Forgotten Minds

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Chapter 12 Dogs On The Outskirts

One’s trash is another’s treasure comes to mind as my eyes dwell over the gloom of this early evening. From all over they came small big ugly but not cute. Their abdomens thin in hunger. Hairy scruffy bodies wounded from the fights they endure, they have come to feast on the rubble on the dump. Their shadows fill the empty spaces. Barks break the silence and peace that is if one can call the dump peaceful.

From where I lie defenseless on my cardboard with my dress, I cannot see them all but I know they are there.

The fogginess of the rain edge the ghostly rubble heaps and smoke. My eyes struggle to draw the picture for my mind.

“In this gloomy night I am one of them,” I think, while my eye and hands exploring through the rubble.

“I need to defend myself tonight against hungry dogs,” I Think.

I feel the texture of an ice cold body-less arm in the rubble.

My left-hand digs to feel if I can find the body, but there is no sign of it. I pick the arm up and place it on my back.

“I will use this arm,” I think, “to feed the dogs if they attack me.”

I command my arms to pull me forward to another spot.

A piece of scrap metal attracts my attention now, my hands dig to free it from the rubble from the junk that keeps it anchored to this earth.

For a moment my heart rate accelerates with the thought of packing dogs, of weapons that I do not have.

I think of the pecking order on this dump. Only the power of my mind can make the difference in this world where powerful jaws and teeth rule.

The piece of metal is broken on the corner and have a forty-five degree sharp edge.

“Not perfect for a weapon, but much better that nothing,” I think.

I now use the metal like an ice-pick to dig through the rubble and pull my useless legs and torso along. The cardboard ties cut through my new dress into the damaged skin on my shoulders as I propel forward towards the image of the gate.

Barking and fighting dogs keep my mind alert, keep my eyes from resting and my arms from giving up.

The shadow of a dog cross over the heap in front of me. I look up and see the silhouette of the animal against the yellow lights of the broken city. He jogs off towards the bodies that I have left.

“I have to increase my distance from the bodies so that I do not become part of the fighting of the dogs,” I think while propelling my body forth.

For a moment my mind slips back to the hyena-like dog at my rented room of doom.

I can smell the urine filled halls see the spotted dog skin hanging over the balcony. I cannot help but wonder if this dog lost his life to feed me with sour stew. If this dog could have been the foul taste that reminded me of intestines that belonged to Chappies.

I am now back on the green Unimog and I feel how my body bounce from side to side as the driver hit pothole after pothole in the backstreets of this lost city. I feel the loneliness without my senses, without my ability to talk or to hear. The only sense that I now have back is to see, to see how white streetlights are passing me, how the moonshine over me.

My eyes now lose the battle and I feel how I slip away, away into the wet stuffy holes of death, the corridors of horror…..

The sharp object is penetrating through the deteriorating cardboard. I can feel the cuts in my chest but my legs and lower torso do not feel the pain.

Negativity clouds my mind.

I wonder if my legs will remain useless.

How I will cover the distance home on a broken cardboard box.

Thoughts that blur my mind with clouds of doubt storm through my mind.

My military self has to take a backseat at the time I need him the most.

I have to wonder how the elephants will receive me once I can join them again. How the wild dogs on the outskirts of the city will follow the slow-moving target, a slithering target on a box.

My hands keep digging and dragging, keep propelling while the thoughts flash through my mind. My negative thoughts become my worst enemy, my tar road to an end without hope.

“I have to control the thoughts,” I now think out loud.

“Thoughts of survival should manifest in my mind.

Appreciation fills my chest that the torture did not kill me. Thoughts of survival are now propelled with emotion, with the strength of my mind. A mind that will heal my legs, my wounds while dragging me forth.

I appreciate the cold rain water that sooth my burned body, soothed and quench my thirst, water that will repair the broken links in my mind. It will force my kidneys to work again, my bladder to become a reservoir and my genitals to become whole again.

Slowly the night drag past, hour after hour I progress over the difficult terrain towards the gate. Increase the distance between the mass-grave and decrease the distance towards the gate that will mark my first target. The dogs make it difficult to move fast. I cannot afford to attract their attention, to encounter their teeth and become involve in their gang fights.

“I have to be out of the dump area by first light to avoid eyes of humans,” I continue my thoughts

My legs are still without action without response and cannot push me forward.

I can now see one of the dogs again. He trots like a hyena across the rubble not too far from me. My hands tighten onto the angle iron in my right hand. I stop moving to avoid detection from his eyes, from his ears.

