[Story] Story a Week 36

[[ Prompt: A story from an animal’s perspective.

I already have several animal characters but I chose to write from the perspective of my beloved dog, Banjo. Some of this is invented, as I don’t know his circumstances before I got him, but I do know that he was thin and found on the streets. ]]

Most of all, I remember being hungry. It seemed my belly was never full. I took what I could, but it wasn’t easy. There were others like me, lean with hard eyes and sharp teeth. I know there had been a time before that, a time when I had a soft place to rest, and food to eat, but all I can remember is the hunger. It’s not cold, usually, but it does rain. I do my best to keep dry, but that’s not easy either. When they catch me, it’s almost a relief. The place that they take me is cold and hard, and it smells of fear, but it’s dry and there is food to eat. There are others there, too, refugees like me in their barred cages. Some have a similar story to mine, others don’t seem to want to talk at all. The one in my cage with me is like that. His face is peppered with age, and bears at least a dozen scars. He never does tell me what happened. He just disappears one day. There are stories about where they go, but they seem too nightmarish to be true. I know that some of them leave. People come every day and walk the hallways, and sometimes they take one of us with them. I don’t know how they decide. I don’t know why they don’t choose me. I’m not sure where they go, but it has to be better than this place. I can feel the fear start to close in around me the longer I stay. It has a way of getting to you, no matter how strong you think you are.

She comes one day in the winter. Even though it’s raining, I am outside. I let my silent cage-mate rest inside. She walks slowly, deliberately, looking in every cage in turn, assessing us. For what? I don’t know. But I can tell that she is kind. I want her to take me away from this place. She pauses outside my cage, kneels down and extends a hand. I am wary, but I approach it and sniff cautiously. I like her smell. It’s nice. My tail wags, tentatively. She turns to leave, and I can feel my hope fleeing. But the other person comes with the keys. She unlocks my cage, puts the leash on my neck. It’s okay. She is crouching, extending a hand to pet me. I sigh contentedly, and lay at her feet. It feels right, and good.

They put a paper on my cage. I don’t know what it says. I don’t know if I will see Her again. One morning, my cagemate is gone. I don’t think any people came to take him. I don’t know where he went. She comes back again, a few days later. This time they take me out of the cage. They put a leash on my neck. She stands at the desk and writes papers. She strokes my head and my ears. It’s nice. I am still wary, but hopeful. I don’t believe She would do anything bad to me. We go into a car. It’s strange at first, but She helps me get in. There are so many smells that my head is spinning. The world rushes by in a blur of excitement. We stop at a place that has food. My mouth waters but I do not take it from Her. I don’t have to. She gives all of it to me. I devour it without chewing, and it is the most delicious food I have ever eaten.

We go to another place, a wide open field. She holds my leash and talks to me. Her voice is soft and kind. I let my tail wag a little. I trust Her already. We walk together for a time, there are so many new smells and I investigate them all. Then She takes me to a house. There’s a yard with soft grass, and a new bed for me to sleep in. She feeds me food from her hand and I take it gently though I still feel that emptiness in my stomach. It goes away eventually. We lay beside each other on a couch, She under a blanket and me on top of it. We watch the television and She strokes my side. She tells me that She has always wanted a dog just like me, and my heart swells. I am home.

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