The case of the murdered rabbit


The neighbour’s bin is out and the rabbit is gone

There is a murdered pet rabbit outside my house.

I know he was murdered because rabbits that die from natural causes do not have their back feet tied together with rope.

When I went out at 3pm he was not there. When I came back at 5.30pm, there he was on the grass verge – white, fluffy and murdered.

He is near the curb. He must have been killed and then hurled from the murderer’s car window.

I am inside with the curtains pulled but I cannot forget that he is out there. It makes me feel sick. It makes my dinner taste like rabbit.

I have seen enough movies to know that one of two things is happening.

  1. The mafia are warning me.
  2. There is a psychopath on the loose. Now that he has killed a rabbit he will move on to target a dog. At some point he’ll probably burn down a school. Then in year or so he’ll murder pretty much everyone.

The second scenario is the most likely. This is because the rabbit is technically on my neighbour’s grass verge but it is right by my driveway and much closer to my house than his. The mafia would not be this ambiguous. They want their targets scared. They do not want their targets thinking, “Ah well, I’ll take this murdered rabbit with a grain of salt – most likely the mafia are after the neighbour.”

I do not want the psychopath’s crimes to escalate so I decide to report the murder.

This is an easy thing to decide but a hard thing to do. Who do you report a murdered rabbit to on a Friday night?

I google “report murdered rabbit”. I google “dumped rabbit body”.  I google “dead rabbit” + “feet tied” + “calling card”.

I phone the RSPCA’s animal rescue line.

“We really only deal with live animals,” he says.

“Oh. Well, what do you think I should do?” I say.

“You could put the rabbit in your bin,” he says.

I hang up. I call the council.

A nice woman takes my call. She tells me she will send a contractor to collect the murdered rabbit within 24 hours.

24 hours later the rabbit is still there.

I go next door to the neighbour’s.

“Hi,” I say. “I live next door.”

“Yes?” he says.

“I just wanted to make sure that the murdered rabbit with its feet tied isn’t yours before I call the police.”

“What murdered rabbit?” he says.

I lead him out to the grass verge and, as we’re walking, I tell him about how the council said they’d come but haven’t.

He takes a look at the rabbit and then he says: “Why don’t you just put it in the bin?”

I swallow hard.

He says: “I tell you what – if the rabbit is still here when I put my wheely bin out tonight, I’ll chuck it in.”

My husband and I go out with friends. “What have you been up to?” they ask.

I say: “Not much.” I think: I’ve been working on a murder case.

When we get home the neighbour’s bin is out and the rabbit is gone.

“That poor rabbit,” I say to my husband. “Nobody cares that he was murdered.”

“I care!” says my husband.

“Thank you,” I say, “but I need someone in a position of authority to care.”

On Monday I call the police. An automated menu invites me to press one to report a crime. I press one.  A kind woman takes my call. I tell her all about the murdered rabbit. When I get to the bit about the rope she says, “That is horrible!”

At the end of my story, she asks, “What have you done with the dead rabbit?”

I tell her about how the council contractor never arrived. Then I tell her about how my neighbour said he’d throw the body out with his rubbish if it was still there when he put his wheely bin out. I conclude by telling her that the bin is out and the rabbit is gone.

She laughs. But she laughs in a nice way – as though she is trying not to.

Then she says: “I’m going to put you on hold while I ask my colleague what I should do. I’ve never dealt with anything like this before.”

She puts me on hold. The hold music is a classical song that I haven’t heard before. It is peaceful. It calms me.

After a few minutes the hold music cuts out. There is silence on the line.

I wait. I wait some more. No-one comes back. ­­­

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