The madness was creeping a bit closer than I wanted. The madness that made my heart a dancer. I wanted all in. I was tired of fighting it. I was tired of fearing that they will take me to the loony bin. What was it that Herbert Dune said? All that will be left will be me?

I grabbed the Benelli hunting rifle and examined it properly. I needed to make sure it was working fine. I won't have it jamming at this vital moment. For there was a Hare-man outside the cabin. I had thought it was the madness that made me see him. No sir! He was as real as the callous on the palms of my hands. The very callous that was caressing the fine workmanship of this fine tool from Benelli Inc.

I had first gotten a glimpse of the Hare-man on Wednesday. That was two days ago. I had woken from a nasty hangover arising from an overestimation of my vodka capacity. I parted the curtains and in a brief moment saw him by the trees. He was just standing still without a care in the world. I thought I was dreaming it all. So I lumbered back to bed. Then I was having difficulty getting back to sleep. So I gave reality one more chance to come through. For the second time that morning-I parted the curtain. For the second time that morning-the Hare-man gazed back.

I hear the scepticism in you chuckling at my Hare-man pronouncement. Well, he wore, or should I just say 'it' wore for once and for all. It wore trousers, some blue jeans and some trekking boots. It wore some red checkered tweed shirt or something like that. I was too 'hangovered' for accuracy mind you. On the head, or rather where the head was supposed to be, there was a hare's head. The ears were all pointy. What more does a man need to say that that thing by the trees about 10 yards off was a Hare-man?

I had debated telling this to my neighbour Charlie during our weekly Wednesday brunch. In the end, I had succumbed to the overwhelming desire and had given it to him straight. He paid me back by falling off his chair with laughter."Forgive me, I will not bring any Tito's vodka anymore. Only Smirnoff for you ma boy."I had left that meeting grumpy and my moodiness washed that day with the gloominess of the ages. That was the beginning of the madness. I felt it claw and gain inches, day by day. I had gone to the shed and grabbed the family-keepsake-Benelli rifle from the cabinet. I had dismantled it and proceeded to clean and oil the bits. When I was done I reassembled the old geezer and took it to lie beside my bed. The next time I would be ready for the Hare-man.

The next time was here with us. The Hare-man was outside waiting. I inhaled deeply and said I small prayer; I think. Then I rushed outside with gusto. The madness by then had infiltrated my system. Add adrenaline to that and you had a beast of a man. The Hare-man was in great company. I must have startled it because I saw it stumble before it regained its composure and made it for the woods. I was behind it, heavily motivated, the madness upon me and within me. Does a Hare-man move s as fast as a hare? I guess we would soon find out.

I had not made it far when I came across it. Lying on the ground a few paces ahead of me. By then I had been swinging that Benelli rifle with malevolent intent. I had huffed and puffed with violent delights. I slowed down and looked at it with bewilderment. All the malice slowly dissipating like mist upon the inquisition of the sun. I picked the damn item and gazed upon it. It was a furry mask with pointy ears. Undoubtedly left by the fleeing man.

I dropped down and kneeled on both knees. I felt the madness washing over me. It had reached 100%. I was all in.


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