Space Janitor (151-160) thought about what they were asking him.
Space Janitor took a moment and thought to himself.
What if this was what they wanted to do? What if this was the point of the operation? Would he be able to keep them under control?
He thought about Shep. Hoped he was alright, would the two ever see each other again?
Space Janitor looked at the pack of dogs. He said to them, “Let’s keep on going. Let’s make sure we are in the right place,”
Space Janitor didn’t know what the problem was. Didn’t know why he held back. As they moved forward, the light grew bigger and bigger. What kind of storage building was this and what type of room where they walking into?
Everything was clean. Everything was new. Space Janitor felt confusion about what was unfolding in front of his eyes.
“Do any of you know what this stuff is for?” Space Janitor asked them
Digger looked around. Sniffed the surrounding area and returned his gaze to Space Janitor.
Digger said, “I think this is definitely the tomb. We have to say to Denabol,”
Space Janitor thought a little longer and pointed on ahead. The dogs continued along.
They came to a large room.
In it, there was a big table. Spread in front of the pack, ready for an almighty meal.
Space janitor looked at the table then looked at the pack of dogs were with him.
Space Janitor was worried. He could see the drool form and the corners of their mouths and drip on to the floor. They were expecting a meal.
Would he have to restrain them? How could he?
If they got overexcited, out of control, would it mean death for them and Space Janitor?
Space Janitor heard a noise coming from a corridor.
Space Janitor regarded the pack of dogs with a sudden look of shock on his face.
“Hide, wherever you can. Do it now,” Space Janitor said to them.
They were not exactly spoilt for choice. There were a few nooks and crannies in the room and that they could finish themselves into.
It took a moment they all managed to find a spot—some more obvious and others. Space Janitor managed to get in behind some fabric. The rest of them were a little more evident in their places.
Space Janitor held his breath.
An entourage of dogs entered the room.
Denabol was leading the way. The lead dog had a big smile on his face.
Space Janitor saw Shep. Space Janitor was happy to see him. He wondered if Shep was there voluntarily or as a hostage. Space Janitor didn’t want to think about it right now.
How would the other dogs react to seeing Denabol?
Space Janitor looked over to them.
Huffing and puffing in their hiding spots. How long would they be able to stay there?
Would they be enraged knowing that their leader had betrayed them had lied to them?
There was no way to know when suddenly on the other side of the room Space Janitor noticed Digger’s eyes.
Eyes wide and Space Janitor could see the rage building up. He knew Digger had a wave of tremendous anger bubbling up beneath the surface.
The laughter of Denabol and his group made things even worse for Digger. Knives in his back. Pure betrayal.
Space Janitor heard creeks. He heard moans. Denabol and his entourage didn’t see would Digger be able to keep it together?
Space Janitor kept his eye on Digger.
Digger was breathing heavy. Space Janitor wondered how the rest of the dogs in the room could not hear him.
Denabol walked around the table and picked up utensils. Turned to Shep.
“This is what the humans would have us use. We used to call them masters. Can you believe that?” Denabol asked Shep.
Shep shrugged and looked at Denabol.
“I don’t really think about the old days. I guess it was thousands of years ago. A time no one thinks of,”
Denabol nodded put the cutlery down on the table.
“Think about it. Think about all this stuff that we have right here that we can use. What do you make of it Shep?” Denabol asked him.
Space Janitor could only see the back of his head. Sheps voice was a faint whisper.
“This place is more than a little strange. I wonder what it used to be? When are you going to get them to stop digging? If you’ve already found what you’re looking for, then there doesn’t seem to be much point.”
Space Janitor saw that Denabol smiling.
“You want to know why I keep them digging?” Denabol started “Because the dogs like to dig. I’m not cruel. I’m not horrible. I just want the dogs to be happy. So I let them dig because that’s what they like doing. Could you imagine if I told him to stop? What do you think would happen? All these dogs, all these pack animals. I wouldn’t like to think about what would happen. They would start fighting with one another. They used to fight with each other all the time. That’s why I started giving them these,”
Denabol opened this paw.
Spears Janitor could see he was holding the berries. The same berries, that was making the dogs stupid.
Had Shep eaten them?
Space Janitor concentrated and looked closely at Shep’s eyes there was no way to tell. Had Shep eaten the berries? The answer would let him know if Sheo could be relied on.
Space Janitor thought that it wouldn’t be long before the lot of them were discovered. The area they were in was small, narrow, and it was hard to tell what it was exactly.
It appeared that there was not much distance between Space Janitor and Denabol. One false move and the game would be up for the rest of them. Denabol’s guard dogs were big. Space Janitor had more dogs but, except for Digger, they were small. Not even there own guard dog was big.
Denabol spoke some more.
