A Dog's Life
It was late evening when she found the wild onions. She looked around and sniffed the air before cautiously put her head down and started eating them. Since the humans disappeared it’s been hard going. For a little while it was good. There were plenty of scraps in the garbage, but they soon spoiled. She soon started hunting cats, after seeing some of them eating human remains. Now, they too were scarce, and things have gotten much more dangerous. Sometime ago, she saw what she thought was a human. She ran up to it, barking with joy, then it turned around. All she remembered was the yellow eyes and a sharp pain. She has three long scars on her side from that day.
A sound came to her ears, foot steps. She ran through the tall grass and into an open doorway of an abandoned house. Standing on her hind legs she looked out the tattered blinds. Up the road came a sight she hadn’t seen in months. It was a human, a young woman. She had torn jeans, a hoodie, and a back pack. The girls shuffle betrayed her sadness and the dog felt bad for her. But the dog was scared, not sure it was really a human. She stayed at the window and watched the girl crest the hill, and slowly vanish from sight as the sun began to set. The dog began to pace about the house, not sure what to do. As the darkness overtook the light, she hopped on the couch and slept.
After a few hours of restless sleep she hopped off the couch and headed for the door. The moon shined bright and ships streaked past the stars. The dog arrived at the top of the hill and sniffed the ground where she last saw the girl. Once she caught the sent she slowly began to follow it. There was something vaguely familiar about what she smelled. She didn’t have much time to think about it, she had to be alert, the nights were very dangerous in the summer. It’s when the things hunted, using the shadows to hide. In the day, they didn’t hide, they just came right at you, but at least you could hear them coming. The dog found itself missing winter, the evil things were slow, and easier to kill. That’s how she was able to get her vengeance.
She followed the scent down a narrow road that had grass growing through the cracks in the pavement. As she traveled, the scent grew stronger, she was catching up to the human. She noticed movement in the corn field next to the road. She stopped and crouched low.
A taloned deep green hand reached out and parted the corn. A giant lizard head peered out, tongue tasting the air. It looked side to side, and stepped out onto the road. It seemed the thing had caught the sent of the human as well.
The dog was worried, this human was the first she had seen in forever, and there was something familiar about her. Not really knowing what else to do, she growled and barked at the beast. It noticed her, and drew a golden trident from its back and went to stab her. She quickly dodged the thrust and took off, leading it away from the scent of the human.
As she ran she thought of what to do. Up ahead she saw a barbed wire fence. An idea crept into her mind. She had to find the perfect spot, and soon, as it was gaining on her.
She could feel the steps growing stronger behind her, she dodged a stab aimed at her back and dove into the high grass she had been looking for. This grass was over eight feet tall, taller than the beast that chased her. She heard it crashing into the grass behind her, just as she rolled under the barbed wire. Once on the other side she hopped up and ran into the treeline, where she turned and waited.
The big, dumb thing crashed through the grass and right into the barbed wire. It pierced its skin and wrapped around its legs. It crashed to the ground and dropped its trident. The more it struggled the more entangled it got. The dog slowly approached its enemy, watching its every move, ready to run away at the slightest hint of danger.
She growled as she got closer, its uncaring eyes looked at her, its tongue darted from its mouth. The dog couldn’t believe her luck, every limb was tangled in the barbwire. It was harmless for the time being. She slowly approached her enemy, watching its head and limbs. There was a very weak point, not covered in armor or thick hide, its throat.
A few moments later she emerged back on the road, black blood dripping from her jowls. She picked up the scent again and moved on with a trot. She was close.
Ahead there was a barn, door cracked and swaying a little in the breeze. She peaked her head in and sniffed. The human was here. She slowly walked in and found her in one of the stalls, sleeping in the hay. The dog went into an adjoining stall, laid down, and slept.
She followed the human at a distance for days. The sorrow the human felt oozed out into the world, it was palatable. She understood, she belonged to a family once too. The laughter, love, and security was truly missed. Maybe that was it, was this young woman one of hers? She followed a little closer to catch the scent. What were the odds? Yes, she was one of hers, had to be.
She watched as the girl sat under a tree. The dog never saw her face, ever. It was always covered in a hood and she always looked at the ground when she walked. But she couldn’t help sense something familiar about her. The way she walked, her height and build, and the scent; all triggered some distant memory. The dog laid down and watched the girl as the sun began to set. Being near her and the absence of those lizard things allowed her the time to think of her past. She fell asleep, dreaming of playing fetch and snuggling with the one called mom. Chasing dad around the yard, then being chased.
She woke up when she heard her name, first time she had heard it in years. It was dad calling her, in her dreams. She remembered what he said in the dream. “I’m taking her to Pa’s. Make sure she gets there Bambi.”
Bambi was happy as she woke up, thinking the last few years was a dream. Unfortunately it became instantly obvious it wasn’t. The false dawn had come up, giving a slight sliver of light that began to bathe the forest. Bambi decided to take a chance and see who this girl was. She crept up slowly to the girl, now laying on her side, and peered in under her hood. Her nub of a take wagged a little as she recognized the face she saw there. The girl began to stir and Bambi retreated into the woods. It was one of hers, what luck. She really wasn’t sure what to do. She wanted to trust her, she knew it was Erika. But she had been fooled before, by those damn chameleons.
