This piece is dedicated to my good friend Jocelyn. One day she texted me, asking what I was doing. I wasn't doing anything but I had a notebook in my hands so I replied, *I am going to write a short story.* Thank you Jocelyn for somehow inspiring me to write something worthwhile. End of EbonyAugust 1920-New York City, New York The rain was pelting viciously down on the asphalt. People fought with their umbrellas and rushed into doorways to avoid the wet. The girl took a left at the diner she so often visited, and her heels clicked softly in the rain, the street before her was deserted. No cars, all the people had run for shelter. The lack of activity did not frighten her. Why would it, an empty street? She continued to walk in the rain. In every sense of the word she was satisfied. Satisfied with her job as a waitress at a pricey French bistro. Her lover, Ben Mitchell kept her needs met. In every aspect of life one can have she was satisfied. A cat hissed in the alley to her right. The woman didn’t even flinch, just sped up. “Ebony,” Spoke a voice from the shadows around her. Who was there that knew her name? A figure of a small girl appeared. She was naked and shivering. Her hair was golden and swept down to her waist. She was young, no more than six. Her shining blue spheres stared into Ebony’s frightened brown eyes. “Ebony!” cried the girl, this time her voice was sharp, demanding. “Stop it Patrice.” Said Ebony, her strong arms crossed. “Ebony.” The girl took a step closer. Her hand reached out and touched Ebony’s hand. Patrice’s ghostly hand passed right through Ebony’s gloved fist. Ebony smiled and walked straight through Patrice. Seeing ghosts was a new experience for her. One that she was not inclined to go through again. “Ebony.” Sounded the little girl Patrice, her figure gone, but her dead voice lingering. “Damn it, Patrice!” Ebony yelled into the night. Patrice did not call again, but a piercing pain streaked inside Ebony. This time she kept quiet and hurried quickly out of the shadows.The Beginning- Michigan Twenty-five years old and the killing began when she was only a child. At ten years old she discovered what she would always want in her life. She would want blood on her hands. Screams ringing in her ears. Fear staring back at her. What she didn’t know was how it would come to consume her life. Most ten year old girls play with their dolls and dream of a lifetime with prince charming. Not Ebony Brook. She liked to chase rabbits, learn how to scare, how to calm and how to trick them. That is how it all began. With the rabbits. Her mother was not attentive and let Ebony spend hours outside, not bothering to check on her first born. Ebony watched the rabbits tenderly. Caught the rabbits softly. Ebony killed the rabbits slowly. In the spring of 1907, when Mrs. Kate Brook gave birth to her second child. Mr. Henry Brook named the infant; he would have it no other way. Little Ada Brook was welcomed into the two story farm house. This upset Ebony. For soon Ada was the topic of every conversation. The Brooks adored her and showered her with everything Ebony never had the pleasure of even holding. Along with the nickname Princess Ada she was a blonde little starlet. While Ebony was a gentle white with long dark hair and big brown eyes, Ada was a golden baby. Every parents dream. As Ada began to grow in the way a newborn does, Ebony began to watch. Her mother would hold Ada close in a way that was foreign to Ebony. Ebony saw how her father walked straight past her after a long day of work only to catch Ada in a resounding kiss. Hate burrowed itself into Ebony’s soul. She would not so much as look at Ada. She kept her distance and her parents paid no real attention. Their eyes were locked on Princess Ada. Ebony had only her rabbits. The Brooks lived on twenty acres of farm land. On this land was a small wood behind their house. It was lush with trees and life here was rather abundant. Except of course the rabbits. In this wood was a clearing that Ebony was fond of. Here she had buried every rabbit. She would sit amongst them and retell their stories. Interpreting details from memory, her voice filled with glee. In that place her rabbits could not leave or cover their ears. They were in the ground, trapped by Ebony. She could never lose them, which is the way she liked it. That and reveling in the images of her kills. Snapshots of death. On an evening that was bright and filled with the sounds of summer, Ebony was told to play with her sister. To this there were three problems. Ebony did not play, she killed. Then there was the fact that Ada was barely three months old, too young to understand the concept of playing. Lastly, Ebony hated Ada. You do not play with things you hate. Unless it is of course to tear them down. The Brooks wanted a break