It’s a little past midnight, and a man gets out of a courtyard. He’s got a dog in tow and he’s walking quickly towards a nearby park. The dog follows his master obediently on the leash. It’s a French bulldog, all muscle and all clown. The owner is pulling the dogs along. He sees a bunch of stray dogs nearby, strangely clustered around a large container. The man doesn’t think too much about it and hurries onward.
It’s been a long day for the man. He’s been working since this morning and he just finished his last shift. He usually gets whatever sleep he can and then starts the whole routine over again on the next day. It’s cold, surprisingly. He’d rather have snow, but this is as cold as it gets in Asia. It’s a sort of fake cold, as the cold is extenuated by the humidity that creeps into your bones, no matter how many layers you wear. Recently, the man has been overestimating the cold and wearing too many layers to work. He’ll have to correct that tomorrow. He doesn’t like sweating at work.
The park is deserted, just like he likes it. He stopped going to the park at the usual hour because of a very loud local dog owner, who seriously annoyed him. Since then, he’s been avoiding the dog park at the usual hour, which is between 9 and 10PM. Instead, he walks his dog later, after he finishes his assignments. In his mind, it’s a win-win situation. He doesn’t have to deal with annoying locals and the walk doesn’t last too long.
Once he arrives in the park, the dog knows that he’s about to be lets loose and starts to pull at the leash. The owner doesn’t let him. He always lets the dog go at the same spot and the dog knows it. Both of them have sped up. In one swift practiced motion, the dog owner lets his dog go by unclipping his leash. The dog runs off to do his business. The man continues to walk. The dog follows him around. They seem to take the same route every day.
The man is thinking about the dogs. He wonders why they were all clustered together like that. He remembers that some of the stray cats like to stay under the large container. He’s seen two of the orange cat’s brood there; two small orange kittens with their mom, who’s probably the orange cat’s sister. At least that’s what the man reckons, because the cats used to all live in one of the 1st floor apartments. Live was a strong word. They were taken care of by a woman, but they used the plants as a litter and basically stunk up the place. After some tenants complained, the woman kept a few cats and gave the others away. That’s what she told him, though he’s not sure about it. She could have probably just driven them to another neighborhood, somewhere far away and dropped them off. Cat life is cheap in Asia, and he wouldn’t be surprised if she had done something like this. It’s not like the cats were her pets.
There had been a total of 4 generation of cats, with the fifth generation being born not too long ago. The man had almost rescued this pair of orange kittens, but he already had a cat and wasn’t enthused about cat ownership. He adopted the stray cat as a kitten because in his heart, he couldn’t leave a helpless kitten to the world. He’s a dog person, not a cat person, and life with a cat could get annoying.
One of them was almost digging. They were the stray dogs from the park, the ones that he thought were pretty benign. He didn’t let his dog play with them, but they seemed harmless enough. In the distance, he heard the screeching of a cat. On the weekend, there had been lots of cat yowling; they almost sounded like babies. It was odd at this time of night, but the man had other things to worry about and leashed the dog for the short trek back home. On his way, he realized what he had heard: it was one of the cats being torn apart by the dogs. He felt anxious about seeing what he would find.
Sure enough, when he walked near the container, the dogs were gone. Slightly further away, there was some roadkill. It was a cat. It hadn’t died a pleasant death. There was fur all over the place. The man took a closer look. He wasn’t familiar with death, so he was curious, but he regretted it almost immediately. The cat was torn up and twisted at an odd angle. It was lifeless and the man quickly went home.
It wasn’t roadkill, it was dogkill.