A few days went by, and Bambi followed a little closer each passing day. The terrain also got rougher as they went, steeper hills, lots of loose rocks, and tall pines. The needles made the ground extra slippery after the rain that came thundering down out of no where one evening. Bambi thought she lost her a couple times, she climbed a steep hill that Bambi couldn’t climb. But Bambi caught up to her a few hours later. Another time Erika swam a creek, Bambi tried but turned back and climbed a fallen tree to get to the other side. Took her sometime to find her then too.
Now they came to a clearing, a warm breeze came to her, past the girl. Bambi, of course, smelled the girl, but there was something else there too. Erika didn’t seem to notice, she just kept walking, head down, drowning in her own thoughts. Bambi had to think fast or she would walk right into them.
She circled around the clearing and came up on a barn, the scent was strong. Bambi poked her head into a gap in the wood and saw a couple smaller of those lizard things. She proceeded to the house, and slowly backed away. There was a big one in there. Bambi headed back to Erika, she had to stop her.
The moment she realized she was too late, broke her heart. How could it be that the only human she had seen in months turned out to be one of her humans, only to have to watch her die. The two scouts she had seen in the barn headed towards Erika, who still walked with her head down. Bambi sprinted as fast as she could to get to her. The lead one reached over its shoulder and drew out its golden trident, took a few more steps and thrust it at her.
Bambi’s heart stopped as she expected Erika to fall over dead, but she didn’t. It took a few moments for her to realize everything had stopped. The two scouts were frozen in time and space. Neither moved an inch, they were like statues. Bambi had seen this before, she suddenly remembered. Her people could do this, her life and memories came flashing back to her... all of it.
There was her first family, the one that took her to their home when she was a puppy. There was a time when she fell asleep and woke up with a nub instead of a tail, and no dew claws. Then there was the constant shouting and yelling. She had been hit a lot too. Then, on a stormy summer night she was dumped at a church. She remembered hiding under a picnic table as the rain came down and the lightning flashed and the thunder made her jump. The next day smelled new as the sun came up. A few cars pulled up and people went inside, she stayed away from them. She didn’t trust people anymore. A little while later a white van pulled into the parking lot. A man got out, there was something different about him. She could sense he was kind, and he had a spring in his step. But what peaked her interest was that he glowed. She came out from under the table and approached him, he seemed happy to see her. He bent down to pet her and she flinched. This action seemed to make him sad, and the color of his light changed as he bent down to her level. She came up to him and wondered about the glow. He said “ Who do you belong to little girl?”
Bambi saw Erika glow. An angry red emanated from her body. For the first time she looked up, the hood fell from her face. Her features, once soft, were hardened by the events of the last few years. Her eyes were tired, baggy and bloodshot. There were tear tracks on her dirty face.
Erika walked up to the frozen figures and took the trident from the hands of the first one. She spun it around and stabbed the beast with a force that Bambi would have never guessed she had. It went right through it and appeared between its shoulders. She went to the next one and drew out a large knife from under her jacket, it had an eagles head on the hilt, and slid it alone the other ones neck.
Her red glow went away and the two scouts fell to the ground while giving out their death cries. A noise came from the house, and Bambi started to bark to warn her human. Erika spun around and looked at her direction. There was a look of aw on the girls face, and then Bambi began to run toward the house. Erika looked at the house and saw a rather large lizard man come out. Suddenly Bambi couldn’t move. She was frozen mid stride. She could only see Erika from the corner of her eye. Erika was not afraid, she had a determined look on her face. This lizard thing was a sorcerer, it had its staff in hand and it began to have black energy surround the stone on the end. Bambi knew Erika was in danger, but all she could do is bark. The black energy started to concentrate at the end of the staff, when the sorcerers eyes went wide. Bambi saw Erika extend her right arm. There was a glowing bracelet on her wrist.
The bracelet was a gift, created by her father; he had given one to her, her sister, and her mother. It was designed to turn her target to ash. Bambi remembered when he made them, he didn’t use tools. He sat, in a room and focused his thoughts between his hands. These bracelets materialized from thin air, he wanted to make sure his family was safe after the fall of the Spire.
Erika had become a legend with in the Saurian Empire, almost a myth. She modified her bracelet. Her father was to kind, no pain in the original design. Hers would slowly break down the molecular structure of her target. This is the thought the sorcerer had when he saw the bracelet, his concentration was broke, the energy dissolved from around the staff. A beam arched from the bracelet its pale blue light enveloped the sorcerer. The skin turn to dust and began to blow away in the breeze, exposing the muscle tissue beneath. The muscle began to turn from red to gray and it soon too began to blow away, revealing the guts and bones of her enemy. It roared in pain as these too began to turn to first stone and then sand. When the beam stopped its head fell to the ground, still intact. She slowly walked up to it and peered into its eyes, they blinked.
“Where is my family!!!” she screamed at it.
It blinked again, opened its mouth and died.
Bambi still couldn’t move, she gave out a little whimper. Erika looked at her and Bambi saw her glow change from red to white. As the red light faded she was able to move. The boxer stood there with her head down, not sure what to do. The girl walked up to her, hood down, brown hair blowing in the wind. When she drew close she sat, cross legged, on the ground and peered into Bambi’s eyes. Bambi looked into the girls green searching eyes.
Erika, fighting back tears, and said “Bambi?”
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