from the trials of caring for a newborn. However much they loved their Princess, the Brooks were tired. So Ebony was forced to carry Ada, in her twelve year old arms, out to the backyard. Ebony laid out a blanket, placed Ada in the center and sat down. She stared at the baby, watched her squirm and fuss. It was in that moment Ebony made a terrible realization. One that would not bode well. Ebony watched as her baby sister’s nose twitched. Princess Ada looked like a rabbit. A small, pink rabbit. Ebony smiled, her hands shook, her brow beaded with sweat. Ada the Rabbit. Ada the Rabbit. As the sun set and the Brooks opened the back door, Ebony felt a need. A need unlike any other. Mrs. Brook bent down and lifted Ada in her arms. Those arms, a mother’s complimentary blanket. Ebony cried out and jumped to her feet. “Let me.” she pleaded. Mrs. Brook smiled, pleased to see her oldest finally bonding. Mrs. Brook nestled Ada into Ebony’s arms. “Look at our family. “Laughed Mr. Brook. Ebony grinned, her eyes wide as she stared at her baby sister. Then they all swept inside leaving the rabbits behind. The house was quiet. The lights were out. The moon did not shine on that night. It was as if the objects of life wanted to hide. So they did. Her bare feet tiptoed into the nursery. All she could think about was the Rabbit. It lay dreaming in the pink crib. She tweaked its nose. The Rabbit rustled. With decisiveness and joy Ebony carried her new Rabbit out to the backyard. That night Princess Ada was dethroned.August 1912- Detroit, Michigan She had just turned seventeen. Gotten her high school diploma and was on her way to becoming Mrs. Ebony Baiten. She had stopped killing rabbits five years ago. They were ordinary, not like the Princess. Ebony would settle for nothing less than satisfactory. Charles Baiten was an accomplished banker. He was twenty-four years old and rather dashing. Ebony was not in love with him, only his big house on the outskirts of the city held her interest. Secluded, expensive, and beautiful it was the home that would bring her satisfaction. This particular day was to be spent in the city shopping for wedding dresses. Ebony’s high school companions, Lacy and Triss joined her. They boarded a crowded bus and sat down on the hard seats. The ride was fairly smooth, but the hot air put Ebony’s hair in a disarray. Curly hair can be such a burden. The bus came to a stop at a busy corner. Ebony got off the bus and followed her friends into the crowded sidewalk. They walked two blocks, the sidewalk seeming to sway haphazardly with the crowd. The Bridal Aisle came into sight and the three entered. “How may I assist you?” asked a weathered sales lady. Her eyes predatory. “The gown in the window please.” Said Lacy a take charge girl with an instinct for shopping. “That is very expensive dress. Why bother getting it down?” chided the sales lady. “We have the money. We want the dress. Now.” Lacy was not about to be talked down to by an old hag. “Fine. Melanie come here!” A young girl stepped into the room. A notepad in her hand indicated that she had been doing inventory. Her features were angelic, her eyes a riveting blue. Blonde ringlets encircled her face. She was a Rabbit. The gown was taken from the window display. It was white, delicate, and gorgeous. Lacy and Triss prattled on and on about Ebony’s appearance. She looked beautiful they said. “Breathtaking,” admitted the old bat. Ebony was satisfied with this. She bought the dress, tipped the sales lady and skipped out of The Bridal Aisle with her high school friends. All the while thinking of her Rabbit. Melanie stepped out of the dress shop. Her hands shook as she locked the door. It was dark in the city. Melanie was scared of the dark. Its form spreading throughout the city. Her gray skirt was cut just below her knees. She wore a pink top that was pleasing to the eye. Melanie held herself with a modest beauty. A quiet wonder. As the city grew louder with night life, Melanie let her thoughts linger on her day. She had woken early to the sound of the train thundering just outside her house. The morning had been quiet. Her father had left early, he disappeared a lot. Her day had been routine until a Miss Brook entered their shop. The woman had stared at Melanie with what can only be described as longing. Melanie had been uncomfortable the whole time, pondering the woman’s strange behavior. “You look troubled.” Said Ebony Brook coming out of a bar, Melanie was passing. Laughter leaked out and then it was quiet again. Leaving Melanie alone with Miss Brook. Melanie halted in her repertoire of the day. Her blue eyes grew weary. Miss Brook was not a welcome sight. “No ma’am only tired from the day.” Miss Brook wore a black dress. Simple, nothing intriguing about it. She stepped closer to Melanie. “Not surprising. The store must be busy, so many summer brides.” Her tone was warm and Melanie found herself relaxing. “Summer is busiest for mother and me.” “Well you work hard that is very admirable.”Melanie felt a small smile bring warmth to her face. Miss Brook was so nice, talking to her as if she too were an adult. So she relaxed and began to walk side by side with Miss Brook. “My mother works the hardest. She never complains. One day I hope to be just like her.” Adoration stirred her words, making them play in the night.