Listening to: Ghosts Whisper To Me
Reading: Too Far Into My Past
Watching: My Innocence Slip Away
Eating: Everything In Sight
I have killed several living things in my life- some by accident and some deliberately. Most of these intentional kills resided in the insect family. I was taught at an extremely young age to kill creepy-crawlies, that they were bad for our garden, orchard, or household goods and sometimes a danger to us and our lives.
This mentality went unchecked for almost six years of my young life, killing thousands of ants, roaches, mosquitoes, spiders, grasshoppers, ect, ect...
One day I was handed table salt and told by my mother to kill the slugs that were invading our pets food. So like the obedient child I was I went outside and did what I was told .
As I flicked my wrist, unleashing a torrent of burning granules onto my first squishy victims backside a sudden burst of unfamiliar fear and regret washed over me. Suddenly my eyes were finally observing what actually happened to the slug as the salt scalded into its oh so delicate flesh.
It's eyes sucked inwards, it's tail reeled upwards and it twisted in agony as I watched with alien tears welling in my eyes. I suddenly found myself dumping our pets water onto the poor soul, washing away its ongoing and slow death sentence. I was scared now, gently picking the horrified and pain-ridden survivor up and just ran like Hell.
I ended up deep in our prickly woods, in the center of my hand made thorn fortress. I opened my palm to look down, hoping it wasn't too late. Slowly but surely the slug stopped tossing and writhing, slowly pushing its antenna back out to scope its surroundings. My heart lept with an indescribable and new found joy. It was okay, it certainly had scars, but it could survive!
I wiped more tears away with my elbow as I sought out a safe place for the now spot riddled slime ball. A heaping mound of moist grass should do it. Slowly I placed my shaking palms down and awaited the creatures slow exit. Success.
I watched with a very faint and tormented smile as it slowly crept away, my eyes fixated on the holes I gave it- my heart sinking at the thought of the countless critters who didn't make an escape from my simple-minded wrath. I cried for what seemed like forever more, a completely foreign rush of woe over taking me as my mind spun down the list of things I killed because I was told to- because I never questioned otherwise.
I decided right then and there that killing would be an absolute necessity- that if it meant either the death of me or a loved one the invader would just be shit out of luck. But until then I would do everything in my power to assure that no other innocent and harmless life would die by my hands....
Little did I understand the difficulties- the fine gray lines that this would force me to face once again in my young and naive mindset.
My family saw little of me after that. I would wake to eat breakfast, snag a fruit and dash out the door to explore all that nature had to provide, my ten pet cats treading close behind... and sometimes infront like the protective guardians they were.
We explored the sandy and muddy shorelines, we trekked through the long grass, the tree lines, the creeks, the beaten paths and the ant trails. I couldn't get enough of the scenery or its habitants, though it was certain the same couldn't be said for the scared critters who watched in terror as a giant approached with an army of playful, mischievous felines on her heels.
Some days I'd have the surprise of stumbling onto an injured critter, a chewed up turtle, a baby chick who fell out of the nest too soon or even a mouse stunned and shook up by one of my own beloved cats. With gentle hands I would pick them up and call the day of exploration short to then tend to the new guest.
With skills that would make a ninja cry, I collected all my necessities. Buckets, fluff, water, greens everything my poor frightened guest could want for.
I quietly stashed the would be patients in my room with my very unimpressed sister who pretended with all her might that she didn't have a wild and nutty sister. Treating their wounds with hydrogen peroxide, colloidal silver, and a dab of triple antibiotic to guarantee a fast healing process. My room saw countless successful recoveries and the land witnessed truly heart tugging returns of the once injured habitants. I had never felt so amazing in my life.
I was finally reaping in the first batches of home grown fruit from our little orchard as I made my bounds and leaps out the door, not having to stop to say hi to anyone to catch some grub. Life was good to me, I couldn't have asked for more.
It was about eleven pm when I finally made my way back home, my fuzzy friends following suit, crawling into my room with me through my open window like usual, a non-too-excited sister glancing at me before returning to her books as I did so. Eventually the lights were killed and my eyes fluttered shut to the sound of howling coyotes- our cats safely tucked away in our home and our cat-accessable garage.
The night like any other was filled with sweet and curious dreams, my mind bending in ways I never knew possible when my lovely dream turned into a twisted nightmare. A dream of catching drifting balloons turned into a frantic search to find the baby who began wailing. My heart racing as I rushed through room after room searching for the child. Then suddenly the howl of a cat emerged next to the cry of a baby. My eyes shot open and my heart sunk into my gut, it wasn't a dream.
Not even bothering to get shoes on I flew over my heavy sleeper of a sister, out the open window and onto the wet cold grass at three in the morning. My mind spinning as I tried finding the source of the ungodly cries. With an uncharacteristic slip of footing I hit the ground, my elbows taking the brunt as I continued scanning the pitch black and gigantic front yard for anything. Just then another howl let loose at my right and my eyes finally locked onto the faint image of multiple felines.
I ripped through the yard and came to a halt when I saw what they were surrounding- it was just a baby rabbit. My body relaxed for an instant ad I approached cooing at my kitties to calm down. Relieved I didn't have to take the spray of a skunk for their sake or the bite of a snake either I let a sigh escape my chapped lips. As I chirped and kissed at them the majority slinked back to make way for me, but Chester, the Tom and alpha wasn't having it. He lunged for the hare and sunk his teeth in, causing the bunny to let out an all too human scream. I was paralyzed. For a moment I didn't know what to do. I shouted at Chester and demanded he release it, since my cats could understand a variety of commands. He hissed at me and continued to hold tight. Fear over-coming me I grabbed him by the scruff and shook him, he stood steadfast. I harshly flicked his sensitive nose over and over doing everything I could to release his catch without hurting him either. It failed. Tearing up now I began spanking him hissing at him and growling back at him to remind him who runs the land. He released it, only for the other feline bystanders to snatch it up and yank away in a game of tug o war.
I was in hysterics trying to catch each new antagonist as they fought and slashed at each other trying to secure their prey, tearing at its fur and flesh in the process. Shaking madly I ran to the house and raced back, a heavy nozzle in hand, and unleashed a heavy dose of cold water from the water hose onto the angry mob of felines, scattering them finally.
There it lay, panting and shaking. I was hesitant to approach at first but the sight of my beloved pets slowly creeping back urged me on. I quickly swooped in and picked up the lump. My hands feeling a burst of chill, then warmth and then wetness. I couldn't understand the sensations until I took a closer look. It was missing an entire chunk of its back; fur flesh and muscle were just... gone.
It's eyes were almost scary, turned back so far too look at me the white of its eyes were showing. I began hiccuping in my own emotional turmoil. I knew it wasn't going to heal in a week in one of my buckets, it wasn't going to heal ever. I looked around and jogged off with the fluffy baby secured between my warm now blood soaked palms.
Finally I had ditched my cats, and was on the edge of a road. I slowly opened my hand to look down at the rabbit to be met with a calm slow breathing figure with irregular tremors and twitches. It was in an unbearable amount of pain I could see it clear as day. I held it close trying to keep it warm as I stroked its side, avoiding its wounds. It's shaking came to a slow stop as I continued this. Now completely drenched in blood I let loose and cried. I felt so helpless and pathetic. I so desperately wanted to run back and beg my dad to put it out of its misery with one shot, but it was far too late in the night for someone who works all day and the shot of ANY of his guns would wake the dead. It began twitching more violently now, the pain worsening. And to my horror a small wine let loose from the creature. This was too fucked up to be real. Until now I had NEVER known rabbits could scream like a human baby or that they had the vocal range to cry and whimper.
I shook my head, I knew what had to be done but I couldn't accept that it had to be me who would do it. I held it to my chest and kept petting it softly. My watery eyes now turning to the cinder blocks we used to aid a distant neighbour once. I fought with myself for several minutes trying to fool myself into thinking it will be okay somehow, but it kept chirping and whimpering.
I finally stood to my feet almost collapsing back down to the ground, and weakly made my way to the massive bricks. I begged it to forgive me, I fucking prayed to a God I didn't believe in and I pleaded for a miracle... none occurred.
I hugged it and kissed it before slowly laying it down on the cool flat top of one the cinder blocks, almost scooping it back up out of a mixture of fear and cowardice. It stared at me, gentle and calm despite the whines and convulsions, I just stared back for a moment too scared to follow through when it suddenly starting kicking, panting and tossing its head around. It was then that I finally picked up the twin block and held it to my crimson chest. Sobbing, and begging for it to forgive me, promising it that I loved it and that I was so sorry for everything.
With one heave it was over, every inch of me covered in warm splatters of the baby bunnys blood. I feel to my knees and onto the sharp gavel, numb to the pain of the razor sharp stones that now embedded themselves into my flesh. I could only keep sobbing 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry' before it slowly became an outright scream that rattled my ribs.
My lungs, my eyes and my stomach just burned. I couldn't even breathe beyond the small gasps I took to yell and cry some more. I shut my eyes tight, trying my damndesedest not to notice the stickiness on my face when I looked down, my blood just now barely pooling out into the puddle on the gravel. I felt hollow- dead as I watched it creep and mix in with the rabbits blood. I felt myself become infuriated and angry as this happened. I felt sick and lost and so fucking confused about everything I just wanted to wake up and be thankful it wasn't real... but it was. I was still in the road, I was still cold, still crying and still soaked with the fluids of a beautiful creature who was once alive just moments ago.
Without much of a warning I pushed up taking a few sharp stones into my flesh as I ran to the thicket line. My stomach making its final rebellion as I heaved my lunch into the brush. After almost seven minutes of purging myself of any and all substance I slowly and cringingly made my way back to the horrific scene, gagging at the site. I walked to the house, every step feeling like I'm making a thousand journeys in the unforgiving tundra as I pulled a shovel, gloves and a bag out of the garage.
I couldn't work quickly, I could hardly move at all, the crying ceased as I returned to ensure a proper burial. Ewith each push, pull, and pat a terrifyingly hollow sensation swept over me as I buried the bunny. Finally it was complete, by then my hands were frozen and the blood dry on my clothes and body.
With that I began to walk away; my mind in a drift, I couldn't even remember what path I took or what it was I did when I realized to my surprise I was returning back to the grave. I stopped in my tracks, shocked with the sight as I had believed I was headed towards home, when the familiar scent of a daffodil drifted past my mostly clogged nose. That was when I noticed I had a bloom in hand. Suddenly I wanted to cry again, I was certain I was going home just minutes ago and here I was again, holding a Goddamn flower. I laid it onto the dirt mound and this time ran home to ensure I wouldn't stray back somehow.
I stripped down naked in my yard, threw my clothes away and washed the crusted blood off of my flesh, only now feeling the true pain of the stones lodged into my knees. After an arctic rinse I made my way into the house to follow up with a real shower, scrubbing my skin red and raw in the process.
No one knew why I stayed in bed all day the next morning, and were too nervous to even ask why. But I wish they did, so I could have at least heard something other than the bunnys ever ringing cry.