Chapter 13 - Across the Saltpan
"There it is!" panted Binni. "We've made it!
They scrambled onto the track that ran around the Saltpan. Binni's heart pounded against his ribs and his sides heaved. He gulped down the cooling night air. Poor Bindee. She was smaller than everyone else, but she had run just as fast. Now she was trembling with tiredness.
They rested for a moment, heads drooping. But as they did so, a dreadful smell began to mingle with the salty air and a long howl began to sound.
The ground began to tremble. Softly at first, then harder and harder, as if a great roll of thunder was shaking it.
The rabbit army was coming!
The rabbit soldiers burst out of the mulga scrub and surged around them, forcing the little group onto the edge of the Saltpan. Lepus watched in triumph.
"There is no hope now, Burra Nimu!" he snarled.
But there is always hope. And Burra would not give up. "We shall cross the Saltpan," he replied.
Binni gave a gasp of fright. "Father, we can't! With our load of eggs we will break through the surface and be trapped in the mud below. Then we will drown or be killed by the rabbits!"
"That is a chance we must take," said Burra Nimu. "Come, we must go!"
And they turned and began to pick their way onto the saltpan.
"Stop! Stop! I order you to stop!" screamed Lepus. He raced back and forth along the edge of the saltpan, but he was not brave enough to venture onto it. Nor could he persuade his soldiers to do so, no matter how hard he bit and scratched.
"Hold tightly to one another's tail, in case we fall," said Burra Nimu. "I shall try to find a safe path across."
And as the moon shimmered on its surface, and the rabbit army watched in frustration, Burra Nimu and his little group set off together across the Great Saltpan on their journey to the children.