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The Block

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
During a conflict, one family remains in their suburban home as the rest have fled for the border.

Submitted: March 14, 2019

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Submitted: March 14, 2019

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The Block

 

Written by Ryan K. Mallegni

In Collaboration with 

Keith Mallegni

 

Travis sat on a cot examining a photo of his wife he held in his hand.  Crinkles appeared from his grip.  A German Shepard lied on the floor at Travis’ feet quietly with tail wagging limply. 

Travis studied the detail of his wife’s facial features but couldn’t help stare at the side of her head, just above the tip of her ear.  He began to stare past the photo—his eyes glazed and glassed. 

Most of the country was devastated and abandoned, but Travis’ mind was far from the conflict.  He was haunted every minute of the last twelve hours by the thought of the final moment he saw his wife alive.

His thoughts quickly deepened into a mosaic of memories. 

His ears rang.

---------------------------------------

“I’m leaving, Travis.  I’m not leaving you.  I’m just leaving.”  Emma said in a calm yet stern demeanor.  She rifled through her military issue duffle bag stuffing anything into it she could find of use.

“Baby, c’mon!  You will not make it to Canada alone!  Even with the two of us it gives us no greater odds.  That’s why I said we stay put!”  Travis yelled in frustration.

“You heard it just as well as I did over the CB.  They’ll be marching through our neighborhood in a matter of days.  Hell, possibly hours!  That could have been old news on an endless loop.”  Emma paused with a tear rolling down her cheek.  “Promise me you’ll make an attempt to join the next convoy up to the border?”

Travis paused for a moment.  He looked downward; sulking.  He pushed his hands into the countertop.

Travis’ eyes welled.  “Please don’t go.” 

Emma threw the duffle bag over her shoulder and kissed Travis passionately on the lips.  Spittle gushed to the corners or their mouths.  He felt the smooth curvature of her jaw with his right hand and placed his left hand on the small of her back firmly; she pulled away quickly.

Emma walked down the hallway toward the front door in haste.  Boomer lied on the floor in his dog bed, Milk-bone at his side, near the foyer.  His eyes solemnly followed Emma’s every move.

“Bye, buddy.”  Emma knelt down and patted Boomer on the head.  She scratched his ears and he gave a couple kicks and grunts of satisfaction.

Emma stood up and paused for a moment.  She wanted to turn back, but knew it would be harder for her to leave.  She opened the front door assertively and stepped outside.

Emma turned halfway back toward the door to speak. “Lock this behind me right away.”

Emma closed the door.  Travis stared blankly down the hallway into the foyer.  Boomer whimpered quietly. 

Travis mustered courage from his gut.  He walked slowly to the front door and latched the deadbolt.  He looked out the window at Emma longingly.  She threw her duffle bag into the back of her Jeep Wrangler and walked to the driver’s side of the vehicle.  She stopped and stole a look back at the front door.  Her eyes met with Travis’ that peered through the door’s side window.  They both had tears streaming down their cheeks in waves. 

Travis heard a low growl come from Boomer.  A loud crack in the air outside the home sounded and Boomer barked furiously and began clawing at the front door.

Travis looked around the neighborhood, but saw nothing under the dreary, pallid sky.  When he looked back at Emma he noticed a line of red stream down her ear and run the contour of her jaw.  Bone fragments splintered from her skull.  Another loud crack sounded and a bullet gnashed it way through her pregnant belly.

Travis threw open the front door and dropped to his knees on the front porch.  Emma collapsed on the driveway after going into rigor.

“Emma!  No!”  Travis howled at the top of his lungs until his voice was ripped and gone.  The veins from his neck seemed seconds away from bursting.

A moment later, reality fell in on Travis once he saw a glimmer out of the corner of his eye.  He stood quickly narrowly avoiding a bullet that buried itself in the front of the house.  The sniper fled the neighboring home once the shot proved to miss its target.

Travis vaulted to his feet, ran inside, and slammed door; bolting it harshly.  He slumped to the floor, pale faced, not yet allowing the events to sink in.

Boomer barked at the back door as a shadow of a man was cast from the dim afternoon light.

Lost in a nightmare, Travis brought thought to his lips.  “Boomer!”

The barking stopped immediately and Boomer came into the foyer at attention to Travis’ call.  Travis pointed directly at Boomer with his index finger.  His face was a mess of emotions.

“Boomer!  Vest!”  Travis shouted.

