Dust Bunnies Road Trip

Story 1

By Jon Hillenbrand In Dust Bunnies Series, Stories

Once upon a time there were two dust bunnies, a mommy dust bunny and her daughter a little girl dust bunny. They both lived in a giant wheel of cheese. Unfortunately, their home was so delicious that they kept eating it. So one day when the mommy dust bunny was taking a shower, she went to put the soap on the soap rack but it was no longer there because she had eaten it the day before. And one day, the little girl dust bunny came home from school and went to put her coat on the hook, but that wall had been eaten a week ago. So they decided to go visit their aunt in California and maybe look for a new home.

They hopped over to the computer and bought the plane tickets, hopped into their car and drove to the airport and got onto a plane. But when they were sitting there, the pilot came over the radio and said that they would have to sit there for two weeks with no bathroom breaks.  So the little girl dust bunny suggested that they take a different plane which you could go to the bathroom on, but it was broken.  So then she suggested that they drive to California. The mommy dust bunny said that it would take a really long time, but they both thought it would be faster than taking a plane.

The two dust bunnies drove to the gas station to fill up with ALL of the gas. They filled and filled and eventually the other drivers at the other gas tanks suddenly noticed that their cars weren’t filling up any more and they said, “Hey!” The mommy dust bunny said, “Let’s get out of here.” So they started their trip out to California.

They drove through Iowa and Nebraska. The land was so flat that for miles and miles they didn’t have to turn the wheel at all. The road just went on and on with no hills or valleys or anything interesting. They pulled over to get more gas. As it was dusk, there were lots of fireflies visible that the little girl dust bunny tried to catch in her dusty paws. The air was mostly still except for the occasional breeze from passing trucks on the highway and they could smell the wheat in the distance. Mommy and daughter dust bunnies switched off driving duties because they had so far to go. Eventually, the road started to rise and fall and in the distance they could see some interesting landscape. Soon the road was twisting and turning around grassy hills and trees sprouted up around them. When they had made it to Colorado, the road was turning all over the place and the hills were so steep that they had to be careful that they didn’t drive off of the road by going too fast down into the valleys. Suddenly, the car lurched and started to turn on its own left and right. They pulled over and saw that a rock had jumped out in front of them damaging their tire.

Luckily they weren’t in the desert where the scary Chester the Cheetah lived (previous story). The little girl dust bunny hopped to the side of the road to watch the snow falling on peaks in the distance while the mommy dust bunny got out the jack and spare tire. She loosened the lug nuts and jacked the car into the air. Then she removed the lug nuts placing them carefully into the hub cap. She pulled off the broken wheel and put on the spare. The little girl dust bunny looked back at her mother from time to time but mostly concentrated on the strange idea of being warm in the valley while up above the road would be slippery and covered with icy snow. Maybe she could catch snowflakes on her tongue. She had done that once when she was three.

Back on the road now, they passed a small dead end road that went straight off of the highway and up a steep hill. The sign next to it showed a truck out of control. “Mommy, what does that sign say?” The mom thought for a second and replied, “It’s for trucks that drive too fast down the hill and lose control. They can drive down that dead end road and up that steep hill in order to stop.” The daughter though for a moment and said, “What’s ‘dead end’ mean?” The mom said, “It’s when the road stops with no way to turn, left or right. The only thing you can do is go back the way you came.” The little girl dust bunny looked at the emergency road as they passed it. The windshield was dirty on the edges. They both saw a small white thing falling toward them as the road rose. The snowflake landed right in the middle of the windshield and melted instantly. The little girl smiled and looked quickly over to her smiling mom. “That was a snowflake,” cried the little dust bunny. Her mom crouched a little and pointed forward. In the distance were thousands then millions more falling toward them. The mommy dust bunny turned on the windshield wipers while the windshield was still dry. It made a brushing sound like a broom sweeping a kitchen floor.

The wheel lurched left and right as the mom struggled to keep traction on the slippery road. All at once their car was surrounded and covered in snow. The windshield wipers would give them a moment of vision that was instantly blocked out by more snow. The road kept rising higher and higher and through the side window, the little girl dust bunny could see cars with their headlights and flashers on sitting on the side of the road. It seemed strange to see stopped cars on the side of the road. She looked over at her mom who was squinting and dodging her head in lots of directions trying to see. The mommy dust bunny reached down and turned on the heater full blast which made a lot of noise drowning out the sound of the engine which also seemed to be having trouble. As they crested the hill, they pulled over into a covered gas station and got out of their snowball car. They were now on an island beyond which all that was visible was dark white. They could see strings of streetlights like constellations in the sky being blotted out. Passing cars slipped and slid into each other. Someone running on the sidewalk fell and the little girl dust bunny ran to hold her mom. Their car was quietly humming behind them. In the distance, they could hear the sad wail of an ambulance siren.