“That’s what I like about you, Shep. You don’t want to always be asking the questions. That’s what it’s like, always with the questions. Honestly, I hate it. You know these dogs are so dumb. If only they would just listen and do what I say. There’s a chance for a better world down here. All they have to do is follow orders,” Denabol said.
Shep had not taken the berries then, Space Janitor thought to himself.
Space Janitor could hear the heavy panting of the dogs beside him. They were going to give themselves up at any moment, and that would be a problem. It was going to be more of a challenge than he cared to acknowledge. Space Janitor would have to decide if this was what he wanted for them. Could he gain the upper hand, there was a chance whatever happened it would get him killed.
Space Janitor looked to the side of him and saw the dogs, eyes full watching Denabol. Would they get themselves killed?
Space Janitor could see that Denabol and his lot were even closer now. How they had not been seen remained a mystery. Was everyone but Space Janitor consuming berries?
It worried Space Janitor. Why? Because it meant that he was probably either the second or third smartest person in the room. That terrified Space Janitor to no end.
He didn’t want to, but he thought what might be best is to take control of the scenario.
Space Janitor took a deep breath and let himself fall forward. He hit the ground with a clatter. Denabol, the guards and Shep all looked round to see the source.
Space Janitor clambered to his feet and dusted himself off. He felt the eyes of all in the room on him. Denabol’s eyes narrowed until they were pinpricks in his skull.
Space Janitor could see that they had not moved. In fact, no one moved. All the attention was on Space Janitor. He would have to make it useful.
“This isn’t the wood place,” Space Janitor thundered to himself.
“What is this one doing?” Denabol asked.
“What are you doing here?” one of the guard dogs asked.
“This is where they told me to go to, and now I’m here, but it’s not supposed to be,” Space Janitor said feigning confusion.
Denabol looked to Shep and smiled.
“You see how effective they are?” Denabol said. “Your friend has been here how long and listen to how stupid he is. Unless he was stupid, to begin with. Was he?”
Shep looked at Space Janitor.
“It’s hard to tell. We’re not friends,” said Shep.
For some reason, that remark stung Space Janitor in a way that he had not expected.
“Wait to you see how stupid this makes them,” Denabol continued.
What was it that Denabol lifted from the table?
Space Janitor could see what it was and it scared him. Denabol had a hammer with serrated edges. It was a meat tenderiser. Space Janitor wanted to yelp in fright, but he fought against the urge. If Denabol was going to do something, then any slip up would cost him further. Space Janitor figured that it would be better to take a little pain over a lot. That was his thinking at least.
Denabol regarded Space Janitor. A smile curled in one corner of his lip.
“You know what this is little pup?” Denabol asked. Space Janitor would have to really stupid it up.
“A radio, yeah definitely a radio. Can I call my mom? I need to be getting home,” Space Janitor said. His voice wavered, but Denabol did not notice.
“I love how stupid they get,” Denabol said to Shep. “Can you imagine leading a pack of these guys upwards and outwards. We could take a whole section of station in no time,”
“It’s easy to mark territory. It’s harder to hold it,” Shep said. Space Janitor realised that a sentence like that could not leave a dog’s mouth had it been on berries.
“That’s not the point. As soon as we lose it then we send more,” Denabol retorted.
“That doesn’t seem to be helping strays,” Shep said. Space Janitor didn’t look directly at Shep in fear of giving the game away.
“The point isn’t to help all strays. Think of the idea of strays. That’s our plan. Anyway, wait until you see,” Denabol said then turned around to Space Janitor. “Put your paw on the table, there’s a good boy,”
Space Janitor didn’t want to. He knew what would happen next. He reminded himself of little pain. How much pain would there be?
Space Janitor put his paw on the table, and Denabol nodded to one of his guard dogs. The guard dog held Space Janitor’s paw in place.
“I want to use the radio,” Space Janitor said.
“Don’t worry, we’re going to call your mom now,” Denabol said. He turned to Shep, “See what I mean, false memories, thinking they’re real. I know I come from nothing. What about you, Shep?”
“I know I come from nothing too, but what does it matter what they think. It doesn’t make a difference what they think. You don’t need to torture the poor thing to show me they’re loyal,” Shep said.
“Yes, but I can. You can, wouldn’t that make you feel good?” Denabol asked, holding the hammer up high.
Space Janitor’s eyes darted between the hammer, Denabol and the guard dog.
There was a chance he could try and struggle his way out of it, but it would do him no good. He now wished Denabol would strike him, but it felt like it would no longer be that easy.
Shep and Denabol were locked in some kind of ethical argument. Even with feigning idiocy Space Janitor struggled to keep up.
Denabol appeared to be distracted.
“What is the point of having a pack, a family an army if you can’t order them to die for you?” Denabol shot at Shep.
