The one time Seamus ran away from home was when he was seven and mad at his mother for some reason he couldn’t remember anymore. He had only gotten to the edge of the palace district before turning back. Past the gardens, at the end of the orange groves, he stopped at a small white object on the ground. It was the head of a rabbit. He froze, held his breath, and looked around. Whatever or whoever was responsible could still be out there. But aside Seamus shifting his weight, causing the dry leaves to slowly crunch beneath his foot, the grove was silent.
He had expected blood somewhere, but there were only brains leaking out of where the neck should have begun. Either an animal had eaten the rabbit efficiently or someone had brought the head here. Some trapper, perhaps? Seamus’s excited brain entertained the thought that some crazy person was out and about. He was afraid to turn his back on the rabbit head. If he told an adult and the head was gone or if they couldn’t find it, they would think he was a liar. But if he stayed silent and something bad happened again, that would be his fault.
He ran back home. Mom was busy with coordinating museum restoration. Dad was at an important meeting with the Council. So he told Dizzie. She thought it was cool and said it was probably the ghost girl who walks around the palace district. Her beloved was a Noble and was beheaded during the war. So, she drowned herself in a nearby river. Her ghost walked around at night, beheading every living thing it could find.
Seamus couldn’t remember what he did for the rest of the day. He just kept thinking about the rabbit’s head. How its mouth hung open in a silent scream. How it died wide-eyed in fear. And he felt stupid for sharing such a thing with Dizzie, who couldn’t even take death seriously.