Laura James’s Picture Choice: One
Title: The Collector (part 4)
Without his grandparents keeping an eye on him, Hector soon had the room ready. Cages of various sizes were stacked against one wall, large ones at the base supporting the smaller ones as they reached the ceiling. He only had a few days before his parents returned but he felt sure that there was enough time to obtain his first few animals.
Hector had decided to avoid pet shops for two reasons. The first he didn't want people to start recognising him as a collector of animals and secondly, he wanted animals used to freedom. There was no point on keeping animals in a cage unless they knew what it was like to be free and he could watch them slowly suffer as that freedom was taken away.
He took the car to the far side of town and started his search. Mid afternoon meant most people were at work so any pets they had would be either roaming free if a cat or tethered in their back gardens if a dog. It wasn't long before he had found exactly what he was looking for. A small brown and white pup raced down a garden path towards him, yapping with its tail going nineteen to the dozen.
Hector lent over the gate, "Hey there boy. What you doing out?" The pup stood on his hind legs, trying to reach Hector's hands with its tongue. "Oh you can't stay here can you boy, wanna come home with me?" He reached in and soon the wriggling pup was in his arms and licking his face clean. "God stop that!" The temptation to simply snap the dog's neck to stop its incessant licking and yapping was at the forefront of Hector's mind, yet he managed to control himself and squeeze just enough to cause the dog to pass out.
By the time he had returned home the dog was beginning to stir and it was a struggling puppy he put in a cage. He watched as the pup tried to move around but the cage was too small for much movement. Soon yelps and barks of frustration filled the room. It didn't take long for the dog to realise that it was trapped and began to sniff and paw at the cage floor trying to find a way out.
"Whatcha found there huh?" Hector lent in front of the cage door as the dog scrambled at the matted hair that was poking through the metal. The figure beneath started to moan as short sharp nails bit into flesh. Hector smiled as he watched his Granddad slowly come too. "What's happened? Where am I?" The old man lifted his hands to his head and felt the top of the cage, "What the hell?" Hector laughed as his Grandfather realised where he was and started to struggle, causing the small dog to begin a fresh round of barking and even more frantic scratching. Soon the dog started to nip at the fingers that were poked through the cage at its feet and the old man howled in pain.
Hector was whistling as he left the room, this was so much better than a zoo. Here he was in control.
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Based in Dunfermline, Scotland, Laura is obsessed with all things horror and spends her time writing flash fiction which she hopes, on occasion, really scares her readers. Feel free to stalk her on twitter, @lejamez