In Camp, after lights out, it is so black that when you close and open your eyes, the view is the same. There is no sound but Dad’s voice and the soft whistle of my twin Nile’s breathing.
“It was when they killed all the dogs that we knew.” Dad lets the words hover in the blackness.
I know what dogs and cats are from our training manuals, but I’m not sure why Dad’s voice sounds as if it is being pressed down by a heavy weight.
“What did you know?” I ask.
“We knew that the reports and speeches saying things were fine… we knew they were lies.” Dad’s voice is scratchy like granite. He whispers but it fills the room.
“It may be hard for you to understand.” His voice breaks a little. “It’s a luxury that doesn’t exist anymore. But for some, it was like losing a family member.”
“Did you have to kill your dog?” Nile asks. He asks like he’s filing a report. I wish he was close enough to punch.
No matter what happens, Dad reacts as if he is waiting for it to happen. This is no different. “I did. There was no choice. She was killed with all the others. We thought it would save us, or buy us time. It didn’t.”
“But how is this different from what we already know?” I ask. Sleepiness starts to cover me like a blanket.
“You know a lot about the Rising and Demics, and about what came after, but you don’t know everything. You learn the what, but not the why. People will put up with a lot when they’re scared, and people weren’t always this scared.” He starts over. “It was when the dogs were killed that everyone knew it was serious; that things would never be the same. That’s when people got desperate.” Dad pulls the door open. “What I tell you is our true history, but you can never speak a word of this to anyone.”
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