We persist. We sit quietly and wait for the rabbits. Hunger is a real pain that deeply effects our whole body. The smell of rabbits is everywhere and it drives us crazy. We can taste them, our mouths salivating. We persist because we have no choice. Trapped in this labyrinth, we think and wait and think and wait. All of this imposes patterns on us.
Lo! A rabbit.
Its heathen speech seems very alien to us. We sneak and attack. What once was undetached rabbit parts becomes stages of rabbithood before our very eyes. Here rabbit. There rabbit. Fragments. The hunger subsides. And with that, we return to the labyrinth in search of mother and our sisters. We persist.
We have no words for our crude beginning, but we are prone to think of it. Cursed we roam the labyrinth that imposes patterns on our understanding. There is this way and that way. We persist like an un-straight line. We are a point on this line, moving this way and that way. We call ourselves Asterion and we are alone. Without mother. Without siblings. We feel them. That we are one with them. We feel deeply connected to them. But we are alone. Surely they exist outside the labyrinth. But we are trapped within. Alone, we persist on gavagai, large rabbits. Beyond a reasonable doubt, these rabbits speak a language. Somehow we have learned some of their tongue. There is nothing arbitrary about this place they call Nostromo, and we call the labyrinth. When the pain of hunger is absent, we listen to rabbits bark, we think about mother, and we persist alone.
We spy the rabbits in their den barking at each other. One rabbit is different. Rabbiteth. Rabbiteth speaks about the perfect organism. We listen and daydream about this being that Rabbiteth admires for its purity and for its unclouded thoughts. We listen and we imagine such a beautiful creature. Then it hits us. Rabbiteth is speaking so kindly about us. We are the perfect organism. Now we feel a new, deep sense of awareness. Now passes and now passes and now passes. Now seems different, like a short corridor suddenly becoming a long corridor. Now we listen again to the rabbits. The other rabbits speak of capturing us, which is silly. How could rabbits capture us? Gavagai are large and brave but stupid and weak. One rabbit magically produces fire and burns Rabbiteth. We become mad when the other rabbits kill Rabbiteth, for Rabbiteth was our friend. Never could we imagine a rabbit killing one of its own. Then a smell fills the air. The smell of burnt rabbit flesh makes our mouths water. The pain of hunger returns but the rabbits have disappeared.
The labyrinth has a fast pulse that can’t be ignored. The sound can’t be escaped. We hate the sound. We are aggravated by hearing it. The rabbits are doing something. They are working on their den. They are up to no good. They have never done this before. Our heartrate picks up and we want to detach rabbit parts.
Lo! Two rabbits.
One here and one there. They are up to no good. Rabbit, why don’t you move? Why do you shake? Can’t you see us? We are right here, not there. The rabbit shakes in fear. Loosely, one becomes two, becomes four. Little rabbit parts here and there. To my joy, the second rabbit has come to play. And just like that, the state of rabbithood stops for the other gavagai. The pain inside recedes, but the sound continues. What are these rabbits doing?
What is this little beast? It is unlike a rabbit. Much tinier. Is this what the rabbits eat? Another four-legged beast trapped in a box. Sisters, we are like in our trappedness. You in that cage. We in our labyrinth. Rabbits are nasty creatures. We persist. Then the labyrinth opens up and becomes hot. We leave the small beast in search of shelter. Eventually we find a cool place and sleep washes over us. Our heart slows and slows and slows. The labyrinth has grown silent. We have persisted.
We wake to find a small rabbit barking at us. Rabbit, why are you being silly? Your barks don’t frighten us. The rabbit does something that we don’t understand. The Labyrinth pulls us toward the darkness. We hold onto the maze, but there is a sound, a roar.
Mother, is that you? Shall we let go? We want to see her but are afraid. Sisters, is that you? Then the rabbit hits us with something and pain bubbles within.
We have never been outside the labyrinth. Outside the labyrinth is cold. We see mother. Mother, here we come. Outside the labyrinth is a world that is more than forward and backwards. It is this way and that away. Above and below. Sisters, we hear your sweet voice singing. They call to us and then, at the end, there is the great warmth of love that washes us in wet sunlight and nothing. Nothing. Together, we are together. We are—
Jacob Singer is the Small Press Releases Editor for Entropy. His writing has appeared in Rain Taxi, American Book Review, and the Quarterly Conversation.