Nominated for Pushcart Prize for Flash Fiction 2015 by the editors at Flash Frontier First published in Flash Frontier Feb 2015
A rabbit pops out of a hole. A mangy hare, in fact, her eyes glassy, looking for escape.
She has six kits in the warren below. Their fur is mangy too, stiff. Death is on her tongue, a taste that seems to come from inside, rather than, say, some poisoned carrot, blanched like the landscape.
The wind catches the willows out left. There. She bounds from the dust-bowl entrance. Darts left, right, her gait uneven. Stops as suddenly as she began. Here. Her coat blends tan-grey into tussock. Her nose quivers, for the first time, her eyes look interested.
Dark clouds press the horizon. A rumble. The hills look closer. Watch. They open like a walnut-shell cracks. And the ground, where the hare sits, blows like breath.
The horizon has split. Two nut-halves. Lightening crackles between the broken hill. A crack begins to run across the earth towards the hare. Her whole being shifts towards it; her ears lean into it, she trembles. The crack has singular direction, and tussock, stone, tree fall into its wake.
It travels more quickly than you think. She reacts now. Uses her hind legs to propel herself. For a moment she is high above the crack. Her fur is no longer dull but sleek, her front-legs reach skyward, she is in motion.
We can remember her like this. We don’t need to imagine the rush downwards towards the open earth into crumbling, bone-crunching mineral. Let us recall her fine last leap towards her kittens.