Rating: E for Everyone
Genre: Historically tinged.
Characters/Pairings: Türkiye, Greece.
Summary: 1901, the decline of the Ottoman Empire: sink or swim or both.
Notes: One of the many measures taken by the reformist government in the Ottoman Empire's final days was the slaughter/exile of the infamous gangs of dogs that roamed Constantinople, an attempt to revitalize and Westernize it.
The city was doomed long before the clamor of dogs was silenced.
Sadiq, having memorized every angle of intersection, counted the streetlights, followed the schedule of carriages passing sooty shop windows, the people’s faces and progression of their white hairs, he could skip over the Europe-stuffed reform logic -- named the instigators of the end instead as Russian; unfettered petty crime; forgetting home. The old sultans dropping like flies while revolutionaries feed like rats.
One day, men furious with the skeleton their bygone Empire made, toppled a caravan filled with Western musical instruments: violins, cellos, gleaming trumpets and one jumbo harpsichord spilled out onto the sidewalk.
“Let it be the fate of the imperialists,“ said a covered woman witness to the scene. Bare-footed children meandered toward the many bows fallen into gutters and, after plucking the horsehair strings to sample their music, snapped the delicate wood over each others’ heads.
Meanwhile, Sadiq lost his first fight. Fell, mouth red and eye black, before Greece.
He awoke tasting smoke, understanding Greece’s ashy footprint stamped on his chest. He’d resigned himself to the whole blacking out business too late: had heard the fist in his face, and the voice, and it stayed, sticky.
“Forgotten,” Greece had said, face pained. “You‘ve forgotten yourself.”
Greece with the grudges. Greece setting one rebellious foot in the door like he could imagine himself getting used to this place. Constantinople. This rusted, nameless settlement.
Sadiq coughed, coughed, brought himself to his knees and glimpsed a mongrel. Its fur matted, the bone of a small carcass in its mouth, it must’ve been the only dog left in the city.
It gnawed fervently on that small leg of a chicken, a duck, but its eyes never strayed. And it never did a thing, not once. Such beautiful damn bones.