He dreamed that she was running free through the green fields that led to the beach just to the west, her claws throwing grass torn from the earth and then sand. She turned and stopped to look back at him; she was holding a dead snake in her jaws.
“Avi, come back,” he called. But she play-lunged in the direction she was so keen to, the snake flopping ridiculously in her mouth, and so he followed.
She went to the edge of the dry sand where it became wet, and to his alarm she kept going. She ran to meet the next wave and leapt over it, and then she was swimming out into the low tide. He called for her over and over, his voice growing hoarse, and before he lost sight of her entirely he took a deep breath and ran into the water after her. He was not a great swimmer, but the sea was kind to him, holding him up to the surface instead of flinging him back to land.
They came to an island. Avi trotted up onto the wet rock and shook herself out, and then she carefully laid the snake down. She sat back on her haunches and stared at it intently. He stared too. It felt natural, expected, when the snake relaxed and uncurled its death-stiffened body and flicked its tongue at them. The three held their strange secret council, and he saw that Avi was looking at him now, her soft eyes wide and eager.
Set woke where he had fallen, exhausted from the grief that had drawn his entire body into his sobbing. He stared at the violent gash of the stars above him, and he understood. He groped for the loose soil underneath him with hands still dirty from laying it; he dug like a dog himself. Several feet down he found her, and he carefully, so carefully, pulled Avi free. He brushed the dirt from her fur and pulled off his coat to carry her in.
“I’ll find it,” he said. He was crying again. “Thank you.”