“I am sure you do.”Melanie locked eyes with Ebony. She saw a woman there, one who knew life. Someone Melanie could finally talk to without feeling so alone. Mothers love us, friends let you talk. “Miss Brook would you mind if we talked for awhile?” she sounded so hopeful.“Not at all and please call me Ebony.” She smiled and linked arms with Melanie.They talked as they journeyed deeper into the night.Ebony could not take her eyes off the Rabbit. It twitched and moved with so much life. Ebony could not help herself. The Rabbit was so tempting.“Is there a park nearby?”She asked the Rabbit, trying to keep her hands from shaking. “There is a small one just a block from my house. Not the nicest, but I love the swings.” The Rabbit smiled at Ebony.“Let us go there; it is such a beautiful night for a quick swing.”So the girl led Ebony to the park. There were two swings, the grass was dry and a few trees stood silent. There were poor apartment buildings around, but they kept their distance. The two stepped into the park.Ebony let the Rabbit walk a few feet ahead of her. She watched as the girl sank into the swing. “Can I push you Melanie?” “I would love that. I am glad to have met you Miss Brook.” Laughed the Rabbit.Ebony pushed against the Rabbit’s back and the swing swayed forth.For awhile Ebony was content to watch the Rabbit twitch, but she grew tired of it soon. She stopped the swing and placed her fingers on the back of the Rabbit’s neck.“How?” wondered Ebony, unaware that she had spoken aloud.“How what Miss Brook?” asked the Rabbit with a nervous tint in her voice.“How do you die?” then Ebony wrapped both hands tightly around the Rabbit’s neck.The Rabbit gasped for air. It twitched and Ebony fought to keep her hold. Then the life left the Rabbit, its blonde curls danced in the breeze.September 1920-New York CityA month after her ghostly encounter Ebony was waitressing the evening shift. The late autumn sun trickled through the big, long windows of the French bistro. A man walked in just as Ebony poured an elderly couple two glasses of wine. The man watched Ebony’s attractive form with interest. The maitre’de seated him at a table in the far back corner. It was secluded and kept out of sight from watchful eyes.Ebony changed her walk as she moved toward the attractive man. He was deliciously disciplined, the way his jaw was set. He looked at her as she settled to the edge of his table. Ebony smiled flirtatiously.“Would you care to start with a glass of wine?” Ebony asked her voice silky.“I can’t drink on the job. I am Detective Miles, you?” his voice was strong, sexy.“Ebony Brook.” Her eyes flitted around the room. No one watched them.“Sit with me Ebony.” Not a question, Ebony folded her curvy frame into the seat across from Detective Miles.“What do you want?” “I want to know who killed Patrice Gild two months ago.”It had been all over the papers. At just eleven years old, Patrice Gild was found brutally killed in Central Park. She was strangled, and her arms were torn to shreds with knife wounds. There were no real suspects, only the people that Patrice had last been seen with. One of those people was Ebony Brook.“The police already questioned me. Patrice and I went to the park together, then after an hour we went our separate ways.” She had learned that the less she said the better.“Why did you go to the park with her that day?”No one had ever asked Ebony that question. Not ever.Ebony knew the reason she had walked with Patrice. It was the same reason with the other ten. Patrice was a Rabbit; Ebony did what she had to.“She was a nice girl.”“Miss Brook you went out of your way to go the park with a girl you only knew for five days? I find that odd to be honest.” The detective was not about to give up.“Patrice was different. Can you understand that detective?”“What I can’t understand is how the police did not see you as a suspect?”Ebony did not like the suspicious way his eyes now gleamed. She fought to keep her voice level.“Why would I be a suspect?”Detective Miles held Ebony’s gaze, something passed between the pair in silence.