The street is lined with palatial houses on either side. The houses are defended; ornamented rather, by rows of tall trees. The driveways are littered with expensive cars whose polished, curvaceous bodies are glimmering in the moonlight. The soft illumination from the moon amalgamates with the well crafted lines of metal to form sharp, beautiful patterns on the strong, dark exteriors. The owners of the cars are sleeping soundly in their houses and the guards are fast asleep in their cabins. The night is overpowered by whirring sounds of air conditioners. As the clock strikes four, the street lights switch off like clockwork. It is pitch dark after the lights go out.

As soon as the clock strikes four and the lights switch off, an eye looking out from one of the windows withdraws. The curtain is allowed to gently fall back in place; hiding the eye, the room and the worlds that curtains hold behind them. A few seconds later, the sound of a bolt being pulled back is heard. It is pulled back in an agonisingly protracted manner; in the manner of someone who is paying meticulous care to create the least amount of sound, in the manner of thieves.

A few seconds later, a figure clad entirely in black exits the front gate. The silhouette is recognisable through the clothes as that of a woman’s. The clothes are flexible and clinging to the body in order to allow easy manoeuvring. Her face is covered with a black scarf. Only the eyes are permitted to shine in the moonlight. She is carrying a large sling bag on her back.

She quickly and quietly shuts the door and sets off at a brisk pace. She stays under the trees and sticks to the shadows. There is an effortlessness in the way she traverses the route to her destination in spite of the extreme care paid to avoid visibility. She has a sense of familiarity with each dark corner, each tree and each tree’s shadow crossing her path. Her effortlessness suggests that the nocturnal excursions are a regular affair.

She reaches the end of her furtive commute as she approaches a large house at the corner of the lane. This house seems to be her target tonight. However, the house seems impenetrable with a thick sheath of creepers dangling from tall walls. She appears to be completely oblivious to the difficulty of the scaling the wall in front of her. Without breaking her stride walks to the end of the wall as if she knows the house’s secrets.

She crosses the house and peers through the plants into a small lane running alongside. It is impossible to spot the opening in the dark behind the overgrowth unless one already knew it existed. The gap is barely enough to allow her and her bag to slide into. She slips through and comes out on the other side.

Once in, she quickly crosses the lane and comes to a metal gate built on the side of the house. The locked gate overlooks a garden with a swing and comfortable looking lounge chairs. There is a dog tied to the swing. Unperturbed, she jumps over the gate with the nimbleness of a cat and softly drops on the other side. The dog wakes up, notices her but remains absolutely quiet. Only the wagging tail gives away his loyalties.

The dog is a pitiable creature. It seems underfed, unkempt and unloved. There are cane marks of violence on its once luscious coat. The intruder knew the owners well. They bought the dog as a status symbol but were soon disillusioned by the responsibility of raising it. They treated the dog poorly, refused to spend time with it, refused to let it into their home or hearts. Most days they didn’t bother to feed it. So the dog lost all playfulness and hope over time.

However things had changed each time the intruder jumped over the metal gate. Every night, she would spend a few stolen minutes petting it, teasing it, loving it. She would greet him like a long lost friend and quietly lay down beside him allowing him to lick every inch of her face.

She would then extend her hand inside the bag and draw tasty treats for the dog, ensuring that he finished his food. She could not afford to leave traces of her visit. In about twenty minutes or so, she bids goodbye with a heavy heart, promises to visit the next night and quickly makes her way back to her own house and bed.

The next morning she is woken up by her mother, gets dressed and goes to work with her father in his car. The car has a polished, curvaceous body and strong, dark exteriors. She is groggy from sleeplessness throughout the commute and is usually curled up in the back seat catching a few extra minutes of rest. Her father is often jocularly questioning her excessive need for sleep and lovingly attributes it to the labours of her demanding job.

The dog lets out a yelp of joy every time he sees her car pass the tall front gate of the house. The dog’s owner never understood why the dastardly creature would create a racket early in the morning and why it would bark at harmless strangers. He thinks it must be because dogs are strange, unfathomable creatures and their minds and needs cannot be known. He picks up the cane and steps out to quieten it.

Some animals are criminal creatures and deserve to be disciplined.