I ask you if everything looks the same, now that we’ve crossed the border, and you say well, there are more birch trees and dead rabbits. There’s also more sea but we don’t mention this, as this part is obvious. I watch while the water licks the land and think wouldn’t that be nice, but for the taste of dead rabbits. The sea looks bigger when we are on the bridge, looks breathing below us. I see maybe a rabbit falling into it and I want to ask if you saw but I also don’t really want to bring it up, because who wants to talk about dead rabbits?
We are to sleep in a home that is not our home which means I feel like I am lying upside down or back to front. There’s a scritch-scritch sound coming from outside as if something is moving in the thirsty grass. I can’t sleep for thinking of it, and so I leave you. To find the doorknob in the dark of a different place is not unlike the moment before you realise you could be drowning but look, here, I have found it. And I have found the scritching in the garden which is caused by a rabbit; not dead. In this moment I think that nothing could be better than touching the rabbit’s soft fur, but I know it’s best to not be impatient with these things, otherwise you run the risk of scaring away something beautiful. There are blueberries in the kitchen, I take a handful outside to share with the rabbit. I put one in my mouth and note how it tastes bitter as much as it tastes sweet. I roll one through the grass and the rabbit twitches his nose, the rabbit hops, the rabbit eats it all up then eats more from my hand. When the rabbit starts moving towards the sound of the sea I follow, because once you love somebody you will follow them anywhere.
The world is quietly alive as we move through it because the small movements of the rabbits are everywhere now. I feel distinctly un-rabbit as I try to place my big human feet carefully amongst their tiny bodies. I think that by breathing in I might steal all their air, I might suffocate them all, but I can’t turn back, I’m in the thick of it. I’m run rabbit, run. I see that there are baby rabbits on parent rabbit’s backs, that there are medium rabbits, large rabbits, old rabbits with their ears all drooped. They must think life is flashing before their eyes, they must think all of time is just this one moment.
Once on the shore the rabbits all stand on their hind legs. The blueberry rabbit has an old wound on his underbelly, the blueberry rabbit looks like he is almost cut in half. I don’t know how I could have missed this. My hands shake with blood or blueberry. The sea licks and licks. The sea opens its mouth wide, then all at once the rabbits pour themselves into it. There’s a hush as they disappear together, then the rush of water sound through sand as a new wave comes in. When I blink there is an imprint of the rabbits stood on their hind legs across the shore. With my eyes open I see the surface of the water which is whispering, moonlit. With my eyes open I think of how beautiful the world could be right here and now, if not for dead rabbits.
Kelsey Ipsen is a New Zealand born writer who lives in France with her husband and half-wild cat. Some of her other stories can be found in wigleaf, PANK, Hobart and Okay Donkey.