Rule of the Gun

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Story about a dog and a cat.

Submitted: June 17, 2009

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Submitted: June 17, 2009

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Rule of the Gun
A short story by Nathan Till
Israel's assault on Gaza has exacted the bloodiest toll of civilian lives yet, when the bombing of UN schools being used as refugee centres and of housing killed more than 50 people, including an entire family of seven young children.
 The UN protested at a "complete absence of accountability" for the escalating number of civilian deaths in Gaza, saying "the rule of the gun" had taken over. Doctors in Gaza said more than 40 people died, including children, in what appears to be the biggest single loss of life of the campaign when Israeli bombs hit al-Fakhora school, in Jabaliya refugee camp, while it was packed with hundreds of people who had fled the fighting.
Most of those killed were in the school playground and in the street, and the dead and injured lay in pools of blood. Pictures on Palestinian TV showed walls heavily marked by shrapnel and bloodstains, and shoes and shredded clothes scattered on the ground. Windows were blown out’
The heavy handedness of the Israeli assault on the Gaza strip shocked me. I detested the fact that innocent people were caught in the crossfire, dying even though they had no interest in the war. People who just wanted to get on with their lives and look after their families.
Nonchalantly the Israeli government shrugged their shoulders. The killing was blasé, the death of the civilians banal. It happens. Just Get on with your life there’s no need to worry about our affairs. You don’t know these people. They are no better than animals. Just flesh, blood and bones smeared across a wall.
I kept imagining their faces. What if my family had the misfortune of being born in Gaza trapped in the path of two raging beasts. It felt real to me. Would anybody be held accountable for this atrocity? I doubt it.
 
I stopped reading the papers and went out for my lunchtime daily walk around the town.
It was a glorious day. The summer sun shone from an unblemished blue sky bringing to life the cold grey town. I’d lived in this town all my life, as had my parents and I’m pretty sure my grandparents had too. The town was meagre and humble, which suited me. I’d always felt at home here. I looked in some of the shops that I frequented but didn’t buy anything and then made my way back to work. The office was boiling. The time dragged all afternoon as I suffered in the stifling heat. Eventually five pm came and without hesitation I absconded to go home. I was tired and hungry. The drive home from work was dictated to by the pace of the traffic. I was in a hot car, sweltering. I turned the stereo on blasted some heavy metal music out of the windows. I drove a fluorescent green Nissan Micra. I think I was the only one that appreciated the irony in that.
I pulled up on the drive of my house and was welcomed with the familiar sight of my cat running out in front of the car. I was wary of running him over so pulled on the drive slowly. As I got out of the car he came up to me meowing intermittently. He always greeted me this way when I got home from work. I guess he was pleased to see me and I was pleased to see him. His name was Coolio. He was 2 years old and even after 2 years his little idiosyncrasies still humoured me.
I patted him on the head a couple of times then he flopped and sprawled out on the step expecting me to tickle his belly. When I did so, he always gave me a little nip on the hand as if to say “get off. That tickles”. I am a big sop when it comes to pets and cute animals as you can probably tell. Humans give pets characteristics and almost make up the cats personality for them. That’s why people struggle to eat their livestock, say if they give their pigs a name. You love the little character you’ve created. The only reason Coolio kept coming back to me was not because of love but simply because I provided food and shelter. If I was laid destitute I’m sure the little bastard would desert me and go and live with someone else. But for now we had an arrangement.
I left Coolio rolling around on the step, basking in the sun as I went inside. As I was removing my shoes in the porch I noticed the young girl who lived across the road returning from her walk with her dog. The dog was a black Labrador, a big dog.
I looked down for a moment to remove a shoe then when I looked up I saw the dog bounding towards my house his eyes transfixed on Coolio. Oblivious to the approaching insurgent Coolio lay on his side swooning. He had no time to escape. I froze for a moment in apprehension and was helpless as the beast captured Coolio between his jaws. He smothered Coolio in the slobbery vice of his mouth. Picking him up, clamping down his teeth, thrashing his head. Coolio screamed.
“Ruby! Ruby! No! Stop!” The girl from across the street was calling the dog a distance away but the dog just ignored her.
I shot out of the porch and kicked it in the stomach as hard as I could but it still clung on to my defenceless pet so I put both hands on its writhing head and stuck my thumbs into its eyes. The pain subdued the dog’s murderous intent, it whimpered and backed away. Coolio fell limply to the ground, blood all over his white fur. Puncture marks all over his crushed little body. I could see he was dead.
The girl from across the road settled the dog. She started crying and apologising.
“I’m so sorry. Is your cat ok?”
“No. He’s dead”
“Are you sure? He might still be ok. I can ring someone, or, or something…”
“No. He’s dead”. I said sombrely.
I picked Coolio up cradling his wet feeble corpse in my arms and took him into the house. I placed him on a towel in the kitchen then went upstairs to get changed into some scruffy old clothes to prepare his grave in the back garden. I started to cry. I wept bitterly for a while as I sat huddled over on a chair in my bedroom. This little creature that brought so much joy into my life was gone, taken away in an instant. Tragedy always seems to happen so fast and can rarely be foreseen. I kept seeing the event in my mind. I was still in disbelief of what just happened. I was in shock. I never expected to feel so bereaved over losing a pet. Eventually I stopped crying and picked up the energy to go and dig his grave.
I dug a hole and gently placed Coolio into the earth, wrapped in a linen cloth. I captured my last memories of him as I shovelled each layer of dirt into the tomb, watching the dry earth gradually submerse him forever. I was overcome with a sadness that would last days.
 
 
 
Shortly after the event the family from over the road came round and apologised profusely and sincerely. Then later on they brought me chocolates and a card, but they were of no comfort to me. I didn’t hold them accountable for what happened, so had no need to forgive them. I held the dog accountable and I wanted revenge.
The only justice that can be paid to a beast is death. I looked into the legal route of going about getting the dog put down but was advised a dog needs to have attacked a human for it to be terminated. Dogs will kill cats, it’s an accepted practice and I thoroughly understood it was natural. But this dog had killed my cat and I couldn’t let this criminal get away with what he’d done, so I decided to take the law into my own hands.
A few days later I was watching the families’ house through my window, waiting for the girl to take the dog for a walk. She came out of the house and walked off down the street. When she disappeared round the corner I went outside and walked down to the end of the street where I waited for her to come back. An hour or so passed before she returned. She saw me lingering as she approached. She shied away from eye contact as did I.
“Hi”. She said with a measure of empathy.
“Hello” I said as cheerily as I could, trying to mask my nervous disposition. “Hello Ruby!” I knelt down and ruffled Ruby’s ears. She was a lovely dog. She was smiling at me, wagging her tail and sort of trotting on the spot.  If I’d have known Ruby beforehand, I would have never been able to carry out this reprisal. I reached into my back pocket for the knife. I contemplated for a second what I was about to do then respectfully I said to Ruby, “I’m sorry girl.”
With a swift stroke I plunged the blade into the dog’s chest. The dog winced and barked and tried to retreat. I held it by its collar and stabbed repeatedly at its chest and throat. It tried to defend itself but its jaws were drained of their power. The girl screamed and did not interfere, for fear that I would turn the blade on her. The dog collapsed into death. I was not proud of what I’d done.
The man who lived in the house on the corner rushed out to intervene. I ran off like a coward.
 
I was eventually taken to court over the incident where I was sentenced to 3 months in prison for animal cruelty and given a hefty fine. The first question the judge asked me was “Why did you knife to death a dog?”
I replied. “Because it killed my cat”


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