Sunlight rippled across the sleek black and tan coat of the stray dog, highlighting the Doberman's well formed muscles. The dog's brown eyes darted in every direction, carefully watching the people that passed him. He dodged heels and toes, occasionally getting jabbed in the ribs. For the most part he wasn't noticed by the people he traveled with along the street. Their minds were filled with work, errands and deadlines; no one noticed the stray among them, unless he got under his/her feet.
Doh, the stray Doberman pinscher, traveled with the crowds of bipedal hominids for several blocks. His proud head was raised, his black nose constantly twitching as it received the many scents coming to him. His ragged cropped ears stood alert, catching all the noises around him. The intelligent brain behind his bright, brown eyes received all this information and processed it easily.
The streets of this city weren't very different from the one he had come from. They reeked of man, rats and trash. They were constants in an ever changing world around him and that eased his anxious heart. The strange, but familiar streets would be home, until he moved on again.
His first concern was food. His belly ached with hollow hunger. Doh searched for promising scents, all the while keeping an eye out for other dogs. The scars on his legs, neck and belly told of the many encounters with other dogs he had had previously.
Doh snorted, catching the promising scent of meat. He darted across the path of a woman, barely avoided being skewered by her heels and into a side alley. Dumpsters and other trash receptacles lined the sides of the alley. Rats scurried away from his approach. Doh sniffed amongst the trash, searching for the scent he noticed earlier. He quickly found the morsel of dry meat and snapped it up, swallowing it in one bite.
As the stringy meal went down his throat, a growl reached his ears. Doh whipped his head around. His brown eyes quickly found the source of the throaty sound. A mutt, one ear flopped over while the other stood erect. The dog was staring at the intruding Doberman. The mutt took a few steps forward.
Doh bared his sharp teeth and snapped at the advancing dog. The two dogs stood staring at each other for a long time, and then the mutt relaxed and stopped growling.
The mutt looked Doh up and down, taking in his proud defensive posture, the scars covering his body and his bewildered and guarded expression. "How did you get all those scars?"
Doh lowered his gaze for a moment, remembering his past fights. The most recent he remembered very clearly. He was on the street of the Old City. He was alone, the streets were dark and there weren't any people about. He recalled precisely the fog that gripped the city and the dark clouds above. They threatened his world with rain and he was seeking shelter.
It had started to rain, before he found any suitable cover and he was running along the sidewalk. The rain was stinging his eyes and he was forced to half close them. He had spotted a place where he might get out of the rain when he was blindsided by another dog. He could hear its fierce growling in his ears and feel its cracked teeth sinking into his side. Doh found himself on the ground, a giant beast standing over him. Pain erupted from the side the dog was tearing into and from the side that hit the pavement. Rain water washed into his eyes, blinding him. Doh shook the water out of his eyes. He blinked his eyes furiously and released himself to his instincts. He snapped at where he knew the dog's neck would be. He felt fur and flesh in his mouth and a moment later, bitter blood.
The dog yelped and jerked out of Doh's grip. Doh immediately scrambled to his paws, growling and flashing sharp teeth at his attacker. The dog whined. Doh barked a warning and leaped toward the dog. He bent his head, so his shoulders caught the dog's side. They fell again to the pavement, this time Doh was on top. Doh's teeth found the dog's throat. He bit down and then shook his head back and forth, shredding the dog's throat. Blood spurted from the wound, covering the Doberman's face. The blood, combined with the water from the sky, blinded him. Darkness didn't stop him. It fed his anger, thirst for blood and anger. Doh tore into the dog that lay on the ground, already dead.
It wasn't until his jaws ached and his limbs shook from the passing of adrenaline that Doh stopped and stepped away from his former attacker. Doh blinked the blood and water from his eyes and saw for the first time what he had done to the dog.
If it had been his first or second or third or fourth or fifth fight he would have stared at the body. Guilt, sorrow, grief, self hatred and anguish would have overcome him. He would have been horrified by his actions, struck by how easily he had taken another's life. He might have even cried.
Now Doh was numb to those feelings. He felt nothing for the dog that lay dead at his paws. All he felt was the pain in his side. The gift the dead dog had given Doh. Pain. Physical pain. That's what he lived for now. That's when he felt alive.
Doh left the body where it lay and trotted away into the rain.
The mutt watched the Doberman stare at something he was unable to see. He whimpered slightly, wondering what was going through the other dog's head. Doh's expression was blank, but the mutt thought he saw pain flicker through the dog's brown eyes.
Doh snapped back to the present when the memory passed. His eyes flicked back to look into the mutt's eyes. He opened his mouth. For a moment there wasn't a sound and then came a rough whisper. "They are my life. They remind me of past deeds that cannot be forgotten, things that cannot be forgiven. I must wear them; I must suffer from the pain of the wound and the itch of the scar to pay for my wrongdoings. They bear witness to my shortcomings, my weaknesses. They remind me how horrible I am, how I cannot trust myself, how I must never trust another. It is what I live for…" Doh straightened and lifted his head proudly once more. "I live for pain." A tear ran down the stray Doberman pinscher's cheek as he said the words. "I hunger for it, every moment, every day." Doh stepped forward with each word.
The mutt stood, feeling the change in the Doberman's mood. Doh began to growl. The mutt stepped back, fear made his limbs shake and his tail tuck beneath him. He lowered his body and whimpered, submitting to Doh's dominance.
Doh's eyes were dull and lifeless as he stared at the mutt, his prey. He barked once and rushed forward jaws snapping. The mutt's terror and pain filled the alley.