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This morning, I found a rabbit by the shed. His ears were peeled back and the eyes were open, dried and covered with dust. Flies buzzed around its parted mouth where a single yellow incisor pointed. The ground vines had already begun to curl around his rear legs and, until I poked him with my shoe, I was sure he was dead. But when I tapped the white underbelly, his body twitched and flopped off the ground, sending the startled flies buzzing like mumbling gossips into the air.

With the blade of a shovel behind the base of his skull, I apologized as I broke his neck. I'm ok with the mercy killing but the state I find them in often leaves an empty feeling in a part of me that doesn't have a name. This is where the horror began to set in; the unbidden thought of lingering in death beneath the sun frozen while the earth begins to reclaim the body.

I don't know what got to him last night but I'm worried plague might be settling in the area. The cats will have to stay inside but the dogs are getting to an age where they're more susceptible to disease. Old age or winter will get to them eventually but plague? I've never seen it and I hate the thought of watching it take fat Chunk with his jowly grin or the trim and stoic Jacob, walking with his head lowered, one paw over the next.

I don't know where I'm going with this train of thought. My dinner is getting cold.