of time rather well. George used it a couple times every year when he needed to escape the nagging of his wife. He loved the woman but she never quite grasped that a man needs space occasionally to keep from going nuts.
George’s father had always said that Grandpa Jim was a bit of an eccentric and that the locals used to whisper that he had the evil eye but George had never really believed, until he found the book.
Six months ago while spending a weekend George had stepped on some floorboards that had become lunch for some termites. Crashing through the floor George had discovered a shallow dugout area with a large iron chest. Hoping for buried treasure he dragged the heavy chest from beneath the house. Considering how each generation of his family had spent their entire lives scrabbling to make ends meet he couldn’t honestly imagine that Grandpa Jim had had any treasure to bury in the first place; but visions of gold doubloons filled his mind as he pried the lock from the heavy box.
Within the iron box George had found a black robe made of fine silk, a long bronze dagger and a book. The book brought the term coffee table book new meaning as it was the size of the average table. Nearly three feet by two feet in size, it was over six inches thick. The cover was a dark leather of a strange consistency that George had never seen before. It looked ancient; more importantly it looked valuable. Opening the tome, George had found strange writing that looked vaguely Arabic or maybe Hebrew; either way it was nothing he could read. Lucky for him he also discovered yellowing sheets of paper covered in text in his grandfather’s handwriting inserted amongst the oddly fleshy pages of the book. Old Jim had been translating portions of the book and had thoughtfully left notes for his descendant to find. George had burst out laughing when he read the translation of the title page, Grimoire of the Necronomicon. Robe, dagger, and Necronomicon, Grandpa Jim had been a witch.
Over the next six months George had abandoned his original thought of selling the ancient book to a collector. No, Grandpa Jim had provided a path to something much greater than money. The old man had found a way to gather great power and make himself the most powerful man in the world. Too bad the old guy had died of a heart attack twenty years ago; actually it was lucky for George that he had done so; now George could be the big shot instead of just another serf in his Grandfather’s domain.
George had read his Grandfather’s notes and studied the process for months before deciding to move forward. He had spent the last three months collecting the necessary materials. Poor little Poopsie was the final ingredient, a blood sacrifice. Grandpa Jim had discovered a way to raise and control the dead using the Necronomicon. George would finish what his Grandfather had started; he would raise an army of undead that would conquer the world and make him King or Emperor, or no, even better: God Emperor of the world. Mortal armies could not stand against all the departed hosts who would arise from their graves, obedient to George’s will. He would be God Emperor and Betty, if she played her cards right, could be his Queen.
George slipped on the silken robe and, shouldering a pack of materials, picked up the animal carrier containing Poopsie and headed into the woods to the ritual spot he had prepared over the last three days.
Grandpa Jim had been very clear in his notes. George had spent most of his life savings gathering the rare materials needed and had rehearsed the strange words a thousand times; he was sure that once he had performed the ritual he would be powerful beyond the dreams of avarice; the loss of mere money would be of no consequence.
George arrived at the ritual space as the sun began its dip below the horizon. Opening his pack he began to distribute the contents around the circle constructed from the bones of murderers. Rare chemicals, organic compounds, ingots of iron engraved with alien text; all these were placed amongst the bones as prescribed by the Necronomicon. George could feel the power building in the circle as each item was placed. As the final item was set in position, he felt a thrum rush through the circle. The hair on his arms stood on end and a faint glow enveloped the entire arcane structure. He smiled, it was time.
Removing Poopsie from her carrier, George drew the ceremonial bronze dagger and began to walk the circle counter clockwise chanting the alien words of the spell. The spell was composed of six stanzas and George circled the ritual area six times during each stanza. Poopsie hung limply from his left hand as he clutched her rear feet almost as if the rabbit knew that she had some part to play and could not fight her fate. With each circuit of the magic circle, George felt the power build. The light emanating from the bones of the circle grew brighter, first a pale pink but deepening and brightening into a brilliant ruby glow that bathed the entire circle as if in blood as he neared the climax of the spell.
On the final circuit of the circle, George spiraled to the center as prescribed and raised the dagger. Farewell you cursed rabbit, he thought and swept the dagger across the throat of the rabbit.
Blood sprayed George and the ground of the circle as he screamed the final words of the ritual. The light became blinding and the earth trembled. As life left the small rabbit George watched the light of the circle rush outward to envelope the world; the spell was complete.
Laughing in exhaustion and manic glee George dropped the corpse of the rabbit and wiped its blood from his face. Three days; he only needed to wait three days and all the uncountable legions of the dead would rise to do his bidding.
George slept for nearly a full day after the magic spell. Wielding such power was exhausting; he honestly didn’t think that Grandpa Jim would have survived the ritual even if he had managed to try it. The old man’s heart wouldn’t have handled the strain. George cleaned all remaining traces of the rabbit blood from his face and hands then cooked a gigantic meal, a meal fit for a God Emperor and settled in to await the rising of his minions.
The next two days were the longest of George’s life. Each minute felt like an hour, so he planned his future as he waited. He would have servants to do everything for him. All those who had ever wronged him or looked down on him would be torn to pieces by his zombie hordes. And concubines, he’d have concubines. Who could deny the right to possess a harem to a God Emperor? Surely Betty would not, unless she wanted to become zombie food herself.
On the third day after the ritual George cleaned his ceremonial robe and awaited the setting of the sun which would herald the rising of his army.
The sun began to sink behind the mountains, turning the sky blood red; a fitting color he thought. Darkness fell; it is time George thought.
A thud at the door made George spin around. He giggled aloud.
“They’re here,” he repeated over and over in his mind.
George rushed to the door but quickly checked his motion. It wouldn’t be fitting for a God Emperor to appear overly excited at the arrival of his army. Composing himself, George opened the door with what he considered a regal and stately attitude.
There was no one at the door. Where were his zombie hordes? He was about to slam the door in consternation when he heard a sound, low to the ground. Looking down George was puzzled for a moment. A small dark form swayed before the door sill.
“Poopsie,” George stammered in disbelief. It was the rabbit. Her fur was matted and torn in places where forest predators had begun to feast on her during the last three days. He could see the gaping wound in her neck where his blade had released her life blood. The rabbit made no sound but its eyes locked on George; they glowed with a baleful red light.
“But you’re dead,” he managed to say just as the rabbit leaped high into the air. The rabbit only weighed seven pounds when alive but it slammed into George’s neck with the force of a sledgehammer wielded by a giant. George staggered back under the impact. He felt its claws digging into the skin of his throat as it latched onto him. Whirling in panic, George tripped over the iron trunk and slammed to the floor, Poopsie remained clinging to his throat. The rabbit was not silent as he had originally thought, he could hear her grunting.
George screamed but his terror was cut short as Poopsie opened her crooked mouth wide and began to rip out the human’s throat with her incisors.
Minutes passed and soon George lay still in a spreading pool of his own blood. Poopsie raised her head from her feast and turned toward the door of the cabin. Moving out of the woods were thousands of small forms. Some were mere skeletons, others fresh carcasses; rabbits of every breed dragged their decaying limbs across the brush to serve their master.
Poopsie led her army forth into the world.