He could feel
them watching through the scratched, yellowed, pane.
His big dark
eyes opened wide with confusion, then fear. He stood up and paced the four square
feet of the chamber. His collar was stretched and twisted. He must have struggled when
they forced him in here. In the dim light he could see that his legs were scraped and dirty.
Flecks of saliva dried in his hair.
He turned to the
window and stared back at their eager faces. Why were they doing this to him?
A mechanical voice echoed through
the chamber announcing the seconds remaining before release of the gas.
to speak. He had to make them stop.
you afraid of me because of my kind? I know they’ve
attacked you before but that doesn’t mean that I will. I never hurt anyone. I only
Why are you doing this to me? I didn’t ask for
much. I followed the rules. I followed your lead.
This is a mistake. I don’t
belong in here. You have to let me out.
I didn’t want to hurt you.
It was my job.
The final, strangled, cry
of the shelter’s night manager was drowned out
by a triumphant chorus of yips and howls and barks and meows. Once the din died down, the
animals stretched and circled before settling into their beds to await the arrival of the
morning shift. They slipped into the deep, satisfied dreams of a job well done.
Duxbury is a happily reformed accountant living in Houston, Texas.
She has been a writer, albeit an unpublished one, for many years. When not indulging her
creative side, she works as treasurer for the Guppies (Great Unpublished) Chapter of the
Sisters in Crime.