My beast, Kafka, is an aging, paunchy, idle feline. He can usually be found curled up soundly sleeping in the sun and, when awake, he most likely has his nose rooted in his bowl of crunchies. Hunter, he is not. Yesterday evening, I noticed his black and white furry face at the back door holding something small and brown in his mouth. I unlocked the door and he dropped his present at my feet – a tiny finch no bigger than a mouse. In all of our years together, he’s never killed anything more formidable than a grasshopper. I lifted the bird from the cold, hard, wooden floor and placed him in my right hand. His body was limp but warm, his eyes half-opened. There was no blood. I took him to one of my lamps, gently petting his soft, warm feathers, hoping he was just stunned and the warmth would revive him. Life never came back into his body. I finally rested his small lifeless body in a nest of grass in the garbage can and closed the lid.
Although odd for him, Kafka was merely behaving as his ilk should. I held back my anger toward my beast and didn’t say a word. The sadness I felt for the death of the helpless, inconsequential little creature filled me. Life ends every minute. Why this little finch should affect me so, I couldn’t tell you, but perhaps it’s his innocence and helplessness that broke my heart.