She walks out of the huge, white house and moves towards the back of the building, calling out the dog’s name. It was given to her as a birthday present by her uncle, a few weeks ago. Now, the air is thick and humid like the day she lost everything, save her sanity. The sun is only a little less unforgiving than usual, and her smooth dark skin is accustomed to its torment anyway.
The concrete scalds her naked feet as she walks, but there is no evidence of this as she calmly moves towards the little structure that houses Emerald. She is a pretty dog, Emerald, but the girl has always harbored distaste for pretty things. Pretty things cloud people’s minds over. Pretty clothes and pretty, crisp Naira notes made her mother clamp her hands over the girl’s mouth that night, blindly repeating “Pride and self-respect are expensive things that we cannot afford” then later has she pleaded one last time “He’s not even your real uncle” and as an afterthought “I heard he goes to church now”..
The dog places her too-clean paws against the window in the corner, panting as the girl approaches, its pink tongue dropping lazily out of its mouth. A little emerald stone dances around her neck.
The girl is well aware that she’s breaking a pattern that has not even been well established as she unlatches the door. The dog is supposed to come out at five thirty in the evening, when there was little chance of her getting hurt by the sun. But today is all about breaking patterns, well established or not, so she crouches and brushes the lush ball of fur at her feet, attempting to calm the over-excited animal.
She tells the dog to relax, in an odd breathless voice that strangely corrupts the peace of the afternoon. Her hands are still a little shaky from before.
She wonders how long it will be before chaos arrives. Or rather, chaos is discovered. How her mother will react when she discovers what she has done.
The dog licks her exposed calves and she immediately recoils, encouraging it further. She has always hated cold wet things sliding against her skin. For the first time she realizes how similar Emerald is to her owner.
Today is about breaking patterns, and even if the sun refuses to agree, it is a new dawn. The dog reminds her of why she had to do it. Why her uncle’s body lays face-up on her bed, naked and castrated with the broken half of a cold, wet bottle stuck in his back.
Emerald is enthusiastic as she takes a bite of the black, thick, raw piece of what she thinks is beef.