It must've looked suspicious: a sweaty man in boots and beard marching onto the wooded railroad tracks with a shovel in one hand and a cardboard box in the other. A stillborn? Blood money? He made it quick and found the spot where a younger man once played and buried friends: a hill in the forest behind his mother's house.

The moat was harder to cross than before, balance being a gift to the young. His longer stride made the incline a shorter bound, though. Once atop the crest he set down the coffin and spade in search of a spot he didn't pick fifteen years prior. The blade found moist earth never tilled by the likes of a mourner. He's changed, maybe grown, since the last time he chose a grave. He hacks at roots and clay with the folding army shovel he keeps in his truck for emergencies. It's the first time he's used it. It's the deepest grave he's dug, though not the deepest hole. He's proficient.

Once it's low enough to house her he wrestles the inevitable question. It's decided that to leave his friend without a parting pet would be heartless. His has always been too big. He stays true to form and opens the box for the first time. The rigid rabbit corpse takes a few last strokes that it sometimes almost tolerated.

She deserves a parting gift at this impromptu burial, aside from her freedom from captivity. He's come bearing only what his work garb includes. It dawns on him to dig through his black leather wallet-- the same one he's had for more than half his life-- in search of something worthy. The perfect token jumps out at him: his lucky two-dollar bill. He's been broke at bars in Manhattan and not used it. Stranded and thirsty and screwed. Trading it off seemed blasphemous. For the better part of a decade it's ridden on his hip. Now it's between the paws of a creature as rare as that currency. No boatman could stop her. It isn't superstition. She fancies good food and will need a means to purchase. Besides, he ponders, no luck can last forever.

The first tosses of dirt go slowly, the rest fill in like liquid. He lifts a larger rock than he could've in his prime and covers the fresh soil to protect the foxes and foragers from her wrath should they get curious. It occurs to scratch her uncreative name into the makeshift headstone, but he refrains in case kids come and wonder what's below.

He says a few words in his head about his strange friend who's given him lessons in both unrequited and unconditional love, making his descent back to the tracks that will lead him to his truck and reality. There, in the shadow of a wilderness still rampant as his memory, he lights a cigarette with fresh dirt under his fingernails and walks on in search of more.

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