The two dust bunnies thought it was too dangerous to continue, so they found the nearest hotel and got a room for the night. The room was very interesting, like staying at a friend’s house that you had never met. There were two small beds, a large mirror and someone’s brand new foldable hair dryer in the bathroom. The momma dust bunny put their suitcases on one of the beds while the little girl dust bunny ran over to the window and opened it. A cold wind blew in and the mommy dust bunny shivered over her toothbrush, looked up and sneezed. The little girl dust bunny tried to see through the screen which was covered in snow. She brushed uselessly at it with her dusty paw. The momma said, “Try flicking your finger at the screen like this,” and she pantomimed with her finger what she meant. The little girl dust bunny looked back at the screen and flicked a few practice finger moves, then brought her hand to the screen and with one steady flick all of the snow popped off of the screen except in the small spot where she had rubbed. The night was alive with snowplows and people shoveling. Stoplights on wires strained at the wires they hung from over the streets. Cars ignored normal rules and slid sideways through intersections or stayed motionless in the middle of roads, tires spinning cleanly as if the cars were showing off. With a chill, the little girl dust bunny closed the window and crawled into bed with her mommy. The wind outside howled with distant danger. They closed their eyes.

Sometimes in the middle of the night, a single unusual sound can wake you up. But the absence of all sound can also wake you up. The morning streamed in through the blinds with a softness and everything was silent. The little girl dust bunny opened her eyes and slid out of bed landing on her dusty paws. She hopped over to the window and saw a small blanket of snow stretching from the window into the room. She stepped on the cold wet carpet and opened the curtains. The window screen was caked over again and sunlight was barely shining through. She opened the window and flicked at the snow, but her finger was met with a dull thud. The screen didn’t move but a little snow dust fell onto her paw. Her mom woke up and sat up in the bed looking at her daughter. They looked at each other and started to get dressed for the day. The mommy dust bunny fished through her bag looking for something while the little girl dust bunny dried her frosty paws off with the folding hair dryer. When she was done, she hopped over to her mom as she pulled the items from the bag that the was searching for. Two pairs of sunglasses, one size small, one large. They let money on the unused bed and hopped out to the lobby. But every door and every window was covered and blocked with snow. So they hopped over to the elevator and went to the roof. They walked out onto the cold roof and looked over the edge and saw that the entire building had giant snow drifts blocking all of the doors and windows.

The little dust bunny suggested that they jump down to the snow drifts. The mommy looked for a while and said, “No, it’s too dangerous.” So the little girl dust bunny hopped to the stairs door and down they went until they found the first window that wasn’t completely covered in snow. They opened it up and a pile of snow poured into the hallway. The mommy dust bunny looked worried but the little girl was excited. She climbed up the window sill and sat on the edge of the great snow slide. Her mom started to say something quietly to herself as she crawled through the window behind her. The little girl sat in front of her and bounced with excitement. They were thirty-three floors up. In the distance they could see the gas station. The mommy said, “Maybe…,” and as the little girl dust bunny turned to look at her, they both slid off of the ledge and down the massive slide. Down and down they went immediately going so fast that the wind made their eyes water. Their dusty fur was pushed back as they started to level off. They started to slow down and came to a stop with a metallic crunch. Snow fell from the object they ran into and the little girl dust bunny recognized the dance studio sticker on the gas cap from their car. Behind them, their two suitcases slid to a stop.

The mommy dust bunny looked up into the cobalt sky that was so bright and clear and blue that everything on the ground looked freshly painted. The firetruck with snow up to its axles was so red that it turned people red as they passed by. All of the snow was a bright clean golden white except in the shadows where it was a deep blue. Noise of two stroke engines could be heard in the distance, but everything close was muffled and quiet. There were no sounds of leaves or birds, just the gentle harumph of snow sliding off of angled roofs.

Into the car now, they drove down the giant hill past people digging their cars out. They waved to the firemen who waved back with tired smiles. They had been up all night helping people. Before long, the snow got thinner and more scattered and the road turned a dark black color. It was smooth and they drove quickly down the giant hill. When they got to the bottom, they saw grass on the ground and they opened the windows to get some air. The smells of summer were all around them and birds were chirping and bugs were buzzing. The road turned to dirt and they saw an old broken sign that said, “LAKE,” in black painted letters with an arrow pointing to the right. So they looked at each other and nodded as the mom turned down a double track path toward a small lake surrounded by low ground flowers. They stopped the car and hopped out to the water. It was a small round lake with a single wooden dock reaching straight into the middle. The little girl hopped to the edge of the water and peered into through the clear edges at small brown fish meandering between the plants. The water was a dark deep blue toward the middle of the lake. She hopped over to the dock to get a better look as her mom told her to be careful and got out the sunscreen for her nose. The little girl dust bunny watched her clear reflection in the perfectly still dark blue water slowly shift and ripple from the vibrations of the dock. Through her reflection, she could see small points of light, like a swarm of fireflies. As the lights got closer, the little girl dust bunny reached toward the water to touch them. Her mom started to hop along the dock as the little girl lost her balance and fell in.