Boomer darted into the kitchen and skittered down the basement stairs. He dug through an organized assortment of army surplus gear, found his Kevlar K-9 vest and Travis’ tactical vest, gripped them both with his jowls and ran back upstairs.  He slid across the hardwood floor partially into the kitchen, rebounded, and redirected his gallop toward the foyer. 

Travis was nearly catatonic.  Shock gripped him around his throat.  Boomer nudged him with his snout to get his attention.  Boomer barked furiously at him occasionally throwing in more hard nudges.  He attempted to lift Travis’ limp arms with his head and snout.  Travis came out of his catatonia with his eyes widened in fear.  Travis grabbed the K9 vest from Boomer’s mouth and fastened it tightly around Boomers mid-section.  Travis slapped on his tactical vest while crying uncontrollably.  Boomer barked at him, pawed him, and licked his face.  Travis gave the wall a few thumps with his fist.  Drool strung from his mouth. 

Travis sprang to his feet.  The atmosphere quieted as Boomer ceased barking. Travis walked into the front room and reached underneath the grand piano to feel around.  He pulled out a silenced pistol with one magazine.  He slapped the magazine into the bottom of the silenced pistol and gave silent commands to Boomer with hand signals.  Travis pointed to the back door.

Travis and Boomer both quietly, but hastily, walked to the back door; only the sound of light tapping from Boomer’s claws on the hardwood floor filled the room.  They waited for the shadow of the man looming to near the sliding glass door that led to the back yard.  Travis motioned to Boomer with his hand to stay back by patting the air with a backward motion of his hand.

The shadow became lined up directly outside the back door.  Travis reached for the door handle, tore it open and held the barrel of the pistol’s silencer to the lens of the tinted goggles the soldier was wearing.  Travis pulled the trigger without delay.  Blood spatter painted the window of the back door.  The red sludge ran slowly down the glass.

Travis dragged the man inside the house and locked the door behind him.  He took off the soldier’s body armor with a rough demeanor.

“Thanks for the new duds.”  Travis began kicking the man in the ribs several times eventually losing count.  Dried tears stained his cheeks and even more welled in his eyes.  His teeth grit together with pure hatred clenched within the muscles of his jaw.  Boomer lied on the floor watching the act silently.  Travis ceased kicking only to straddle the man and begin throwing right hooks into his face.  The man’s nose broke and misted blood onto Travis’ knuckles.

Travis stopped after what seemed like five full minutes.  He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small remote with two red buttons.  Upon pressing the first button, the entire house came to life covering the windows and doors with steel shutters.

-------------------------------------------

Travis finally emerged from deep within his psyche at the sound of Boomer whimpering at his feet.  He sat on the cot – cold and emotionless.  It was now dawn of the next day and the photo of his wife was still clenched in his hand.  The photo wrinkled even more as his grip tightened.  “They sent a scout.”  Travis muttered aloud.  He shook his head.  He stood slowly with heartache in his wobbling knees.  He slid the photo of Emma into the breast pocket of his flannel shirt.

“Okay, boy.  It’s time.”  Travis said sullenly looking down at Boomer.

The house clattered and clacked as it started to un-fortify itself.  Travis looked out the front window first then stepped out the front door slowly to check for any movement on the rooftops and balconies of the neighboring homes. 

“Alright, boy.  Coast is clear.”

Travis and Boomer made their way down the long walkway at the front of the house.  Boomer’s claws tapped on the ground as he approached the Jeep in the driveway.  Travis sauntered over hesitantly trailing behind Boomer.  His heart hurt more with every step. 

Travis peered around the side of the Jeep and saw Boomer lying with Emma.  His head rested in the crook of her neck.  Travis crouched near them.  The car door was still open with the chime sounding.  The only sound he heard was that damn, horrific chime; nothing else.

“Go on.”  Travis motioned with his hand shoeing Boomer away.  Travis hoisted Emma up into his arms.  The weight of sorrow hung heavily in his shoulders.  He could barely find the strength to step forward.  His lips quivered as he looked toward the sky.  He was too afraid to look down into her eyes as he held her.

“Go ahead, boy.  I’m going to be a minute.”  Travis said motioning with his chin toward the cul-de-sac.

Boomer looked up at Travis’ glassy eyes.  Emma’s arm hung limply toward the ground.  Boomer licked her fingers delicately. 

“Go!”  Travis thundered in bitterness.

