Terror rages at the hands of Islamic State intent on violence and victory as the soldiers observe the fleeing multitudes.
Over in Europe, safe and secure with nothing to worry about, regular news flashes keep the viewers up to date with the long lines of refugees heading their way. More reports tell of overloaded boats capsizing at sea with too many passengers onboard, victims of wicked entrepreneurs packing them in too tightly.
All this runs in the background on the TV in a small household presided over by a mother with a soft spot for animals. Other residents are the daughter with her new boyfriend and his American bulldog. Also Sluzy the cat, not too pleased about the canine invader but holding his ground.
He’s a big dog and well muscled but the cat is a veteran of all night rat-hunts. His damaged eyelid and torn ear are the markers that prove it. Deep scratches on the dog’s nose and lips advertise a recent disagreement where the dog fared badly and now thinks twice before his next attack.
Somehow gifted with the ability to sense the future, Sluzy is having anxiety dreams and rightly so because the mother is so enchanted by the dog that she wants one (of her own) and searches the internet for rescue centres, fingers crossed.
‘Yay.’ She finds one, 250 miles away. A website shows Cromly curled on a couch for the photo looking pathetic with a history of abuse before abandonment and now coming to the end of his tenure in the dog’s home. The needle of oblivion only a few days away.
Say no more and soon there are two big dogs playing rough on the carpet as the family looks on fondly, pleased to be giving a new start to the bag of bones who needs love and fattening up.
Not joining in on the joyful good news now sinking their teeth into each other, Sluzy’s advanced preternatural instincts detect a radical change approaching. Two dogs is a tactical advantage he can’t beat.
A high bunk-bed provides a safety zone above the reach of the pack so he claims it and observes their bonding techniques as they snarl at each other at meal time trying to steal the other’s dinner.
The younger one, sorely deprived of kingship in his new territory, gives Cromly some rules with his teeth. The smell of dog blood wafts to the upper regions where Sluzy sniffs it on the passing air wondering about his dinner, hoping it hasn’t been overlooked owing to dog priorities now prevailing.
It’s a stormy night with rain lashing the doors and windows and Sluzy feels hungry as yet another blast hurls itself against the building.
Across Europe a forest fire of enraged xenophobia is dampened by images of a tiny body washed onto a Mediterranean shore, still in his nice trainers in the arms of the beach cleaners.
This powerful call from Mercy squeezes the collective heart of humanity and the clarion call changes to shaming politicians into action, urging them to take a u-turn on election promises to reduce immigration. Empathy for the plight of the refugees writes a new agenda.
Sluzy hasn’t been forgotten and the smell of food is carried by the same currents as the blood but life itself is under threat so he stays put.
The dogs catch the scent too and are held back by the strong boyfriend who needs all his weight to prevent the descent to the dish but the mother wisely decides on dinner in the bathroom for Sluzy so she carries him using a two handed grasp around his ribcage, looking vulnerable through airspace only three feet away from the lathering jaws.
Some time passes as the fastidious cat works through his chicken livers, savouring every mouthful so the guards grow tired of vigilance and when the door is eventually opened for a peek to see if he’s done, the dogs’ handler is busy elsewhere sorting through DVD’s.
Sluzy shoots out under a forest of legs to leap up to the bunk but miscalculates on the bedding sliding. In the moments of scrabbling, Cromly gets him and with a mighty shake of his head, throws him across the room.
The wall boarding that arrests his flight impresses the curve of his back with segments of vertebrae clearly moulded. He bounces before dropping to the ground on all fours as the front door opens and a drenched daughter steps in, home from work.
Disturbing images of Hungarian border guards using tear-gas to repel refugees flicks across the screen as the mother wonders what can be done and goes outside into the dark with an umbrella to call him back.
Sluzy hears the sweet familiar tones from under his bush where he’s considering his options now he’s crossed off his familiar home as old territory no longer safe.