FROZEN WORLD

Snow always makes me think of dead rabbits.

The winter when I was going on nine, it finally snowed on our house by the highway. I loved the way it turned everything white and beautiful. The television weather man said we’d get a good 10 inches of snow by evening, and that, if it happened, it would be some kind of record for northeast Texas. My brother Wayland grunted and said how the weatherman was off his rocker, that he’d never seen anything more than 8 inches if that much. Wayland was sitting at the kitchen table cleaning his .22. After our father left, Wayland was “the man of the house,” so our mother took note of any opinions he might have, or appeared to have.

Naturally, I tended to believe my brother over some weatherman, but I was torn on the subject of snow. On the one hand, too much snow meant lots of snow ice cream, and that was a sure-enough reason for rejoicing, since we hadn’t had ice cream of any kind for a long time. On the other hand, I’d probably be the one that had to go outside in the freezing cold and get it. But Wayland’s mind wasn’t on snow ice cream, either way.

“Tell mom with any luck I’ll have a couple of rabbits for supper,” he said, nodding toward the bedroom door at the end of the hall. He was almost fourteen, and sometimes his voice sounded kind of weird. He pulled his thick coat off the wooden peg next to the door.

“I’m coming with you,” I said, hoping that this time it would work.

“Charlie, you know you’re too young.”

“I’m nearly nine. You told me yourself that you been tramping in those woods since you were the same age as me.”

“Yeah, but you’re a girl, and mom’s not about to let you go out in weather like this.” His voice cracked again.

“In this instance, I would prefer that she go.” Mother stood at the bedroom door. “Averil’s spending the night with Mary Catherine, and I can’t tend to Charlie alone, not while I’m down with the flu. I’d worry a lot more if you were out there all alone. What if something happened? No, you take your little sister this once. And Charlie, you’re to be quiet and mind your brother. Understand?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I answered soberly, delighted at the turn of events. Being watched by Averil, my older sister, and having to do what she said, wasn’t what I’d call a fun afternoon. She was interested in boys. Mother wasn’t finished with us.

“I want you to take my steel bowl, the large one, and a wooden spoon,” she said. “The bowl will keep your head dry if it starts to rain. If there’s any trouble, I want you to beat on the bowl with the wooden spoon and, please God, someone will hear you.” She leaned against the door for a moment, trying to remember if she had taken care of everything, then turned away, holding one hand against the wall for support.

“Y’all be careful,” she said as she made her way back to her bedroom.

I looked at Wayland. “She said y’all, Wayland.”

“Yeah, well, she’s tired.” Wayland bent down to lace up my boots.

“She never says y’all,” I argued. “She’s says it’s countrified.”

“You gotta remember, she’s been to college,” he said, making sure I situated the right fingers in the right places in my gloves. “That’s why she always speaks proper English. They probably don’t say y’all at college.”

“How do you know that?”

Charlene, I ain’t got time for this. Just c’mon and let’s go.” I thought about mentioning how he wasn’t supposed to say ain’t, but I didn’t want to blow my chances.

Wayland waited while I struggled into my jacket before he thrust the steel bowl and the wooden spoon at me. I could tell he thought it was stupid taking a bowl and spoon to hunt rabbits. I thought so, too. He wouldn’t be happy till he was out in the open.

The cold, sharp air stung my lungs, but it was better than being in a stuffy, closed-in house. Snowflakes floated down with a breeze that sent them whirling softly all around, just like on those Christmas cards they sell at the store in early November. Having snow everywhere made everything look cleaner somehow. I said as much to Wayland, but I guess his mind was on rabbits.

We jumped the creek at the back of the house, and I struggled to keep up with him. By the time we passed the last two houses and headed into the woods, my nose felt cold and I started sniffling. It wasn’t so bad as long as we were walking, but every once in a while, he’d stop and motion for me to be still while he checked for signs of animals. Pretty soon my feet went numb, despite two pairs of socks, and the cold seeped into my bones. Once we got going again, the wooden spoon came in handy defending myself from the branches that whacked me in the face every time Wayland pushed through them. I don’t know if he forgot I was behind him or if he let them whack me on purpose. Still, he tested the snow as he went, and warned me if the drifts were too deep or if he saw signs of anything I might trip on.

