When I was young, I remember being afraid of cats. Unseen but for their yellow eyes, their prowls and yowls echoed into the night.
I looked once, left and right. Nothing so suspicious but for a glance of the eyes, and I crossed the threshold, with the casual swagger of a drunken lord and entered the servant corridors and hid from sight.
I had wondered, for what purpose they wandered the night.
I wandered further into the complex, stopped at the room I recognised. Nothing distinctive, but for the marks on the maps.
I could see two people through the paper walls. One was my target, and my hands fell to my knives. All cold edges with a core of steel, warm in my grasp. A precaution. I had no need of violence here. I forced muscles to uncoil, controlled my breathing until I was relaxed.
I knew better now.
The other was the perpetrator. Closer now, I could see, hear them fight. The yelling, the screaming. The man struck first, and my target fell to the floor. I thought better of it – all cold calculation. I couldn’t involve myself. I would be alone in a complex, against many.
I waited for the perpetrator to leave.
Hours of mental anguish as I watched him club her with his fists. The screams turned to whimpers, and then I heard nothing but the hardness of breath and the beatings of flesh.
I do not know how much time passed, but I waited. The candles grew dim, and there – the sliding of the door, and the steps that pattered away.
I waited a little bit longer. It didn’t help to be cautious. Like a cat, I slinked into the room. Stifled with the odour of sweat.
I knelt down, next to a young girl – not distinctive but for the scars to her face, the tangles of sweat, blood and hair. The bruises on her arms, her face, and the way her eyes stared listlessly. She was beautiful but no more than twenty.
“Hey,” I said, nudged her with my hand. I didn’t know how she’d respond. She seemed so familiar, but we had never met. I hardly knew her but for the routines of her day.
She stiffened at my touch but otherwise didn’t move.
I wasn’t disappointed.
I held her up by the arms, where she fell boneless into my grasp.
She reminded me of myself when I was younger and afraid of cats – how they watched, cloaked in shadows and lurked in the darkness of human lives. They climbed walls and jumped fences. There were no secrets you could keep, to which you could hide.
Exiled, they could never join society, kept apart but privy—they howled in fear, in danger. Anguished at their plight.
There were no secrets you could hide from a cat.
I struggled not to cry, as I removed her into my care. Through long corridors, I ran and startled servants who cried in alarm.
Soon guards came running, but I climbed the walls, and stole her so that she too could protect herself, and learn to hide in the night.
Today, I was thinking when I wrote this – about poor people who are cast from society. Lets be honest here, modern society does no do well in catering for the minority of the populace. Take for example, in Australia the Aboriginal people (as the earliest custodians of the land) are treated fairly poorly. Land rights aren’t respected and the media casts them drunks and welfare reliant, which is far from true. Every society has those people, but the media casts that stigma upon them as a whole.
Modern society has adapted to the belief of ‘see no evil, hear no evil’. It makes it very easy to live our day to day lives. Just the other day, my parents were robbed. The cleaner even admitted that he saw them, but he thought ‘nothing was wrong’ when four men with balaclavas and weapons (for smashing windows) walked through the shopping centre. He just went right cleaning.
As I grow older, I find myself increasingly disillusioned with society. There are few of us who are willing to do the right thing, and help those in need. When was the last time you gave money to the homeless, or donated to a charity? Volunteered even?
What do you all think? What do you believe society is today and how do you see yourself helping through everyday life?