Death and Decay

When I left the house this morning, I was all smiles; my heart was filled with sunshine, and my spirit was beaming with anticipation, looking forward to a brand new day. “Today is going to be beautiful,” I said to myself. It is not always easy to develop a cheerful disposition towards life; it is something that you hone with consistent repetition.

Outside our red gate, I began the long walk that would take me to a main street where I could ride a jeepney. Wearing earphones, I was listening to the music playing from my mobile phone. Looking back, I don’t remember what was playing then at that time. But I do remember that after a few steps on that asphalted road, I glanced towards my right, and saw something that made me stop in my tracks a few steps later.

I saw a brief glimpse of white, and I had to shortly pause to collect my thoughts. It wasn’t something immediately distinguishable, and so I found myself slowly walking backwards, my heart beating fast with anticipation, and dread. The thing that I saw was in the middle of two parked vehicles, which I think were already too broken to ever run again. I stopped at the point where the mysterious object was already at my immediate right; all that was left was for me to turn my head towards it, which I did.

In life, there will always be those moments that you wish had never happened. Actions, that you wish you had never taken. Events, that will fill you with regret. This particular moment, was one of them. The flash of white that I saw was something which was inside a white plastic bag. White fur. Stiff legs. Unmoving. No longer living.

It was a dead dog.

I was shocked, and remained rooted at the spot. I’ve seen my share of dead animals on the street, but this was the first time that I’ve seen one buried unceremoniously like this. My mind was filled with questions. What could have happened? How could it have happened? Who could ever do such a thing? My brain was still trying to process  the questions, when I caught sight of another hideous apparition, just beside the dog’s corpse.

It was the rotting body of a dead cat.

This one was in a worse condition compared to the dog. You could only see the dog’s hind legs protruding from the plastic bag, whereas the cat just lay there exposed. Parts of it had already decomposed, while the rest of it was being slowly digested by maggots and flies. Drawn by curiosity (or most probably, naive stupidity), I dared another step, hoping to take a closer look. Remember what I said earlier about events that fill you with regret? This, was also one of them. All of a sudden I could smell the overbearing stench of death. I could see the maggots all too clearly. I could almost hear them squirming, and it almost felt like they were.. inside of me.  It was too much for me to take, so I hurriedly walked away.

For the remainder of that day, I was haunted by the memory of wriggling white worms, and the disconcerting sight of decaying flesh.

-Ed. E.


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