The Rabid Dogs of War

March 27, 2010
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It was most certainly not our ‘druthers to be there.

And who would chose to be in this ragged, broken group of men who pass off any and all problems by just saying they’re on a pilgrimage? That they’re only trying to find sanctity and good? That’s all well and fine except for one thing.

There ain’t nothin’ sacred left.

We were settin’ up our breastwork for the night, as we did every night so it would make it harder for some mean mother hubbard wanting to do us in while we were unaware and dozin’ to do so, when Doe snapped. Doe was a big man. And I don’t mean he was just the slightest bigger than the rest of us. I mean he was a large man packin’ more muscle than a bull. And he was twice as irritable and twice as dangerous. He has no qualms with tannin’ your hide if he felt you were outta line. Hell, he’d give you a cuff to the ear just for lookin’ at him funny. Doe was his last name and it was safe to assume ‘John’ was his first. Meanin’ he had no name and nothin’ to tie him too. He was a ghost, a nobody. Just like the rest of us good for nothings.

Doe was an angry man to begin with; he was constantly hollerin’ at us and treatin’ us like soldiers in a war. And maybe we were just sorry excuses for jarheads in a war that nothin’ but a libel had started. Problem was, it was one of them wars that had no end. It was like settin’ lose a rabid dog, it’d run rampant and spread its disease to as many poor defenseless folks as it could until someone rallied up the courage to face it and shoot it down. And here we were, still runnin’ around and with nobody to take us out.

But that night, he was particularly on edge. Nobody was rightly sure why, it was just one of his moods. Now, we all tended to keep a distance from him when he was in these sorts of moods because we knew he was as quick to bite as a goddang rattlesnake in them, but tonight was different. Donowitz was the youngest of the herd of us and the loudest at that. He was constantly up to his neck in trouble due to his obstreperous ways and not bein’ able to back down from a challenge even if it was just plain stupid to even think about it. I liked the boy, I really did, but he did tend to get on the nerves of every fella in the vicinity. It didn’t help that he also happened to hate Doe with somethin’ quite nearin’ passion. So I reckon really it wasn’t that much of a surprise that Donowitz was the one to give Doe a push over the edge.

It wasn’t all that abnormal for Doe to have a bout of angry yellin’ and the like, really it was just an everyday occurrence, but this was like nothin’ we’d ever bared to witness. This philippic rained down upon our heads faster and with more force than a tornado and was accompanied with a none to flatterin’ hail of spittle that stuck our faces with quite a vigor. I was quite certain not one of us had been so unequivocally berated in all of our lives and yet we were all too stunned by this apoplectic fit to even try and retort as he called us women-folk and worse. It was like watchin’ a child havin’ some sort’a fit except this fit was as violent as a mad boar and I’m not ashamed to say is scared the holy Jesus outta me. I was waitin’ for him to pull his gun and put one right between the boy’s eyes.

Just when it looked like he was about finished he emitted a fierce yowl, almost sqaw-like in nature it was of such a high-pitch and uncouth sound. It was then I saw the red that was spurtin’ from his neck, the night and dull firelight making it look more black, like oil. Doe dropped to his knees clutchin’ at his throat, his clear sky blue eyes round as dinner plates. When his face hit the earth we all looked back to find a man we knew only by Rouge. He was of rich folk, that much had been clear the first time we laid eyes upon him and his suit that looked fancy as taffeta. Truth be told, none’a us were quite sure why he came along. Most of the boys figured he’d keep his dainty self outta the fight and wouldn’t be able to hurt a thing. Apparently they were wrong.

Lookin’ calmer than a day in May, he straightened the lineament of his tie while looking at us with a face’a stone. He shortly explained that he’d seen Doe going for his gun and had thought it best to stick him before he could hurt anybody like he seemed intent on doin’. I didn’t doubt the man’s word but he still sent a rustle’a unease through the lot of us. Nobody seemed quick to utter anythin’ so I stepped up and thanked him kindly, outstretchin’ my hand to show my gratitude. With a gleam’a icy cold in his metal-grey eyes, he replied that it was only his job afore turnin’ and walkin’ away. None’a us were quite sure what he meant by that. And we didn’t plan on followin’ him to find out.

Even without Doe, the rabid dog continued to run.





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