Morana

The freezing cold wind bites the dog from its dream. It is January 1st, the Chinese New Year. Snow is falling gently. The dog is looking around and is probably wondering about how it changed from a human, to be exact, a girl called Morana, into a black puppy wagging its tail. It cannot recognize anything around it: tiny little brick buildings with several wet, empty streets beside them. The smell of garbage in the air makes the dog sneeze. It soon stops standing in a daze and walks around, getting used to walking with four legs.
Mora walks around. It does not fear the unfamiliar environment. Well, she was a brave girl in school. She was never afraid to explore in a park, go back home on her own, or staying in a small house alone—she called it “home”, for weeks. How could she be afraid of the streets? She staggers under a few twigs and disappears around the curve of a desolate street.
The street curves and turns as if it will never end. Mora jumps across a few drains and runs above some discarded boxes and cages. Mora’s heart is filled with happiness. It runs in its quickest speed, making sharp, sweet barks—this is its voice now, the voice of freedom! Mora has lost most of her memory from its human life. Little does it know why it enjoyed jumping in the streets so much and how she, in her human life, spent ten years studying instead of playing like her parents in their childhood.
Soon the street becomes much wider. There are lots of sound in front of Mora—people talking, kids laughing, and some other dogs barking. Mora hurries to the sound curiously. It sees a plaza with a bike, a person and something on the table, surrounded by the crowd. There is a smell in the center of the crowd which makes Mora drools but fears. It smells nice, like food, like a piece of raw meat. The fragrance attracts Mora so much, but every time it gets nearer to the crowd it gets frightened. It was out of an instinct, an instinct for Mora to protect itself. It steps forward, ignoring the uneasiness, but this time it gets willies as the fragrance gets stronger. Mora hates having the two feelings at the same time. It turns away and heads into another street.
In the street, Mora senses something different from the last street. The street is still empty, but not desolate. The houses on the two sides of the streets are warmer. Not that they have heaters in the houses, but there are sounds from the houses. It reminds Mora something from its human life. A scene appears in Mora’s mind from nowhere. A woman holding plates was walking in and out of the kitchen, taking cutlery from the dining table. “Mora! Do your homework! Now!” The woman shouted with a little smile twisted her mouth when she saw Mora finished the whole bowl of rice. There is something similar between the scene in its memory and the houses. Mora feels comfort in its heart but does not know why. It rolls in the mud and explores deeper into the streets.
The door of this wooden little hut is broken with lots of cracks and scratches. Mora stops in front of the hut. The hut is not the best-looking one, but the warmth, the atmosphere of a sweet family in it is more than any of the houses Mora has seen. Mora lies down. It hears sounds inside the door, the childish laughs from kids and a deep, happy laugh from a mid-aged man. Mora enjoys his laugh. They are comforting. But all of a sudden, the laughter stops, and the man gives a long, desperate sigh. Mora freezes, one ear pricks up in the ear. Mora is a dog, but at the moment it feels something, some emotions from humans. Everything around it stops. Mora feels sad, very sad. There is something that stirs its heart, that makes its body weak and limp. Mora cannot think of other things until the sadness suddenly vanishes, and it can feel the iciness of a rock under its paw. Mora does not understand what happened. The emotions disappeared as fast as they came. Mora listened in the wind, but there is nothing more.
Mora lies down suspiciously, as the door of the hut is slowly pushed open and the sweet atmosphere leaks out. Three human kids holding rocks, perhaps 2 or 3, crawl out. They stop crawling after seeing Mora. The rocks fall from their hands and the kids run towards Mora, yelling something Mora does not understand. Mora does not run. It does not feel any danger from the kids. A sneeze comes out from Mora’s nose. The kids laugh. At the same time, the door is pushed open again. From the door comes a mid-aged man, who must be the father of the kid. He sees the kids with Mora and rushes to their side. He picked up the rocks quickly from the ground, wields it towards Mora out of his instincts. Mora groans and hides to the side. Suddenly, the father stops his hand in the midair. There is no more fear in his eyes, instead, there is a complicated look. He whispers a lot of things to himself and claps his hands twice out of happiness. The father walks gently to the side of his kids and speaks. While he is speaking, his eyes turn wet. Is it out of sadness? Happiness? Mora does not know. The only thing it knows is a big warm hug from the man. For the first time in its life, it feels a sense of belonging. It follows the man and his kids happily into their hut.
The hut is not big. Two stools, a big stone as a table and some sharp hooks, nets, knives and hammers are the only things in the hut. Mora is placed on the big stone in the center of the hut and the man walks into a cave under the hut, a small cave that is like a lumber-room, storing all kinds of things. It does not move. This is the safest place it feels in the area. Suddenly, some strange sounds come from the cave—glass breaking, knife sharpening and some unknown animal barking. These are all ok for Mora, but the thing it fears most happens—it smells the fragrance in the plaza again. This time it is no more attracted by it. Mora walks backward. It finds the smell coming nearer and nearer to it. It falls down the table and tries to run out of the hut.
Just then, footsteps come from the cave. It is the man. The man takes a big bowl of meat to its front. There is still blood in the meat, but the meat is fresh smells nice. “Where is the dog?!” Shouts the man angrily. Soon he spots trying-to-bolt Mora in front of the door, and the anger on his face disappears, turning into a warm happy smile. The smile is like the spring breeze, like tiny waves in a river patting the shore. Mora does not know what to do. The smell of the meat in the bowl is so scary, however, the man in front of her seems to be so trustable, so loving that it cannot leave him. The scene appears again in Mora’s mind, the scene it saw when it went into this street. The woman. The smile on her face. Mora cannot control itself. It jumps onto the man, licks him on his face and eats the bowl of food. It tastes so good. Mora feels full up and drowsy. It turns and wishes to see the man coming to hug her, but before it can see anything, it feels a sharp, cold weapon stabs on its neck, and out from the other side.
A knife.
And then everything is over.
The man sings while cutting the dog into pieces, sorts out the parts that can be sold the parts that cannot be sold. “Kids! This is the best gift buddha brings us. We have meat to eat tonight. We will get lots of money after we sell the dog on the market. You can go to schools then! We also have some meat left to catch the next dog. After we catch a lot of dogs, we can have a lot of money and you can go to secondary schools and be the cleverest kids here, the street in Yulin. Isn’t that great!”

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