The Rabbit – Short Story

Author’s note: This is an exercise that we did in our writers’ circle a week ago and I’ve just gotten around to tidying it up. It is a fanfiction piece, the first I’ve ever done. It is from an anime called Shiki. Hope you enjoy!

Fandom: Shiki (anime)

Focus: Seishin Muroi

Time Period: Takes place just after the end of the anime and ignores the manga.

The Rabbit

From the diary of Seishin Muroi.

This is not how the story is supposed to end.

I had always known that death was my path. I could not help but hear its whispers in the forest growing its grave-marker trees all around me. All my life has been lived in its noose.

When I was younger and more foolish, I courted it, sought to marry it with a knife to my wrist. But it would not have me yet, and I felt shame for trying to force my mortal body upon a grave yet to shallow to receive me.

 

I am not so much older now, but I am much less of a fool. When she came, she plucked the last shreds of ignorance from my eyes.

In pale silk and paler skin, she came to me at the temple and shouted at me with little girl lips not to call her “Sunako-chan.” We spoke of my books while I waited for each breath to be my last. Though I did not know her true nature then, I could feel it within my bones the way the mouse feels the shadow of the hawk. Her dark and hollow eyes were wide enough to swallow a faltering heart like mine.

She waited. I went to bed that night and marvelled at the miracle of my own life. She must have known that I was not prepared. That I was still too wounded from death’s first spurning to accept her perfection.

I needed to renounce my current mistress: Fear. It is a harsh one, and while I see it from time to time, it is not a fitting match for me. Fear makes monsters of every man who embraces it. I know it too well. A herd of frightened villagers engendered carnage worse than the blood-drinkers ever could.

The rabbit bites the wolf. This is not how the story is supposed to end.

She sipped from me so delicately. Little hands upon my shoulders made me forget the prick of her bite and I wondered if this was how a mother felt, giving of herself that another may live. I held her in my arms and saw no monster. A child who weeps tears of blood is no less a child and her terror at the pounding on the door was no less real. Angry voices calling for her demise only made me hold her tighter.

I had to protect her. How could I not? It took time for me to realize it, but at last I knew the perfection I held, the divinity I had not felt in all my years of priesthood.

A child who cannot die. A wife as beautiful as she is chaste. A love unending, accepting of all flaws, looking into my darkness and judging nothing. That is why I cherish those hollow eyes. I knew she could swallow all my wickedness and despair as easily as she swallowed my blood.

To think that I might have missed her entirely and wasted my whole life searching for purity among humankind. Of course I could not find it there. God dwells in no filthy human heart, its beating keeping him in wakefulness unto insanity.

Then, one night, I came to her instead. She drank from me until I was filled with blessed silence and I finally gained a marker of my own, cut from the trees of Sotoba Village. It stood near the monastery where I served so many people, walked at the head of their funeral processions, recited prayers to give them comfort. I rose, as so many others have, and my eyes became as dark as hers.

I am her child as much as she is mine, and the cycle of perfection continues. I swallow the sins of the world with each mouthful of crimson. More than reciting empty words, I can give true absolution at last.

Author: Ethan Kincaid

Ethan Kincaid was born in 1985 in Brockville, a sleepy little town on the St. Lawrence River. He graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa with a degree in Linguistics and a minor in Japanese Language. After finishing his education, he settled down there with his wife Kaitlyn and became a full-time writer. In 2011, he moved to Montreal and discovered its vibrant writing culture. In 2015, Ethan moved to Helsinki, Finland with his wife; he works as a props crafter and part time author. His first book, Blood of Midnight: The Broken Prophecy is the first of a new fantasy trilogy. The greatest joy in his life lies in helping budding writers find their voices. In his words: "I like to shake people until cool stuff comes out!"

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