Boomer leapt back and began to trot steadily toward the cul-de-sac of the block.

Travis found the courage to look down at Emma.  She had the look of sadness and regret in her expression.  He brought her forehead to his mouth and gave her a final kiss.  His eyes moved along her body down to a coagulated bullet hole in her belly.  Before he let himself get into his own head, he looked away.  Emma’s head hung over his arm lifelessly.  She was nothing.  She was no longer her.  He wanted to see her, but he couldn’t.

Travis started his slow approach to the cul-de-sac where Boomer was lying down waiting patiently.

Moments later a fire soared above the tops of the homes.  Tall flames licked the sky.  Emma was laid out on a pyre of dried tree branches, shrubbery, and wooden pallets.

Travis and Boomer sat on the cool asphalt consoling one another.  Boomer crawled forcefully into Travis’ lap.  Their eyes were glazed, fixed on the woman they loved engulfed in Hell. 

Hours Later.

Travis stood up and stared into the sky laden with the warm colors of dawn.

“Maybe you’re both up there watching over us now.  At least I like to think so.”  Travis spoke aloud.  “I’ll be joining you someday.  And, so will Boomer.” He tried to smile, but instead hung his head to ground and stuffed his cold cracked hands into his jean pockets.

Travis heard a low growl emanate from Boomer.  A quick shimmer came from down the block on the second storey of the first home. 

A crack rang in the sky and a bullet buried itself in Boomer’s K-9 vest.

Travis fell flat to the ground checking himself for wounds.  Boomer whimpered behind him.

“Shit!  You ok boy?”  Travis looked back at Boomer while still lying flat.

Boomer fell over from the shot, but was able to scramble back to his feet since the bullet had an indirect hit.

“Good boy!  You’re okay!”  Relief surfaced from Travis’ gut.  “Boomer, go get him!”

Boomer took off at break-neck speed toward the back yard of the nearest home.  He passed every house quickly jumping over garden hoses and ducking under trampolines until he reached the first home of the block.  He scrambled into the home through an opened window and up to the second floor.

The soldier near the window knelt down readying his second shot for Travis.  His breathing steadied. 

Boomer crept up behind the soldier clad in body armor and weaponry and bared his teeth with a deep growl.  The soldier lowered his rifle but before he could un-holster his knife, Boomer lunged forward and sank his teeth into the soldier’s jugular.

Travis laid still in the cul-de-sac breathing into the cold asphalt; puffs of dust surfaced from his worried panting.  He quickly grabbed his hunting rifle from his shoulder and looked through the scope toward the first house.  Travis watched Boomer gnash his teeth at the soldier’s neck.  Dark, red blood flowed from the man in waves staining Boomers teeth and lips.  Travis didn’t break eye contact with the man’s expression of terror.  Travis let the commotion unfold for several more minutes until he heard rumbling in the distance.

Travis stood quickly, shouldered his rifle, and reached for a chain around his neck.  He blew a small metal whistle hard and long.  The almost silent pitch sent Boomer careening out of the first home and back toward Travis’ home on the opposite side of the street.  Boomer’s claws clacked furiously on the pavement.

Travis sprinted back toward his house in panic.  The clapping of his feet echoed against the houses.  A metallic taste of terror surfaced at the back of his tongue. 

There were sounds of gunshots in the distance.  The neighborhood was still and silent.  The air was hazy from smoke that had yet to dissipate from the smoldering pyre.

Travis met Boomer at the front door.  Boomer bit and scratch at the door handle; fear that Travis rarely saw in his companion.

Travis threw open the door and the two of them scampered upstairs.  Travis fumbled with the remote in his pocket and pressed the second red button.  The button press caused every home on the entire block to automatically fortify with steel shutters and barred windows including their own.

Travis pulled several heavy weapons out of the closet and set them up in rows on the floor.  Metals and plastics tapped together as he set every weapon down with a ‘thunk!’  Only the second floor bedroom windows remained un-shuttered.  He made sure the second floor of all homes on the block had some visibility.

Travis and Boomer’s eyes looked out over the neighborhood.  Slams and echoes came from final home being shuttered at the apex of the cul-de-sac.  They sat quietly on the floor of the second floor bedroom.  Pictures of Emma and Travis surrounded them; Boomer in many of them as well. 

Travis brought a finger slowly to his.  “Boomer.  Shh.”  Travis whispered. 

Boomer ceased whimpering and stopped panting.

