Terror in the night

Diary extract, 1 December 2015, 1:30 am, Trivandrum.
I’m woken up by wild animals. The steady yap-yap-yap of a juvenile dog in pain as an adult male bites off one of its legs is interspersed with the deep woofing of a captive Labrador in its kennel somewhere. There are a hundred other voices I can hear, jackalish howls, wolfish growls and a constant melancholic OOOO. A lovelorn cur singing his heart off. Two kilometers away a zoo lion coughs. Like someone sawing wood. The sounds surround me. I rise and sit up. What time is it? Panic grips me. I walk around the apartment. The doors are locked. I close the windows. The sound abates now, slightly. It is different somehow. Sinister. It seeps into my bedroom from under the doors and through gaps in the windows. I doze off fitfully and dream of running, pursued by wild beasts. The hounds bay and the lion roars and a man’s sudden shriek. I jump awake. I run downstairs to the ground floor. They have broken through the gates. The security man lies in a pool of red surrounded by dogs. They are chewing on his head. The Labrador is eating his entrails. They look up at me. You are next, mate, says the Lab. His English is good, with only the trace of a Mallu accent. He walks stiffly towards me. His nose is red. His mouth drips blood. Run. I cannot run. I’m frozen, my body paralyzed, dead. The Lab is pouncing. Aiming for my throat. I scream and fall out of bed. What is it now, the wife asks. I tell her what happened. Humph, she says and goes off to sleep. I spend the rest of the night awake.

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