Wales Arts Review is pleased to present a new series of literary vignettes; next up is ‘Hare’ by Elan Grug Muse. These vignettes will be glimpses into the thinking of the writer and their experiences; from the day-to-day to the extraordinary. They might have the intimacy of a diary entry, or have the scope of something much larger.
Water streams down my forehead and into my eyes as I charge blindly down the steep path leading from the common down to the road. The looming bulk of the Tomen Shibi slate heap is an outline, a gesture in the mist, and the musky, sour smell of wet animal alludes to familiar ruminants, huddled, hidden, against a dry-stone wall. I dance and trip to try an avoid their shit, in vain, gorse bushes grasping at my bare shins.
I see it too late, already mid step. I try to lean right, changing course mid leap, and land off-keel on my foot, knee and hip misaligned, my ankle slipping at a precarious angle. I avoid it, by an inch.
Its eyes are already gone, the jellied corneas gobbled up by ravens and crows. The rest of its body lies sprawled across the path, stomach clawed open to reveal the narrow rafters of its ribs, the purple, rusty entrails, and blood still fresh enough to hold some of its bright red color. The rain has dampened the smell, but its there, thick and meaty. A hare.
I shake the jolt out of my knee and continue my tumbled descent, feet beating a steady rhythm along muddy path; cattle grid; tarmac; home. I collapse, panting on the sofa, skin still wet, my lips covered with a thin, sticky film, a sign of dehydration.
I lie there, enjoying the deep pounding of my own breath, the thud of my elevated heartbeat, the pulsing feeling of it, as everything slows down. I peel off my clothes, saturated and mud splattered. I find blood on my shins, mixed with the mud.
In the shower, hot, soapy water streams down my forehead and into my eyes and fills the room with steam. I am relieved to confirm that the blood is my own, a cut I did not notice. My mouth is dry and as I imagine my blue trainered foot sinking into the carcass, cracking bone and flesh. Mud and blood form a dark stream along the base of the bath, disappearing down the drain, leaving a faint trail of sediment and the white, smooth surface.
Elan Grug Muse is a PhD student at the Welsh department in Swansea University. She won the chair at the 2013 Urdd eisteddfod; is co-editor of Y Stamp; a member of the Cywion Cranogwen collective; and in 2017 published her first volume of poetry, Ar Ddisberod with Cyhoeddiadau Barddas.
Elan Grug Muse