Dilemma (An everyday tale of Countryside Murder)

I open the garage. What is that?

Squealing. Excruciating, murderous squealing. It certainly doesn’t sound like one of the sheep in distress. Even less like any bird I have ever heard. I trace the spine-chilling caterwauling. It’s coming from the meadow. I peer over the fence.

To my horror. No, not horror. More a combination of astonishment and curiosity, the smallest weasel I have ever seen is wrestling a rabbit, twice its size. The smaller creature has its teeth securely latched onto the back of the rabbit’s neck. The cacophony is pitiful. It is plain the rabbit is in extreme agony. I am transfixed.

Do I clap my hands? Shout? Bang the fence to divert the weasel’s attention? Is it my place to intervene in a natural, everyday countryside phenomenon? To Rescue or Not to Rescue?

My thought-process is interrupted. The rabbit suddenly breaks free from the weasel’s iron grip. A frenetic chase ensues around the meadow below me. Here; there; snaking sideways; weaving; circling; almost too fast for my eyes to follow.

Taking his chance, the rabbit ducks under the gate to the lane. I rush forward to our gate, mesmerised, not wanting to miss the action. I reach it just as the other-worldly squealing resumes. My nails dig into my palms. There is no necessity to look to know the rabbit has mis-timed his escape. But I do.

Once again the weasel’s vice-like teeth are locked onto the rabbit’s neck. Am I being over-dramatic in imagining I can see a spark of determination in his tiny black eye? He seems remarkably calm. The squeals are receding now; the rabbit’s body emits two grotesque shudders. Stillness.

I continue to watch as the small, grey, secretive creature purposefully and oh-so silently, drags the rabbit’s corpse, twice its size and I’m assuming with similar weight proportions, under the hedge and out of sight. Curiously, I feel privileged to have witnessed the gory scene.

No evidence of the murder remains. No blood. No tell-tale fibres. The meadow has resumed its cloak of tranquillity.

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