All of the noises of the world were replaced by the deep rumble of the water as the little girl dust bunny sank down. It was an ominous silence that made her open her eyes and she saw that it was very dark. The water was as cold as ice and she started to feel fright crawling out of her belly and into her throat. She opened her mouth as first one then a dozen small glowing fish swam up in front of her. Suddenly everything was still and quiet and warm as the fish swarmed around her and spoke to her in a way she didn’t understand. The darkness that had surrounded her was replaced by the warm glow of a thousand yellow fish. She listened to them speak to her in the way they moved and the changes in the way they glowed. The little girl dust bunny didn’t know how, but she knew she could tell what they were saying. She felt a tug at the neck of her shirt, first light, then powerful as her mother pulled her out of the water and back onto the dock with a mightly pull which sent the fish darting back into the darkness and the sounds of the world came rushing back into her long ears. They both tumbled back onto the warm dock as the sunlight started to dry their dusty fur.

They dripped there still for a long time breathing heavily. The mom lay on her back watching the small clouds hovering on the blue sky. A distant plane caught the sunlight as it headed west. The little girl dust bunny lay on her right side, her face on the dock looking across the water to the reeds on the side of the pond. A ladybug tumbled in the air in front of her and landed on her nose tickling her. She shook her nose then brushed it away with her free paw. The ladybug landed again on her paw and crawled in a circle as the dust bunny rotated her paw.

“I know how to get to auntie’s house,” said the little dust bunny. Her mommy blinked away the shadow of the bright airplane. “I do too. We just keep driving west and…”

“No, I know how we can get there right now!”

Her mom rose onto her right leg. “How?”

The little girl dust bunny swallowed, “The fish told me. We just swim down, through the tunnel and when we come out on the other side, we’ll be in California. We just have to make sure that we go the right way, or we’ll end up in South America.”

The mommy dust bunny stared at her daughter and knew that she was telling the truth. She decided to trust her and the held paws and jumped back into the water. Again, it was cold and dark, but soon they were surrounded by thousands of small glowing fish. They communicated to them that they should be followed down into the deep dark water. The two dust bunnies swam down and down and down. The deeper they went, the darker the water got. Soon they came to a cave in the rock face and they went inside. The cave twisted left and right like a snake and branched off into small rooms which were lit and then disappeared as the bright fish passed them by. They entered a very large chamber with one way in and two ways out. It was lit from above by irridescent green worms hanging down from the ceiling. The glowing fish quickly tumbled into the exit on the right and the two dust bunnies followed them. As they entered the next cave, a great shadow passed behind them. The bunnies kept swimming but soon the little girl dust bunny started to get short on air. She felt a tickle in her throat and wanted to cough. But they were still underwater and knew that she couldn’t. The cave went up and down and narrowed at one point so much that they both had to squeeze between the cold jagged rocks. The rock scratched the belly of the little girl dust bunny and just then she coughed and blew out all of her air. She held her mouth closed and looked around for sunlight. The small glowing fish stopped and turned back toward her. She opened her mouth as her mother swam toward her quickly, but a big fish came along, pressed it’s greasy lips against hers and blew air into her lungs. The mom looked into the little girl’s eyes and she nodded. They went on and soon came to what looked like the rippling underside of a pond far above them. They rose higher and higher quickly as the glowing fish scattered away. Just before they ran out of air, they broke the surface of the water and breathed heavily gasping for fresh air. Around them was a rocky river plants and frogs. They looked up and saw a palm tree swaying in the breeze. The air was cool and the sun was shining. The two dust bunnies smiled and looked at each other as they heard the clanking of dishes behind them. They turned to see their aunt carrying a tray of still-warm chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven and a glass of milk. She put the tray down and arranged the milk on a small table on her patio. She looked up at the two dust bunnies swimming in her pond and a big smile crossed her face as she mouthed silently, “hey,” and then loudly, “Heeyyyyyyyy!”

The sun began to set across the small pond and the aunt dust bunny’s patio. The mommy and little girl dust bunnies sat curled on cushions on metal chairs in heavy robes with towels over their ears. They all held cookies and milk and enjoyed every bite as aunt dust bunny talked about a dream that she had earlier that night about a big snow storm and rocky roads. The mom and little girl dust bunny smiled at each other and at the setting sun which warmed their faces and their hearts while delicious cookies warmed their bellies.

The End

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