“I just don’t want to have the lives of those dogs on my paws,” Shep said.
“You are a wet-nosed mongrel,” Denabol said. It appeared that Denabol’s focus had shifted entirely away from Space Janitor. It was now on Shep.
Even the guard dog had loosened his grip on Space Janitor’s paw.
Space Janitor decided that it might not be smart, but he slowly moved his paw away.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
Space Janitor paused in his tracks. When he turned around, he could see Denabol’s focus was now back on Space Janitor. Space Janitor realised that he was now supposed to put his hand back in place. He did so. Denabol took the hand and raised the hammer again. There was a glint in Denabol’s eye cruelty dwelt within. A cruelty Space Janitor dreaded to encounter.
Space Janitor put his paw down on the table. Denabol got in Space Janitor’s face. It was only going to get worse. Space Janitor felt real fear surge through him.
“Are you trying to prove a point to yourself or me?” Shep asked.
Denabol did not look away from Space Janitor.
“What do you think I’m doing? I’m showing you what we can do together,” said Denabol.
“Look, a well-kept dog is a loyal dog,” Shep said. “I have no doubt in my mind that you could do what you wanted. I believe you. There is no one to convince. Put it down. Let the dog go,”
The words caught Denabol in a way that Space Janitor did not expect. The pupils dilated. Denabol wanted more than anything to cause pain and suffering.
The hammer shook in Denabol’s hand. He lowered it, set it down then released Space Janitor from his grip. Space Janitor stayed standing in the spot looking him directly in the eye. He felt compelled to look away, but for some reason Space Janitor kept his gaze locked.
Space Janitor gulped deep.
“You are lucky you have such a kind dog looking out for you like Shep here,” Denabol said to Space Janitor. Space Janitor didn’t know how to respond.
Denabol did not appear to recognise Space Janitor.
Had Denabol not recognised who he was talking to?
Space Janitor understood that he had a bit of an advantage over Denabol. How long it would last remained to be seen. Shep was not letting anything go. Even though all Space Janitor wanted was for Shep to give him a nod or a wink. Some sign of recognition. Space Janitor understood that it was not going to be as easy as that.
“Look, you have everything you need right here, Denabol,” Shep said. “How come you feel the need to want to dominate everything? If you try and take a section of the station, you’re dead. It might not be immediate, but you and I both know where it ends. Even dumb dogs like this one,”
Shep indicated Space Janitor. Space Janitor smiled and wagged his tail.
“You seem to be pretty invested. Who cares if I harm the dogs?,” Denabol said. “Is that the real reason? I don’t think it is. If anything I think you are afraid of the owners. Down here we have no owners,”
“You think there are still owners on the up?” Shep asked, incredulous. “How long exactly have you been down here?” Shep stepped closer to Denabol. The guard dogs stepped in to block. “You were a born stray,”
Denabol did not like the observation.
“There is nothing wrong being a stray,” Deanabol said. His voice wavered. “Better than being owned. Much better,”
“On the up, no one owns us,” said Shep. “They give us money, time off, we are free on the up,”
“You are not free. You’re not free,” said Denabol. “Down here we are the owners,”
“Are these dogs free to leave. If they tell you they don’t want to dig anymore, then what?” Shep asked.
Denabol didn’t answer, what was he thinking about?
Space Janitor wondered if it was time to talk. Denabol remained silent. All he could do was look down at his feet.
“The question still stands Denabol,” Shep insisted. “If any of these dogs were to say they were done with the digging. Done with taking orders. Would you let them go? That’s all I want to know,” Denabol still did not respond. Space Janitor could see a smile form on Shep’s face.
“Let me think,” Denabol growled.
“Take your time,” Shep assured him. Space Janitor felt like he could see the cogs turning in Denabol’s head.
“We need to work together if we want to achieve the true equality we strive for,” Denabol said.
“You only need there to be unfairness a while longer?” Shep said.
“It’s not,” Denabol said. “There needs to be those who know their place. We can’t all be the leader of the pack,”
“And somehow you need to be the top of the pack. That works out well for you. Maybe other dogs would be better at leading than you,” said Shep.
Denabol growled at the suggestion. There was no way he could keep the two thoughts in his head simultaneously.
“You might be a better digger than you are leader,” Shep said.
“I’m the best digger,” came a voice in the back.
Space Janitor looked to see that Digger and the other dogs from the pack now made their presence known.
“More?” Denabol said. “How many of you are slacking off?”
“The question still stands,” Shep reminded. “One of these dogs could be a leader, but how would they ever know? There’s no way for them to find out. Not with Denabol in charge,”
Denabol looked at the dogs that stood before him. How hard would he punish them?
Did you like that?
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