By Mike Smolarek


The man sat on the rock, looking down at the smothered remains of a rabbit. Flies buzzed about its head, casually settling on the torn flesh, only to lift off a few seconds later. Tears formed in the man's tired eyes, and slowly rolled down his cheek. He turned away, spotting another rabbit sitting alone in the distance. His ears were straight up and he looked towards the man curiously. Slowly, the rabbit's ears lowered along with his body. He sat in the grass, looking around as if lost. Then, he hopped into a patch of bushes. The man was alone.

The naked trees squeaked and cracked in the breeze. A crow circled in the darkening sky above. The smell of cold rain coming on caught the man. He looked to see rustling leaves drift by the dead rabbit, like mourners walking past the casket at a funeral. A shiver shot up the man's spine as he pulled his sweaty hand out of his black coat pockets and rubbed his forehead. The crow landed gently on a branch above, announcing his presence with a "Caw, Caw!" The man looked up, startled that he was no longer alone. He placed his hands back into his pockets.

The man slumped down off the rock. He bowed his head and shut his eyes tight. The row titled his head downwards, staring at the man with his piercing eye. The breeze died down; the remote woods became silent.

"I can't get away," the man mumbled between his tears. "I just can't get away." His left hand emerged from his pocket and wiped away the streaming tears. "Why now?" he thought. "It was just working out." He sobbed, as the crow looked down form its perch.

The man's hand went back into his pocket. He titled his head up, and saw the crow's eye staring down at him. He looked away, unable to face it. Slowly, his right hand slipped out of the pocket, holding a black revolver. He put it to his head and shut his eyes tight. His hand shook.


The crow fled from the trees. The rabbit scampered out of the bushes, darting away through the thick grass. The man's head rested on the rock, now a splattered red. The wind picked up again, and the trees began to creak once more.


-February, 1993