The hours of the night slip by and the distance to the gate become closer and closer. The dogs fail to detect my moving body through the ash and rubble.

I can now see the road next to the dump, a road that might be the announcement of the end. End of rubble, the end of sharp objects cutting through my cardboard vehicle.

Night rain and cloud cover have now make space for a few stars for a little breeze that push against my wet flowery dress. The smoke on the dump is less and it seems as if the dogs have found a place to run, a bitch on hit to follow.

I see how they are all running down the road away from the dump and the mass-graves.

My cardboard slide has seen his days, it has done its duty and the time has come to abandon it.

Light blue colors on the eastern horizon announce the end of another night, a night without sleep and without rest for my hunted soul. This announcement is not only the announcement of a new day but also the announcement that I need cover.

I know I have to hide from the eyes of the local population, the children that might play in the dusty outskirt roads, and from the dogs. Soldiers will be driving and patrolling the war ripped city.

I can now see the opening between the broken fences the gate that I have dreamt of. My arms move my dead legs and torso in the direction of the opening.

I cannot hear the birds that normally welcome you from the darkness of the night for a moment I stop. I listen and wonder why the light is not announced, why the birds are not flying from tree to tree to find the worms. I have no time to work this out no time to waste as I know that the light will soon be up. With arms rowing me forward I continue towards the opening searching for the perfect hiding place for the day.

Harder and harder the soil become as I get closer to the gate.

I have a few meters left to the gravel road the gate and my first target of the night. Arm length by arm length I move to my target that will leave me plus minus one thousand eight hundred kilometers from home.

I have now reached the gate and the gravel road. Next, to the road I can see, in the twilight of the morning, the didge lying next to the road. Without any further thought, I drag my body down to the mud into the didge. The water smell like sewer water and the mud is like a black sludge. But I know I have to continue in this half sewer half rain mud. I have to use the sides of the didge to protect me from the new eyes that will be born into the area shortly. With my body half in the mud, I start dragging myself next to the road. I use the long grass to grip with my fingers, to pull my body forward towards the crossroad that is about fifteen meters in front of me. A crossroad that might have proper draining systems, build by the Portuguese.

“These draining systems will have pipes, pipes where I will be able to hide during the light of the day,” I think

Slowly and difficult is the journey through the mud. Mosquitos are packing my arms and I think my legs too. Blue flies enjoy the ride to the crossroad on the spaces not occupied by mosquitos. I know that I need to get away from these malaria invested insects. Every one of them is carrying the possibility to end me. But I have no choice or alternative and continue to my new hiding place. A place only in the deepest of my imagination at the moment, but it remains the hope, hope to survive another day.

In front of me, I can see my new den, my place of rest.

The didge that I have been following is leading into a pipe under the road. A pipe that is big enough for my body to fit into.

I reach the opening and turn my body around so that my feet can enter first. My arms are now pushing to get my body into the mosquito and fly invested darkness.

I know that the open wounds on my body will become infected from the foul sewer water. The flies will lay eggs into my raw flesh. Mosquitos will transfer malaria to me.

This decision to stay in the pipe might be a choice to die, but I also know that I will never enter that horror room again. I prefer death by infection over that. My body is now in and I can sleep and rest for the day.

I keep as much of my flower dress body as possible under the mud, under the sewer water to protect it from the protein-starved female mosquitos. The rest of my body is covered with the stinking mud. It keeps the mosquitos at bay but the flies do not mind the stinky mud.

My mind pretends that the flies walking over me are the fingers of angels tickling my skin.

My eyes close to release me from the reality of the raising African sun.

My dreams take me away:

I see the high buildings in Johannesburg, the Carlton center from the pup where I sit with a draft of ice cold Castle Lager. The streets are clean and the morning sun color the cars and taxis that pass in the street below with shiny streaks. Yellow and red umbrellas on the terrace of the pub give shadows on the wooden tables filled with people sipping on their drinks. My mind feels the belonging the love from a city and its people. My mind struggles to understand the feeling of belonging, belonging to a city. I hate cities. I hate the pollution the vehicles the suited up people. The lack of space the concrete jungle that now faces me faces me with love.

“Why do I feel love for the place I hate; why do I feel that I belong in a place that drives me insane?” I ask.