The rumbling sounds drew nearer.  Travis grabbed an M2 Browning heavy machine gun from the line of weaponry on the floor and fastened it to a tripod bolted into the subflooring.  He waited in silence.  Boomer lied on the bed looking intently at Travis.

A platoon of soldiers rounded the corner of Travis’ street walking in formation.  They stopped at the first house.  The first soldier made hand signals to three others.  The three split off to search house #1. “Sir, the house is shuttered.  No way of getting in.”  One of the soldiers shouted.

Travis could hear an engine idling at the end of the street.  The feeling of the reverberations told him that it was no Geo Metro waiting in lieu of the platoon’s scouting.

Travis looked at Boomer.  “Boomer.  We need to thin the herd a bit.”  He made a gesture with his hand bringing it to his mouth and biting the air with a throwing motion that followed.  Boomer whimpered at Travis’ animation.

“I know you’re scared buddy but you’ll be okay.  I’ll be watching over you from up here.”  Travis reassured his companion. “Okay, now.  Go!”

Boomer swiftly darted out of the bedroom, down the stairs and through a trap door inside one of the lower kitchen cabinets.  He popped out the side of the house through another trap door and ran toward the street.  He slowed his pace and trotted toward the closest soldier and playfully greeted him.

“Whoa!  Where’d that dog come from?”  The Lieutenant yelled at the soldier being pawed at by Boomer.

“I don’t know sir.  He seems friendly though.  Maybe we could use him for scouting.”

“That’s fine and dandy, but my concern is why he’s wearing that bullet proof vest.”  The Lieutenant said with a suspicious tone.  He motioned with his assault rifle at Boomer.

Boomer stopped pawing and jumping playfully.  He nibbled at the man’s weaponry fastened around his waist.  “Hey, boy!  Get away from that stuff!  It’s dangerous!”  The soldier said.

Boomer found a grenade, pulled the pin with his teeth, and ran back into the house through the trap door.

“No! Fuck!”  The soldier struggled with getting the grenade unclipped from his belt.  Once he held the grenade in the air to discard it, red mist and debris were injected into the atmosphere.  A thunderous, sharp concussion echoed throughout the block as the single grenade detonated the remaining ones on his belt.

The man was obliterated into streaks flesh and red on the pavement.Three others lied on the ground screaming.  Bones splintered through one man’s leg while the other groped at his face to put his jaw back on.  The third man crawled toward the Lieutenant with his tongue half severed and a piece of shrapnel embedded in his skull—his movement ceased slowly.

Body parts and warm deltas of blood filled the street.  Smoke and fine sediment hung in the air.  A helmet filled with brain matter tumbled and spun on the ground.

Travis strapped body armor to every limb.  He donned a mask forged from steel with small openings for his eyes.  He set his hunting rifle down and scrambled to ready himself at the heavy machine gun.

The remaining soldiers regrouped.  Many of them rubbed their ears vigorously.  A soldier saw a flash of light gleam off Travis’ steel mask.  “Up there!  Second floor!”

Travis slammed his thumbs down on the trigger of the heavy machine gun and opened fire on the remaining soldiers of the platoon.  Bronze shells cascaded from the side of the heavy machine gun into a bucket on the floor.  Boomer crawled under the bed with his ears lowered and his tail between his legs.

Shots darted through each soldier like a knife through butter.  Blood spattered the streets and painted the grass of Travis’ front yard.  One soldier managed to get several well-aimed shots off with an assault rifle.  One of the rounds hit Travis in the steel mask he was wearing.  It rattled him, he stumbled back, but he regained composure and got right back to shooting.  The soldier was dead the next second as a bullet sliced through his neck while he was in mid-stride of retreating. 

Little life remained as Travis took his hands away from the heavy machine gun.  The barrel smoked and sizzled.  One soldier crawled with one hand and the other hand covering his femoral artery at it spurted blood.  Travis squinted to study the soldier’s movement.  He grabbed his scoped rifle, flipped up his mask and lined up the sight with the soldier’s face.  A shot rang out and blew through the soldier’s skull from one cheek and out the other.  Travis lowered his rifle, reaffixed his mask, and took a breath.

“You okay, boy?” Travis’ voiced echoed from behind the steel mask.  He heard whimpering from under the bed. 

Travis reached into a canvas duffle bag and pulled out a box of Milk-bones.  He sat on the floor against the bed, removed his mask and held a tantalizing treat down the floor.  A snout slowly moved out from under the bed and delicately bit down.  The whimpering ceased.

