dog woman

She was fifty-something – past the age of sexual vulnerability (generally, that is – there could still be perverts with queer fetishes), so she lived off the kerb of the busy high-street between a shop selling vegetables and the National Association of Blind. Even so, she had a pack of street dogs for her company and protection. Apparently the only family she had. Now.
It is difficult to say if she was demented – but she did have absolute control over the dogs with gestures and sounds. She assisted in cleaning and arranging crates in the vegetable shop and was paid, probably in food (which she shared with her canine family) and allowed to sleep in front of the shop’s downed shutters.
Eight years later, when work took me back through the road , I could not help wondering what might have become of her – the best scenario being that she was taken up by a old-age and/or destirute home or that she had died naturally, under her family’s vigil – the worst scenarios – infinite. Perhaps “harvested” for kidneys, blood, eyes …., perhaps maimed for beggary – perhaps, perhaps coerced into forced labour … the possibilities are endless.
The infinite ways in which a helpless human body can be appropriated.
The dogs must be missing her.