All of a sudden he raised his hand, motioning for me to be quiet. He squatted down in the snow and laid his rifle across his knees. Over his shoulder I could see a clearing where two rabbits were busy digging in the snow. They faced away from us, so I reckon they didn’t see us at first. One of them looked up. Then the other one did the same. I froze. I guess the rabbits froze at about the same time, just for a second or two. But that second or two was time enough for Wayland to whip the rifle up to his shoulder and fire. We must have been a good twenty feet away, but he got one of the rabbits with the first shot. It leaped into the air, wriggled and twisted, then fell back onto the frozen ground. I stood there while the sound of the rifle echo died.

The stillness of the forest settled down around us again like nothing had happened. For a minute, I was scared Wayland would dump the poor thing in the steel bowl and make me carry it all the way home. But he hooked the rabbit onto his pants somehow and headed out to track the second one. I looked away from the blood-spattered snow as I passed it, but I couldn’t look away from the mangled rabbit swinging from Wayland’s pants. It kept time with us while we walked. I couldn’t help wondering if it was truly dead or if it was just unconscious. There were still some droplets of blood falling behind him right in my path. I tried not to step on them, but somehow I couldn’t stop staring at the dead rabbit swinging from his jeans. I just couldn’t look away.

On the other side of the next clearing, Wayland found an animal carcass half-buried in the snow. As cold as it was, he still stopped to inspect it and motioned for me to take a look as well. He always wanted to show me stuff. The last thing I wanted to do was see another dead animal, but I looked anyway. Wayland was my big brother, and I usually did what he said.

Whatever it was, it had been dead a long time. Only the bones were left. I was glad of that; at least there wasn’t any blood. Empty eye sockets looked out at nothing, at least nothing in this world. I bent down in the snow while Wayland explained that it had been a small, wild pig at one time. He said the bones would be different for a dog or squirrel. In fact, he said, some wild dogs may have killed it. The empty eye sockets bothered me.

“I saw this wolf once,” Wayland said, thinking out loud. “Wolves are real scarce in these parts. Especially the reds. They’ll be gone before long. I saw a pack of wild dogs running through the trees, and I’ve heard ’em other times. But I’ve never seen a bear.”

I watched him look off into the distance a while.

“Lord, I’m sure gonna miss this,” he whispered, almost like he was talking to the forest. He half-closed his eyes and took a long breath. I waited till he came back from where he’d been. I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but I did the same thing sometimes, thinking off in the distance like that, so I let it be.

He looked up at me and smiled. He looked sad, like he knew that I didn’t know what he was talking about, and maybe never would.

He straightened up and gave the pig carcass one last glance, then walked on. I kept a close watch and listened for the sound of wild, ravenous dogs. If Wayland had meant to put me at ease with his knowledge of the forest and animals, he came up a little short. Dinosaurs interested me, and people who lived thousands of years ago. I wondered how they fought off packs of wild dogs, or maybe wooly mammoths. They didn’t have rifles back then, just spears.           

When I glanced down at my wooden spoon, it seemed hopelessly inadequate, a term Mom used to describe me to other grown-ups when she didn’t know I was listening. She was always using big words, like the way Wayland ate supper. That’s where I learned ravenous.

I followed Wayland another twenty minutes or so, and we jumped another creek before he slowed down and held up his hand. Then he crouched to the ground and motioned for me to do the same.

“You hear that?” he whispered.

All I heard at first was the usual thunk-THUNK, thunk-THUNK of all the oil pumps going up and down, but I had heard that sound for so many years, I didn’t pay attention to it anymore. Wayland said it wasn’t the actual pump going up and down that made that sound; it was the gasoline-fueled motor that ran the pump. He called it a lift pump, and said the first thunk was made when the pump sank the rod down into the ground, that it was a fast thunk. The second THUNK was made when the pump lifted the rod back out with the oil, and it was a slower, heavier THUNK. Wayland liked explaining things to me, and I liked the fact that he took the time to do it. Though I didn’t see as how I could use that particular information.

Averil never explained anything to me. In fact, she didn’t even want to acknowledge that she was related to me, at least not in public.

While I thought about Averil, I listened to the lift pump and pondered what Wayland had said as well. I’d never noticed any difference between the two sounds on the pump close to our house. But now, I could tell he was right about there being something wrong with this one. On top of the thunk-THUNK, I caught something that sounded like drums. It was a beat that didn’t belong with the others.

“What’s that other sound?” I whispered.