“Treats are vastly unsubstantial, considering the circumstances, but it’ll have to do for now.  I love you, boy.”  Travis said with a lump of empathetic sadness in his throat.  His lip quivered.  “Come on out when you’re ready.”

The idling of an engine down the block grew louder.  Travis stood up with haste and went to the window.  He stared out into the macabre scene that landscaped the neighborhood.  Streaks of crimson lined the street with more stains seeping into the sidewalks.  The look of horror and regret was rife in every soldier’s expression in death.  He studied each soldier’s face.  “Kids.  These guys ain’t nothing but a bunch of high school grads with guns.”  He shook his head as his eyes glassed at the thought.  Sorrow hung heavy in his chest.

Travis refocused his thoughts.  He was still; waiting impatiently.  An M1 Abrams tank clattered its way slowly down the street with another larger platoon of soldiers in its wake.

“Boomer.  Stay under the bed.”  A whimper followed Travis’ command.

Travis reached for a pair of binoculars on the window sill.  He peered through them at the tank and noticed a gunner on top scanning the area pointing the barrel of the turret in his general direction.  The Lieutenant of the previous platoon had escaped Travis’ gun fire and was now commanding the new wave of soldiers. 

Travis reached for a scoped rifle adorned with a bi-pod.  He set the rifle up quickly, aimed through the scope at the tank gunner and squeezed the trigger; he steadied his breathing.  The gunner’s head flew back as the shot landed.  The tank’s canon began to raise and turn toward Travis’ home.

“Okay, boy!  We have to go now!”  There was no movement under the bed. “Now!”  Travis yelled.

Boomer shot out from under the bed and barreled down the stairs.  Travis grabbed anything he could and followed after him.  They both stumbled into the basement tripping over their own feet.  Boomer trotted into a tunnel built into the foundation of the home with Travis at his heels.

What the impending forces didn’t know was that the tunnel beneath Travis’ home connected every home on the block.  A collaborative effort on behalf of the former residents of each dwelling; albeit a crudely crafted project.

Travis and Boomer shuffled their way through the dark tunnel lit only by a flashlight connected to the underside of a shotgun Travis had at attention.  Travis squatted and hunched over at the waist to clear the tunnel opening.  Halfway through the length of the tunnel the ground shook.  A muffled yet audible explosion came from above ground.  Boomer and Travis stopped in their tracks.  Smoke and dust began to flood the tunnel.  Loose pieces of gravel and damp dirt clumps covered them both.

“Boomer, we’re getting close.  Go, go, go!”

Travis and Boomer shuffled further along the uninviting darkness occasionally sidling between ceiling jacks, sheets or wood, and shortened railroad ties that barely held the structure true. They stormed into the basement of house #2 and made their way to the second floor.  Travis looked out over the block and saw that his home was obliterated.  Dust and sediment still hung in the air. Two by fours tumbled off the neighboring houses.  Shingles that shook loose glided to the ground gracefully.  The barrel of the tank’s canon breathed smoke.  Travis re-donned his mask.

Travis picked off one soldier after another with a scoped bolt action rifle, some shots merely lending a flesh wound but a second shot for each miss confirmed a death.  He carefully steadied his breathing with each shot even though his heart could get stuck in his throat at any moment. The Lieutenant of the platoon signaled to the tank to reposition its aim at house #2.  Another shot hit Travis’ mask rendering his view skewed; he tore it off and threw it out the window at one of the soldiers.  Boomer continued to bring Travis rounds of ammunition that were laid out on a dresser within the bedroom.  Travis came out from cover in brief intervals to deal more damage.  His vest took several hits as he left cover a second time—the impact knocked the wind from his lungs.  Boomer nudged at Travis’ ribcage until he was able to breathe again.

As the tank’s canon began to move Travis and Boomer were already out of the bedroom and into the basement.  Before thy reached house #3 the tank had already taken it down.  The same happened with house #4 and #5.  Travis and Boomer had no choice but to skip all houses and get to the apex of the cul-de-sac where house #6 had yet to be destroyed.

Upon reaching the house #6, the tremors from the tank rolling through the street and the concussion of the canon loosed a wood beam, metal piping, and steel sheeting.  The debris fell on both Travis and Boomer.  It knocked them partially to the dirt.  Travis could see light coming from the basement of the home just ahead.