The answers to these questions are elusive; they do not satisfy my needs, but my heart feels good and at home in a place that is no home for me. I look at the people the dresses, the suits and then at their faces. There are no faces, no noses no lips, just blank spaces under the hair and between the ears. My flower dress with holes and sewer mud does not belong between these faceless well-dressed people. My bare feet and scared legs stand out, people should stare but they do not see me. It is as if I am invisible as if my presence are non-existent as if I am just a soul without a body. I look at the draft beer in front of me at the waitress that walk between the tables. People at the tables, but the tables are empty, the waitress is gone and so is the ice cold beer in front of me. I look at the dirty buildings the paper invested streets the empty sidewalks. I look at the stars that now replaced the morning sun and the colorful streaks on the cars. The lights in the buildings are forming numbers, numbers in light, I read

Seven, eight, three, eight, eight, three, five, two before the lights disappear. I remember the torture room. I want to run back, back to the urine filled room to the big black man. I want to scream the numbers to them, to someone to anyone. The lights are now gone, the stars are staring at me at my flower dress, at my bare feet, and at my soul. I feel how they judge me, how they laugh at my thoughts. I feel the eyes of thousands now staring at me, thousands that are not there, that do not exist ...

White eyes open from my muddy face. I see the teeth of a growling dog staring at me.

“A dog with a face, with a nose and ears, a dog that is not here to ask my force number,” I think.

“She is not here to torture me to ask the twenty questions.” “She is here to claim the shade of the pipe, the protection of my den. She is here to challenge my abilities with my new angle iron weapon.” My mind contemplates.

I can now hear the small little cries of little puppies behind me and I realize that this bitch and I have selected the same place.

I am hiding my wounds and she is hiding her litter, both of us have a common goal. The confrontation can, however, destroy both of us, can attract attention that neither of us needs. I can see the sunlit raised hair on her neck the shadows of the trees on her face. Judging by the position of the sun it is about seven o’clock in the morning. A time when the city will start living when eyes will open and when a hiding place will have value.

My military mind starts solving through the options of survival and peace. I can push myself deeper into the pipe and try to move the puppies to the front so that she can reach them. A good workable plan with only one major problem, iIf I start to retreat she will gain confidence and attack.

The question if I will be able to defend myself from the biting jaws, from a dog that clearly does not visit the animal clinics often, plow through my mind.

Another jackal dog with long legs joins the bitch, probably to see what she has found to eat. The new Arrival is skinny without the complete cover of his orange shaded hair. His hair looks rigid and carries witness of the poor health and nutrition of the dog. For a moment the bitch pays attention to the new intruder by turning her growl to him. He jogs around her like a dancing boxer in the ring. Her sharp teeth follow every movement he makes. I make use of the opportunity to move deeper into the pipe, deeper towards the tiny calls for a mother.

I have now managed to move behind the den and in the little sunlight that enters the pipe opening, I can see the small little bundles walking and searching for the comfort of a mother.

The most dangerous part of my journey will start tomorrow.

“You know you have to predict everything when you running like that,” I say while finishing the beer in front of me.

“How do you do that, I mean is there a method? John asks.

“Very simple you ask what you will do if you were in their shoes. Well if they are stupid it becomes more difficult to predict but piss to counter them.

“Last round, we have to lock up,” a tall skinny man announce next to my table. My eyes wander through the pub. The only people left is a couple exchanging cob a few tables from us.

And then off course Martin hanging for dear life onto the bar counter.

“For instance what will they do next? I ask, pointing at the hoover couple at the table.

“O, yes it is easy, they will leave and fuck on his cars back seat,” John replies proudly.

“Observation John Observation is the keywords.”

“First of all her car, Ford Lazer I think, see the keys is placed by her right hand,” I say with a smile.

“How do you know she is not left handed?” John asks.

“The head clamp on the poor fellow,” I answer.

“Secondly they might have to undo the tongue rings before they leave,” I now say laughing loud.

“Tongue rings?”

“Observe John observe,” I laugh.

“Time to lock up,” the skinny lizard man with the Elvis hairstyle prompt again.

“Forgot my keys uncle,” I reply.

The tongue entangled couple have managed to untie their tongues and get their hands on the table before the lizard man arrive to talk shit to him.

“We need to go,” I announce, “but before we go let me ask you a question to think about,”

“How do one get into the mind of a potential hunter that are not aware that he is hunting you?”

“Secondly how do one get in the minds of a pack of instinct driven dogs?”

With a puzzled look on his face, we down the last drops out of our glasses before we leave.

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