Lottifus

United Kingdom

Author of various literary things, most of which end up being about animals as much as I try to stop them from being about animals. NaNoWriMo procrastinator. Cartoonist. Album review runner-up. Peer review winner. Instagram: @lottifus

Message to Readers

CONTENT WARNING: This (fictional, and slightly strange) piece of writing contains depictions of animal suffering and decay. Please do not read if you are sensitive to these topics, or are uncomfortable with the subject of death.

On Breathing

January 17, 2020

FREE WRITING

6
She reads aloud a chapter from a book she has written.

With every step he took hhh the brave knight drew closer to the woods hhh searching for what he had lost hhh

She reads aloud a chapter from a book she has written, but I am concerned only with the pauses -

hhh

- the dull staccato hitches of television static, of the cracking of lungs; the short shallow reminders of the presence of a heart, of a sallow organ full of clots and holes; the reminders that one day everything will stop and rest and stagnate in a pile, and air will run into a hollow and make a nest; the end of all escapes.

To breathe, by definition, is to stop breathing. She cannot breathe without stopping. She cannot stop without breathing. To never die is to never have lived.

hhh

It reminds me of the sick rabbit that lives at my house.

The sick rabbit has lived for too long. He has blue eyes; they were once brown, and before that they were blue again. He has a pink tongue that never fully goes into his mouth. It is dry and burned with air. He has legs, thin filaments of bone, that lie flat and twitch and lie flat again. He has ears where, like leaves, pathways of veins lock together and wind apart. His skin is like an eggshell under a lamp. Every connection, every pulsing coil; every knot in every artery is bright and cold and red beneath the hair. He is aware. He sputters and coughs and his heart stutters and kicks. His ribs are racked with black gritty scabs and silver bruises that grow, radiating and humming in the blur of his lungs, as oil grows across a body of water; he is the body of water; his body is water and dust. And through it all hhh hhh hhh like a deer in a trap. The mouth opens. The teeth grapple for something. Water. A slice of apple. Fresh orange that bleeds down his front as he hhhs. A panic language. Useless fragments of calcium dreams. Bones and proteins and heart
particles that want to break off and build a new rabbit of their own, whilst this one turns from limbs to sticks.

The sick rabbit will be the thing that - 

hhh

- will be the thing that is found. The thing that is found when the years pass and I pass and the van comes to collect me. Seeing the wasteland. Land of waste; the hoarder house. Lifting sofas and dropping them on their sides, and pulling up carpet and pulling out bags of rubber gloves, respirators, this is a particularly dangerous job, their words like the flies and the mice, decomp, fat layer, one could easily slip and fall. Chipping away at the wall. Covering their faces to hhh in peace. What's in the fridge? Oh God, the fridge is still full. Oh no. Newspapers. From what year? Contaminated? Shame to think we'll have to throw all of this away. Double wrap the mattress. Cling-film. There it is, the spot where it happened. All of this will have to go. Get rid of everything. Lifting the heavy armchair - hhhhhhhhh - and finding him in his box. His weak-sided cardboard box full of straw and skin. A hard brown husk. Twisted, tanned, empty-socketed; arms and legs crossed over; mouth open. A tent for bones. Limbs like twigs. Oh God, it's a cat. A small cat. Not a cat at all - those are not the teeth of a cat. Tied in a bin-bag where no light can break through and carried out for a proper burial, far too many years too late, for the sick rabbit has lived for too long and died for too long, and in the dusty house with its musty piles of lice and mice the only sound that remains is hhh -

- and when she's reading, all of this dissolves, like a stomach, and collapses in on itself, like a lung, and we are all creatures that bend and snap and stretch our teeth for something that cannot be bitten.

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4 Comments
  • SparklingEmbers

    This was amazing!! Well written! I love it :)


    about 1 year ago
  • Lottifus

    Thank you so much, this is some of the highest praise I've ever received and I'm both surprised and relieved! I like to think of my work as not having a right or wrong meaning: if it gets any kind of response out of anyone, I've won, so to speak. Your interpretation is really interesting, because if the rabbit represents the fear then it's the fear left over at the end, hanging in the air, never leaving the house, which in a way is very true. It's anyone's guess whether there is a real rabbit. I'm not too sure myself. Getting this kind of response from someone who writes as well as you do is honestly unbelievable to me, so once again thank you so much for taking the time to read my work and form your own perception of it.


    about 1 year ago
  • babybluelamentations

    I love this. I just do. it gives me chills in a good way, and the ‘hhh’s between sentences just flow so well with the piece, I can literally breathe along to the writing.
    thank you so much for writing that comment explaining the meaning behind this piece. I was kind of grasping onto a slightly more obscure, yet greater meaning; that the rabbit is not an actual rabbit, but a personification of all of the narrator’s inner hopes, fears and weaknesses that they have abandoned in favor of a more cynical, shielded view on life. it appears that i peeled back a layer too deep while trying to grasp at meaning, and that this piece is simply a perfect portrayal of loneliness and existence. this piece does an amazing job at what you referred to as ‘writing without glamour’, which is exactly what it is; it’s simple, yet says everything it could possibly want to say, and I find that absolutely beautiful. my highest praise and compliments go to you for this astounding work. lovely job <3


    about 1 year ago
  • Lottifus

    I was about to comment that I have no idea why I wrote this, but honestly I wrote it because I think it can be quite refreshing to write without any glamour. I have written many, many, many stories about feelings that are so unbelievably powerful that they either create or destroy everything in their paths, but it can be just as effective to write about something weak. Nothing is weaker than a dead rabbit in a cardboard box under a pile of outdated newspapers. Regardless of whether or not you're trying to live forever, you probably won't. And that's great, because it means you won't have to live for too long like the rabbit, to the point where you are aware of every bright flash and dull hum of pain, and you won't have to live to the point where your house becomes like the house in the story, and you won't have to live to the point where your mind works in the same way as the narrator's. See? There is a meaning! I hope.


    over 1 year ago