Chapter 8 - Back to the burrow
Binni and Bindee raced down the hill after Zeela. There was no turning back. They must rescue the egg recipe and escape, or be killed by the rabbit army.
When the rabbit guards saw Zeela they began to pound their feet on a patch of hard earth. Soon more rabbits than anyone could ever imagine were pouring out of the burrow, spraying up clouds of dust as they rushed to escape.
Binni and Bindee stumbled through the earth-red air. They had never been so frightened, or so lucky. The rabbits were so surprised by Zeela's attack that no-one tried to stop the two little bilbies as they scrambled after her into the burrow.
Inside, there was noise and confusion everywhere as the rabbits pushed and shoved and bit and clawed and kicked one another, trying to be first to reach the safety of the ground above.
Zeela slithered happily ahead, hissing and snapping.
"It's all so different!" cried Binni. "I don't recognise it any more!"
And indeed it was. The rabbits had turned their old home into a maze of tunnels. Its once familiar, happy spaces were now unrecognisable.
"There's nothing for it!" Bindee shouted back. "We'll just have to follow Zeela and hope that we stumble across where the recipe is hidden."
But it was too late. Zeela was gone. And the little bilbies had no way of knowing down which tunnel she had vanished.
"Hold tightly to my tail, Bindee. We'll try to find a way out of here," said Binni.
They plunged into the darkness, stumbling down one tunnel after another. But always there were more strange pathways ahead, filled with fleeing rabbits.
Just as they began to despair, they rounded a corner and entered a large cavern. A thin stream of light was filtering in through an opening on the far side.
"We're saved!" Binni sobbed with relief.
But he had spoken too soon. Something was shifting across their path, blocking out the sunlight. Binni had never seen the head of the rabbit army. But he knew with instinctive horror that the huge, ugly creature standing before them was Lepus, the rabbit general.