Soofi is a Dog
The collapse, when it came, came quickly. There was no rush on the banks, no warning signs on the Stock Exchange, nothing. One day the world was limping along, the next, chaos.
No one really knew what to do, governments were in disarray and people continued to turn up for work not knowing that no matter what they did from now there would be no money coming their way again. Armies poured onto the streets to try and keep control until very soon they began to realise they were in the same position as the starving masses and they mutineed in their thousands, grabbing their families and setting up defensive perimeters around defensible ground, hoarding food and provisions.
Fuel from the forecourts was the first thing to disappear, then food from the shelves, and then whatever weaponry people could lay their hands on.
A month following "Black Thursday" saw most major cities in the world still burning, refugee camps full of the dead and the uglier side of man rising to ascendency.
A lot of pets had been killed, in a lot of countries even eaten. Others were set free to roam and find their own way in the world. Soofi was one of those "freed" by her owners; driven to the furthest point their meagre fuel would allow and then thrown from the car amidst tears and recriminations.
Soofi had chased them for a while but then lost them as the car picked up speed and she was left in a strange place full of strange smells and even stranger noises.
That had been three weeks ago. Three weeks ago Soofi was a poodle, pale, pampered and pink eyed, but now she was a dog. They were all dogs now. No breeds were left anymore as all the animals on the street reverted to type. She had found it difficult in the first week, slinking between the shadows and taking food where she could but a chance encounter with a pack and her use of teeth and claw to grant self preservation meant that she was accepted into the fold.
Now they ran together, large dogs, small dogs, mean dogs, quiet dogs. But all dogs. They'd stayed away from humans to begin with, preferring to steal their scraps and take what they could but when one of the older dogs took down a small human who couldn't run fast enough they all dived in, ripping and tearing at the flesh. They howled and snarled and fought as they struggled to rip the nutrients from the child, the smell driving them onwards to crack limbs, lap blood and later suck the still warm marrow from the bones.
That first success had emboldened them, made them stronger, less cautious of the humans. They continued to take them down when they could, sometimes they weren't as successful as that first time but most often they were. With their success came power, with that power came numbers and before long Soofi and the original pack were at the head of two hundred dogs.
They roamed the streets now unchecked, the humans building barriers against them, blockaded in their own homes only daring to come out when they thought the packs weren't around. The pack owned the streets. The pack owned the estates. Soon the pack owned the city.
Soofi led the charge against some humans who had the sticks like lightning. She wasn't afraid of the noise or the flash of light, she simply ran on towards them, her lips curled back showing her teeth ready to rip and rend. She was almost at the humans when a familiar smell stopped her in flight.
Her humans? Close by? She let the pack run past her and didn't even join in the killing frenzy as they finally took the humans down. Instead she looked around and began to recognise smells, tastes, views. Her favourite tree, her walk, this was her walk, this where her humans had brought her every day.
Her tail wagged as she began to follow the smells of her humans. Closer now the sweet joyful stench of them filled her nostrils until she thought she would go crazy with it. She let out a low moan, and then a bark of remembrance.
She was home.
The gate was larger than she remembered but she began to scratch at it, whining like she used to when they'd shut her out in the garden for too long. Insistent and wheedling she continued the noise, scratching and tearing at the wood as if it would just give and she would be back inside.
Suddenly she heard a noise. Unmistakably her humans, one of the little ones, shouting to the big ones, excited and eager. Soofi redoubled her efforts and began to bark joyfully.
A face peered over the top of the gate. Her human! She wagged her tail and began to run in little circles, her excitement almost too much to bear.
She sat then, as she had been trained to, and listened to the humans as they moved things from behind the new gate and then it slowly opened.
She wagged her tail and waited to be called.
"How are you doing my little poodle?" said one of the humans, "Did you find your way home all by yourself?"
Soofi wagged her tail even more and then when her human gestured she ran forward.
She went for the little human first, her teeth aiming for its neck, tearing and ripping as quickly as possible to get to the meat inside. In the confusion the rest of the dogs barrelled through the gap sending humans running for the house, but not quickly enough.
It was over in moments, and before long the pack were licking blood from their maws, chewing on bones and laying down for a rest.
Soofi surveyed the carnage and licked her lips.
Soofi was not a little poodle.
Soofi was a dog.