“Every time I mention her name your eyes fill with need.”May 1915- Atlanta, GeorgiaMelanie had been her first kill since Ada. It had felt so good that she dove into the depths of instinct. Ebony broke off her engagement, and took a job as a tutor. In the summer of 1915, Ebony began a new job working for a Mr. John Sanders. She rode in by train and as the smoke bellowed, death began to whisper.The platform was crowded. A little boy chased his wandering mother. Soot played across the ground, shuffled by hundreds of traveling souls. Ebony smoothed down her ravishing hair and replaced the black hat on her head. With eyes searching she scanned the dress of the men. A dark suit with a lily in the breast pocket. “Miss Brook?” questioned a voice.Ebony turned and was pleased to see a very attractive man before her, wearing a dark suit with a lily in the breast pocket.“Yes. Such a charmer, wearing a lily to catch my eye. Pleasure to meet you Mr. Sanders.”His eyes gleamed with interest, but only for a moment. The interest disappeared and a look of pride filled them.“The pleasure is all mine. Let us head to the carriage.”She walked beside Mr. Sanders stealing glances at his muscled form. His smell made her knees weak and her lips shiver. His scent was spicy with a soft sweetness blending with his sweat. As he opened the carriage door for her she touched her fingers on his shoulder, now his scent was on her. They rode along in the shiny, black Ford. It bumped along the streets of Atlanta until it reached a beautiful townhouse. The driver opened the door for his passengers. Ebony smiled at her new residence, it was grand. “Marshall, bring in the lady’s bags. Miss Brook, follow me.” commanded Mr. Sanders.His employees didn’t hesitate. Marshall set to work with Miss Brook’s minimal luggage and Ebony followed Mr. Sanders inside. Inside to meet her new student. “Liddy, come meet your new tutor Miss Brook.” Announced Mr. Sanders as a small, blonde girl descended the staircase. Her feet came to rest at the edge of the very last step. Liddy’s eyes were a sparkling blue, her hair in perfect ringlets. Petite form dressed in a powder blue dress. She looked angry, her young lips pursed.“She looks mean, Daddy. I do not want her to be my new tutor. What if she hurts me Daddy?” her voice did not quiver.Her eyes did not well. She had said what she needed to say. Now she laid her fate in her father’s hands. As any obedient Southern girl would.“Liddy, do not be difficult. Apologize and introduce yourself.”Liddy looked at her father with a shadow of sadness. Then, as if she never uttered her previous words, she smiled. She raced into Ebony’s arms and hugged her tight.“Welcome to Atlanta Miss Brook. My name is Liddy Lee Sanders, but you already know who I am don’t you?”The girl’s eyes held understanding and acceptance. A small tear danced down her cheek. It was her last tear. From that moment on she refused to cry. You can’t cry when you’re dead. She saw the hollowness in Ebony’s eyes. Children know when the monsters have escaped the closet.“Yes.” Smiled Ebony, her eyes dancing with thirst. Of course she knew her Rabbit.September 1920- New York CityThe police station jostled with noise. Officers swam in and out with the tide of crime. Rapists, murderers, pimps, and robbers lay siege to New York’s streets and here they were. Not all, but some and soon the officers would find that they meant nothing compared to Ebony Brook.She was escorted to an investigation room. The walls were covered with tattered newspaper clippings. Articles of murder. Murders that Ebony committed. Patrice’s face smiled on the front page of the New York Times. Rabbit number twelve.“Miss Brook.”Her black eyes locked with Detective Miles’ eyes. He sat across from her. “You have no evidence.”She always made sure of this. Ebony suffocated then and when she was done she would tear at their flesh so her fingerprints were never found. Then she would bury them, except for Patrice. That little brat had been a mistake.“I have a witness.” Ebony’s breathing stopped briefly. Then her lungs resumed their function, but not without a slight tremor. She spoke one word.“No.” “This person heard Patrice scream.” The detective reached inside his jacket and pulled out a notepad. “No.” whispered Ebony. Detective Miles smirked and read from the notepad. “No Ebony, please, please no.” There was no question now. Ebony felt it, the knots tying her here. She looked into his eyes and knew it was time.“Miss Brook…why?” the man’s voice was grave his eyes reflected grief.“She was the Rabbit.”A question clouded Detective Mile’s features. He took out a pen.“Tell me about the Rabbit.”For the first time since Patrice’s murder Ebony’s eyes lit with pure joy.