Domesticated Animals

I pat its head until its face starts to flatten. Its body meets the floor, legs buckle under the weight of my enthusiasm, then groans out a kind of exhaling sound and attempts to inch itself away. ‘Don’t go,’ I tell it and drag it back. I pat it vigorously. Surprising how thin these things are when you discount the fur. Mostly Bone. It makes its guttural cry again. Low pitched, sad, shows its teeth at me. Melancholic animals are the best. Wonder what its cry is called, like you know, the right word for it? Meow for cats. Bark for dogs, obviously. Shrucken? It sounds more like a skeet, a skeeten, or something like that. Anyway, wild animals aren’t usually this submissive. It’s nice when they take it, when they take what humans want to do with them. I like that about animals. The domestic ones typically know their place, but this one is good too. I pat its head again, its ears go pointy and backwards. The fur on its back lifts and ripples like observing ocean waves from a distant vantage point. I think this is making me feel better. I should do more of this kind of thing. The animal made a few groans to begin with, which were cute. Made me go at him more vigorously. Its mouth is open. Teeth bare. It wanted me to continue. It had enjoyed the force on my clenched fist on its back, being pushed to the ground, being made all safe and looked after, but at this point I had gotten what I needed. Thanks. Time to head off. It groans again, makes me feel good about myself again. It’s bigger than I first realised. Quite a lot bigger. Maybe the same size as me, weirdly. Or even bigger. That mouth is quite large, actually. I can make out three rows of pointy teeth. Like a collection of knives from an orderly maniac. Nice. I huff out all the air of its lungs as I push it down to the ground again. I like doing that. Oh, it has claws. That’s cute. I push it down again, although this time it pushes back, then turns to look at me. Lovely face, it’s got. It growls again, shows me its teeth. I wonder when was the last time it ate? Maybe I can spare some of my sandwich. Sweet thing. I love having a positive effect. Standing up, I take a step away to head home, but it catches my leg with its claw. Stings a little, but of course it doesn’t mean me harm. Obviously wants me to stay. How sweet. Although, it has managed to break my skin. I doubt it realises it’s hurting me.  It makes that noise again, that shrunken or something like that, then pulls me back towards it. Lots of teeth, it’s got, actually.


Tom Cardew is a writer and visual artist, having published in Lumpen Journal, Hack Publishing Vol 1 and Vol 2, Kajet Journal and in a 2023 Freelands Foundation Publication titled Unchorus. Website: