By C. Michael Forsyth
LONDON — The number of wererabbits in England has tripled in the past decade to a mind-boggling total of 1. 5 million, according to a recent government estimate. And officials warn that the population explosion threatens to put carrot farmers and other crop growers out of business.
“Britain’s wererabbit population is increasing at an exponential rate,” confirms a top aide to Prime Minister David Cameron. “If something isn’t done, they will outnumber ordinary humans by 2021.”
Though they rarely harm normal folks, the big-earred creatures are devastating to agriculture. A roaming herd can devour an entire field of lettuce or other produce in a single night.
“They’re insatiable, and because they have human intelligence, they are able to get around locked gates, electric fences and other barriers with little difficulty,” explains Cathryn Juneway, a respected naturalist.
The existence of wererabbits in the British Isles has been recorded since medieval times, when they were often shot with silver arrows by farmers trying to protect their crops.
“When they died, they would revert to human form,” Juneway reveals.
“After the First World War, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals launched a campaign to discourage hunting and trapping, arguing that the creatures were humans in animal form,” Juneway continued. “The government instituted a formal ban in 1964 and instituted a program educating people in rural areas to avoid running wererabbits over with their cars. The program was all too successful because their numbers are now skyrocketing.”
Wererabbits gather in fields when the moon is full, where they mate with others of their kind. Their gestation period is about 21 days — shorter than an ordinary rabbit’s. Bunnies swiftly progress to adolecense, becoming mature enough to produce offspring themselves within four months.
“They produce large litters, up eight babies at a time,” says Juneway.
Few wererabbits are willing to speak publicly — many fearing that they’ll be mocked as comical creatures, unlike the more fearsome werewolves. But accountant Reginald Danbird, 45, of Windsor, has come out of the closet and argues that the shape-shifters can’t be blamed for their frisky ways.
“Ordinary people can’t understand what it’s like when you go through the change,” he said. “All you want to do is eat, poop little pellets and meet in the meadows to mate. The gatherings get rather rambunctious. It’s like one of those swinger parties you used to hear about back in the ’70s, except everyone has buck teeth and huge, floppy ears.”
The nation’s farmers are hopping mad about what they call government inaction. The British Association of Small Farmers is petitioning Parliament to allow hunting and poisoning of the pesky critters. But government officials are reluctant to change the longstanding policy.
“I understand the frustration of these hardworking farmers,” said the Prime Minister’s aide. “But these are human beings, most of the time. A plan for the use of humane traps is being considered — but killing them isn’t the answer.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth
MEANWHILE, ON THE HOUR OF THE BEAST FRONT…
While attending my Yale College reunion on the May 28, 2011, I signed copies of my new book Hour of the Beast. It was quite an honor sitting beside a half-dozen other alumni authors. I was a bit intimidated, at first, showing up with my horror novel when most of the other books were dead-serious, scholarly works. But the other writers were a friendly and interesting bunch. Among the coolest dudes was Bryan Mark Rigg, author of Lives of Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers. Now that might sound like the shortest book ever written, but it turns out there’s a mind-blowing untold story here. As Rigg explained it, Hitler actually cut some slack to guys who were only a half or quarter Jewish. If you could demonstrate you had an exemplary military record, you could get a letter — signed by the Fuhrer himself — explaining that you’d been “purified” of your Jewish blood. And have the honor of fighting for Germany in World War II!
Hour of the Beast is set at a fictional Ivy League college inspired by Yale, with the same enormous Gothic buildings and mysterious tunnels. I thought I’d exaggerated the spookiness of the place in the book, but when I visited for the first time in years, I realized that the campus is, if anything, scarier at night than I remembered.
The best part of the signing is that the first three people to buy the book were old friends from freshman year — the cute blonde cheerleader-type, the guy who directed me in our school play and the wacky girl with the great sense of humor who loved weird stories — and still does. How cool is that!
Check out Hour of the Beast by clicking HERE.Copyright C. Michael Forsyth