“I would love to.” Then she giggled and he clutched his pen tighter.July 1920- New York City Ebony watched from across the street. She was tutoring a young boy for the Andersons, a wealthy family. Ebony needed the money, but hated her student. It had been almost three months since she had killed. A familiar itch had seeped through her as she gazed at the little girl with the pink bow.Ebony walked across the street, desiring to be closer. The pavement felt like clouds beneath her feet. She sat on a bench not too far from the girl. She could sit, listen and watch as she did as a child. The mother laughed as her child pulled on her hand, the delicate, smaller fingers begging to wander.“Please Mom, let’s go play in Central Park!”“Fine Patrice.” Her voice was exhausted.Ebony looked to her right; her student sat quietly watching the cars rush by. She had forgotten he was with her.“Nathan would you like to go play in the park?” she said as a smile lit her body.Miss Brook and Nathan stood and walked over to the mother.“Hello my name is Ebony Brook and this is my student Nathan Anderson. We overheard you say you were going to the park, may we join you?” “Oh my name is Angela Gild and this is my daughter Patrice. It would be wonderful if you joined us.”The mother’s eyes looked relieved, thankful for the company of an adult. Someone to talk to as the children played. And so the four set out, beginning a daily routine. It wasn’t until five days after their first meeting that Mrs. Gild could not come along and sent Patrice to meet Miss Brook outside their apartment. “Hello Ebony! Where is Nathan?”“He could not make it today, so I guess this means it will be just the two of us.”Patrice glanced back at her closed door, some instinct insisting that she do so. It was closed her mother behind it. She turned back to Ebony, who looked perfectly content to take her to the park. So Patrice stepped into the sun with Ebony and as they went to the park, she skipped along absolutely delighted to go to the park. September 1920- The Precinct“I killed her that night. We went deep into the park and I waited until the sun was gone. The Rabbit got scared and begged to go home. She was so annoying, I wrapped my hands around her neck, but she struggled too much. This Rabbit wasn’t right, so I grabbed a tree branch swung it at her skull and beat her until she was no longer like the other Rabbits.”The detective was scared. His eyes were unsteady; everything inside him told him to run. To run from this predator, but he couldn’t. Duty held him there.“The other Rabbits?” “The eleven others…none were like Ada though. None could ever compare to the way her small body just stopped breathing when you thought it would never stop gasping for air.” Again Ebony smiled.“Holy shit.”Whispered Detective Miles. He turned and looked at the double-sided mirror. He stood, excused himself and walked out of the interrogation room. He met the eyes of his colleagues.“What have you got here Miles?” asked Captain Bert, his eyes terrified.Instead of answering Miles keeled over and puked out the stories he knew were to come from Ebony Brook.Alone in the interrogation room Ebony looked at the mirror. She studied her features and realized how scared she looked. How sad, and empty, how breathless. In these features she saw a repetition of Ada. Similarities she never saw before, things that made her look like a Rabbit. Her hands shook, her eyes dilated and suddenly her hands clenched her throat. She watched as her face became red, her mouth begged for air, but her hands would not release. Ebony did not want them to.“Detective do you want to keep your job?” scorned Captain Bert. Detective Miles rose from his position on the floor. He looked at his captain then into the interrogation room. Ebony was strangling herself. Again his eyes found his captain’s and he knew what he was being asked to do. It went against his oath, but it would feel so right. With one last thought of indecision he strode slowly into the interrogation room just as Ebony collapsed. Then he lifted a chair above his head and let a fatal blow befall Ebony Brook. She felt every prickle of the blow.With a joy so blinding it pained her to enjoy, Ebony became a Rabbit. Ebony died as number thirteen.We will never truly know if only thirteen girls died by Ebony’s hand. For what if she killed, then realized they were not true Rabbits? The detectives recovered the bodies of the girls. The Brooks were shocked at their daughter’s demise, they never suspected. All those years they blamed Ada’s disappearance as simply that, a disappearance not a murder.And so Ebony Brook was dead. Life returned to the victim’s families, their young girls were buried properly. Somehow reporters never caught wind of the tale of Ebony Brook maybe it had something to do with a Detective Miles who quit the force after discovering all those bodies in the small wood. After his deed proceeded to cripple him. There is one more thing that should be told here. Ebony had a child, gave her up at birth. She grew to be pink, blonde and perfect like Ada. The only difference was that she saw Rabbits too.