“I don’t know,” Wayland whispered back, “but we need to find out.”

Although I didn’t agree with the “we” part, I fell in behind him and reminded myself to wiggle my toes inside the boots so my feet wouldn’t go numb. The two pairs of socks made it a real challenge.

Wayland crossed a small field. I had to run after him before he disappeared into the trees. When we came out the other side of the trees, there was an oil pump spitting out the thunk-THUNK, and it sounded like it was making that other sound, too. Wayland approached it like he would approach an animal that he wasn’t sure was dead. I did the same thing, staying behind him. The extra sound seemed to be coming from an old gasoline engine attached to the oil pump; it was situated right beside the oil pond, where left-over oil was mixed in with the dirt and mud. I knew that it was called a sludge pond, ‘cause they were all over the place where we lived. There was nothing special about them, except how black and slimy they all looked.

Wayland froze, just like the rabbits, and stared at the pond. I looked where he was looking, and drew in my breath — I knew that if I didn’t, I was going to make some kind of awful noise. A man’s hand was sticking up in the middle of the pond, like it was reaching out for something. The hand was as stiff as could be, and caked all over with oil and mud and God knows what else. A weird sort of reflection came off the slick shine of the oil, like light reflecting off tin. The rest of him must’ve been beneath the surface. I felt sick, like when I stayed up too late and watched horror movies and had nightmares later.

I opened my mouth, but for some reason it was just too quiet to scream. My mind raced back to a story Averil had told me about a practical joke some neighborhood boys had played on her when she was even younger than me. One of the boys had poured ketchup on his hand and climbed up on the roof of the garage, then poked his hand through a hole in the corner and screamed and moaned till Averil turned white and passed out. Wayland found her and took her home, then beat the tar out of the idiots who did it. Not easy being an older brother.

But all I could think about was how far we were from home, and how Wayland looked just as scared as I was. Then I got dizzy, and everything started to blend together. When I opened my eyes, Wayland was there, kneeling down in front of me with his hand on my shoulder. My brother was five years older and was used to death and killing and all, but I reckoned this time it wasn’t some small, furry, helpless animal we were looking at.

“What are we gonna do?” I whispered. Wayland helped me up and I moved my feet in little side steps to keep them from freezing. My teeth clicked together, and it was hard to talk. Wayland must have seen that I was going to cry pretty soon, ’cause he stood up and squared his shoulders.

“I’m not sure,” he answered, whispering back. “Give me a minute.” He sounded like he was going to take care of the situation somehow, so I gave him the minute he asked for, but the quiet proved too much.

“Shouldn’t we call the police, like they do on Perry Mason?” I urged. Our mother was a dedicated Mason fan. I’d seen every episode.

“Are you crazy? This isn’t a TV show! We didn’t do anything, but I’m standing here holding a rifle, and there’s a dead man over there!”

“Well, can’t you pull him out?”

“Pull him out? There’s no way even both of us could budge him.” His voice was breaking again into high-low sounds. “Sunk down in that muck, he probably weighs twice what he normally would. And most of that’s stuck to the bottom. No, there’s no use even trying it.”

“Maybe we could call an ambulance.”

“We’re not calling any ambulance. The police don’t pay any attention to a thirteen-year-old kid, and besides, it’s way too late for an ambulance.”

“Then what — ”

“Just hush and let me think.” A frown crossed his face like a shadow. He pressed his lips together and looked first at the frozen hand, then at the forest, then at the hand again. 

I covered my face with the bowl so I didn’t have to look at any of it. Then I realized how stupid it was, since I’d already seen it. I lowered the bowl real quiet-like, hoping Wayland didn’t notice me doing something so stupid, and I stared at the ground while he kept doing his thinking. The wooden spoon provided me with something to hold onto so I’d stop shaking, but the cold was in my bones, a dead guy was in the pond, and I wanted to go home. I licked my lips so they wouldn’t get chapped, but I didn’t have enough saliva to do any good. Finally, I stole a glance toward the edge of the pond with my eyes lowered so I wouldn’t see the hand sticking up. It was the first time I noticed there was no snow on the pond itself, just on the ground around it.

“Is he really frozen?” I wondered out loud.

“I don’t think so. Oil doesn’t freeze that easy,” Wayland mumbled. “But the mud and muck on top of the oil would.”

