“You’re late. Your supper will be cold,” Kago’s mother said. She patted Tiger on the head. “So where’d you find him?”
“He was at some dog rescue place on the other side of town. I wonder how he got there?”
“Who knows? Dogs travel. At least he’s home. As much as this dog makes a mess, I have to admit I missed him too.” She poured some milk into Tiger’s bowl.
“Mme, do you know anything about what Spokes does at his job?”
“Nope. I know he does some kind of job at a big warehouse; that one that used to be the canning factory on Motsetse Street.”
* * * * *
It was cold and Kago pulled his jacket closer around his neck. He walked a few blocks then ducked over to Motsetse Street. All of the streetlights were broken. It was a rough part of the city. There were few houses, and most of the buildings were shells of old factories, now abandoned. The warehouse he was looking for was at the very end, away from everything else. He could see lights on inside. Kago wondered what kind of manufacturing took place at night.
As he neared the warehouse he saw people crowding around someone sitting at a table. They were pushing money at the man. It was Spokes.
“Okay, hold on! You’ll all get your bets in, don’t worry,” Spokes was telling them, trying to get the crowd to calm down.
Kago pulled up the hoody on his jacket, so Spokes wouldn’t see him, crept by the table and in through the door of the warehouse. Inside, he found lots of people. In the middle was a caged-off area with a pit dug down through the cement floor. Kago made his way to the far side of the cage. What was going on here?
After a few minutes Spokes came inside the building. “Betting is closed!” he shouted.
A huge man with a massive stomach jumped up on a little stage. “Okay my friends,” he said. “We have five bouts tonight. Get yourselves ready to make some money. Our first contender is the champion fighter – Brutus!”
The crowd roared. Out of another door a man came, leading a big black dog. It was growling and pulling at the lead. The man opened a door to the cage and got inside with the dog.
The person on the stage announced: “And the contender, Tau!” From another door, a greyish dog appeared with a man attempting to lead the wild animal. He also got in the cage.
The man on the stage said, “Let the match begin! To the death!”
The two men unleashed their dogs and quickly left the cage, locking the doors behind them. The dogs immediately attacked each other. The crowd roared and shouted. The black dog ripped chunks of flesh from the grey one. The pit was slowly turning red with blood. The grey dog fell down and the black one went in for the kill. It held the dog’s neck until it stopped moving. The crowd cheered.
Kago felt sick.
The match was over and Spokes went to the table to pay out the winning bets. This dog fighting was all about the gambling. People were making money from the fighting dogs.
The winning dog remained in the cage while the dead one was carried out. Another dog was pushed in with the black dog. It was growling and gnashing its teeth. It was short and tough and brown. Suddenly Kago realised he knew this dog. This was the dog that had been in the cage with Tiger, the one that had licked his ear! What had they done to it to make it so fierce?
It might have been tough-looking and fierce, but it was no match for Brutus. In seconds he had torn off the ear of the smaller dog. He didn’t waste time and soon had the smaller brown dog on the ground, its neck firmly in its teeth. The brown dog lay still. The crowd cheered as the bigger dog squeezed the life out of the smaller one.
Kago could take no more and pushed through the crowd, heading for the door. At the door he looked back – and Spokes stared right at him.
* * *
Tell us what you think: What is your opinion of what Spokes is doing? What should Kago do?