It looked so alive, so wild and untethered despite being stuck on the forest floor. It must have suffered a nasty fall, or maybe it was attacked by a mountain lion, or a coyote. Alex crept up quietly, trapping the rabbit with his jean clad thighs and the tree trunk it rested by. Its brown fur was speckled with blood, and some was spread over the dead leaves on the ground. The loose flesh of its neck was liquid in between his fingers. Its heartbeat thundered through his arm like it was his own and the cool steel of his pocket knife was reflected in its eyes. Alex didn’t remember taking it out of his pocket, but was grateful for its presence regardless. Cold, smooth, it belonded in his palm.
The rabbit squirmed feebly in his grasp, its back eyes void of anything but primal fear. Alex Standall and his knife held the secret to the universe, the definition of mercy. But he wouldn’t let the rabbit know all that he knew. It was less than him; he felt godlike, otherworldly. He felt like the more important being in the universe. It was writhing under his hand, and its heartbeat was thumping in both of their chests and its broken bleeding foot went thump thump thump against the earth; trying to run, not knowing it would never run again. Alex knew.
Metal split its neck open and poured all of the suffering onto the dirt, feeding the forest. Alex's grip tightened on its scruff as the body trembled and spasmed. He watched it twitch quietly.
He didn’t feel anything about the Death, not even as he made the long walk to his car. That's probably why he was able to do it in the first place. If he was a few years younger he would’ve been bawling his eyes out, sick to his stomach at the very idea of hurting anything. But he’s different now. It was the right thing to do, but that's not why he did it.
He drove home with the radio off, mind full of styrofoam. While rinsing the red off his knife in his sink, he felt only annoyance with the chestnut fur caught in between the blade and the handle. And as he lay in bed he did not think about the body, orwhat beasts would feast upon it while he was gone.
And he had his answer.