I stood frozen in helpless awe, looking at the woman I was now convinced was the Devil – no way was he a man, this had to be her. I watched the lifeless bodies of puppies strewn on the ground. I was afraid to speak up, fearing I might suffer the same fate. I’ve always loved dogs, we had 2 when I was young and I believed in my young mind they were my siblings. I spent the early years of my childhood in the rural areas, living with my aunt, grandma and cousins. We lived a pretty comfortable life considering the circumstances – you could say we lived way above the poverty line. I knew my parents were not there but I would be lying if I said I was anything less than loved. Every kid was a jewel in my family, and me – well I like to think I was a rare jewel.
My aunt and grandma were serious subsistence farmers, that was the way of life in that time and in that part of the country. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, subsistence farmers grow enough food to feed themselves and their families only –they don’t give much thought to selling surpluses.That means they keep grain and seeds from the current harvest to the next season, they raise animals and eggs are not for breakfast, they are never for breakfast.In fact if you are caught eating or frying eggs, you are most probably going to be ostracized – I kid of course. But yes eggs are for hatching. Riches are measured by animal stock so you are not denying the family that chance by eating their eggs.
So what was that first paragraph about I hear you ask, well stay with me.
On that afternoon my grandmother found puppies eating eggs in the hen coop. That was enough to set her off and awaken the Devil in her. I still don’t think the puppies deserved what followed. She locked the puppies inside the coop, went and fetched a knobkerrie. Then she grabbed the puppies, one by one – hitting them on the head – yes with the intention of killing them. I could not watch but I could not look or go away either. I watched her killing my friends and I felt something hot forming in my throat, nothing my young mind could put into words. To say I was distraught is a mild understatement.I don’t remember how many they were, but she killed all of them. This woman I had always known to be loving, turned into a monster right before my eyes and at that moment I was sure I had lost my grandmother too, along with my puppy friends.This impostor inhabiting her body, this was not the woman I knew. I felt fear surge through me, if she could do that to puppies – heaven knew what she would do if anyone spoke up.When she was done, she grabbed the lifeless bodies and threw them onto the wheelbarrow, and had us wheel them to a nearby bush to dump the bodies there. I don’t remember what was going through my mind at the time, I was about 7 or 8 years old but the memory of that day will probably never leave my mind. Although she died years ago, I don’t know if I’ll ever fully forgive her. May my puppy friends rest in eternal peace.