Everyone knows it takes a strong yank to skin a rabbit, but it’s the gutting and cleaning that takes real work. Those small muscular connection that keep on the skin are weak things en masse creating some modicum of resistance, but the viscera is slick with blood and fluid resisting grip and purchase. To eat in the mountains is to teach your hands to dig and your nails to cut, to tear, to pierce, and destroy.

And there at the edge of that black rushing water he lay, insensate jabbering spewing from frozen lips, his eyes glazed and staring wide at the equally unending cold dark of the night with stars invisibly swallowed by clouds overhead. Labored breathing finally pushed blood through vein and feeling started to return to him but it was by no means a blessing. The burning heat of his own body tore through him and he doubled over in the dirt racked with pain. He screamed against the feeling as though he could frighten it away, some weak scavenger struck to flee upon realizing its prey still had fight left in it.

I looked ahead and my hands moved swiftly and with purpose as though some other self possessed them. Chittering sounds reverberated off the walls behind me quickly growing into a cacophonous din which drowned out all but my basest instinctual actions. Fingers kept working but my mind wandered to the sound, that unstoppable force which barreled through the canals of my mind, churning all rational thought into a shattered heap of useless puss.

He woke slowly and his eyes adjusted to the dark. She perched above him like a gargoyle or some midnight vision, unmoving and silent only her eyes looking him over. She leaned in to him and placed her cheek against his and as she spoke her lips brushed against his ear. “Tomorrow they will have already forgotten you.” Pressure against his gut, and then pain. The knife slid slowly into his liver and bile mixed with blood, stained his shirt, her blouse, the sheets, and the floorboards.