The end by Terry Cummings

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SUMMARY: The end

He saw the darkness falling away from the sky and a soft warm, orange light bled slowly into the room, staining cold white walls and creeping across the tiled floor toward his feet. The windows, through which the light now poured, were small and set high, almost to the ceiling.
He had sat awake most of the night, hungry and regretting his attempt to attack his jailer. The bland stinking food he had been offered then, seemed like a feast right now. Perhaps he had been hasty.
There were three others like him in the room, and one who was female. She was wonderful to look at. She stared at him from across the room, head lolling to one side every time he grunted at her to attract her attention. She held his eyes for long moments, letting him know that she had noticed him too. She seemed a little sad and had lost some of the fur on her stomach, there was pain there, hidden in her eyes. She was young and seemed to have led a healthy life, her skin and fur sat perfectly about her frame. Despite this she seemed tired. He had not slept much last night and instead had watched her in the gloom, breathing in and out, sleeping fitfully. She was awake now and she grunted at him, letting him know she was still tired.
He had spent the first few hours of the darkness wondering why his tall ones had brought him here. They had seemed very affectionate when they left, so he was sure that he had not done anything to upset them, at least not recently. The stranger with the white coat had coaxed him into the cage with sweets. He had stroked and patted him and had rubbed his ear. When the door began to swing shut, he had forced his way back out. His tall ones had disappeared and the friendly white coat, who was not so friendly any more, pushed him back roughly. There had been a struggle. As he rubbed his wet paw over his muzzle and face, he found with disappointment that the blood that he had scented spilt had been his own. There was a small cut below his right eye, which he had cleaned enough to stop bleeding now. White coat had returned much later with the offering of food and he had tried to exact revenge but it had been in vain. The tall one had anticipated his attack and was prepared. He had opened only a small section of the cage before him, a gap not big enough for him to squeeze through. Instead he had felt the door swinging quickly closed again, squeezing his thrashing head back inside, his teeth finding purchase only against hard metal.
So he had sat and waited for something to happen. Many of the animals around him seemed strangely quiet. The others of his kind, other than the female, didn't seem very respondent. A small white long-haired dog had yelped a greeting, back when he had been brought in, but in hindsight it may have been a warning against exhibiting the fury he had shown when he first arrived, a warning to calm down. In all the commotion, he may have misheard, there had been many voices in that moment. The small one had kept quiet ever since. An old overweight shaggy dog had grinned at him earlier. He could only be seen through four other cages to his right.

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