The next day we started looking for him, without success. I started to miss the little bugger. Without him, who would run up behind me and attack my feet and ankles?
It had become a daily battle. Every time I walked out of my studio, I had to be on the alert, for I knew Napoleon would be waiting for me... somewhere. Sometimes I armed myself with a broom so I could get across the yard unscathed. Other time, I fooled myself into believing he wasn't around and I took off barehanded.
It never failed. Before I had taken ten steps, I would hear his feet running toward me, and my heart would start to race. I'd speed up and he'd run faster, too. At the best of times, I was never as fast as he was, so I finally braced myself for the inevitable.
I swore. I threatened to turn him into rooster stew. If I tried to brush him away with the broom, he was ecstatic! Here was a battle with a new enemy! He would charge at the broom repeatedly, occasionally making a quick dart at my feet, until I finally slipped into the back of the house and pulled the door closed. My heart was pounding.
It was a game we both enjoyed, most of the time.
After a week and after seeing a fox in our yard a few times, we realized Napoleon wasn't coming back. He had met his Waterloo at the drainage ditch behind the back fence. No more crowing. No more attacks on my feet. No, I didn't shed any tears, but I was a little sad.
A few days later, Chris came in and said he hadn't seen Josephine for awhile. This time, I was ready to think the worst and I concluded we must have lost her to the foxes, too. The thought of losing Josephine was hard. She was nothing like Napoleon. Josephine, a Golden Seabright, was tiny, fast, fearless, and amazingly sociable. She would follow me around the yard and let me pick her up and carry her. She would be missed.
We'll hold out a little hope. She went missing once before and was eventually found sitting on a nest full of eggs under the rabbit cage.