Ashes to Ashes, Dust Also to Ashes

Well, it's Easter Sunday, and you know what that means! It means that today, well-meaning people the world over are setting their little ones loose in bright green fields where either the Easter Bunny or Flying Bell has left goodies to find, all the while pondering what on Earth this has to do with their "savior" rising from the grave to "make things better" for "everyone."

Strategically placed quotation marks aside, today is a special day, but not because of that one guy. It's special because it has to do with rabbits. And I had a special rabbit once myself. Her name was Ashes, and she was a total badass.

When I first met Ashes, whom, as you might guess, was a beautiful shade of gray, she was a small, helpless baby bunny. Is there any other kind? I remember visiting the house of a classmate of my little sister, whose pet rabbits had recently decided to do what bunnies do best and fuck like... well, you know. Anyway, so the family had a bunch of rabbits that they didn't want to take care of and invited everyone in their youngest son's class to come and adopt them. Both my little sister and I took them up on that offer, so one day we went by their place to pick their share of the litter.

And that's when I met Ashes.

I don't exactly know how I knew she would be The One, but she was. We were a match made in heaven! She was small, furry, and cuddly, like all rabbits, but also ash-colored, intelligent, and fearsome, qualities that NOT all rabbits possess. I couldn't take her home that day because at the time she was TOO small, furry, and helpless. But that did not last long. Oh no. That did not last long at all.

By the time Ashes had come home with us, she was larger than most rabbits get when fully grown, and she wasn't even done yet. My little sister thought Ashes was the most obnoxious rabbit there was. She bit. She scratched. She grunted, growled and hissed: things rabbits definitely aren't supposed to do. Rabbits are, after all, supposed to be little furry cuddle machines that don't move or complain when you pet them. Ashes would have none of it. The moment she was brought into the world, she looked it up and down, gave it a few sniffs, and said, “I'll take it.”

The whole thing. Just put it in a box or something.

Our family was poor and kind of messed up. So when we got our new rabbits, instead of investing in properly made cages that a rabbit might enjoy, we literally rooted around the garbage in our back yard until we found something vaguely cage-like that we could keep our rabbits in. We found these horrible, rusted wiry things meant for keeping much larger animals in much much tighter conditions (think veal, and you have a good idea of what these cages were like). We lined them with newspaper in order to make the rabbits very slightly more comfy-- their feet kept slipping through the bottom at first, imagine how torturous that could be!-- but at the end of the day, the rabbits were still living  in worse living conditions than rabbits rightly should be living in.

The rabbits kept dying, partly because of these poor conditions, partly because rabbits typically have short lifespans, but mostly because they lived with Ashes, and her presence caused lesser creatures to fall down dead before her. Her diet consisted mostly of rabbit food, leftovers, and the souls of her enemies.

Ashes of course outlived all of them, and knew that the cage she was living in was total shit. So despite the fact that the bars were as thick as her claws, made of iron, and rusted to high hell, Ashes went straight into the tetanus-filled danger zone and chewed her way right out of there. We found her wandering around the living room the next day, sitting on the couch and relaxing there, as if she'd decided she were no longer content with rabbit accommodations and had decided to seek out human ones. She also had scars on her face from the cage-chewing, which only made her look more like some kind of rabbit warlord from beyond.

We put her in another awful iron cage and hoped that she would choose to stay put this time. We bought her new bedding, a new water tank, and better food, hoping that this time, she would stay. But she would not. Every cage we put her in, she chewed her way out of as if it had only been held together by Elmer's Glue and imagination. Ashes, no matter how much we tried, could not be contained.

My older sister put a lot of work into making our yard into a beautiful, gushing green landscape in the middle of the Phoenix desert. Our sidewalks were lined with flowers, trellises were thick with climbing vines, and our back yard had big, healthy bushes. We had moved Ashes' cage outside because she kept breaking out and leaving rabbit poop in our house (or as she probably called them, “blessings”), and lo and behold, she broke out again. But she didn't run away and get run over by a car, like most rabbits in the middle of Phoenix would. She stayed in our yard, feasted upon its bountiful harvest, fertilized it with her blessings and defended our garden from all matter of invaders and interlopers.

Ashes, you see, had grown to the size of a cat, and had a habit of sparring with dogs. She still bit, growled, hissed, clawed, and wrestled, except now she could do it with anyone and anything that came her way. She would only come out of the bushes to feast upon our grass, and wouldn't let anyone approach her. She would not let us pet her without drawing blood at least twice. One time, I actually saw a cat jump down into our yard. Ashes appeared from nowhere, scratched the cat on the nose, and bit it on the throat. This was her domain, and she was not about to let some creature despoil it. The cat screeched and ran off, and Ashes went back to eating grass as if she hadn't just fought off a stealthy killing machine one and a half times her size.

Another time, we got a knock on the door at 8:00 at night. Three young boys from a different neighborhood claimed that “our rabbit went into your yard.” (Ashes's domain was both our back yard and our front one, so sometimes strangers saw her dart from one yard to the next).We replied that actually it was our rabbit, thank you very much. They got off easy; if any of them had succeeded in getting their hands on Ashes, she probably would have killed two of them instantly, and the third one would have been lucky to get away with one eye.

Ashes never quite figured out that she was a rabbit. She had always considered herself a goddess, a paragon of small furry mammals, who clawed, bit, and fought her way through life. In the end she was awarded with a Garden of Eden (our yard) and the fear and respect of every cat in our neighborhood. Life was good.

One day, after she had been living with us for about 15 years, Ashes disappeared. A logical person grounded in the real word (such as myself) might draw the conclusion that someone had finally managed to kidnap her, as those three boys had tried earlier. Perhaps it even was them. But I'm not going to believe that.

I think Ashes transcended of the material world the same way she broke out of her cage, fought and defeated Lord Frith of the Rabbit Gods, and is now the Supreme Empress Bunny Bitch of the Nether Realms.

Ashes to Ashes, dust also to Ashes

So remember this: if ever you've treated a rabbit poorly in your life; if ever you've said rabbits are stupid or have disparaged them in any way; if ever you've taken rabbits for granted or have failed to appreciate their place in the world... then you better keep watch. One day you'll be washing up in the bathroom, and when you look up in the mirror, Ashes will be there, right behind you, waiting.

And she is going to fuck you up.

Happy Easter. Or as she calls it, Ashes Day.

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