I’D VENTURED into the cold, dark, orange glow of a lane parallel to the high street, beer still draining to the bottom of my pint glass in the local.
Still busy out. Shop fronts framed by dazzling lights, closed, mannequins resembling the only human forms within.
I dodged through fine citizens of the city before seeing two figures ahead in the middle of the cobbled street with a dog, trying to placate it as it jerked on it’s taut leash.
Closer still. I noticed the shorter of the two held a blade, long enough to run through a body and still see the end on the other side.
‘Hey!’ I yelled. ‘What are you doing?’
They turned in unison, all brimmed hats and long grey flannel coats flapping in a gust of wind, faces of stone, eyes deceased some time ago, funerals unattended. The lanky feller held the dog which lurched towards me, yanking it back viciously. His associate made eyes to the knife. I padded my breast pocket, reassured my very own stainless companion was there.
‘What you doing?’ I added, stopping five paces away, the Alsatian now sitting impatiently, emitting a low whine.
‘Just about to sacrifice the dog. Problem?’ The knife dangled, handle hidden, an extension of the arm as if the metal ran to their armpit.
‘Been a bad month. You’ve seen the stock market news?! A sacrifice will bring fortune.’
Well ok then, I thought to myself sarcastically ended with a surge of anger. ‘Your dog is it?’
‘Yep. I’ve got the paperwork.’ Shorty pulled out some sheets, defiant, holding them aloft as they ruffled in the wind. The city emblem was visible as was the sadly familiar stamp at the bottom.
‘And who the fuck are you?’ lanky quickly tacked on, snarling.
‘Just a citizen…is this gonna be done here – with all the people around?’ And I remembered they didn’t give a fuck. None of them did.
‘Watch and shut up, or fuck off tosser.’ The blade spun in shorty’s fingers.
There was nothing illegal about it. Nothing I could do.
‘One last question: how is killing a beautiful healthy dog going to bring about ‘good fortune’?’
‘Think about it!’ Lanky barked. ‘Appeases the gods, sacrifice innit… you imbecile!’
My conclusion was reached long before; Logic: none. Reasoning: ditto. Scientific: absolutely not. My only option was to move along and head home, not before I squatted down and looked the dog face on, eyes like large glass buttons. Poor wretch. Pedigree too, for more luck… Soon there’d be a crowd and ritualistic chanting. I wanted no part.
Just as some like minded Neanderthals began to form a broken circle around the trio I began to move past.
‘Wait! You’re one of them thinkers aren’t you?’ Sneered lanky. ‘Ha ha! You can’t out-think the gods you moron…’
As a parting shot shorty had a stab,’He’s probably into science! I should cut HIM up!’
If it was vaguely legal I don’t doubt he would have, to bring good weather, or good nights sleep or….or….well, the mind boggled. Not that it didn’t happen in the darkest places. I shuddered, clocking the mens eyes, merging with the footfall, glad to have left the burgeoning scene, stuffing my hand into my pockets, breathing through my scarf, thinking on Aztec pyramids covered in blood as heads rolled and bounced all the way to the base where a pile formed of bloody haired noggins. One way for a better harvest – or a points surge on the exchanges…
I, my very own self, hadn’t sacrificed anything in months, so my record stated. If I didn’t do one soon I’d be fined or jailed – or both. Same for any citizen over the age of 12, male or female. ‘For the greater good’ – that’s what they said. ‘Animals of a total weight no less than 16lbs’ the legislation read. If we didn’t the world might end. For me, it had a long time ago.
I’d always been impeccable in selecting the oldest, sickest beasts I could find that might, on some level thank me even, for ending them. A hopeless case gave me the out – of feeling less guilt – like some mercenary sent by death as part of his franchise, from the ‘Kill them with Kindness’ branch.
As I eyeballed everyone walking towards me, an appropriate level of disgust flowed through my veins, my upper lip pulled inwards as I snarled without sound. They took part without question. They believed!
I knew some didn’t, but like myself they were the very few, our voices silenced by anti-sacrifice laws so draconian they were a social death sentence, never mind actual prison time.
Well, I thought, feet hammering the flagstones. It’s come to this. I’ll kill alright. I’ll turn anything that wasn’t before, red, anything that is, redder. And I’ll kill as many of them as I can: carefully, with velvet lined leather gloves and folded steel. They wanted animals!? – I’d give them the very worst kind: people. My little gift to society with no actual animals harmed in the process.
I will find more of my kind I asserted, and tip the scales slowly so the powers that be don’t notice a thing. Perhaps, we’d even have a snappy acronym for our organisation.
And as I walked into more of the masses on the pavement, I uttered quietly: I love animals, far more, than you cruel unthinking bastards.