Travis freed himself from the debris with unsteady strength, but Boomer lay on the ground unmoving.

“Boomer.  C’mon, we gotta go.”  Travis lifted the remaining debris off Boomer.  Boomer stood shaking and whimpering.  His legs were weak and trembling.  Travis quickly shuffled the remaining length of the tunnel into the basement of the home and knelt on the floor.  He continued to coax Boomer forward.  “C’mon, buddy!  Let’s go!”  The light from Travis’ shotgun glimmered off Boomer’s eyes.

Boomer limped quickly into the basement.  Travis massaged Boomer’s legs and haunches vigorously.  Boomer licked Travis’ arms in appreciation.

Travis scooped Boomer up into his arms and tore up the basement stairs with weaponry dangling off each shoulder.  Boomer’s head rested in the crook of Travis’ neck with his butt planted firmly in Travis’ hands.  After unsteadily climbing the basement stairs Travis ran up into the second floor bedroom.  He placed Boomer on the bed and dragged a large rectangle out from under the bed.  He opened the box, pulled out a large rocket launcher and aimed it out the window down the street.  The canon was repositioning its aim directly at the house that Travis and Boomer were in.  Before the canon stopped moving, Travis took his only shot which veered too far to the right.  The rocket hit the ground next to the tank, but had enough force to damage the canon and strip the tracking from its wheels.

The Lieutenant of the platoon put his fist in the air signaling the remaining few soldiers to halt.  He brought a radio receiver up to his mouth.  His black sunglasses glared sunlight in Travis’ direction.

“I need an airstrike at these coordinates!”  The Lieutenant rattled off latitude and longitudinal numbers.

The man on the radio chirped back.  “For one guy?!”

“Just do it!”  The Lieutenant shouted back.  Spit hit his radio.

Travis stared at the frozen troops in the middle of the street.  After the Lieutenant lowered the radio from his mouth, fear and panic rose from the pit of Travis’ stomach.  Travis quickly picked up Boomer and set him on the floor.

“Alright, boy.  This is it.  I need you to run.  Let’s go!”  Travis whistled patting the side of his leg.

Boomer mustered his remaining strength and rose to his feet.  He began to run with Travis out of the bedroom and down the stairs.  Boomer slipped and tumbled.  Travis quickly pulled Boomer up from the collar.  Travis pulled the remote from his pocket and pressed the second red button and remaining homes on the block unfortified themselves.

Travis and Boomer ran out the back sliding glass door toward the woods beyond the block.  Jet engines pierced the peaceful tenor of the sky.

Multiple explosions collided with the ground within seconds of hearing the incoming jets as Travis and Boomer sprinted.  Every house in the area was obliterated sending wood beams, siding, and metal shrapnel into the air.

The last thing Travis could hear was Boomer yelping in pain and fear.  In seconds, Travis and Boomer were completely enveloped and buried. 

Thirty Minutes Later.

Boomer popped his head out from under a pile of debris.  Cuts and scrapes riddled his snout.  His bullet proof vest was torn and frayed.  He got to his feet and began to scan the debris for signs of life, pacing frantically.  He barked and whimpered at the absence of any voices.  The sky was quiet.

Smoke filled the air.  Every home on the block was rubble. Boomer’s head darted from left to right.  He didn’t know where to go.  He looked toward the rubbish pile of their home in yearning for Travis’ company.

Boomer trotted limply through the neighborhood looking around longingly.  He stopped in the middle of the cul-de-sac and laid down next to an enormous scorch mark etched into the asphalt.  He rested is head against the cool pavement.  The sky was cloudy with a tungsten hue.  The wind blew leftover ash from the cremation across his paw then lifted it into a swirling whirlwind.

Ten Minutes later.

Boomer scavenged the remains of the neighborhood for scraps of food and water to drink.  He nuzzled an exploded can of beans lying on the ground near the cul-de-sac.  Once finished he began to lap at puddles of water draining into the gutters from devastated plumbing of the nearest house.  While quenching his thirst, a faint, barely audible whistle came from the woods.

Boomer’s ears perked.  He steadied his breathing. 

The whistle sounded again in short increments.

Boomer began a slow run toward the apex of the cul-de-sac.

He heard the whistle one more time.

His run turned to a sprint and he disappeared into the woods in pursuit beyond the block.


© Copyright 2019 Ryan K. Mallegni. All rights reserved.

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