Guest Post: Shelby, “Lopsided”

I’m Shelby, a newspaper reporter by day and night and the weekends, and all the other hours. And sometimes, for a few spare minutes, I get to be a writer. Ironic, isn’t it?

I am very fortunate to have met a friend like Ivy, who has been a fantastic writing pal and an inspiration to find a few more minutes each day to be a writer. Ivy is an extremely talented writer, but even more impressively, Ivy is an extremely dedicated do-er.

I was quite surprised but nevertheless pleased when Ivy reached out to ask if I’d like to submit content for her latest outreach project. Ivy doesn’t just do the do, she makes the others do….do. 💩 All to say I love her a great deal and feel very fortunate that she included me in this project.

I roughed out this piece a few months ago, when in the depths of covering some extremely vicious small-town politics. I love small towns, as do most writers. Being a reporter for a small town makes it easy for the writer’s wheels to turn during the slow moments, to ask myself, what if there’s something else at play. Usually, it’s nothing more than ignorance and stubbornness, but sometimes I wonder, what if there was malice? And so, Lopsided tumbled out.

Warning, animal death in minor detail described.


Lopsided

The rabbits had been there longer than anyone, her father had told her. The neighbour at the corner had a hutch of them long ago. And two turned into 10. And 10 into 100. The dilapidated shell was still able to be seen through the overgrown foliage to this day, a cluster of the brightly coloured rabbits taking their cautious little hops through the long grass.

People came from all over to see the rabbits, a staple of the fine shoreside town. Bunny Beach, it was cutely nicknamed, for the little spit of sand near the ancient harbour that outsiders gathered upon when they wanted to get away from the city. Most of the village was perched on the steep cliff of the ever-eroding shore, growing over slowly with foliage, the sturdy homes withstanding the storms with the glum certainty of the squat toad in the puddle.

Those who had the money to leave did so, unable to pay the millions that advisors said they needed to save their equally expensive homes which. My father said it happened to their homes because they were new in town. They ripped down perfectly good homes to replace them with these brightly coloured narrowed homes which looked as fragile as party streamers on the line. It mixed up the dirt underneath real bad, she had been told.

But the homes were considered attractive to look at for visiting tourists. And the villagers were known for giving waves to everyone they see and being so quaint. When, when they could be spotted. Much like the rabbits, they tended to scatter. The villagers took the patronizing comments with easy, understanding smiles. They had been here much longer than anyone else.

There were black and white rabbits patterned like a tuxedo. She thought these kinds of rabbits looked like distinguished gentleman when they sat back on their haunches to look at me, as she walked by Mr. Harris’ lawn, who didn’t look up from the book he was reading on the front porch.

The soft, cream coloured ones with long hair looked so sweet, but skittered long before you could even imagine stroking your fingers through their hair. As a visiting grandson was learning at the McKay’s. Mary watched their grandson fall heavily back on his diaper-padded bottom, with a soft laugh she could hear on the breeze. Then the grandmother cooed as he began to whimper, “Now, honey, if you leave them be, they’ll come closer.”

There were beautiful all-white bunnies, brown-and-tan, ones which looked like living dust bunnies, and some who were the babies of the domestic kind with the wild hares who had that crazed look about their eyes.

We all had our favourites. And hers had been an orange one, with a curtain of hair over its eyes and ears so severely floppy that made it a wonder why it could ever know she was approaching.

And it made her wonder how they managed to catch it. Visiting boys, not much older than her. Their breathless, excited voices were muffled by the crashing waves below. The abandoned model homes had given a brightly coloured backdrop to their gruesome crime. They held up the rabbit like a prize. It was limp in the boy’s hand, his thumb tucked under its broken neck.

Their eyes turned on her. She hadn’t made a sound, but had felt her face contort and tears begin to form hot on her cheeks. She took a step back, prepared to run, to tell someone of these outsider’s overreach into their town. But how the boys moved, she watched them warily as they began to approach.

Her heart thudded, and she knew, like how the rabbits seemed to always know, who meant them harm. She bolted. Like the rabbits, she ran fast and paused, ensuring there was the distance between her and her predator. Giving them the chance to stop. The boys shouted, telling her to stop, to say if she said anything—

She made another dash to the backyard of the abandoned homes, perched perilously on the sandy craigs. Again, she stopped. But the boys didn’t. Their heavy, thudding feet disturbed the dirt.

The sand-and-silt mixture gave way under their feet. She watched the grass rip and tear as the earth fell away beneath the boys. They shrieked. The drop wasn’t far, but it was hard. Abandoned sea walls made of large, sharp rocks cut off their screams.

She stepped away, padding away softly. Already she could hear commotion on the nearby beach as people in the water pointed towards the disturbed sand. The villagers, she noted as she loped home, had tucked themselves away in their homes. They had been here longer than anyone else.


Thank you so much, Shelby, for sharing this amazing story with us! She has no social media to find her on, but feel free to leave your appreciation here for her to see!

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