Snow covered branches stretch across the pink-blue stain of sky, their leafless glory barely quivering in the October breezes. Puffy grey-white clouds drift smoothly past the firmly planted silhouette of magnificent tree. The snow-spattered grass glows cerise and the sky is painted a thousand fiery shades as the sun rises anew from the east.
A tiny rabbit lifts its head from an unknown source in the grass, her little nose red from the cold and azure eyes wide with wonder. The baby rabbit shifts her head and explores her surroundings without moving from her position. Her beauty we see, yet he does not. With her innocent face staring into you, she never sees the bullet coming. Brief yet thunderous was the rabbit’s death; the pale snow is now dipped in a vibrant red.
From behind the tree came the figure. Stunted though sturdy, he marches toward the pest. At this angle you can barely see the boy lifting its head, and exploring the bullet hole with his fingers; as if to ensure her death. The mutilated brains slip out. The boy leaves the remnants upon the snow for another creature to devour, should it wish to. The boy strides away. Away from you. Away from the defiled beauty of the scene. Away, he strides, his grip skin-tight around her feet, he begins dragging it limply behind him.
One by one, infantile flies congregate on the brains, feasting upon the bloody mass. They routinely throw up on it, stomp on it, and suck up the disgusting bouillabaisse of slowly rotting matter. They lay their eggs upon the surface, so their young may join them.
Meanwhile, the rabbit-like beast is dumped down on the kitchen floor, the thump causing its dead, glassy eyes to bulge sickly. The boy kneels beside it and rams a knife through, turning his face away. He rolls the head to the rabid dogs, for what do they care should they discover a bullet among the mass of brains. They joyfully lap up their treat.
The boy sits with an identical thump at the table, pulling at his balaclava to come off, and whacking his head in his hands. His shoulders begin to shake, and though you can only see his back from the kitchen window, you can tell it’s not from laughter. You feel pity for him.
The dogs finish their breakfast whilst the boy stays silently at the table. Their visible ribs are proof that they will still be hungry. Yipping happily and beginning to devour the rest of the body is justified. The boy fails to notice them to begin with, but when he does a few minutes after, he bellows until the dogs stop and stare at him. He chases them from the room with anger in his eyes, and locks them within the rest of the house. The boy slides back down to the body on the floor. His eyes are red-edged, and there’s no trace of a smile upon his red lips. One side of his face has the pink puckered skin, which can only be acquired after a burn injury has healed. He curls up next to the body, that side of his face resting where the dogs had begun to rip into it. The blood seeps into his clothing, and coagulates on his skin.
You watch him for a while, knowing that though his eyes are closed, he is not asleep. You've been following him for weeks. You've seen his vacant expression. You need him to still be the same boy, though you can see changes within him. Regardless, your hands are tied, and you smash your fist through the window.
Upon hearing the impact, the dogs immediately react and frantically scratch to get back into the kitchen. Their fear for their new master’s safety can be heard in their pathetic, incensed cries. The boy’s eyes flash open, but he doesn't flinch. He sees you climbing through the window, landing with a thump, yet he doesn't reveal signs of getting up. He looks exhausted, you note.
Through the kitchen door come the men you requested and you lift the boy in your arms. Half of his face is covered in red, and the other whiter than the snow outside. As you carry the boy to the van, the men begin to retch and heave at the spectacle in the kitchen. The floor resembles the interior of an unhealthy, clotted artery, and the mouldy food on plates contains multiple new organisms. The stench is unbearable, though they manage to ensconce the body into a big black bag, zip it, and have it carried away to a mortuary. As you carry the deprived and defenseless boy into the back of the van, you talk to him softly.
Once inside the van, the driver sets off immediately for civilisation. You've barely managed to set the boy down before you are speeding away, the door still open as you begin along the dirt track. You lie him down and check his pulse - slow, and his blood pressure - low. He looks at you with questioning bloodshot eyes, so you wrap him in your arms and tell him what he has done.
He watches your lips as you speak, and the similarities are noticeable. The same deep blue eyes. The same jutting jaw line. The same soft tones of speech. He evaluates your appearance as the remembrance flickers through his eyes; his poignant, gloomy eyes. He remembers the fire. The fire that ruptured within the city; the fire he thought had eradicated his parents. In his eyes you can see the boy and his sister drifting out of the city, finding an abandoned house, living for years undetected.
Your son is so flimsy. You can barely feel him laid against you. You stare into his vacant blue eyes, searching for a shadow of humanity. You find nothing. Even as he realises the rabbit to be a hallucination, there is no remorse in his eyes. Even as he realises his little sister, whom he was supposed to protect, is now headless, cut open by dogs. His little sister now lay dead, upon the marble mortuary slab. Your son drops from your arms, as he slides out of the van to the dirt track. Nothing but a sack of flesh and blood.