I have been following this wild, elusive, and, above all, dangerous beast since early autumn, which is what tells me it's not an escaped pet, owned by an all-powerful wizard. After all, life in the harsh Northwester terrain, filled with wolves, mountain lions, and birds of prey, is hard for dark-colored animals--without any natural camouflage, to boot. And unlike the fluffy white rabbit that tried to take Alice (the one who visited the magical Wonderland) down a rabbit hole, this particular specimen nearly took me to the mouth of hell itself!
The images below are from my third attempt to document its existence. Third time's the charm, they say.
As I walked my hound earlier in the day, he, being a highly skilled hunting canine, and I, being an incredibly observant person, noticed this mythical creature feasting on some fiber-rich dry grass (and possibly some small children) in the woods. With the basset safely stored at home to avoid a massacre, I switched camera lenses, and ventured back into the wilderness, endangering if not my life, then certainly my pretty purple scarf repeatedly getting caught on all the branches. After about a half hour of chasing the hellbunny through thickly growing aspen, a miracle happened!
This apocalyptic monstrosity allowed me to get so close that my telephoto lens now provided excessive zoom! Indeed, the beast's eye in one of the high-res versions of the attached images contains a reflection of me. It was at this very moment that it realized all resistance was futile, and a photoshoot was in order! Then ANOTHER miracle happened: this Book-of-Revelations-worthy critter not only began to snack on some grasses with leftover seeds that I gave it, but even allowed me to pet its viperous, but, I admit, rather snuggly and soft fur! In fact, I had to continue offering it sacrificial seeds and grasses that I pulled out from the half-frozen soil, because it began to follow me everywhere I went! It was either the seeds or me! Then, as it got distracted by a single green leaf (and possibly some rotten corpses of its earlier victims beneath the snow), I managed to make my escape and bring you these hard-won images.
Overall, I consider the risk of this historic encounter to be the equivalent of the attempts to tame dragons on the part of our ancestors.