I found a cat, once.
It was about a dozen years ago. Around this time of year, actually. I was out with my sister; we were playing near the old factories, even though our parents had told us time and time again not to. The factories used to make steel, I think. Or maybe something more refined. I'm not sure.
Hide and go seek was the game. My sister was winning as usual. I was wandering around looking for her absently when I heard it.
At first I thought it was my sister playing a trick on me, or maybe she got bored waiting for me to find her and decided to make things easier for me. Either way, I followed the sound. A strange mewling, like you might hear from a child in pain. For a moment I considered that it might be my sister, injured. As if I would be so lucky.
The crying grew louder as I approached the corner of an abandoned building. Turning the corner, my eye was drawn down, to the sight of a small, grizzled creature which had snared itself in the barbed wire from a fallen chain-link fence.
It took me a moment of staring to figure out what it was, so emaciated and sickly had it become. A small, dirty, mangy-looking calico cat. It's fur was spotted and bare in places, it's skin hanging off of bulgy, asymmetrical muscles and a skeletal frame. It continued to mewl helplessly, having caught a hind leg in a snarl of the wire. The dark, rusty metal was slowly tightening and digging deeper into the cat as it struggled to get free.
I spun around. My sister had crept around the corner as well. She fixed the cat with a sneer. "Found you." I replied.
She sniffed, "You were too slow. I got bored."
"You still lost."
My sister never appreciated that the point of hide-and-seek wasn't just finding good hiding spots. It was the endurance to stay hidden until the other person gave up that was the key to the game.
She folded her arms. "What is that… thing, anyway?"
"It's a cat."
"I like dogs better," my sister insisted in a huffy tone. I shook my head.
"Dogs are scavengers. Hunt in packs, take down weak animals, sickly ones. They feed off of table scraps. Cats don't do that. They each have their own territories. And they don't eat left-overs. Cats hunt."
My sister made a face.
"You're being weird."
I shrugged and knelt down by the small creature. It continued to mewl pathetically. I stretched my hand towards it, and it cowered away from me.
"Don't touch it!"
I looked back at my sister.
"Why not? I think I can get it loose."
"No you can't. Besides. It'll probably bite you. It's probably got rabies or something."
I regarded the cat. She might be right.
"What should we do then? We can't just leave it here."
She paused for a moment, considering the proposition. Her gaze fell to a nearby piece of concrete.
Her face twisted again as she picked up the chunk of concrete and she held up her hand, "Fine. Scaredy-cat. Try and get it free, then. But I'm telling mom."
The cat cried as I moved towards it.
"Shh. Shh. I'm not going to hurt you," I tried my voice sound as comforting as possible. Slowly, carefully, I took hold of the barbed wire with my thumbs. The cat struggled a bit.
The wire was in a granny knot, by the look of it. I took either end of the barbed wire, and took a deep breath.
As I pushed the two ends of rusty steel together, the cat yowled in pain. My sister covered her ears, but the metal slid out of the cat's flesh with a quick tear. The creature hobbled out of it and collapsed on the ground.
"Nice job. You're bleeding."
I glanced down. She was right. In addition to the cat's blood, a small cut had formed on my palm from the razorwire.
"You're gonna need a tennis shot for that" she scolded, "And it's not like you even fixed 'it.' Look at it. It's still hurt."
She was right. It was struggling on the limb. It might have been broken, or maybe the muscle had been cut too deep by the barbs. My sister approached it with the concrete, smiling.
"What're you doing?"
Her grin widened, "I'm going to put it out of it's misery."
"No. Don't. Please."
"You can't fix it. You can't fix anything, stupid. You're just a stupid tomboy is what you are, and now I have to clean up your messes."
"Please. Don't. I'll do anything. Don't hurt it. Don'thurtitdon'thurtit-"
She raised up the chunk of concrete, "Too late."
I grabbed her arm. "Wait."
Her eyes narrowed.
"What now? You gonna cry, baby?"
"…I'll do it," I whispered.
She hesitated as a look of surprise metastasized across her features. but she recovered quickly, and a look of glee took over.
"Sure. You do it. Tomboy. I don't want to have anything to do with it." She handed me the chunk of cement.
I took it. Feeling the weight and heft of it in my hand. I looked down at the small, pathetic thing. It cowered away from us, a quaking mewling occasionally escaping its vocal cords. Dogs scavenge. Dogs beg.
As I brought the chunk of cement smashing down into my sister's face, her eyes widened and her face contorted in terror. In an instant, she was reeling backwards, blood pouring from her nose. She let out a high-pitched keen of terror before stumbling to the ground, still clutching at her face.
I kneeled down over her, pinning her arms to the ground with my legs. I could feel her struggle and twist under me, legs kicking helplessly. Her blond pigtail braids whipped in the dirt as she screamed. For the first time in her life, she didn't care how dirty she was getting. Every bead of sweat on her perfect white skin was etched in perfect detail onto my mind. I raised the bloody concrete over my head again.
Dogs beg. Cats hunt.
Written by Needle553312