I am in a quiet campus-like setting, looking for interesting things to photograph. I am near the far edge of the property near a high stone wall, underneath huge trees looking through fallen leaves and twigs on the ground.
I spy something that looks like it might be a cat. Groping through the dried leaves I see a tiny cat's head in a plastic bag. I pull the bag free of the debris pile. Attached to the cat's head is the right side of its body. There is no visible blood or internal organs, just the head, the right half of the torso and right-side limbs, with normal-looking, clean fur covering it all.
I poke around in the debris on the ground and find another plastic bag containing the left side of the cat, minus the head but with the tail attached. As with the right half, there is no visible butchery to the body, no blood or internal organs visible. The cat is almost completely black, very tiny but not kitten-like. It looks peaceful, like it's asleep. But it is not asleep. It is dead.
The cat obviously could not have lived like that, in two separate halves. It must have been born normally and had been living a normal life for a while and, in spite of no obvious signs of dismemberment, was then split in two on purpose. There is no rational or humane explanation for this. This could not have been done to any living thing with love.
I know the cat is dead but I decide to take it with me and give it love. I feel compelled to make up to it what the perpetrator of the violence against it could not or would not do. Maybe giving it the love now it never got while it was alive will somehow cancel out the butchery done to it.
The cat may never know that there was one person in the world who had love for it, but I would know. And somehow I would benefit from this even if no one else did. As I sit on my heels under the trees in the mild autumn sunlight, I wonder how I will keep the cat's body parts from decomposing. I feel sad that my love alone would be insufficient to prevent that.