Even When We Don't Want to be Ourselves

October Microfiction: Even When We Don’t Want to be Ourselves

The stories in this series are based on the artwork of Chiara Bautista which is amazing and gorgeous and you should look at all of it.

Wolf and Bunny artwork by Chiara Bautista

She discarded the rabbit face in the water where the moon self still cast some light. Now that she was here on the earth she wanted a single identity. To be one of the persons.

No matter. The Earth’s rabbits found her, anyway. In the swamplands they approached her in uncharacteristically untimid ways. They knew her for one of them. And she loved them for that.

She wandered the swamps in a funk. She had detached herself from the night sky and dropped here to get some perspective, yet she still wasn’t happy. Or fulfilled. Or even sure what she wanted. To feel. To be. Nothing got solved.

She came upon the skull, half sunk in the mud and grass. She washed it, pressed a bright red flower to the place where an ear would be. That was enough.

Hello. That was the voice of what was left. A girl. No, a fish girl.

“How did you get here? This isn’t your place.”

This isn’t yours, either.

“True enough.”

They sat for a long time, just the two together. Well, and the rabbits. Finally:

I’m here because this is where he left me. Hateful. His fault I’m dead and he can’t even bother to do it properly. The death ritual. He was supposed to take me to the ocean where salt would tear away my flesh in strips so thin even the smallest fish could inhale me. Instead, most of me ended up in an alligator.

The story sounded terrible. She listened intently.

None of them are worth a scale of the love and attention you give them. Maybe just me. I don’t know if you love. Some of the tales say you do. But the tales also say we long for the love of human men, and that is a lie.

“I do love. Have loved. Will.”

None are worthy of it, I bet.

She sat a long time, head down, considering. Then she felt the ripple of water, disturbed by his paws, carrying the wave of his presence to her.

Oh, for the love of! The fish girl knew a romance when she saw one.

She turned and saw the second face–no, the first face, the rabbit–in his jaws. He set it next to skull, his head down even after he no longer held it. She waited.

“Sometimes it’s okay to remember who we are. Even when we don’t want to be ourselves for a while.”

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