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A Step Short: Chapter 2

In disbelief, Rachel read the short article again. "This is insane!" she said to herself, yet out loud. Taking a look at the date of the veterinary journal, she realized it was 6 months old. She quickly sorted out all the journals of the same type and scanned the "news" section of each in hopes of learning more. She figured if she couldn't find it, there was always Google. But there it was, only two months ago, a second short article about what Rachel felt was the ultimate in heinous.

No Jail Time For Two Iowa Teens In Animal Cruelty Case, stated the article. For the first time in more than a year Rachel's mind had total clarity, all her attention on the subject matter, not just skimming the words and allowing distant thoughts to creep in until she realized she had no idea what she had just read. Her mind had been opened, and her heart just a bit awoken. Cringing as she read, she learned the two teens had been accused of duct taping a 3 month old puppy's snout and limbs, before placing it into an oven set at 400 F. They had recorded the incident before leaving the community center they had broken into. It went on to describe how the boys took pleasure in showing others, especially their younger siblings the videos, telling them that if they told anyone the same thing would happen to them.

The puppy was discovered the following day be staff members who came into to open the facility. They smell was seemed like "burnt meat and hair", according to one staff member. They traced the smell to the kitchen area, where they discovered the grotesque remains of the puppy still in the oven.

Video surveillance fortunately identified the teens as they entered their car parked directly in front of the building. License plate numbers made them easy to find. Once accused, the video was deleted and the teens stated the puppy had been found dead in the alley. They thought it would be "funny to cook it as a roast", claiming any duct tape residue was to keep it from touching the sides of the oven, thus, according to them, to prevent a fire. It was such a flimsy explanation, but good enough for the judge. Fortunately, the county attorney was able to get them on the breaking and entry, and terrorism charges due to the trauma it had caused on the children who were shown the video and threatened. In the end, the boys received 12 months community service. End of story.

"Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!" Rachel ranted on at the absurdity of the penance given to the boys. Anyone who could do that to an animal had the potential for repeating it, perhaps even to people. Their taunting the children with the video and the threat could have lasting marks on their emotional well being.

"Community Service? No way. Rachel tormented herself by picturing what the boys had done, how the puppy had suffered, and the laugh the boys ended up having with it. Evidently, according to a ten year old who had seen the video the boys had been laughing during the recording. Rachel was disgusted.

At that moment, Rachel's mind had been absolutely free of her sadness for her boy, and of her plans to settle her belongings and pets before doing the one thing she had wanted to do most for the last year, end her life and sadness. Now she was energized, and took the moment to think about the realization that she could find more reason to go on. She couldn't imagine the damage would have had on her Mikey. He was a sensitive kid when compared to his peers.

Without hesitation, Rachel pushed all the mail that was heaped on the table off the otherside and onto the floor. To hell with that, she thought. Later it would all go into a bin and be quickly forgotten. She grabbed a blank note pad and made two columns. One said What to do before leaving. And the other said What to buy. Rachel would worry about the first column later. Her heart raced as she poised her pen over the second column. The first item on the list, "DUCT TAPE!!!".

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