His footsteps echoed softly through the tunnel. He counted them merrily in his head. 1 2 3 4 5, he thought before laughing to himself. The tunnel was humid and reeked of rot and age. There was no light at the end, only more darkness. He turned to his companion, Mr Rabbit. “Mr Rabbit, isn’t this a fine day, look at the sun and the clouds!” he exclaimed, pointing to the roof of the tunnel. Mr Rabbit nodded in agreement, his long, furry ears wobbling before he brought a cigar to his lips. He struck a match on the rough cement wall of the tunnel, illuminating it and bringing it to the tip of his cigar. The man always came to the tunnel with Mr Rabbit everyday to have tea and lunch with their friends. Winter was on the way and the tunnel was cooler than usual. He huffed out a puff of air, looking like he too was smoking a cigar. He had always liked cigars, the rich thick clouds of smoke they released as his dear friend Mr Rabbit exhaled. He had never liked to smoke cigars himself; he only enjoyed the smell that accompanied the clothing of the smoker. Marijuana had always been his cup of tea. He gripped his cane harder and began to walk faster to catch up with Mr Rabbit. “Mr Rabbit, I hope you’re hungry. I talked to Pricilla today and she said Emmeline is making her famous potato stew.” The man clasped his hands together with a wide grin on his young, handsome face. “This is going to be absolutely superb!” His voice echoed softly back as they continued walking. Mr Rabbit, now nearly finished his cigar, began to dance down the tunnel, tripping over his big feet. “La da daa” Sang the man, creating a tune for his friend to dance to. The man glanced down at his arm. There were five watches on it. “Right on schedule.” He beamed, sitting on the damp, cool floor. Mr Rabbit sat down next to him and pulled out a freshly rolled joint. “Emmeline, George, Pricilla, Margery! How well you all look. This picnic looks fantastic!” He grinned at his four friends, their pale, rotting faces forever stuck in solemn frowns. The man sighed and began to play with the fabric of the old torn cloth in which they all sat on. Mouldy food was scattered all around them and flies clung to Margery’s face. “George, you know it’s not polite to serve yourself before the ladies.” He scolded, extending his hand for Mr Rabbit’s joint. He took several long inhales before grabbing the old rusty knife caked in flaking red. He sliced into the stale bread. “Isn’t this great? All of us here once again? It’s fantastic having friends like you all. You know, we can do this every day. We WILL do this every day for all eternity. Doesn’t that sound marvellous? “ His eyes gleamed with the thought and he began to shiver. He had always dreamed of having friends like these, friends who were incapable of judgement, friends who could only listen. Of course, when he first met each of his friends, they were not perfect but with careful planning he had soon made them exactly the way he wanted. “You know Margery; I know you must be lonely. Emmeline and I are so close and George and Pricilla are matches made in heaven. I’ll have you know, I found the perfect gentleman for you. Of course he is rather talkative and we all prefer quiet, civilized talk, I can fix that. You see, he works at the train station. Every day, at precisely 1:00 pm, he goes off for a smoke. Today I shall introduce myself to him and invite him to tomorrow’s lunch. Oh Margery” he sighed, “You two would look absolutely splendid together. I believe his name is David, but I’ve already changed that.” The man began distributing the bread amongst them, skipping Mr Rabbit. Mr Rabbit hated bread. “Anyway, I regret to inform I must leave early today. I have an appointment with our newest friend, Benjamin.” And with that, the man got up, taking the rusty knife with him, off to find Benjamin. He left his four friends in the darkness, leaving nothing behind but the echoes of his far off whistles.
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