Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nanowrimo #9

Just as the Man was about to finish his cup full of lukewarm, instant coffee, he saw something move in the woods a few yards from him. He stood frozen and scanned the snow-covered ground for the movement. After a few moments, he noticed the slightest tremble of movement twenty yards in the direction of his well-worn path. A rabbit looked at the Man with deep red, knowing, eyes. The Man’s heart slowed to a stop and his mind went blank. There was nothing else in the world except for the eyes looking back at him. Slowly, after a long time, the details of the world came back; The Man could feel the heat radiating from the rabbit’s flesh, even from as many meters away, as it ever so slightly excited the molecules of air around the Man’s face. The air pressure increased and decreased with the rabbit’s lightning-quick inhalations and exhalations, and the man could feel it in his ears. When the rabbit spoke, the Man reeled backwards so hard that he struck his head on the stump and almost spilled his coffee. The rabbit did not speak in words, but in pictures. He showed the Man pictures of things that made no sense, as if he was speaking in a foreign language. When the Man tried to tell the rabbit that he did not understand only pictures came from the Man’s mouth. He crawled forward towards the rabbit, trying desperately not to make any noise. The rabbit stayed in the same spot, his breathing steady, without making a move.

Off in the distance the Man heard something that sounded like the boats that he used to watch pass in his office, and he realized that it couldn’t have been a boat, and that it had to be a tractor or some other sort of farm equipment. In the instant that this sequence ran through his head, stealing his attention for a fraction of a second, the rabbit was gone.

The Man walked over to where the rabbit had been sitting. Two footprints and an indentation from his haunch disturbed the otherwise pristine snow cover. To the east, five meters or more from where the rabbit sat was the divot where he landed from his first leap. The Man bent over and lightly touched the footprint. Then, carefully, he scooped it into his hand - whole, so as not to disturb it - and ate the snow in one mouthful. The Man stood up and walked back to the stump where he had sat down centuries ago for his rest. He finished the freezing cold coffee and gathered his bag together. He slung the bag onto the sled as he began walking back down the hill, trying to remember where he had seen the woodpiles earlier.


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