Killing of a Cat

Part 1

Photo by Malek Dridi on Unsplash

A city has many colors. A city has many faces. A city has many stains. A city crosses thousands of oceans, tornadoes, and survives thousands of bloodshed to become what it is. Like human, cities also have souls and pride of being the part of a greater civilization. But, like life the city loses its soul and identity with the oppressive behavior of outsiders or people without souls.

The cat knows the city inside out as he’s been living here since its foundation. He has been old enough to understand the wind that suffocates the city and ones that does not. He knows every human living in the city as they know him.

Years before the city was filled with laughter, happiness, and contentment. Yes, he remembers the first time the big ferry from a faraway country came and stopped in the harbor. He was surprised to see the huge ship carrying so much goods. There were many boxes made of wood. He wondered if there were fish in those boxes. He didn’t get a chance to peep into those boxes as the place was too crowded with people—people from the city and the outsiders. He kind of liked the outsiders-their white skin, their language, their smiles.

“Ibrahim, Ibrahim.” He looked up. To his right, there was Adnan smiling at him. “Uff, Ibrahim, I looked everywhere and you’re sitting here all silent and sad. Let’s go home now. Come.”

Ibrahim didn’t want to go home right now. It’s the time when the city becomes more peaceful and the boat of the fisherman returns from day long fishing. He loves the fisherman. Ganesh is an easy -going and amiable old man who is fond of Ibrahim. It’s been so many years since they met each other. Ganesh always gives him tasty fish without asking and looks at him peacefully till he finishes eating. Sometimes, Ganesh even takes him along with him for fishing. At first, Ibrahim became so afraid of sitting in the boat. But now, he’s not afraid of water. Instead, now he loves to go fishing. He loves the smell of the wind and the water more than his owner’s bungalow. There is so much peace in the river—he can see so many other beautiful things like the blue sky, the hills, and the falling leaves floating on the water.

“Come on, Ibrahim. It’s getting dark. Let’s go home.” The little boy trying to convince the cat to go home is Adnan. His father is one of richest man in this city. Adnan also has a dog, Khuddar. Ibrahim doesn’t like him as he seems arrogant. Adnan’s elder sister, Meher loves Khuddar more than Ibrahim for some ‘God knows what’ reasons. He gets to pose for photos and eat many delicious food. But, Ibrahim gets only occasional attention. Only person care for him in his new house is Adnan.

Ibrahim stood up unwillingly. He gave a last look to the road leading to the shore. There was no sign of Ganesh or his fishing hook.

Part 2

As they approached home, they saw the lane was full of bikes and cars. Even Adnan had no idea what’s going on. So they both stopped walking for a moment. Adnan asked a passerby who was in a hurry, what happened. The man who looked afraid and out of his senses in fear, said “Run, they are coming” and disappeared to the corner of the lane. They heard distant clamoring of people-many many people.

“Adnan! Ibrahim!” Adnan’s mother whispered from behind when the cat and the little boy was still trying to understand what was happening. She looked frightened to her core. “Hurry up, we can’t wait here.”

“What happened, Ammi?”

“Shhh…not now. I’ll tell you later. Come. Hurry.” She grabbed Adnan’s hand and almost dragged him through the back gate of the house. Ibrahim couldn’t figure a thing.

The house was full of people—frightened people. Everyone was busy on their mobile phones trying to call someone. It seemed very strange to Ibrahim that everyone was talking in a whispering voice. If they are hiding from someone, then it will be of no use as they left their bikes and cars outside the house. He was amused at his own thought.

As Ibrahim went to Adnan’s room and sat on his sofa as always, a huge thundering sound vibrated the whole house. Adnan came running and hugged Ibrahim out of fear.

And then there was chaos.

Everybody in the house freaked out and started to run to and fro, leaving their vehicles. They started to run towards the river. The riverside was still developing to be a part of the city. That part of the city is still looks like a village. Adnan’s family was too panicked. His mother and sister sat in the middle seat of the car, Adnan and the cat in the front seat with the father. And Khuddaar? No one bothered to think about the dog even once. Or maybe the dog is still sleeping on the couch in Meher’s room. All of the people were very frightened. Ammi and Meher were weeping under their burkha and Adnan stuck to the cat. The father drove the car towards the river. And when they were about to reach the riverbank, they saw the horrifying view of the mob following them. It was like death approaching. Someone shouted “Jai Shree Ram” and threw a burning stick towards the car. The car lost its balance and hit the big banyan tree on the right side of the road.

Ibrahim, the poor cat flipped out of the car’s window and landed on the empty field nearby. The mob approached the car. Someone threw a burning stick towards the car. The car caught fire instantly and everyone inside were burnt alive. The cat, frightened by this horrifying incident, escaped the field and started running towards the hut by the big coconut tree. This is Ganesh’s house. Ibrahim knows this place and couldn’t think of a safer place to hide at least for a few moment.

He went straight into the kitchen and hid under the dining table in the corner. The house was empty. Ganesh or his little boy was not seen anywhere. But the door was wide open.

The cat could hear the mob approaching the house. They were shouting the name of their God for some reason. He wouldn’t know why.

“This way, this way, under the table…” someone shouted.

Three or four people entered the house.

“Ibrahimmm….Ibrahim, where are you hiding?”

“Let him go, Tipu. He’s just a cat.” Ganesh almost begged.

“But he is a Muslim cat.”

“You’re being ridiculous, Tipu. Cat is just cat. Cats are not Hindu or Muslim. They don’t have a religion.”

“Shut up, you old fool. Are you defending a Muslim cat? Are you a Hindu or not?” He turns to the other guy wearing orange colored shirt. “And what are you staring at? Go, find him. We won’t spare a soul that carries a Muslim soul or eats Muslim food.” “Yes, boss.”

“He’s a good cat, Tipu. He loves me and so he has come here seeking shelter. Please, don’t kill him. Don’t kill him…” Ganesh started sobbing sitting on the floor.

Ibrahim heard two gunshots right beside him and Ganesh fell into the ground. His face covered in blood.

“Meow”, the cat could not bear seeing Ganesh laying on the ground, dead. He didn’t know why or how the sound came out of his mouth.

A hand came and grabbed Ibrahim by his throat and dragged him out from under the table.

He struggled a lot to escape. He tried to scratch the hand holding him.

“Do you want to scratch me, you kafir?”

The leader of the goon grabbed the cat by its throat and twisted it backwards.

He threw the corpse to the ground and started to dance with the others as if they had achieved victory by killing a little cat.

In a minute or two, the house was filled with war cry. Till then the city was burnt to ashes.

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