Chapter 11:


Grime in the Gears: Create, Read, Update, Delete

Barry couldn't sleep. Rabbit could tell that the nap earlier had thrown off his sleep. He lay there on the corner of the bed and watched as Barry wandered over to the window. Reny slept in his own bed, and Rabbit hoped that Barry getting out of bed wouldn't wake him up, as Reny was the sort of older brother that reveled in his younger brother getting into trouble.

"Barry," Rabbit whispered. "Get back to bed."

Barry looked over at Rabbit. Rabbit tried in vain to move his body, the servos fruitlessly whirring. Barry stared at Rabbit, daring him to move. Rabbit blinked. 

"At least come get me," he whispered to Barry. "What's so interesting outside that window?"

Barry came back to the bed. He plucked Rabbit from the corner and brought him over to the window. "There's a giant in the street," he said, holding Rabbit up so he could see out through the window.

Rabbit saw lights and motion on the street below. Though bits of rain splattered on the window, he was able to focus and zoom his vision through it. A large, lumbering thing was walking through the streets below. It looked like a giant bug, but walked on two legs. Its metal shell was scraped and dented, as if it was once polished, but had endured years of neglect or abuse. It also looked like it had at one time, been part of a vehicle or something.

In its arms it carried a large box, Rabbit couldn't exactly tell what it was. It was rectangular, and a large cable dragged behind it like a tail. 

"Is the giant carrying a dragon?" Barry asked.

"I don't think it's a giant," said Rabbit. "Or a dragon. It looks like a robot carrying a fridge or stove or something."

Barry squeezed Rabbit. "You don't have any imagination," he said.

"You should really be getting back into bed," Rabbit told him.

Barry looked over at the bed. "Fine," he said. He carried Rabbit over to the bed. As they drifted away from the window, Rabbit caught a glimpse of the machine disappearing below the ground. Or maybe that's just what it looked like, what with the rain.

Tucked under the bed and Rabbit tucked between his arms, Barry said, "do you think Mommy is going to be okay with Uncle Frank dying?"

Rabbit blinked. "Your mom is strong," he said. "Unexpected things happen from time to time." He would have turned his head had his neck servos still worked. "How are you feeling about it?"

Barry shrugged. "I don't know," he said. "Mommy says dead means you never see someone again. It's hard to imagine that. For the rest of my life I'll never see Uncle Frank again, just like how I'll never see Uncle Jeremy." He looked down at Rabbit. "Will there ever come a day when I never see you again?"

Rabbit checked his internal systems. Aside from the mechanical failure of his servos, everything was working well. "I'll be around for a long time," he said. "But if you keep me around, I'll probably outlast you."

Barry squeezed Rabbit. "Oh, that sounds terrible. I wouldn't want you to be without me."

"Don't worry," said Rabbit. "I'm just a toy. I don't have any real feelings."

"You do to me," said Barry. He gave Rabbit a kiss between the ears. "I don't ever want to see somebody for the last time ever," he said. He looked over at Reny. "Well, maybe him," he said, giggling.

Rabbit laughed.

"But that's not how it is, is it?" Barry said. "One day, I'll have to say goodbye to Mommy and Daddy and Aud and Reny and even you. Do you think I'll ever see Aunt Gloria again, or is she dead too?"

"Your mom saw her earlier today," said Rabbit. "She's not dead, but I don't know how often you'll be seeing her."

Barry fiddled with one of Rabbit's paws, moving it up and down along the joint. "Rabbit?" he said.

"Yes, Barry?"

"Can you tell me a story?"

"You really must get to sleep," said Rabbit.

"I will," said Barry. "But I need a story first."

Rabbit blinked. "Okay," he said. "But if we get in trouble for being up, I'm blaming you."

"Okay," said Barry.

Rabbit cleared his throat. "Once upon a time, there was a terrible dragon. It breathed both fire and snow, destroying all that dared get in its way. The only person who could dare stop it was a little boy named Barry Rayl."

"And his constant companion, Rabbit," Barry added.

"Yes," said Rabbit. "Together, they made a plan to stop the dragon before it came to their kingdom."

"Because King Daddy and Queen Mommy were scared, as the dragon had already burned and froze the brave knight Uncle Frank," Barry added.

Rabbit continued: "Together, the two sought out a powerful weapon. It was a giant whistle."

"Was it a big whistle, or a whistle for calling giants?" asked Barry.

"Both," said Rabbit. "It was so large that it took the two of them to blow it. The sound was so loud that it shook the entire kingdom."

"And the only person who didn't wake up from the sound was Reny," added Barry. He giggled.

"From deep within the earth emerged a mighty and terrible giant. It was about to step on Barry and Rabbit, but when it saw that they carried the giant whistle, it instead kneeled before them. 'What is your command?' it asked them."

"You will help us kill the dragon!" said Barry, a little too loudly. Reny snored. Rabbit shushed him. "And save the kingdom," Barry added in a whisper.

Rabbit went on. "The giant nodded. 'I serve the bearer of the giant whistle. The dragon is as good as defeated.' It lumbered off, finding the dragon's lair. There, the dragon slept, laying upon the gold and spoils of its many conquests. The giant stepped into the dragon's lair and shook the dragon awake. The dragon was angered at having its home entered by the giant, and the two battled, shaking the earth more than the giant whistle had done earlier."

"And Reny still managed to sleep through it," added Barry.

"They fought for day beneath that mountain. The dragon left with no other options, breathed both fire and snow upon the giant, but since the giant's father lived in a volcano, and its mother was a frost giant, the giant was immune. It shot the fire and snow right back at the dragon, defeating it."

"Good," said Barry.

"The giant carried the dragon back to the kingdom to show the king and queen its conquest. Then it returned underground to await the next call of the giant whistle."

"Rabbit?" said Barry.

"Yes?" said Rabbit.

"Can they cut open the dragon and find Uncle Frank inside? Alive?"

"Why?" asked Rabbit.

"Because it's a story," said Barry.

Rabbit blinked. "The king and queen sliced up the dragon, and there, the queen's brother, Sir Franklin Conchobhar stepped forth, covered in dragon goo, but quite alive. There was a great feast in his honor, and they even let Sir Barry and Rabbit eat their dessert before dinner."

"That sounds great," said Barry. "Thank you."

"You're welcome."

"Good night, Rabbit."

"Good night, Barry."

Barry was quite for a few minutes. Then he said something: "I don't think Mommy was right," he said.

"About what?"

"About never seeing Uncle Frank again."

"What do you mean?" asked Rabbit.

"Well, if I dream about him, doesn't that mean I've seen him?"

"I don't know," said Rabbit. "I don't dream."

"Good night, Rabbit."

"Good night, Barry."

Barry didn't say anything else for a long time after that. Rabbit took the opportunity to enter power-saving mode.

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