Excerpt from a Knoxville diary, sept 2013
“What is that sound?” my wife whispered … I wanted to roll over and get back to sleep, but that sound … eerie, straight out of a nightmare. I went downstairs and checked from the back door. All silence, as if nothing had happened. Wildlife tends turns silent, when two-legged creatures are around. “I don’t know, honey … Maybe an owl of some kind?”.
We tug in and fell back asleep, soon to be awoken. Series of high-pitched shrieks, grinding our ears. “It’s dreadful … almost sad … It scares me”. I had to admit being affected too. What is it. Half-asleep, I went downstairs again and turned on the outdoor lights. Perhaps the lights could scare or silence whatever it was. Neither of slept that well following. It woke me up again “Rrrhheeee, rrrhhheeee, rhhhheeeee”. Eventually they shrieks faded. The final death cries of an unidentified animal in our back yard?
Amelia and I are caretakers of a small park and museum. We keep the museum room tidy, the yard in check and the flower garden lush. This morning was visitor-day. The lawn was okay, but the edges needed trimming. As I walked to the shed for the weed-wacker, I noticed an swarm of blue-green flies hovering crazily over a spot near the bushes. That must be it … I walked closer, the buzzing of the flies aggressive and nauseating. A tiny rabbit. The fur still looking soft and touchable. I felt my chest tighten with sadness and disgust. Lily, our troubled teenager of a cat had grown in to quite the tiger, and perhaps been on a chase. I took the trident and carefully moved the corpse and put it in the trash bin. That didn’t seem right, but the clock was ticking. As I updated Amelia on the situation, I realized that I at least should have wrapped it plastic, to keep animals and bugs away. “Honey, will you get the museum ready? … We also need to move the benches and the sofa” We were expecting roughly 20 people for tea. Enough to do. We still had 45 minutes to make things look sharp.
The rabbit was moving. As if it had received a second chance. Animated with little white worms it seemed as if it in it’s undead stage tried to tell me to do something about the free roaming menace in my backyard. How come the trash collectors hadn’t taken it? And then again, maybe understandably so. I needed to bury it. Expecting 92 degrees Fahrenheit, who knows what this festival of insects could turn into. “You’re late again” I heard my conscience grinding. I found the shovel and looked at my office clothes. The soil after a long dry summer was hard too hard to dig. Had to deal with this quick. “Maybe I need to burn the poor thing” I heard myself mumble. But how? No time for odd projects. I grabbed the buzzing bucket and took it to the shed. Unlocked and poured glugs of gasoline on the bugfest. Burn the whole thing later.