. . . at three a.m. may have been the cats chasing something round and round the house. I didn’t know whether it was a giant roach or a house gecko, and I didn’t want to know, though from the zeal and style of the hunting—a rapid slapping down of paws in which running doubles as serial pouncing—I suspected the latter, having seen Buzzy hunt an anole the same way.* This morning I found the gecko, tailless (the least of its troubles), multiply punctured, and bled-out pale. It was still alive, and it cocked its head and looked up at me, as if to say, “Are you going to torture me now?” When I stroked it with a finger instead and put it on the outside stair landing railing, it closed its eyes wearily. A little later I found tiny ants already probing it. Alive, it had haunted me; almost as soon as it was dead, its little sand-colored scrap of a body merged into the inanimate, and it was of no further separate significance, except as a bonanza to the ants.
That’s how our consciousness has to withstand being hunted and tortured by death until it can’t hold out any longer, too much damage has been done.
The next time I hear such hunting I’m going to get up and gently intervene.
*I did save the anole from Buzzy in time. It appeared dead, but on closer inspection could be seen to be surreptitiously breathing. I laid it in the sun, and when its protective death-mimic shock wore off, it took hold and ran away. I think I have seen it, tailless but robust, going about its lizardly business.