A long low L of a building squatted quietly on the corner lot. It was a solid red brick affair and the empty windows were fogged by grime and grease. The lone awning angled towards the ground, slumping off its perch in despairing fashion. On all sides lay cracked aprons of asphalt where weeds pushed skyward in clusters. Faded lines of a once-yellow parking grid laddered from the doors out to the chain fence. Nobody could remember what purpose the building had once served. No one recalled a time when the rusted cargo doors were open. All was wind-blown and grey-washed now. The only stirring across the lot that wasn’t rubbish were the rabbits who appeared to have made the neglect their home. They bounded free across the sickly yellow lines, unconcerned with industrial lights that still blinked on and off in dire mimicry of activity.
On an October night a man pushed through a gap in the fence. The rabbits were out of sight, driven in and under by the wind. He hunched into an old coat, once blue. The building, with its lights knifing through the dark, beckoned him in. Shelter here, it seemed to say, and the words breathed along the edge of the air. The man felt at once an uncertainty and then a longing and he stumbled, feet sure of direction in mismatched shoes, towards the doors. The black seemed alive behind the glass. As he passed over the yellow lines, he felt as though he broke through some thing, some film in the air. He heard a great canvas rustle. The wind stopped as if on a switch. The doors swung open. Inside a thousand feet pattered, thumped at the ground, racing and scrambling and frantic. He hesitated. And a sensation like a great sheet billowing behind lofted him in a lurch through the doors. They slammed shut. At once he felt himself squeezed by unseen hands, compressed and reduced, he screamed but made no sound, then his eyes blacked over and he knew nothing more.
Outside the building ruffled slightly, as though a sheet were just pulled taut.
The next morning dawned bright and clear. The rabbits burst forth, racing each other across the asphalt. Only one stood still, trembling. And his coat seemed as though beneath it had once been blue.
- Corinne Simpson