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Hiding behind the ruins of a two-story house, he watched its every move. It slowly approached the half-empty can of canned beans and began to sniff. The man took aim, but it was too early. His hands, in which he held a slingshot, began to tremble with anticipation. He felt his fingers began to cool due to the strong tension of the rubber harness. But he had no right to miss.

He was ready to fire every second, but it was still too early. And that’s when the rat decided to feast on the contents of the jars. As soon as its head was in the can, the man unclenched his fingers and the metal spherical projectile hit the target in a matter of seconds.

Simon got up and approached the half-dead rat, which was greedily gasping for air.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “I had no choice.”

The man took a stone and hit the rodent on the head. Even in such times, no one deserves a painful death. Now it remains to gather firewood and light a fire. Since the nearest store, where there was a chance to find matches, was ten miles away, Simon had to recall physics lessons and make a fire in an alternative way. This is not the first time he is doing it. He always has all the necessary materials because he doesn’t stay in one place for long — it is too dangerous.

Simon took a homemade magnifying glass from his backpack, which was made from the bottom of a glass bottle rubbed to a shine. Then he dug a small hole and threw dry branches there. He put a small piece of rope with cut hairs on top and began picking up a good angle of incidence of sunlight. The day was hot and sunny, the air temperature probably reached 110 degrees, so in just ten seconds the rope had already started to smoke and soon caught fire. While the fire was burning, the man began to remove the skin from the dead rat. This was not the first time he had done so, but each time he felt disgraced, taking someone’s life to survive. And it is not the fact that he will survive, to tell the truth.

Suddenly Simon heard a rustle near him. He gripped the knife tightly and turned toward the sound source. A pair of frightened eyes stared at him from behind the tree.

“What are you doing here, friend?” Simon turned to the dog. The dog pressed his ears and began to choke. The man looked at the small piece of meat left after eating the rodent and said to the dog, “I’m sorry, the two of us won’t have enough here.” The dog growled plaintively and began to cautiously approach Simon. The man frowned and growled at him, “Go away, or you’ll be next!”

Frightened, the dog ran away, wagging its tail. But still remained in sight. Simon began to prepare dinner, taking a can of uneaten beans, which half an hour ago served as his bait. After preparing the meat for edible condition, Simon sat down more comfortably (as much as possible) and started his meal. As he was about to bite off the first piece, he saw out of the corner of his eye a dog sitting nearby and licking. Simon tried not to pay attention to it, but the sad dog’s eyes looked into his heart.

There’s too much bad in this world, he thought, breaking off rat’s hind paw and shouting at the dog, “come here.”

The dog ran happily to Simon. The man threw him the calves that left and the rat’s hind leg. The dog happily pounced on the modest treats. He ate almost everything in one gulp. “It probably hasn’t eaten anything in a long time,” thought Semyon, “just like me.”

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