“Wait,” he said, “something’s not right.” He studied the glove a while longer. Then he made some kind of decision because he raised the rifle to his shoulder, took aim, and fired. He scared the peewaddly out of me. I jumped and yelled. The steel bowl flew in one direction and the wooden spoon in another, but I didn’t care. I was too busy hunkering down and holding my hands in front of my face so I wouldn’t cry or see anything bloody. The echo died away, and I could sense Wayland kneeling down beside me again. I peeked at him from between my fingers. He laid the rifle down and brought my hands down real slow.

“I didn’t mean to scare you, Charlie. Everything’s okay. There’s no need to be afraid. Look.”

I forced myself to look at the pond ’cause I trusted Wayland. Sure enough, the hand was gone. But where was it? I spotted it about three feet on the other side of the pond. I turned to Wayland with a look of panic, and he followed my line of sight until he saw it, too. I guess he was more concerned with me screaming and all than he was in seeing what had happened after he took his shot. He swallowed like his mouth had gone dry, then glanced around and let go of my arm. I watched him pick up part of a tree branch about two feet away and walk all the way around the sludge pond to where the glove had landed. He turned it over with the tip of the tree branch. I stood up and tried to breathe.

Wayland bent down to study the wooden glove like he had studied the pig carcass, like he studied everything else. He glanced at me from across the pond. It was a quick glance, but long enough for me to see a strange look on his face, like he was seeing something he didn’t want to see. I looked back at him the same way, with way too many questions and not nearly enough answers. What had he found? Why had he shot that man’s hand off? What would happen years from now when they dredged the sludge pond — Wayland said they do that sometimes when the pumps stop producing oil. He said nothing lasts forever.

Then things went from bad to worse.

Wayland nudged the glove over the frozen ground, using the tree branch like he would a baseball bat, only more careful-like. He nudged the thing all the way to the edge of the pond, then drew back and whacked it a good one, straight into the sludge. We both watched as the awful thing landed in the slime pit, and started sinking down lower and lower until, after a while, it was gone.

Wayland stared at the pond for a minute or two, then turned his head to either side like he had a crick in his neck, and relaxed his shoulders, like the worst was over now. He looked at the tree branch that was still in his hand and threw it as hard as he could into the woods. I didn’t take my eyes off him the whole time he walked back to where I waited.

“Charlie,” he said, and looked me straight in the eyes like he was reading my mind. “I want you to listen to me. If it had been someone’s hand, an actual human’s hand, I couldn’t have shot the whole thing off with just a .22 from this range, right? The more I thought about it, the more I figured it had to be a glove, a frozen glove. That’s all it was. A glove covered in oil and mud and slime. That’s what froze it over.” He thought a minute, then added, “Anyway, it’s over now. And I don’t see any reason why anybody has to know about it, ever. Understand?”

“But what if there’s still a body down there, and a hand that belonged to the glove that nobody’s going to find now?”

“Charlie, you’re thinking too much, as usual. Just trust me on this one.”

I nodded, but it bothered me. Wayland sounded more like he was trying to convince himself than me. I tried real hard to understand. I really did. I thought about it while Wayland retrieved the bowl and spoon and handed them back to me. What he said made sense. Pretty soon I felt calmer with a sense of relief, like maybe it really was over. If it had been Averil instead of me, she would have been all excited and rushed home to tell Mary Catherine about the glove in the pond. They would have talked the thing to death and told everybody. And that’s the truth. Either that, or Averil would’ve just fainted dead away. I was glad I didn’t have friends. It made it easier to keep a secret.

I moved back and forth and stomped feeling back into my feet while Wayland left to inspect the engine that was still making a racket. It surprised me he took the time to look into it. I was more than ready to head home. But I waited. Wayland had always liked machinery, and he was thorough. That was another word our mother used to describe her only son. Sure enough, it didn’t take him long to figure out how to turn the engine off. He fiddled with it, and the pumps started grinding to a halt.

“They’ll have to come out here to figure out why the pump stopped,” he said with a smirk of satisfaction. “When they start it up, they’ll see the engine needs replacing. At least it won’t blow up in the meantime. It’s probably a defective muffler or a bad valve. Nothing serious. Anyway, that’ll be for them to figure out.” He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his fingerprints off of everything. Then he picked up a fallen branch and swept it through our footprints as we backed up into the woods, just like in Perry Mason. I guess he didn’t want anybody to know he’d messed with their machines. At least, I hoped that was why he did it.

