The Cats of Istanbul: Chapter Thirty-Six
The Proof in the Pudding
That there are simply bad people, and bad cats for that matter, is one of the hardest things in this life to understand. Why should one want to hurt another? Greed, selfishness, lust and envy, those base motives of self-enrichment are small in comparison to the nature of true malice. It is tempting thereafter to pin it all upon pain, to say that suffering corrupts character to the extent that victims become perpetrators, evermore then feeding the cycle. If only such an easy excuse stood up to inspection when accounting for the full range of life on this planet. In reality it is clear that some people are prepared to hurt others after suffering only a little, and that others can suffer any amount before they will inflict pain on another. We have then no choice but to turn to nature and nurture, those genes that have survived in one environment or another, those traits that were encouraged and enlarged in a specific social context. When we bring in free will, our ability to anticipate the effects of our actions, and thus choose whether to invest them with energy or not, it is difficult in the end to avoid this conclusion: some come to be bad, and for that they are to be blamed, for if we do not, we will never see the end of it.
Then let us blame the alley cats, whatever their excuses. Monsters, demons, servants of the darkness; disgusting, wretched beasts; evil and eternally damned; they all deserved to die.
I cannot dwell on such cruelty as that suffered by the cats of Istanbul after the fall of Longshanks, it disrupts my mind too much to stare that way for long. To understand the path towards salvation, we must however take a brief tour through those days.
The primary objectives of the alley cats: to institute a top-down system of control, enforced through the application of pain; to break the spirit of their society, to prevent any chance of future resistance; to reap the riches of this world, in part for themselves, but too for their aspiring masters, the humans, a group amongst us which still I am yet to precisely identify, but intend to deal with in the future.
To achieve this both the gutters and the rooftops were chained together in groups of three. These groups were then separated and put to work, catching fish, chasing away vermin, breaking up rocks, picking up litter, delivering parcels, pulling around alley cats in carts, singing, dancing or otherwise entertaining their new rulers as desired.
Ahmet and Fatma were returned to the gutters, they were not needed anymore, they were only told to accept once and for all that they were just the same as everyone else.
Kadir was made to kneel before the tribes, and there he was beaten with sticks until his white fur hung limp with blood. He was made to repeat the mantra, 'I consent to submission, I will never again defend the gutter cats', over and over again until it made both he and many amongst the tribe cry.
After Kadir the alley cats brought out Izmir. Since his capture Izmir had been tortured continually, in all manner of unspeakable ways, unspeakable I know for even he, strong as he is, still cannot bring himself to share the crimes committed against him. The torturers, beyond their appreciation of pain, wanted to force Izmir into cooperating with the little play they had planned to mark his departure from Istanbul. The question list was rehearsed and repeated until Izmir no longer dared refuse. It was not just his own suffering, he was told that if he did not agree, if he made a mistake in public, then Ahmet and Fatma would suffer the same fate.
'Do you forsake the cats of Istanbul?'
'I do' he replied.
'Do you deny that you are a hero?'
'Why did you go to Karendir? Why did you get the prophecy? Why did you rescue the kittens?'
'I was helping the alley cats conquer the world.'
'Do you love Izabel?'
'No, she is too good for me to even think of.'
'Where will you go now?'
'I will return to the prison from which I was released.'
Without looking at the gutter cats, he then walked away and left Istanbul.
Elvan was chosen to be the personal attendant of Jezabel, who herself was dedicated to pleasing the cats of the moment, who took turns with her as they liked.
Let it then be a warning to you against indulging evil. Those little slips here and there, those small favours asked for by the devil, can soon turn into a nightmare from which you will never recover.
The one bright note yet played above the dismal din of alley cat rule, Zeynep returned home to Istanbul, and, after stopping for breakfast at her favourite cafe, went to check on her friends. Seeing them absent, and hearing then the news from a stranger, walked out of the city, and whilst on her way found Serkan and Zara. Three of the gutter elders were now reunited.