The Otepää Rabbit’s One Eye

By Errol Scott

If it weren’t for the antlers rocketing out of the sideroad right onto Highway Two to Otepää, I never would have hit the oncoming rabbit with the one magic eye. I would have seen that rabbit in time; that rabbit would still be okay.

The deer’s ears stretched out to his tail. Velvety streaked muzzle and blinking heels sliced across to the far snowy shoulder of the road, not even a snipped twig left behind. Big empty road. Big empty night.

Inside my glowing Fiat, radio stuff wrapped around my head and clogged up my car. Night drifted back and forth across the highway; the road smoothed out ahead, fine and uncrumpled. Then, right into that bare-bones, nobody-home Estonian road, behind the still smoking tail-trail, a silver rabbit blared up straight out of the ground. First the rabbit wasn’t there, and then there it was, diving towards me in my lane, dragging the entire highway behind it like a ribbon.

I didn’t want to hit it, I’m not a fan of running down rabbits. I would have turned the wheel and churned up a field if I could. I would have used up all my brake fluid in one giant stomp if it would’ve done any good. Yanked the wheel and rolled my Fiat. Jumped out the drive-side window and let it rush into a stream or an iced-over ditch or whatever. I would have done something. Anything but hit the silver ribboned rabbit.

Rabbits are supposed to sit around on Highway Two doomed and frozen, but this one was the other kind. This one wafted in an arc toward me with a purpose, all silky and nose twitching and how often does that happen? He was nothing like all the other photocopied rabbits you see along every roadside.

The silver rabbit smashed flat on my fender and arched back through air away from me; it took about maybe ten hours for him to fly two metres. He landed on the Highway Two tarmac, his hair matted through with stones. Rabbits mostly don’t have much of a chance.

I slowed down and pulled off the road, not to look, right, just to kind of pay my respects and be off. I couldn’t wait to get away from there, you’d feel the same. Anyone could have seen I had to leave. Anyone could have seen that. The door was sticky and wouldn’t open right away. I thumped the lock unstuck and the black night poured in.

Soft rabbit hair over rabbit shoulders and broken long legs; he could barely breathe. His upside eye shivered wide. In there, in that rabbit’s one magic eye, I could see way in. I could see every place I hadn’t been to yet and every thought I hadn’t bothered yet to have. I could see to all the way to China and back.

The blood in his lungs bubbled; his leg jerked. The magic eye looked right through my head. A blob of ooze drained out his mouth and drained and drained until the eye glued up all white. His ears relaxed. I listened and listened but the one eye was silent.

If I could change things, I’m not saying I could but I would, here’s what I’d do: I’d go back and take a different way that night or maybe a detour down by Pühajärv Lake and take a look around, maybe finish up a case of Saku Tume, and then get me to that same spot on the Two just a few hours later. Even a few minutes later. That’d let that rabbit live, that’s what I’d do.

The antlers would be long gone, the road level and steady. I’d sail past the silky rabbit, me in my car and he on his paws. I’d be listening to radio stuff and not even see him, gliding on Highway Two from here to eternity. I would be thinking about every place I was going to and all the thoughts I was already bothering to have. Heading right past me in the hundred-per-cent opposite direction, twitching and pulsing and humming some stupid song, that old rabbit with the one magic eye still would be too.

Errol Scott is a fiction writer, currently living in Munich, who has sailed and travelled in over fifty countries. His work has appeared in literary magazines around the world, in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, Japan and the USA, including 'Chapman' and 'Pretext'.

Grzegorz Wróblewski


Renoir again, though there have already been
many poems about him and because of this ladies
cried bitter tears and an art connoisseur
ran about distracted, with a stomachache etc.
So it’s this hapless Renoir again,
it’s clear, his old age wasn’t
pleasant, he suffered just like any other
ailing grandpa, but why does it always
lead to societal conflicts
when you, God forbid, say that his father
was a tailor and had the eyes of a common sadist?

(The Portrait of Renoir’s Father, 1869; Saint Louis, City Art Museum)
(Translated from the Polish by Adam Zdrodowski & Joel Leonard Katz)