Malak didn’t react immediately in looking down. Bri and her conversational partner hadn’t noticed the dog meandering over on the end of his lead, little black nose smearing wet over the top of Malak’s shoe.
The world has everything in its place, as it has grown to be. As the world is forced to wear its changes. What doesn’t fit within those clothes, within the body? What is like me?
The dog didn’t seem to agree with the statement, even while he thought Malak was strange. He was indeed aware of the other oddity in town, because it caused a ruckus that even the grounded two legged ones here were aware of.
Where is this one like me now?
The dog didn’t know anything about right now, but he did know that after the big commotion that the oddity rushed down the slopes, as if it thought enough speed downward would take them up. As if they were supposed to be able to walk up into the air and away from the world.
Malak tried to ignore the sensation the thought began to evoke within them. The feeling that they hadn’t been able to reach in so long. Toward the rushing water?
Down the hill, away from the most of the people, past the park where his human always took him in the morning every day.
The next person Bri hailed was walking his dog. Malak held small interest in either, both human and canine newness had never fascinated them. More items in the world that would be gone within a blink of an eye.
“Sorry for bothering you, but my friend and I are new in town and we were hoping you could help us with some directions?”
“Sure thing! Lived here near all my life.”
“Really? That sounds amazing. I barely know what’s outside of my apartment in the city sometimes and I’ve been there a couple years now.”
“There is certainly something to be said for travel, but having a place you know to return to’s always the clincher.”
Malak stopped paying attention to the benign conversation, stopped staring at the old tree which had somehow managed to stand outside of the town library despite the town around it, when something tread upon their foot. The dog, of course.
As the sun began to rise over the mountain, she stared at the blood covering her hands and wondered what had just happened. Her dog pushed into her side, nose slipping by her face. She tried to get to her feet, but her knees weren’t bending as she wanted.
She checked them. They were fine, they weren’t broken. She just couldn’t bend them to get up.
The dog pushed into her again. The girl tried to push him away. “No.” Where had this blood come from? She couldn’t remember.
She wiped her hands off on her jeans. They looked like she would have to get new ones. Her mother had always told her the ripped jean look was dumb anyway.
Her dog grabbed her, mouth on her arm. “Ow! What are you doing? Stop!”
The dog didn’t stop. He started to pull her. She tried to protest, but she couldn’t. He was strong and she couldn’t get up.
As she began to pass out from the blood loss, the dog dragged her past the corpse of her captor.
There was something in the air. Something more than the usual amount of smog.
Unfortunately, because of the smog, it was impossible to make it out.
The dachshund looked up at her with lowered ears. She wished her sense of smell was as bad as his, but at the moment he had the better end of the deal. She picked him up.
“Yeah, I know. We really need to get out of here.”
He wiggled in her arms, licking the side of her face. It made her laugh, which made her take in more air, smog, which made her cough.
“Yep! Really time to get going.”
She put him back down, lower to the ground, away from the bad air, and they walked onward.
There was no need to set an alarm.
She heard it through the walls, as she did every morning. The screeching of whatever animal. Well, she knew what animal it was. During the day, he was a very nice dog. She enjoyed seeing him from over the fence, wiggling his tail and the rest of him.
Yet at six o’clock in the morning, he didn’t understand why anyone was still asleep and had to wake up the neighborhood.
Getting out of bed, she opened her window and, after making sure the window was closed, aimed a rock from her pile at the sill. She struck it dead on. She readied another, but didn’t throw it as the movement from the curtains told her the person on the other side was actually getting up.
With a sigh, she got ready for work.
The dog stared at the treat in her hand with intense interest. Interest that had nothing to do with her words or any other motion that didn’t move the treat.
Trying again with the same thing didn’t make a noticeable difference. She sighed, but tried again.
Finally, the dog moved. He walked behind her and stood there. She turned around and showed him the treat again. He didn’t try to take it from her hand, but still waited patiently. In a last ditch effort to make this work without actually having to make him sit herself, she walked forward to crowd out his space.
He plucked out a pen and a notebook, dropping it down in front of her. “You will write how you’re feeling.”
She looked up at him, an expression that could only be considered hopeful.
“No, I’m not guessing anymore. I want you to write it down.”
She woofed at him.
“Don’t you pretend you can’t. I’ve seen you watch me do it. I’ve seen you read what I’ve written.”
She wagged her tail.
He sighed, rubbing his short hair back and forth. “Should I get you a large stick and a plot of land?”
The dog decided she’d spent enough time humoring him and went to sleep.
The beach was peaceful, the red grains drying out under the sun.
Emily was too, zonked out under her umbrella for who knew how long. She could feel as though the burn might start, it was time to reapply the sunscreen. Waking up more fully, she reached for her drink. Still tangy, but no longer cool enough to be refreshing. Emily sighed and began to apply the cream.
Then Harriette came up. “I can’t touch you now, go away.”
The dalmatian was not as wet as she had expected, even more spots on his legs, as if they were freckles. Harriette pushed against her, incautious of the sunscreen.
“Harri, no. Stop it.”
Harriette pressed her nose against the side of Emily’s face, then determined she didn’t want to lick her greasy skin and lay down, rolling onto her back. Emily frowned.
However, the dog didn’t care about that and waited. Selfish, Emily decided, as she continued to cover her unprotected skin. Harriette’s patience eventually changed her mind. “You better wash off in the ocean, girl.”
Wiping as much of the cream off of her hand onto her legs, she rubbed Harriette’s belly.
All in all, an average day.
The dog came up to her, tail waving slowly back and forth as he looked up at her.
“You look suspicious,” she said, patting his head. His tail wiggled a little more. “What did you do?”
Absolutely nothing, love me, said his body language, in the most suspicious of ways. Reaching behind his ear, she pulled off a leaf from within the strands of his long hair.
“Trying to become a gardener?” She smiled. The dog buried his face into her lap.
Then she saw the movement.
She exhaled her irritation. “Trying to become a bug catcher?” It wasn’t a flea, thank god, but enough was enough. “You aren’t getting in my bed. In fact, we’re doing your favorite thing. Having a bath.”
No matter how cute the dog could look, he would never be able to evade the bath.
The outskirts sounded as much like a heartbeat as the city. The heat came down like rain and the populous marched through the streets, continuing on their rails without pause. It was a miserable existence.
Rosemarie looked at her left and saw Sariah there. Her friend smiled, a stark white strip between dark lips. Next to Sariah sat her mutt, panting further back in the shade. A blue plastic bowl lay next to both of them. For the dog, so neither of them would drip a foot in to cool off.
“Are you ready?” Continue reading “From the Light of Day” →