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Thursday, July 28, 2011

From "Puttypaw" by Tom North

PuttypawIt took some moments for Toby to realise to whom Theroros was speaking: he was addressing the dead rat. The smashed cadaver had begun to pick itself up on its broken bones. It had no feet, its tail had come off and it trailed bits of flesh on the floor. Toby watched in horrified fascination as it roamed around collecting various bits of its limbs and attempting to reattach them. Small cracking sounds emanated from it as it foraged. Eventually it rose up, swaying unsteadily on its haunches, ribs showing through a hole in its chest. It was as complete as it was going to be, although it had to hold one foreleg in place with the other paw because it kept falling out of the socket. Toby turned his eyes away from the revolting spectacle and focussed on the cave wall. The rat began to squeak, the noise low and urgent. It sounded annoyed, which, Toby thought, was reasonable under the circumstances. Out of the corner of his eye he could not help but notice that the rat was gesticulating wildly, forgetting itself sufficiently to wave its detached foreleg to emphasise a point. The squeaking ended.

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