Thirteen families starve and suffer in this rotten prison. Each family is a unit, sharing everything: food, water, space, disease. Two small bowls of rice each day: One in the morning, and one in the evening. A small mat for each person to sleep on. A room with three walls to separate us from the other families, the other diseases, the outside world.
It was the 137th day. The ghost of our evening meal lingered in the small empty bowl as each of us tried desperately not to imagine it full again. Fortunately my wife and I had no children. If we had, I’m sure I would have let myself die before I took my share of rice. But we had only ourselves and Max. Max, no longer the healthy, wagging, happy dog he used to be, was still my best friend in the world. It was nightfall. We were tired. We were always tired. Max was curled up in the corner for the night, and my wife and I settled down on our pitiful mats.
I awoke in the middle of the night to find things terribly wrong. My wife was still asleep next to me. But Max... was nowhere. I stood. My heart began to race. I knew they would try this, I knew it. I had seen the way they were looking at him. It could have been anyone, but I knew who my first guess was. I wasted no time.
I was right. The third family to our left, with a young son. As I approached their dwelling, my heart pounded uncontrollably and my gut wrenched from the smell. I held my sobbing eyes at eye level, and soon they locked upon the man who had murdered my dog to feed his filthy family. Enraged, I continued forward. In one instant, my hands knew exactly what to do, and did so. My eyes never left the face of the murderer as my hands strangled his precious son to death.