“C’mon, Charlie,” he said, and he picked up his rifle. “Like it or not, we still need another rabbit or two. One ain’t enough to feed everybody.”

I fell into pace behind him as he resumed the hunt. My heart felt numb, like my feet. I didn’t understand how Wayland could just put what had happened into another place in his head and forget about it. I couldn’t do that. In fact, I caught myself glancing back at the sludge pond with a nagging thought in my head, one that I didn’t dare bring up with Wayland. But I struggled with it while I fought my way through the bushes. I couldn’t stop wondering how a man’s glove ended up on top of the oil like that, and in the middle of the pond. How could it have frozen straight up like that without somebody’s hand being inside of it? If the man had dropped his glove, wouldn’t it have been on the ground somewhere close to the machines or next to the oil pump? As far as I could tell, oil sludge never drifted like water in the creek. I had seen a lot of sludge ponds, and none of them looked that deep, unless of course the body was laid flat out and then pushed to the middle.

I could still hear the whack of that tree branch hitting the frozen glove like the crack of a baseball bat, and the look on Wayland’s face when he inspected the glove. If it was just a glove, like Wayland said, then why did it go whack like that? I mean, it was just a glove, right? So why did he feel the need to bury it?

A shiver raced up and down my spine. I decided right then and there that if the rest of that man was still down there, I didn’t want to know. And I sure didn’t want to be around when somebody else found out about it, either. But I kept those thoughts to myself and trudged after my brother through the snow, wondering if he was thinking the same thing. He was awfully quiet, but then, he usually was.

I noticed we were headed back a different way than we had come, and I focused on keeping up so I wouldn’t get lost. Finally, Wayland stopped for a while. He made a little pointing motion with his forefinger. Sure enough, he had sighted a rabbit burrowing beneath a fallen tree. This time, the rabbit turned and took off into the brush going ninety-to-nothing, and Wayland tore out after him. I stayed and listened to my brother as he tore through vines and shrubs and snapped tree branches, knowing there was no way I could keep up with him. Besides, I didn’t want to get whacked by those same branches and vines.

I waited till everything went quiet, though I got more and more fidgety as the quiet settled in. At one point, I considered banging on the bowl with the wooden spoon, but just when the temptation almost got the better of me, I heard a shot. I figured Wayland had ended another poor little rabbit’s life. It didn’t take long for him to return from the brush, triumphant. I managed a smile for his sake, but I was thinking about the cold, and the frozen hand, and the long walk home. Bright, red evidence splattered all over clean, white snow. Another dead rabbit swinging from his pants. Blood marking the long trail home.

I commented again about how snow makes the world look pure and white, trying to find something I’d lost in the woods that day. Or maybe I needed somebody to agree with me so I wouldn’t keep thinking about dead rabbits.

“You been to church more’n what’s good for you,” he mumbled. “This is God’s cathedral, Charlie. Trees are more than just trees. They’re silent sentinels standing watch over mounds of dead earth. Nothing’ll come back to life till the spring, like it’s supposed to. Covering something up don’t make it pure as the driven snow.”

 I knew that last one was just a saying, but the way he put it, it sounded important.

At first, I wanted to tell him he sounded like a stupid grown-up, but I just whacked the spoon against the trunk of a tree and shuddered when the ice on the tree branches cracked and groaned. They were frozen in time just like he said. He turned around and gave me a dirty look for making noise in the forest. I looked away. He knew these woods like nobody else, but I refused to believe the sad picture he painted. Besides, I wasn’t real sure what a sentinel was. I hadn’t heard that word before. But if they were standing guard, I guess it meant a soldier. I’d never looked at trees like that before. Besides, right now, all I could think about was the frozen glove. I hoped there’d come a time when I didn’t think about it anymore.

Both of us were quiet on the walk home, like we’d had all the fun we could take for one day. We finally jumped the creek in back of our house, and I spotted a drift deep enough to fill the bowl with a mountain of snow. I carried it proudly into the house, while Wayland settled down on the back porch steps. That’s where he skinned and gutted rabbits and carved up the meat for stew.

Before I closed the screen door, he glared at me like he was warning me to keep what we’d done quiet. When he took out his knife, I turned away. I’d never seen a rabbit killed before, or skinned, and I’d just as soon not watch. It didn’t mean I was stupid. I knew they didn’t come from Brookshire’s in a nice, sealed package all covered in sanitary plastic wrap, ready to take home. Still, it was different, knowing what it looked like.

Mom had rested while we were gone. She supervised making the snow ice cream. I beat the eggs, added a touch of salt, and got the evaporated milk from the fridge. She added vanilla and sugar and put it in the freezer. Wayland brought in the rabbits and browned the meat in a frying pan so it could be added to the vegetables. We ate rabbit stew, though I’d lost my appetite and ate mostly vegetables. Then we watched Perry Mason and devoured the snow ice cream. Mom looked a whole lot better after eating something. I told her about the pig carcass, and she gave Wayland a curious glance like she was worried he had shown me more than she’d bargained for. I knew she didn’t have a problem with killing animals. She’d told us before about growing up on a farm where they slaughtered their own livestock. I think she was relieved we’d made it home in one piece, but I wondered if she’d have thought any different if she’d known about the frozen glove. That brought up another concern. How long I was expected to keep it a  secret?

It never snowed again, not like it had that winter. So it was the last time we got snow ice cream. I wasn’t expected to accompany Wayland on his hunting trips anymore, which pleased us both, though later on he showed me how to shoot aluminum cans off a fence post. It hurt my shoulder, and one time I ended up on the ground from what he called a recoil, but I was okay with that. I think he knew my feelings about killing animals.

Except maybe the baby bats that Averil found in a nest on the ground that fall. The storm had blown them out of the tree. Mother took one look and called them demonic. I agreed, and I didn’t have to look the word up to understand what it meant. On top of that, to me they were just plain ugly. But Averil kept them and fed them with a doll’s baby bottle until they flew away. I didn’t understand how she could just let them go free like that so they could bite somebody on the neck and recruit another body for the living dead. She hadn’t learned anything from watching television. Anyway, I would have felt no remorse whatsoever in shooting them.

In early spring, I got scarlet fever and was sick for a while, but by late spring and early summer, I was able to join Wayland again on his journeys into the forest, at least the ones that didn’t include killing rabbits. They were blue sky days, when the sun danced on the water that rippled and gurgled in the creeks behind the house, and the scent of pine trees and fresh earth filled the air. We picked wild grapes, red plums, and blackberries. Wayland knew all the names of the different birds and pointed them out to me. We watched woodpeckers dig black holes in telephone poles. Averil showed me how to suck the nectar from honeysuckle blooms by pinching the bottoms off. I found a lily pond with croaking frogs, an abandoned oil derrick that reached up into the sky, and a bird’s nest that had fallen from a tree. It was the perfect summer, and a fall with gusty wind and colored leaves.

It was in late October, as I lay in bed, that a breeze of dry, cold air stole through the window, a breeze that carried the promise of early snow. I smelled the coming of winter.

That night, I dreamed of a frozen world in the middle of a forest where a glistening glove glided slow as death across the surface of a pitch-black pond.

 

RECIPES

SNOW ICE CREAM

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups evaporated milk

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

4 quarts of snow (maybe more)

Go outside and fill a big pan with clean, fresh snow.

In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs and add 2 cups of evaporated milk

Add 1 cup of sugar and 2 tsp of vanilla.

Add enough of the snow until mixture is slushy.

Serve immediately.

 

WILD RABBIT STEW

1/3 cup cooking oil

2 rabbits, cleaned and quartered, then cut into smaller pieces

¼ cup brown sugar

1 small container of flour

2 carrots, chopped

1 onion, chopped

sprinkles of parsley/sage/rosemary/bay leaf

¼ cup bacon grease

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Skin and quarter 2 rabbits. Discard remains.

Dust rabbit meat with flour and brown in cooking oil + bacon grease in a frying pan.

Transfer the rabbits into a broiling pan. Add vegetables and spices.

Cover pan and place in pre-heated oven. Cook 1½ hours until rabbit is tender.

 

C. J. Sweet grew up in northeast Texas and graduated cum laude from the University of Houston. She worked in the legal field for many years and taught English as a Second Language. Her credits include: Night Vision, which won First Place in the 2015 Writer’s Digest Fiction Contest, Thriller Category; The Organ Chaser, published in 2016 in “Denizens of the Dark,” an anthology by The Final Twist; and White Rabbit, which won Honorable Mention in the Saturday Evening Post’s 2017 Great American Fiction Contest.

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